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)

Written by an Occupational Therapist (OT), this 80-page document includes an overview of CVI, and information on the evaluation and education of children with CVI.

An overview of Sensory Processing Disorder. There are numerous links to other aspects of SPD on this site.

Source: 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.

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)

ADA creates child-specific adaptations in a model workshop in New York City. They also create guidelines, techniques, and devices that can be replicated in Adaptive Design Centers all over the world. Founder Alex Truesdell is a MacArthur Fellow and tells about her work in this video: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/948/

Source: Adaptive Design Association

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)

Definition of amblyopia, causes and treatment

Source: Prevent Blindness America

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)

Information for people with age-related macular degeneration, their families, caregivers, and professionals.

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

The American Printing House for the Blind is the world's largest producer of books and products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired K-12 students in the U.S.

Source: American Printing House for the Blind

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)

Susan Boswell and Debbie Gray outline the steps in toilet training, including assessment, physical structure, establishing a routine and communication system, and troubleshooting. A list of children's books about toilet training is included.

Source: Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)

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

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