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USD Center for Disabilities awarded five-year Deaf-Blind Project Extension

VERMILLION, S.D. -- On Thursday, Sept. 26, the U.S. Department of Education notified the Center for Disabilities that their funding for the Deaf-Blind Project has been renewed. Officially called “Technical Assistance to State Deaf and Blind Projects,” the award project length is for 6o months, beginning Oct. 1, and the total amount is over half a million dollars.

The purpose of the South Dakota Deaf-Blind Project is to promote academic achievement and improve results for children who are deaf-blind by providing technical assistance, disseminating useful information, and ensuring all children will graduate from high school ready for college and/or a career. While the Center for Disabilities is the lead applicant for the project, key collaborators include the South Dakota School for the Deaf; the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired; South Dakota Parent Connection; the South Dakota Department of Education, Office of Special Education; and the South Dakota Department of Education, Birth to Three Program.

“In such a large geological state like South Dakota, with widely scattered populations, it is important to build capacity across the state systems and work with like-minded service providers and institutions,” said Wendy Parent-Johnson, Center for Disabilities executive director. “We thank the U.S. Department of Education for identifying the critical need for the continuation of the deaf-blind project in South Dakota.”

Some of the main goals of the project are to develop an outreach and referral process to improve identification of all students who are deaf-blind; develop and implement individualized technical assistance plans for each student and their family; and provide onsite or long distance trainings to personnel in the schools, classrooms, or EIS providers, among others.

For more information about the Center for Disabilities or the Deaf-Blind Project, go to


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Hanna DeLange
USD News