DeafBlind Children & Youth
Access the Supporting DeafBlind Children and Youth in Minnesota: A Strategic Plan to Move Forward (PDF)
Access the Supporting DeafBlind Children and Youth Overview in Minnesota (PDF)
At any time, Minnesota has approximately 350-375 children (ages birth-21) with combined hearing and vision loss (DeafBlind). Here are a few quick numbers.
- The majority of children are identified as having combined hearing and vision loss (DeafBlind) after the age of five.
- Approximately 1/3 of the children have "DeafBlind" noted as their primary disability in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
- 83% of the children have additional disabilities, including physical, complex health, or intellectual disabilities.
- 29% of children ages 3-21 have received intervener services, including children who are in academic settings with their peers.'
- 80% of school-age students have a teacher of the developmental and cognitive delays (DCD)
- Minnesota currently has 105 paraprofessionals who have received intervener training but only five nationally certified interveners.
More research is needed to identify what the students and their families need in this current system. The members of the Collaborative Plan's DeafBlind workgroup could identify several gaps under the current system, including the need for early vision screening and identification for DeafBlind, more data collection for ages birth-3 for this population, the lack of parent resources, the need for more interveners, and more.
Who this impacts
- Children and youth with combined hearing and vision loss (DeafBlind)
- Parents and families of the children and youth
- Teachers and service providers of the children and youth
The Collaborative Plan's DeafBlind workgroup quickly realized that it is critical to begin by asking young DeafBlind adults, families with DeafBlind children and youth, and professionals serving about their lived experiences and observations in a formal structure. The Commission's board approved $160,000 for a needs assessment. The Commission then contracted with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Wilder Research worked with the DeafBlind workgroup to interview 45 DeafBlind young adults, families with children who have combined hearing and vision loss, and professionals serving families. Next, Wilder Research created a data-informed strategic plan report and a visual summary of the plan.
You can access the strategic plan and the overview today!
Supporting DeafBlind Children and Youth in Minnesota: A Strategic Plan to Move Forward (PDF)
Supporting DeafBlind Children and Youth Overview in Minnesota (PDF)
The members of the Collaborative Plan's DeafBlind workgroup will be using these documents as a blueprint for making systemic improvements. There are six identified action items.
- Promote coordinated services and the sharing of information among service providers
- Help children, youth, and their families coordinate their services
- Provide education about deafblindness to parents and providers
- Offer social connection and emotional support to children, youth, and their families
- Prepare DeafBlind youth for the transition to community-based services at age 21
- Contribute to legislative and policy-focused activities that could improve the lives of DeafBlind children
Who was involved?
Participants in the needs assessment, including:
- DeafBlind young adults
- Parents of children and youth with combined hearing and vision loss
- Professionals who serve children, youth, and their families
The members of the Collaborative Plan DeafBlind workgroup, including:
- Alison Aubrecht - Minnesota State Academies
- Ann Mayes - Minnesota DeafBlind Project
- Carrie Zeman - Parent
- Christian Wernau - Regional Low Incidence Facilitator
- Darcia Dierking - EHDI Coordinator
- Darlene Zangara - MNCDHH
- Deanne Curran - PACER and parent
- Elizabeth Laffen - ISD 916
- Jamie Taylor - DeafBlind adult
- Jessica Eggert - DeafBlind adult
- John Filek - Helen Keller National Center
- Kim Johnson - DeafBlind Services Minnesota
- Morgan Nodsle - ISD 916
- Nanette McDevitt - GM Launch PAD
- Nicole Eck - Regional Low Incidence Facilitator
- Robin Coninx - Minnesota Hands & Voices and parent
- Ryan Odland - Helen Keler National Center and DeafBlind adult
- Sally Prouty - Parent
- Sara Kreiling - State Services for the Blind
- Shannon Zywiec - Intervenor
- Wendy DeVore - Career Ventures, Inc.
- Wendy Harris - Metro Deaf School
Wilder Research, including
- Ryan M. Evans, M.A.
- Bunchung Ly