Title: 'Meeting the Needs of Children with Hearing and Vision Loss'
Track: -
Keyword(s): Deafblind, Early Intervention, Transition, Literacy, Communication
Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will define deafblindness using the federal definition and recognize the variability’s within this disability, identify strategies to allow EI providers and medical providers to work together to identify and monitor children who are at risk to be deafblind.
  2. Participants will describe aspects of EI services appropriate for children who are deafblind and their families and strategies and techniques to support communication and early literacy skills.
  3. Participants will identify five IEP’s services and supports that assist a child who is deafblind when transitioning from EI services to preschool.


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. 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. This session will provide information about deafblindness and discuss: the definition of deafblindness, how to identify deafblindness, an introduction to vision impairments, vision loss simulation, causes of deafblindness, early intervention techniques and strategies to support communication and early literacy development, family supports, and preschool transition services and supports. We will review a series of checklists and flowcharts created through the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education (OCDBE) to help identify the combination hearing and vision losses. And discuss the importance of continued monitoring for hearing and vision loss in infants, toddlers, and young children. We will discuss Ohio’s regional statewide system of support and how Ohio’s federally funded deafblind project (OCDBE) collaborates with EI providers, school districts, and medical providers to identify infants and toddlers and young children who are deafblind. We will review OCDBE needs assessment data and describe the approaches being used to meet these needs of our stakeholders, such as parents and EI providers.
Presentation: Sunday_Breathitt_830_LeanneParnell_1734.pdf


Handouts: Handout is not Available
CART: CART Transcription is not Available
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.
Suzanne Minnich - Co-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 -
Susan Wiley - Primary Presenter
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
     Credentials: M.D., Developmental Pediatrician, Professor
      Dr. Susan Wiley is a developmental pediatrician with expertise in children who are deaf/hard of hearing. She has many years of experience serving children with multiple disabilities.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Tabitha Belhorn - Co-Presenter,POC
Executive Director, Ohio Hands and Voices
     Credentials: B.A.
      Tabitha Belhorn is the proud mother of three children the oldest of whom is Deaf and the youngest who lives with a chronic kidney disease. Tabitha has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Vocal Performance from Heidelberg University. Tabitha currently is the Family Information Specialist at the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education and Region V Co-Coordinator for Hands & Voices. She is a former Parent Mentor at the Ohio School for the Deaf and is also a founding member and board member of Ohio Hands & Voices. She has a widespread knowledge of family support, early intervention, and special education services. Tabitha’s expertise helps connect families to high quality resources, networks, and information needed to improve communication access and education outcomes for children.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.