This is a space for teachers to find out what’s new in the field of deaf-blindness.  We’ll post new items regularly!


Toy Inventory Booklet from New York

A group of teachers in New York who work with students with vision and hearing loss have compiled a lovely Toy Inventory.  They have made it available through a downloadable link: http://bit.ly/2glrgZ4

Active Learning and Access to the General Education Curriculum

This is a new post on Paths to Literacy website with great ideas about using Lilli Nielsen Active Learning in Science lessons.  It included video from the Penrickton Center and sample goals based on the Active Learning Approach.

A girl in a HOPSA dress during a science lesson

Accessible Birthday Parties

This is such a sweet and brilliant post from Liam’s Mom again on Paths to Literacy. Many of these ideas can not only be used to make birthday parties accessible and inclusive, but also for any other party, sleep-over, or for a rainy day this summer.


Symbol Hierarchy

Many of our learners are using concrete symbols for communication. When making these symbols, we have to be mindful of the learner’s individual needs and conceptual levels. Often, we use symbols that are too difficult, too abstract, not manipulable enough, etc., or we simply make way too many symbols and overwhelm the learners.

This is a great summary of the symbol hierarchy from the NCDB Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss website.



Adapting Books for CVI:

Our study group on CVI had an assignment this month to create a book for students with CVI adapted for the 3 phases.  The results were very cool and we had some great feedback from Dr. Roman. Students in Phase I cannot process 2-D materials so some of us wanted to use objects instead of traditional books.  Dr. Roman said that allowing the child to feel the objects while we give the salient features is fine, but for a child in Phase I, we should be providing an appropriate target for looking too.  She suggested a red mylar page to look at after feeling the red apple,  a green shiny page to look at after feeling the green caterpillar –  “the caterpillar is green –  this is green”    She reminded us that in Phase III crowding and background complexity cause the most problems, so large print- even if the child can see smaller helps, and making sure print is on a solid background is hugely important.   She also stressed that making the book isn’t enough-  we have to provide directions on how to use the book- lighting, distance, when to talk and when to be quiet, how much language the child can tolerate while processing, and what salient features we are pointing out to help them recognize the essence of the thing in the picture.  She reminded us too that as the child moves through the phases, our materials have to change and provide opportunities for growth in visual discrimination.   Here is an example of my “homework.”  I’ll see if other members will let me add theirs!

 literacy assignment for cvi-veto    cvi book


Object Calendars in the Home

With the school year coming to an end, many of our students have a hard time dealing with the sudden change in routine, or the lack of routine. Planning the Day with Object Calendars on www.wonderbabies.org is a quick reference for caregivers to avoid this loss of structure and make the summer vacation a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.





At a workshop last month sponsored by the Georgia Association of the Deaf-Blind, participants learned about Haptics, a method of delivering information through touch signals delivered on the back or upper arm to a person with sensory disability. Haptics signals can provide information about the social context (he’s frowning, she’s on her cell phone and not listening) of situations that are often missed by a person who is deaf-blind. Haptics are also a great way to deliver environmental information about the layout of a room and where people are.  It was a fascinating workshop.  To learn more about  Haptics, check out this on-line resource:

103 Haptic Signals– a reference book: by the Danish Association of the Deafblind


Cortical Visual Impairment

About 1/3 of the students on the Georgia Deaf-Blind Census have cortical visual impairment (CVI), visual dysfunction caused by damage to the brain.  CVI is the leading cause of childhood blindness in the United States (article by Jan, Hoyt in 2004) but many teachers do not understand how  or what their students with CVI see. Students with CVI can show improvement in their visual functioning with proper interventions.  Eight teachers in Georgia are working with Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy on a CVI Mentors project to learn more about assessing and providing appropriate interventions for students with CVI.  Come hear our sessions at IDEAS in June, and GVEST in October, but also check out the information in the resources page of this website and some great information you can access on the web:

Perkins eLearning Webcast
This webcast featuring Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy provides information about the specific characteristic behaviors of CVI and provides information regarding the evaluation of functional vision.
Blind Babies Foundation
This 5-page document provides an overview of CVI, including characteristics and teaching strategies.


At the recent EHDI conference, several presenters referred to David Schleper’s research about strategies deaf parents use when reading to their deaf or hard-of-hearing children. His “15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children” can be found on the following website in print as well as in ASL videos:


Definitely worth reading and applying in the classroom or at home!


 If you want to learn more about Active Learning, you have to check out this site: http://www.activelearningspace.org

This site is managed by Kate Hurst from TSBVI and Charlotte Cushman from Perkins, and it is devoted to sharing authentic information about Dr. Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning Approach. This website is your “one-stop-shop” for information about and examples of Active Learning materials, equipment, techniques, trainings, etc.

active learning collage


 living skills collageCheck out this great blog post- “Teaching Concept Development for Independent Living Skills” by Courtney Tabor from the Perkins elearning website.    She gives great ideas for concepts you can work on in the grocery store or  hardware store and concepts around housing, cooking, and cleaning.   Teaching Concept Development for Independent Living Skills


If your student does not appear to be interested in literacy materials, try experience books. They are highly motivating because they are about the reader him/herself.  A great resource for experience books can be found on the website for the British Columbia, Canada, deaf-blind project :




COE Seal – Feature Image    Graduate Certificate in Deaf-Blindness offered on-line through East Carolina University.   Classes begin in May for this 5-course certificate. Click the link to learn more.       Graduate Certificate in Deafblindness




Thanks Dekalb low incidence teachers for the warm welcome.

Here is a pdf version of the powerpoint we shared today.    db 101 for Dekalb 2014       The link to the Barbara Miles webcast on hand – under- hand can be viewed at:  www.perkins.org/resources/webcasts/reflections-on-deafblindness-hand-and-touch.html          The link to the Sarah Kitchens video on bonding that includes personal identifiers can be found at: http://library.tsbvi.edu/Play/86

posted by Martha Veto, August 5, 2014

Training Videos from TSBVI on Interaction and Bonding

I just found these training videos from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach Programs.  TVI Sarah Kitchens does a set of 7 short video trainings that are wonderful guides to trying to reach students who have pre-symbolic communication and may be reluctant to interact with people or objects.

posted by Martha Veto, July 1, 2014



Check Out POPDB!

Christine Spratling from Floyd County sent me a link to a very cool activity from the Canadian  POPDB website. Called “waiting beads,”  the idea is to teach the concept of time by having a bead represent an amount of time until something happens.

Making Time Concrete

image Teaching the concept of time to students with deafblindness can be challenging. Here are some ideas for making time concrete.   http://popdb.sd38.bc.ca/Making_Time_Concrete     

I found another activity on the site I liked too.  I’m frequently asking teams to think of ways to get their students to interact with the student who is deaf-blind, and this Canadian Intervenor describes a lovely activity –

Greeting Routines


Here is an idea for a greeting routine from one intervenor.    http://popdb.sd38.bc.ca/Greeting_Routines

Visit the POPDB website!   http://popdb.sd38.bc.ca/Education_Strategies                                Posted by Martha Veto, 5/15/2014

Make a profile on the NCDB Website!

The website for the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness is a rich source of information on deaf-blindness.  In addition to the articles, videos and information you can find there in the library tab, the new website encourages professionals and family members to take part in national discussions about topics related to deaf-blindness.  If you go to the site and set up a profile, you can join groups discussing: Early Identification and Referral,  Family Engagement, Intervener Services Discussion Group, Literacy, National Child Count, Technology Solutions,Transition.  Visit today and check it out!          Posted by Martha Veto – March 28, 2014

Have you tried the Literacy Checklist on the NCDB Literacy Website?

http://literacy.nationaldb.org/files/5813/7591/5452/LiteracySkillsChecklist.FooterAdded.pdf     The checklist is a great way to get started using the literacy website developed by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness.  It guides you to the section of the website that will most likely help you with ideas for your student.                                        Posted by Martha Veto –  March 27, 2014


Great video on iPad accessiblity from WonderBaby.org!

I was in a classroom this week and a teacher showed me how she could lock sections of the screen on the iPad so a child couldn’t use certain buttons that might take them out of the app.  Then I found this great video on the Virginia Deaf-Blind Project website that describes how to do that and much more!   http://youtu.be/IjITCfCNV9c             Posted by Martha Veto – March 27, 2014