This program provides technical assistance, training and resources to families and service providers of children (birth to 21) with varying levels of both hearing and vision loss.
Welcome to South Dakota's Deaf-Blind Program. Every state in the nation has a Deaf-Blind Program and South Dakota's is at the Center for Disabilities. These programs provide technical assistance, training and resources to families and service providers of children (birth to 21) with varying levels of both hearing and vision loss. Services are geared toward improving educational outcomes for children of all ages in order to help prepare them for eventual transition into adulthood. Technical assistance is free of charge.
The following services are available on a statewide basis.
Technical assistance and support services include:
- Understanding vision and hearing loss
- Developing communication skills
- Using accommodations and technology
- Developing educational plans and meaningful strategies
- Daily living skills and transitioning across life stages
- Trainings include:
- Concentration in Deaf-Blindness and High Intensity
Deaf-Blind Program Eligibility and Referral
Any person from newborn to 21 years old with any degree of combined vision and hearing loss qualifies for services. Even children with mild vision and hearing loss qualify for services, as the impact of a combined loss is greater because neither sensory channel is able to fully compensate for the loss in the other sense. To make a referral to the Deaf-Blind Program, contact us at:
Center for Disabilities
1400 West 22nd Street
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57105
Phone: 800-658-3080 (Voice/TTY) or 605-357-1439
Concentration in Deaf-Blindness and High Intensity
Professional Development: Concentration in Deaf-Blindness and High-Intensity Support Needs
It can be difficult to find training, education and best practice classroom strategies for students who have dual sensory loss and high intensity support needs. Through a collaboration between the University of South Dakota, the South Dakota Deaf-Blind Project, and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness, online professional development courses for teachers and related service providers are being offered. There will be options for continuing education hours and three graduate credits per course. Coursework will include content from the online modules made available from the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (Open Hands, Open Access), which have been modified to ensure alignment with CEC competencies for educators, resulting in some new content and assignments.
Each course consists of a 14-week semester, approximately three of online work per week and synchronous online meetings. Although the information is geared toward Deaf-Blindness, much of what is learned can be applied to students with severe disabilities/complex needs. This training is available for both in-state and out-of-state participants.
These four courses are offered on a rotating basis.
Fall: Course 1: An Introduction to DeafBlindness and Course 3: DeafBlind: Assessment and Instructional Planning
Spring: Course 2: DeafBlind Communication Strategies and Course 4: Life Planning for Success: DeafBlind Strategies
For information on current and upcoming semester courses, questions, or to be added to our flyer mailing list, please contact Amy.Scepaniak@usd.edu.
Course 1: An Introduction to Deaf-Blindness
This first course will provide foundational knowledge of deaf-blindness and the impact of hearing and vision loss on learning and communication, as well as key evidence-based instructional strategies for supporting those with deaf-blindness. This course includes content from the following NCDB Open Hands, Open Access Modules: Overview of Deaf-Blindness, The Sensory System, the Brain and Learning, Building Trusted Relationships, Touch for Connection and Learning, Maximizing Vision and Hearing, The Role of the Intervener and Intervener Strategies.
Course 2: Deaf-Blindness: Communication Strategies
The key principle of this course is that all students communicate. This course includes content from the following NCDB Open Hands, Open Access Modules: Touch for Connection and Communication, Understanding Communication Principles, Emergent Communication, Progressing from Non-symbolic to Symbolic Communication & Complex Language, Introduction to Sign Language & Braille, Concept Development and Responsive Environments and Calendars. Here you will learn about the importance of touch in communicating with individuals with deaf-blindness and how to progress from non-symbolic to symbolic communication
Course 3: Deaf-Blindness: Assessment and Instructional Planning
The course includes an overview of assessment strategies, assessment instruments, and the development of specific and measurable IEP goals based on authentic assessment data. In addition, the course includes content from the following NCDB Open Hands, Open Access Modules: Availability for Learning, Routines for Participation and Learning, Behavior and Environmental Supports, and Introduction to Orientation and Mobility.
Course 4: Life Planning for Success: Deaf-Blind Strategies
The course provides an overview of curricular options and instructional strategies to promote student success in school and beyond, and to ensure that all students successfully transition from school to adulthood. The course includes content from the following NCDB Open Hands, Open Access Modules: Transition to Adulthood and Community Living, Self-Determination, Social Skills and Peer Relationships, Sexuality and Collaborative Teaming and Family Partnerships. The course focuses on fully integrating the module content above to prepare students who are deaf-blind to be actively engaged in communities of their choice.
While these courses are not required to be completed sequentially, it will be beneficial to have foundational knowledge in the content areas included in each of the courses prior to enrolling in courses 2 & 3 (some exceptions may apply).
Who should join us?
Any certified educators serving students birth through 21. Families are also welcome to join.
SD Deaf-Blind Program