Utah Deaf-Blind Endorsement


Utah Deaf-Blind


Professionalizing the Field

AER International Conference

Leslie Buchanan, M.Ed

Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

Catherine Nelson, Ph.D.

University of Utah


IDEA: Deaf-blindness is a condition in which the combination of hearing and visual losses in children cause

"such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness" [ 34 CFR 300.7 ( c )

(2), 1999] or multiple disabilities.

Unique Needs

● Limited access to sensory information

● Limitations on incidental learning

● Impacts development of communication, movement, concepts, and sense of self and body image

● Impacts formation of attachments and social relationships

Unique Challenges

Combined disabilities require specialized educational strategies that address communication, sensory, learning, and special needs.

Utah’s System of Services

● Comprehensive system, build over time

● Supported by state educational funds and federal technical assistance and training

● Around 130 children, birth-22

● Each has a deaf-blind specialist on IEP/IFSP team

● Intervener, when team determines needed for FAPE

Why endorsement important in Utah

● Deaf-blind specialists had much training, most of which was provided by the Utah Deaf-Blind

Project, but nothing officially recognized

● Took university courses when offered so foundation was there when endorsement in place

Process to develop the endorsement

● Role of advisory board to federal deaf-blind project

● Input from Utah Deaf-Blind Project

● Encouragement from Utah Schools for the

Deaf and the Blind

● Parents wrote letters

● Utah State Office of Education

● Outline of possible coursework developed for grants and other projects reviewed

Utah Endorsement

● Existing licensure in Special Education required- vision, hearing, severe disabilities, early childhood, or mild/moderate

● Aligned with CEC Deafblind Teacher


● http://www.cec.sped.org/Standards/Special-



Two universities offer coursework

● University of Utah - mostly on site

● Utah State University - online

● Reciprocity between the two universities

University of Utah Program

● Initially, no funding

● Built on existing coursework offered through state funded Multi-University Consortium

Vision and Hearing programs based at

University of Utah

● Infused DB content into existing coursework

● Added deafblind specific coursework/ dept support

U of U Deafblind Specialization

SPED 6450 Teaching Children who are


SPED 6455 Advanced Assessment and

Instructional Design for Learners who are


SPED 6465 Fundamental os O & M for

Teachers of Children who are Deafblind

U Of U Specialization in Deafblind

SPED 5960: A to Z Braille: Uncontracted Braille for Reading Partners

SPED 6430 Ocular Disorders and Examination

Techniques for Low Vision

ASL 1010 American Sign Language

SPED 6520 Audiology for Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

U of U Deafblind Specialization

SPED 6260 Transdisciplinary Approaches in

Severe Disabilities or

SPED 6960 Medical and Health Issues in Early


SPED 6452 Practicum I

SPED 6750: Practicum II Student Teaching

Student Financial Support

● State grant received for three years ($1,300 per semester)

● Federal grant submitted

Advanced Deaf-Blind Class

Collaboration to meet local needs and CEC


Tanni Anthony- Play-based Assessment

Jan van Dijk- question and answer sessions

Dennis Lolli- O & M

Special Assignments

Arts assignment Literacy

Utah Deaf-Blind Project

● Infused arts project into new deaf-blind grant

● Preparing students for college, career and community involvement

Strength of student work building future capacity

● Former students are resource to university program

● Helen Keller Fellow, did internship with NCDB, now working on national intervener modules and other national initiatives

Additional capacity building

● Students considering going on for considering going on to PHD

● Strengthen state system and local LEAs


● Beyond specialists

● Why important

● Resource for others in the country

● Involvement in Teacher of Deaf-Blind

Topical Work Group - build national capacity

Questions? Sharing of experiences and challenges.