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.

Easter Seals Camp Hemlocks
Hebron, Connecticut
 
 
Source: Easterseals

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)

This site has short definitions of many vision disorders and a few words about treatment and assistive technology. Includes links to support groups for the specific disorder or condition.

Source: FamilyConnect

Information on causes of and treatments for retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.

Source: Foundation Fighting Blindness

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 article features Benning (Ben) L. Wentworth III, a science teacher at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, who designed and built the only portable, self-standing tactile planetarium in North America for visually impaired students.

Source: Education World

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

Heather Miller-Kuhaneck gives specific suggestions for incorporating sensory input into daily activities and offers general guidelines for the home.

Source: Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

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