Emerging Skills & Early Intervention for Children with Multiple Disabilities

Children with multiple disabilities often need intensive early intervention. Educators and parents can help such children develop communication methods, tactile skills, and the concepts that are the framework for further learning.

Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.


Establishing Communication

Perkins eLearning Webcasts
Learn how to develop and use a Communication Portfolio for learners with deafblindness and multiple disabilities. Susan DeCaluwe explains this personalized view of the learner’s communication skills, abilities and challenges across all environments.
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
These fact sheets inform parents on all aspects of communication. Each sheet defines the topic, explains its importance, and offers tips and important points to remember. Some are available in Spanish.
California Deaf-Blind Services (CDBS)
When a child does not speak, many behaviors are a form of communication. This tip sheet reminds caregivers and educators of the basics. This landing page links to fact sheets in English, Chinese, Laotian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
California Deaf-Blind Services (CDBS)
CDBS's fact sheet provides specific strategies and activities that create a need for the child to communicate. This landing page links to fact sheets in English, Chinese, and Spanish.
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness
This article by Deborah Gleason offers a wealth of ideas to help you discover how you can make your child's world safe and understandable, and how you and your young child can share many enjoyable conversations together; available in English, Spanish, and Indonesian.
California Deaf-Blind Services
In this 6-page article, Deborah Chen outlines specific strategies for developing communication: observation, engaging the child's available senses, cues, key word signs, interrupted routine strategy, and selecting the child's first signs. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Concept Development

Project SPARKLE describes the three types of concepts (concrete, semi-concrete, and abstract) and general strategies to assist children who are deafblind in concept development; includes a glossary and links to resources.
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
Barbara Miles and Barbara McLetchie describe types of concepts and the relationships, attitudes, and environments that promote their development in students who are deafblind; in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.

Tactile Skills

Project SPARKLE lists some of the features of touch which make it a crucial sense to children who are deafblind; includes resources and a glossary.

Tactile Skills: Web-Based Organizations and Internet Resources

"This website is intended as a resource on tactile learning strategies for working with children who are deaf-blind or who are blind with additional disabilities."

Developing Meaningful Routines

California Deaf-Blind Services (CDBS)
This tip sheet offers specific suggestions to assist a child in understanding and adjusting to changes in routine. This landing page links to fact sheets in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

Sensory Integration

In this 5-page article, neurologist Dr. Fernette Eide explains the biology of sensory integration dysfunction and the role of occupational therapy in its treatment.
Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation
This overview of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) includes information about sensory-avoiding children and sensory-seeking children, as well a list of common motor skill problems. There are numerous links to other aspects of SPD on this site.
Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation
Heather Miller-Kuhaneck gives specific suggestions for incorporating sensory input into daily activities and offers general guidelines for the home.

Sensory Integration: Web-Based Organizations and Internet Resources

This site includes extensive information about sensory integration dysfunction, with sections focusing on education, classroom accommodations, and additional resources.
Come Unity
This site offers links to numerous articles, including "Preemies and Sensory Integration", "Adoption and Sensory Integration", and more.