Kansas Deaf-Blind Project

The Kansas Deaf-Blind Project is a federally funded grant designed to provide technical assistance to educational teams and families who serve learners with deaf-blindness in Kansas. Our Project goals include:

  • Collaborate with the medical, community, and infant toddler services to identify children with deaf-blindness early so services can be provided to the child and family
  • Provide training to families and service providers who work with children with deaf-blindness
  • Provide family and self-advocacy support
  • Assist families and educational teams to make effective plans for times of transition
  • Maintain learners on the Kansas census for the National Child Count

Services Provided by the Kansas Deaf-Blind Project

  • Free technical assistance for parents, educators, and early intervention personnel by project personnel and other consultants and selected web based family and school team support.
  • Assistance in locating children and young adults who may have both a vision and a hearing loss
  • Inservice training on specific content areas as determined by needs assessment data
  • Ongoing SPARKLE training for families of children who are deaf-blind.
  • Scholarships for intervener training for educators and training for parents/family  members who have a child with deaf-blindness.
  • Resources provided through the Kansas Deaf-Blind Loan Library
  • Resource Information Packets distributed to families of children who are newly identified as deaf-blind and to families whose children are re-certified on the Kansas Deaf-Blind Registry.
  • Annual and ongoing collection of Kansas deaf-blind census and federal census monitoring.
  • Ongoing training and certification for Kansas school nurses, in screening for vision and Usher’s syndrome.
  • Ongoing collaboration with various agencies to expand services for children who are deaf-blind.



The Kansas Deaf-Blind Project is working in collaboration with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to offer a limited number of scholarships (10) to 5 teams comprised of a teacher and paraeducator who are interested in receiving training in the process of intervention through Utah State University.   If you presently work with a learner who is certified on the Kansas Deaf-Blind registry and attends public school, then you qualify to apply for this scholarship.  Look below for the attached information about the scholarship and scholarship application form.  Applications for scholarships will be accepted through April 3 with notification by April 15, 2015.  The online classes begin May 11, 2015.  If you have questions, please contact Rebecca Obold-Geary roboldgeary@kssdb.org  or 913-305-3087.  The Kansas Deaf-Blind Project is very fortunate to offer this training opportunity in Kansas.

March Tidbit 

Assistive Technology (AT)

Kansas Deaf-Blind March Tidbit of the Month:

Prepared by Dinell Smith, KS DB Family Specialist

“For a person without a disability, AT makes things easier…….

For a person with a disability, AT makes things possible.” 

FACTS to know about AT:

“AT should empower students who have unique learning challenges with equal access to the curriculum and increase interaction by reducing obstacles caused by their disability.” 

It is important to know that IDEA ’97 (Public Law 105-17) mandates the provision of AT and offers clear definitions of AT devices and services. It is important to understand this law and how it  fits into an IEP in order to help your student obtain any needed AT device or service.

An AT Device is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” These devices can include low-tech or no-tech items like pencil grips or slant boards which require no batteries or electronics; mid-tech devices which require batteries like a talking calculator, spell checker, or talking button; and high-tech devices which are more complex electronic systems such as computers, iPads, screen readers, and dedicated communication devices used for communication.

AT Services are defined as “any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an AT device. (section 300.5) Some examples of AT Services on an IEP could include evaluations, providing deivces, selecting, designing, fitting customizing, adapting, maintaining, repairing, or replacing AT devices, coordinating therapies, intervenetions and services with AT devices, training and technical assistance for the student, family and school service providers that are involved with the child with disabilities.

 As a parent, if you feel your child needs an AT device or service, and your school team has not already jumped in gear, then by law you can make a written or oral request to the school asking for an assessment for AT and describe the student’s needs in as much detail as possible. (I recommend a written request so you have proof of the request if needed.) Once your request is made, the local education agency (LEA or school) has 15 days to give you a proposed assessment plan. Like most evals, schools may ask parents to sign for permission for the AT eval and once the parents signs permission, the school team has 60 days to complete that eval and report back. Remember that parents are a member of the IEP team and should be included in discussing options for those devices and services before they are implemented.

For more info about Assistive Technology and the Law, visit Wrightslaw.com found here:  http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/atech.index.htm 

 Below are links to helpful websites with more Assistive Technology info:

The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) offers a FREE online guidebook called, “Family Information Guide to AT and Transition” found here: http://www.fctd.info/show/newfig 

 Glossary of Assistive Technology Terms: http://www.fctd.info/factsheet/glossary

 Over 1300 Reviews of AT Resources of every kind: http://www.fctd.info/resources

 NCDB’s Library has many articles on AT: https://nationaldb.org/library/search/?search=assistive+technology+&format=json

 Perkins’ Paths To Literacy allows you to search for AT related resources that have been shared: http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/technology

 Perkins also offers free webcasts and webinars on AT: http://www.perkinselearning.org/watch-and-learn-listing?field_watch_and_learn_category_tid%5B%5D=3683

 Assistive Technology for Kansans offers AT services throughout the state. http://atk.ku.edu  Check out their website to find out how you can see and try a device, borrow a device for short term, help get funding for a device or get a refurbished device or just get questions about AT answered.  There are 6 sites across the state to help you.There are also videos, handouts and tips for using an iPad: http://atk.ku.edu/node/10/#iPadVideos

    Check Out this Webinar 

The Impact of Technology in the Life of a Person who is Deaf-Blind 

featuring our own Dinell Smith along with Maricar Marquez and Marcia Brooks


Rebecca Obold-Geary,
Mar 12, 2015, 11:45 AM
Rebecca Obold-Geary,
Mar 12, 2015, 11:43 AM
Rebecca Obold-Geary,
Mar 12, 2015, 11:57 AM