What is an intervener?

Interveners, through the provision of intervener services, provide access to information and communication and facilitate the development of social and emotional well-being for children who are deaf-blind. In educational environments, intervener services are provided by an individual, typically a paraeducator, who has received specialized training in deaf-blindness and the process of intervention. An intervener provides consistent one-to-one support to a student who is deaf-blind throughout the instructional day.

Working under the guidance and direction of a student’s classroom teacher or another individual responsible for ensuring the implementation of the student’s IEP, an intervener’s primary roles are to (Alsop, Blaha, & Kloos, 2000):
• provide consistent access to instruction and environmental information that is usually gained by typical students through vision and hearing, but that is unavailable or incomplete to an individual who is deaf-blind;
• provide access to and/or assist in the development and use of receptive and expressive communication skills;
• facilitate the development and maintenance of trusting, interactive relationships that promote social and emotional well-being; and,
• provide support to help a student form relationships with others and increase social connections and participation in activities.

Learn more about the role of an intervener:

“What’s My Role?” A Comparison of the Responsibilities of Interpreters, Interveners, and Support Service Providers     An article written by Susanne Morgan-Morrow 

A Family’s Guide to Interveners: for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss:  A booklet developed by to help families understand the need for and role of an intervener

Online Introduction to Interveners: An interactive set of modules developed by the California Deaf-Blind Project to introduce the need for and role of an intervener:

Some helpful tools for teams to explore the need for an intervener:

IEP Quality Indicators for Students with Deafblindness: This document is designed to help educational teams develop appropriate IEPs for students with deafblindness. Indicators not present may indicate a training need for the team. The presence of these indicators demonstrates a well-designed IEP in areas related specifically to the impact of deafblindness. Other factors indicating a quality IEP in general are not covered here.    

Determining Support Needs for Children with Both Vision and Hearing Loss In an Educational Setting:   An IEP discussion tool to help teams discuss and identify important supports for students with dual-sensory losses:  determining need for supports