Deafblindness is considered a Regional (“low incidence, high need”) disability. Regional services through Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District (LBL ESD) provides family focused, early intervention home-based services for children who are birth-3 years. School age services are provided to students in their educational setting which includes both preschool-based services for children three to five years old and primary/secondary services for students Kindergarten through 21 years old. Depending on the student’s educational needs, services can range from direct instruction to consultation for instructional staff. Students may be served in their neighborhood school or at a center site where other students experiencing deafblind impairments attend.
Who is Eligible?
When a student is identified as having a both a hearing and vision deficit, a multidisciplinary team including the parent(s), Deafness/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) Teacher, Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI),, district representatives, etc., first meet to review documentation and decide if a referral for Deafblindness services and evaluation is appropriate. Parent(s) or school staff may initiate this process.
If a child is suspected of having deafblindness, evaluation procedures for hearing impairment and vision impairment is required; however, they only have to qualify for one of the eligibility categories as long as they have a sensory deficit in the other skill. To qualify for LBL ESD Cascade Regional Deafblindness services, the child must reside in Linn, Benton, or Lincoln County and meet the following state requirements:
- The student meets eligibility criteria for both hearing and vision impairment; or
- The student meets eligibility criteria for either hearing or vision impairment, but demonstrates inconclusive or inconsistent responses in the other sensory area. A functional assessment in the other sensory area substantiates the presence of an impairment in that area; or
- The student meets the minimum criteria for either hearing or vision impairment and has a degenerative disease or pathology that affects the acuity of the other sensory area.
Oregon Administrative Rules 581-015-2140 https://oregon.public.law/rules/oar_581-015-2140
Direct services may be provided to the student by the D/HH Teacher and/or a TVI through any combination of placement options. Direct services target the Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) goals and objectives within the student’s Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) for children birth to five or Individual Education Program (IEP) for students 5-21 years of age. Children eligible for services may receive direct instruction in the following areas from Regional specialists:
- Instruction in any of the following expanded core curriculum skills: Compensatory skills (including braille instruction), assistive technology, orientation and mobility, independent living, self-determination, recreation and leisure, sensory efficiency, career education, social interaction
- Language and vocabulary
- Audiological information and management
The TVI or D/HH Teacher may provide these supports to assist the student so they are able to achieve their other IFSP or IEP SDI goals:
- Evaluations to determine impact of vision deficits and hearing impairment
- Self-advocacy skill development
- Monitoring student’s personal amplification system
The purpose of the consultative services is to closely monitor student needs/progress and to facilitate a successful inclusion experience. Services may include:
- Vision services if also found eligible under Visual Impairment
- Hearing services if also found eligible under Hearing Impairment
- Low vision aids
- Assistive/adaptive technology evaluation and services
- Equipment for student short-term trial or loaner use
- Consultation to the general education teacher(s) and other appropriate school staff
- Assessing and assisting with student needs for special and/or adaptive equipment and materials
- Classroom/staff orientation and in-service
- Participation as a team member on the IFSP or IEP team
- Resource library
- Sign language support
- Parent education