Title: 'Individualizing Instruction for Children with Multiple Special Needs: Lessons from a Deaf-Blind Playgroup'
Track: 4 - Early Intervention
Keyword(s): Individualized Instruction, Multiple Disabilities, Deaf-Blind
Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will describe how to adapt curriculum and materials to meet a wide variety of ages and abilities
  2. Participants will identify recommended collaboration partners for working with children who have multiple special needs, including deaf-blindness


The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness defines Deaf-Blindness as “a condition in which the combination of hearing and visual losses in children cause ‘such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness’ or multiple disabilities. Children who are called deaf-blind are singled out educationally because impairments of sight and hearing require thoughtful and unique educational approaches in order to ensure that children with this disability have the opportunity to reach their full potential.” Very few programs exist that specialize in these unique educational approaches necessary for children who are deaf-blind, and appropriate education and resources can be hard to find. Parents of these young children often have never met other people who are deaf-blind, find it difficult to learn how to help their child meet their full potential, and rarely meet professionals who are knowledgeable in deaf-blindness. To address these issues, a playgroup was created for children ages 0-5 who are deaf-blind along with a primary caregiver. This presentation will discuss successes and challenges in creating this class, including how to individualize to meet the needs of children from 5 months to 5 years of age with varying visual and auditory abilities, communication modalities, special needs, and languages. Though every child in this group is deaf-blind and has other special needs, this presentation will also address how and why to include one or more children who are deaf-blind or have multiple special needs into a group setting with typically developing deaf and hard of hearing peers. Collaboration with other professionals and strategies to adapt materials and teaching strategies will be emphasized.
Presentation: 1346KimberlyTarasenko.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
Kimberly Leong - Primary Presenter
West Contra Costa Unified School District
     Credentials: M.A., Deaf Education: Family-Centered Early Education
      Kimberly (Tarasenko) Leong is an Early Intervention Specialist at the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness in Berkeley, California. She provides home visits with families, facilitates parent/child playgroups, coordinates parent education and family activity events, and teaches sign classes for parents and community members. She is a Teacher of the Deaf who received her Master’s degree from Gallaudet University in Deaf Education: Family-Centered Early Education. She has worked with young deaf or hard of hearing children and their families both in the United States as well as in Kenya.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.