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Training Opportunities for Service Providers and Families
Special Topics Workshops are designed to address specific, focused content relevant to educating students who are deaf-blind, providing a depth of knowledge, taking the participant beyond an awareness level to the implementation level of learning, and allowing a learner to spend more time on a skill, strategy or topic. One Special Topics Workshop will be offered each year of the grant. The workshops are 2 ½ days in length, beginning after school on a Thursday, and continuing for full days on Friday and Saturday. Workshops in Years 1-5 will focus on assistive technology, literacy, general education curriculum access, communication development/calendar systems, and transition to post-secondary environments.
A total of 4-6 teams are selected each year to receive intensive consultation and on-site support. An application process is available to registrants of the Special Topics Workshop. The Special Topics Workshop provides the content focus for the year-long technical assistance, and thus changes during each year of the grant. For each team selected, 3 additional training opportunities via webinar format are scheduled to reinforce and extend the content, to address needs which arise during implementation of the content on-site, and to support the network of participants across the state. On-site TA is provided throughout the school year by Project staff and includes participation in regularly scheduled team meetings.
The focus of the Special Topics Workshop for Spring, 2012 is CHARGE Syndrome. David Brown, from California Deaf-blind Servicesr will be conducting the training on January 18-19. Information is available here. You may register online at http://charge-syndrome.tadnet.org..
offers a one week Institute on Deaf-Blindness each summer at the University
of Maryland at College Park. The courses that are offered are on topics
related to effective practices in educating students who are deaf-blind
and/or have severe disabilities, and each course is approved for 2.0 MSDE
Continuing Professional Development credit or two graduate credits from
the University of Maryland.
Information on upcoming Summer
Institutes and registration information will be posted on our events page.
Foundations and Educational Implications
of Deaf-Blindness and Other
The content focuses on specific
medical, psychosocial, and physical characteristics of individuals who
are deaf-blind within the context of educational implications and programming
needs. Topics covered include the development of vision and hearing, functional
assessment of sensory loss, including Cortical Visual Impairment, Orientation
and Mobility, etiologies associated with deaf-blindness, and concomitant
Instructional Strategies and Communication
This course covers instructional
techniques used in the education of students who are deaf-blind, including
tactile strategies, concept development, routine-based instruction, and
“Intervention”. The development of communication and individualized
communication systems is the central focus of the course. Topics include
an overview of communication, receptive and expressive communication,
augmentative communication and assistive technology, communicative functions
of behavior, and specific forms and functions.
Current Issues in Program
This course covers emerging
best practices in the areas of curriculum and instruction. Topics include
collaborative/transdisciplinary teaming, building effective partnerships
with parents, curricular content, partial participation, delivery of integrated
related services, positive behavior support plans, inclusive education,
accommodations in general education classrooms, social skills development,
and issues relevant to transitioning from one setting to another. In addition,
the content includes a discussion of assessment with a focus on the Maryland
statewide assessment program, functional and ecological assessment strategies,
family-centered program planning, and functional assessment of behavior.
Intervener Training Project
The one-to-one service provider with specialized training and skills in deaf-blindness is called an “intervener” (Alsop, 2002). Paraeducators serving as interveners have been included in most Connections training activities, and are recipients of site-based TA. A more systematic approach to training is likely to result in more significant and sustainable results. A pre-service online training program in deaf-blindness is now available through Utah State University (USU). The courses are based on the National Intervener Competencies, and are designed to prepare paraprofessionals to work as interveners with children who are deaf-blind. Connections will provide a portion of tuition for 2-5 interveners each year to complete the on-line training program, and will provide monthly on-site TA to each intervener, as well as the platform for regular teleconferencing among all Maryland interveners enrolled in the coursework each semester. The training program consists of two 4-credit hour classes, one offered in the Fall and the second in the Spring semester. Upon successful completion of the coursework, students will be awarded a certificate of completion from USU.
During 2010, Connections has supported the intervener training of 15 paraeducators and 1 teacher specialist working with students who are deaf-blind in Harford and Washington counties, and at MSB. Applications for the 2011 spring semester will be available soon. Please contact Donna Riccobono for more information.