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The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness - Resource for Children and Youth

  • Published: 2009-10-12 (Revised/Updated 2010-06-25) : Author: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness - A Resource for Children and Youth.

Main Document

The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for children and youth who are deaf-blind.

The NCDB is funded by the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

The NCDB builds on technical assistance activities of the national technical assistance center, dissemination activities of DB-LINK, and trains personnel. The NCDB brings together three agencies with extensive histories and expertise related to deaf-blindness.

The NCDB works in collaboration with family members, as well as federal, state, and local agencies in order to provide technical assistance, information services, and personnel training in relation to persons who are deaf-blind.

The NCDB places a focus on to major purposes, as they are required to by OSEP. The first of these is promotion of academic achievement and results for children and youth who are deaf-blind through model demonstration, technical assistance and the dissemination of information. These activities are supported by evidence-based practices and are directed at family members, state deaf-blind projects, service providers, state and local education agencies, and additional organizations who are responsible for the provision of early intervention, education, and transition services. The second major purpose of the NCDB is to provide assistance in addressing state-identified needs for qualified personnel who present the needed knowledge and skills required to serve children and youth who are deaf-blind.

The NCDB has a number of objects, such as communication, collaboration, and the formation of partnerships as directed by OSEP with agencies, organizations and projects that improve results for children, youth and families. They implement ongoing needs assessments on multiple levels in order to systematically identify the needs of children and youth, as well as family members and service providers, including training, so that they can both appropriately and adequately address the needs of these people. The NCDB provides national leadership related to the implementation of evidence-based practices to address any lack of knowledge, as well as to build on current practices. They implement a variety of both technical assistance and personnel training pursuits, increasing the capacity of state and local agencies to meet the needs of children and youth who are deaf-blind, as well as their family members.

The objectives of the NCDB also include collaborative partnerships and efforts to increase the capacity of young people who are deaf-blind and their family members to self-advocate, build personal empowerment, and increase knowledge concerning deaf-blindness. They provide leadership on a national level where promotion of personnel training and implementation of IDEA and evidence-based practices are concerned in an effort to address the shortage of leadership and personnel in the field of deaf-blindness. The NCDB identifies, collects, organizes, and disseminates information concerning deaf-blindness - to include evidence-based practices, so that they can respond to inquiries as well as increase the knowledge base which promotes effective early intervention, education, transition services, and family supports. They expand the use of information resources through development and dissemination of accessible products, evidence-based research, effective practices, and emerging knowledge. The NCDB puts a comprehensive system of evaluation to good use, assessing the impact of their objectives and activities in relation to children and youth, family, service providers, and systems that are in place.

NCDB and Technical Assistance

The NCDB provides people with technical assistance and supports which assist state deaf-blind projects in the use of IDEA and evidence-based practices. They work to identify the needs of children, family members, and educational teams to implement a variety of technical assistances and increase the abilities of state and local agencies to meet with these needs. The NCDB works to improve identification and intervention services for deaf-blind children and youth while increasing educational achievement. They strive to improve both transition services and achievement of post-secondary goals as well. The consortium also works to increase the abilities of families to participate in their children's educational process, and use effective evaluation strategies to improve accountability.

There are five focus areas that the NCDB has identified related to technical assistance that help in identifying partnerships at national and state levels, and which promote evidence-based practices for children and youth who are deaf-blind. These areas include:

Early and appropriate identification of children who are deaf-blind
Increased student achievement in language arts/literacy, math and science
Accountability through effective evaluation strategies for collection and analyzing data
Achievement of meaningful post-secondary goals through coordinated, measurable and annual transition services
Effective parent involvement for families representing different cultural, ethnic, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds

There are additional topics related to technical assistance that the NCDB responds to. The consortium is also interested in subjects that include communication and language development, person-centered planning for transition, capacity-building and systems change, collaborative teaming, self-advocacy, and self-determination. The NCDB provides technical assistance on an individual basis on a number of levels that include short and long term activities. These levels of activities include not only state-specific, but multi-state and national technical assistance and training.

The NCDB uses a variety of activities to deliver technical assistance, such as:

Personnel training
Topical workshops
OSEP's annual PDM
LISTSERVs for multiple groups
Internet-based webinars on selected topics
Family leadership development activities at the national and state levels
Area meetings for all state deaf-blind projects within each of the four geographical areas
Cross state TA and training designed to meet common needs and desired outcomes in multiple states
Training and on-site consultation that focus on increasing the knowledge and skills of individual families and service providers

The consortium promotes involvement of their stakeholders in the design, implementation and evaluation of its technical assistance activities. They conduct activities that are needs-based and outcome-oriented, while the maintaining flexibility to address change. The NCDB responds to multiple and varied technical assistance recipients while utilizing and sustaining strategies that are most likely to produce the desired outcomes. The NCDB is also home of DB-LINK, the largest collection of information related to deaf-blindness in the world. There is an entire team of specialists who make this resource available through the NCDB web site, conferences, and a number of electronic mediums.

DB-LINK offers users a variety of information services. These services include:

Selected Topics
NCDB Products
New Publications
Job Opportunities
People & Programs
Recursos en Espaaol
Research to Practice
Deaf-Blind Perspectives
Conferences & Trainings
2008 Helen Keller Art Show

NCDB and Personnel Training

Approximately ninety-eight percent of America's school districts report a shortage of teachers; in low-incidence areas such as deaf-blindness, the shortages many times result in a lack of both adequate and appropriate services. Paraprofessionals who are adequately trained are equally in short supply, while paraprofessionals are increasingly used in order to support inclusion of students with severe disabilities in general education classroom settings, as well as to provide both direct and related services. While the demand for highly-qualified teachers increases, the numbers of personnel preparation programs which are preparing service providers for careers with students who are deaf-blind continues to decrease.

There is currently no established system that low-incidence personnel preparation programs and leaders in the deaf-blind community can use and implement collaborative personnel training. The NCDB facilitates development of a national deaf-blind personnel preparation consortium will help in identification of national personnel shortages, as well as training needs that are specific to deaf-blindness. They work to facilitate coordination of a national effort to promote training of personnel in order to address the shortage of qualified personnel, and to facilitate summer institutes and the development of both online and distance educational training opportunities. The NCDB works with personnel preparation programs in deaf-blindness in order to make resources available that add coursework and practicum experiences to provide consultation workshops and online training activities. They continue to present personnel training via a number of multi-state topical conferences, webinars and focus groups. The NCDB works to use evidence-base research, best practices, as well as emerging knowledge in relation to personnel training activities on state and national levels. They also identify both mentor-ships and internships between personnel preparation programs and state deaf-blind projects and host agencies, as well as other entities -

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