Multiple Disabilities Resources

In addition to blindness or visual impairment, a child may have additional disabilities, such as cognitive, developmental, hearing, or mobility impairments. Every student with multiple disabilities presents a unique educational challenge. Teachers need specialized training and skills to understand how these students experience and understand the world. In this section, families and educators will find introductions to the educational needs of these students, as well as best practice and policy overviews.

Many people with visual impairments also have undiagnosed autism characteristics. Nancy Duncan discusses the importance of identifying and delivering appropriate rehabilitation services for individuals.

Source: VisionAware

Key elements of high quality services for multiply handicapped children, and shares examples from a range of service delivery models.

Source: International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

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.

Source: Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

Martha Majors, of the Perkins Deafblind Program, defines literacy for students with blindness, deafblindness, or additional disabilities. and explores alignment of the curriculum with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Source: In Touch, 2008, New England Consortium of Deafblind Projects

A project developed between Penrickton Center for the Blind in Michigan, Perkins School for the Blind, and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides resources and a community of practice around the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen and Active Learning. The site includes discussion of Active Learning principles, assessment, implementation, materials, equipment, and other events and resources. Active Learning is most effective for those with significant multiple disabilities and in the 0-48 month developmental level. 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Lilli Nielsen's book, Early Learning Step by Step. It outlines her Active Learning Approach and explains the importance of the learning environment for childen with visual impairments and multiple disabilities.

Source: Future Reflections, 2004, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

In this PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Mary Zatta talks about bringing a student's educational plan into alignment with state's curricular requirements, with specific examples from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

Source: National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

A program for children with visual impairments and additional disabilities shares its objectives, activities, methods, information on financial resources, and its impact on families; also in Spanish.

Source: International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals who ensure the quality of camp programs. As a leading authority in child development, the ACA works to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience.

Source: American Camp Association

Dr. Jan van Dijk describes his educational approach, including the topics of attachment and the development of communication.

Source: National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness

Stacy Shafer outlines some of Dr. Lilli Nielsen's recommendations for designing a learning environment for a child with visual impairments and multiple disabilities.

Source: Future Reflections, 2005, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Assessing vision as part of an early intervention program for infants and children who have additional or multiple disabilities and visual impairment (MDVI).

Source: Scottish Sensory Centre

The Perkins Assistive Device Center is a workshop that creates customized materials for children with disabilities. Custom-made items meet the unique needs of individuals while being affordable, durable and attractive.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Authors Perla and Ducret explain how the design of an O&M program for students with multiple disabilities should start with understanding the child's most basic needs, such as communication, safety, independence, and consistency.

Source: International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

In this 11-page document, Sam Morgan describes biobehavioral states and explains why they are important when working with students with profound disabilities.

Source: Hunter College

This article introduces two ways to classify states of awareness in "individuals with profound disabilities."  (This is a scanned document and is not accessible to screen readers.)

Resources on various topics and services for individuals with vision impairment, legal blindness or deaf/blindness and intellectual disability.

Source: Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Reproduced by Duxbury, Inc., world leader in software for braille and braille translation. These are print resources for students and teachers of braille.

Source: Duxbury Systems, Inc

NFB offers many braille-related programs through its Jernigan Institute, including the Braille Certification Training Program for people who want to become braille transcribers.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

The braille section of the Paths to Literacy site offers an overview, instructional strategies, pre-braille, tactile graphics, technology for braille readers, sources of print/braille books, tools for writing braille, braille production, and brailler repair. Users may post content, and there is also a forum for questions and answers related to braille literacy.

Source: Paths to Literacy

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