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.


Fall Tidbit 

Kansas Deaf-Blind September Tidbit of the Month:

Prepared by Dinell Smith, KS DB Family Specialist

So many of our kids that are deaf-blind also struggle with being a successful expressive communicator. So often in school, home or therapy sessions, we focus on giving the child a few choices and ask them which one they want. Example: “Do you want a cookie or a cracker?” “Do you want to read a book or listen to music?” “Do you want to go outside or sit in this chair?” etc. They can answer in a variety of ways from facial expressions, signing, or pointing or touching an object or a picture. But is choice making really communication? The answer is no. Communication is so much more than making a choice.

Here is and excellent article written on Jane Farrall’s Blog called, “What is “Beginning AAC”?” http://www.janefarrall.com/what-is-beginning-aac/#comment-15671

This article focuses on using Apps to teach AAC, but the information found here can be used with any format of AAC. As you read down to the middle of the page, make sure to explore her links to articles on “Core Vocabulary System” http://praacticalaac.org/strategy/teaching-core-vocabulary/  and “Pragmatically Organized Dynamic Display (PODD)” . http://praacticalaac.org/video/a-praactical-look-at-podd/ 

No matter what system you teach, it is necessary to understand the importance of using “Aided Language Input” http://praacticalaac.org/praactical/modeling-aac-style/since so many of our kids need that method of modeling and repetition before they become autonomous, or able to choose their words on their own.

Jane Farrall ends her article with a link to her impressive list of AAC Apps that can be found here. http://www.janefarrall.com/aac-apps-lists/

 For more specific ideas used with Deaf-Blind students, make sure to check out these websites:

Literacy for Children with combined Vision and Hearing Loss – http://literacy.nationaldb.org  and remember that Literacy skills are what you build upon in order to learn communication. This site contains many great strategies, examples and lessons for teaching literacy skills to help build communication.

Paths to Literacy - http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/content-areas  more great strategies, lessons and examples of fun activities for kids to engage in and learn literacy skills to build on their communication. 

    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