and Julianne Lemman
During the last six months of online instruction, we have found that finding ways to support families of students with multiple disabilities or deafblindness is the key to success.
Acknowledge Different Levels of Support at Home
- Find out if an Intervener is available. For students who are DeafBlind with multiple disabilities, interveners are wonderful supportive roles to explore. Some families may have access to an intervener who has a previously established relationship and experience working with the student prior to the pandemic altering so many plans. Other families may have a family member who is able to work as an intervener role for the student in their family who is DeafBlind. However, many families are without this support currently.
Don’t know what an intervener is? Find out more about it here:
- Comparison of Possible Supports for Students who are DeafBlind (Intervener/Paraprofessional/Interpreter) from NCDB
- What is an Intervener? From DBMAT
- NCDB Fact Sheet on Intervener Services and Interveners in Educational Settings
- Provide families with information and resources to connect with others. There are a variety of scenarios that families are faced with during this difficult time. Every family is different. Each student needs and benefits from levels and types of support that are unique to them based on their level of dual sensory loss and the accommodations defined in their IEP. It is okay to be different, and to need different types or amounts of help. Finding out where to get that help often feels difficult, and there are support systems for families to connect together and share ideas. Resources include:
Find out what additional services your student may be eligble for. I found myself unsure of which waivers one of my students was currently being served on, and which waivers this student might be on a list for. I contacted the social worker assigned on my student’s educational team to connect with the family to help facilitate this conversation and seek more information as I was concerned for the access to educational experiences and for the many things I knew the family was balancing. Knowing what waiver programs a student may be served on can help to learn further about what types of services may be available to further assist families and their students.