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.

Frequently asked questions on the housing rights of people with disabilities, and the legal responsibilities of housing providers and building and design professionals.

Source: HUD.gov

This site has overviews on many vision conditions.

Source: National Eye Institute

Deborah Gleason offers parents a wealth of ideas on making a child's world safe and understandable. Also available in Spanish, and downloadable in Indonesian.

Source: National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

NCDB offers a wide range of information on the topic of early intervention, including their own products, as well as links to articles and other publications, bibliographies, Internet resources, and research.

Source: National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

Deirdre Leech’s webcast explores the meaning of literacy for students with multiple disabilities or deafblindness, and discusses specialized formats that maximize access.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Mary Zatta and Diane Pullin describe the impact of "alternate assessment as part of standards-based education reform." They review state efforts to implement alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities, with a focus on Massachusetts' solution.

Source: Education Policy Analysis Archives

Some of the challenges, myths, and beliefs encountered in Kenya when addressing the needs of children with visual impairment and additional disabilities; suggestions for developing effective strategies.

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

Future Reflections (1985)

This checklist prepared by Nebraska Advocacy Services contains both the legal requirements that define the IEP process and some common sense issues that parents may wish to consider during the IEP preparation and meetings. A later (1995) version prepared by Maryland Disability Law Center is linked here.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

This information sheet offers advice for creating tactile representations of real life experiences.

Source: Project SALUTE

Enabling Devices is dedicated to developing affordable learning and assistive devices to help people of all ages with disabling conditions. This section of their website features toys suitable for children with visual impairments.

Patricia Weismer and Deirdre Leech share specific strategies (pp. 6-13) for teaching reading to children with deafblindness or multiple disabilities, including suggestions for adaptations, modifications of materials. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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

This 5-page position paper (Word doc) by Rosanne Silberman and Sharon Sacks outlines the competencies for teachers of students with visual impairments, and the additional skills necessary when children have other disabilities.

Source: Council for Exceptional Children – Division on Visual Impairments (DVI)

ASHA explains the nature of feeding and swallowing disorders, their signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

These suggestions are designed to help make mealtime a more pleasant experience.

Source: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

Aimed at social workers in the U.K., but the guidelines will be helpful for any professional working with older people; advice on recognizing the signs of dual sensory loss and understanding its impact on the individual’s life.

Source: Sense

Future Reflections, 2013.

Teacher and consumer Heather Field explains her Hands Only approach for teaching braille to children with low vision.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

A bibliography of materials on functional vision; some include online text.

Source: National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

The Minger Foundation is named for Michael Minger, who perished in a fire while he was a college student.  The Foundation is dedicated to preventing deaths like Michael's by preparing students with disabilities to respond to dangerous situations, particularly fire. The link above leads you to Train the Trainer materials for teaching fire safety to students with disabilities. The project site contains downloadable resources, and training videos.

Source: The Minger Foundation

This guide summarizes the various visual impairments a child will have after hemispherectomy, TPO disconnection, and occipital lobectomy, and how they can affect a child’s daily living, functional mobility, and access to the educational curriculum in school.

Source: Perkins eLearning

Authored by Kay L. Clarke of the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education, this downloadable booklet includes detailed instructions for creating structures for safe and independent play.

Source: Ohio Center for Deafblind Education

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