Title: 'Services for Children Who are Deaf-Blind'
Track: 4 - Early Intervention
Keyword(s): Deaf-Blind, Multiple Disabilities
Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will articulate ways in which deafblindness impacts a child development.
  2. Participants will be familiarized with the the federal definition of deaf-blind and will be able to identify children on their caseload who may be considered "deafblind."
  3. Participants will identify important statewide and national resources related to serving children who are deaf-blind, including the role of the national deaf-blind child count in obtaining services and supports for children, their families and the professionals that serve them.


The term deafblind refers to children with varying degrees of vision and hearing losses. While the type and severity differ from child to child, the key feature of deafblindness is that the combination of losses can severely limit natural opportunities to learn and communicate. More than 90% of children who are deafblind have one or more additional disabilities or health problems and some may be identified as having multiple disabilities rather than deafblindness. In these cases, the impact of combined hearing and vision loss may not be recognized or addressed and you may not be tapping in to the child's true potential. If you are working with a child that is multiply involved with hearing loss, it is important that you learn more about deafblindness! This session will address the critical issues of identification of and services to children who are deafblind. Participants will discuss the federal definition of deaf-blindness and how it might apply in their own state. In addition, participants will learn about the importance of considering deafblindness as a unique disability; the impact of which is different than the impact of the two distinct sensory disabilities. Participants will learn the characteristics to consider when determining whether a child is deafblind and how to ensure that a child who is deafblind is on the national child count. Participants will also be familiarized with the statewide and national resources that may support serving a child with deafblindness, their family the professionals on their educational team. Lastly, early intervention programming and services that have been effectively implemented with children who are deafblind and their families in Wisconsin will be discussed, including Guide By Your Side and the Deaf Mentor Program.
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Marcy D. Dicker - Primary Presenter
Wisconsin Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Outreach
     Credentials: M.A.
     Other Affiliations: Board Member, Wisconsin Families for Hands & Voices
      Marcy holds her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Special Education and a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University. Previously, Marcy developed a Birth to Three Program that served children who were deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind and their families in a non-profit organization. Currently, Marcy serves as Director of the Wisconsin Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Outreach, which provides support to children who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind ages birth to 21, their families, and the professionals that serve these students. WESP-DHH Outreach also houses the state's technical assistance program for children who are deafblind, Wisconsin Deaf Blind Technical Assistance Program (WDBTAP). WDBTAP provides programs and services that support children with combined vision and hearing loss and collaborates with WESP-DHH to provide a unique set of services for children who are deaf-blind.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.