Title: 'Identified Needs of Families who have Children who are Deafblind'
Track: 9 - Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement
Keyword(s): Deafblind, Data, Needs Assessment, Family Supports
Learning Objectives:
  1. 1. Participants will learn about the survey process that was established to determine the needs of families who have children who are deafblind.
  2. 2. Participants will learn about the results of survey and the priority needs of families and how OCDBE is supporting families.
  3. 3. Participants will learn about the national level supports that are available to assist families who have children who are deafblind.


In the U.S., there are roughly 10,000 children who are deafblind. Deafblindness is a low incidence disability and within this population of children there is great variability. Ninety percent of children who are identified as deafblind have additional physical, medical, and/or cognitive disabilities. Although the term deafblind implies a complete absence of hearing and sight, in reality, it refers to children with varying degrees of vision and hearing loss. The key feature of deafblindness is that this combination of loss limits access to auditory and visual information and creates unique challenges for communication and education. As a result, families often face difficulties in securing the knowledge and resources needed to support their children. Students who are deafblind require special teaching methods and accommodations to succeed as learners and because the majority of these children receive their education in their local schools, there is an increased need for specialized professional development to train teachers and service providers. In the fall of 2013, the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education (OCDBE) project evaluator conducted a three-stage needs assessment to help the Center determine priorities for the products and services it will offer over the next several years. The needs assessment process involved gathering ideas from key stakeholders, conducting an on-line survey, and reconvening the stakeholders to make sense of the findings of the survey. A 46-item questionnaire was designed based on feedback from stakeholders sent to approximately 5,400 professionals from a broad range of agencies and parents of children who are deafblind. The almost 600 respondents offered similar perspectives on some needs that the Center might address, but some differences across groups were also evident. This session will review our survey process, data results, and the plans and activities OCBDE has established to address the needs of parents who have children who are deafblind.
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Suzanne Minnich - POC,Primary Presenter
University of Dayton
     Credentials: M.Ed.
     Other Affiliations: Project Coordinator The Ohio Center for Deafblind Education School of Education and Health Sciences

Financial -

Nonfinancial -
Leanne Parnell - Co-Presenter
Ohio Center for Deafblind Education
     Credentials: B.A.
      Leanne has a background in Deaf Education and ASL/English interpreting. She has worked in the Deaf/Deafblind communities for many years. She has experience working with families and children, as well as adults who are deaf and deafblind. Leanne is currently the Outreach Specialist at the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education. She coordinates many of the training opportunities, including INSITE, VIISA and SKI*HI. She is also responsible for organizing DBTAP visits, the Mentor Program, Milestone Packets, Lending Library and product requests.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.