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.

Video resources can be highly informative, especially when explaining Space for Active Learning (SAL). On this page, you'll find three videos demonstrating various types of SALs. (For best results, use Internet Explorer to view Videos.) Be sure to also read the FAQ page offered here.

Source: Washington Sensory Disabilities Services

Future Reflections dedicated this issue to the needs of children with multiple disabilities, including visual impairment.

Source: National Federation of the Blind

Perkins provides a series of webcasts that explore in-depth the special educational, developmental, and social issues for individuals with CHARGE Syndrome. This link takes you to a landing page of webcasts, and 2 tutorial offerings for continuing education credits.

Source: Perkins eLearning

This article provides specific suggestions to help children develop eating skills and independence at mealtime.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

This information sheet provides a thorough introduction to tactile communication strategies, including general interaction tips, suggestions for encouraging communication, and requirements for a communication system; in English and Spanish.

Source: Project SALUTE

This introduction to tangible symbols includes a definition, examples, considerations, and a list of advantages and disadvantages; available in English and Spanish.

Source: Project SALUTE

Braille instruction expert Lucia Hasty discusses the importance of language and concept development for young children who are blind as skills needed for braille literacy.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind, Perkins eLearning

In 1995, Dona Sauerburger, COMS authored this article about Pamela Matheson, an O&M instructor who uses a wheelchair herself.  Dona Sauerburger shares a reprint on her professional site.

Source: Dona Sauerburger

Educator Gigi Newton tells a personal story of how she moved from rejecting Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning Theory to becoming a self-described "groupie" of her methods.

Source: Future Reflections, 2012, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

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.

Source: Perkins eLearning Webcasts

TSBVI shares the revised curriculum approved by the National Agenda Steering Committee.  This document includes complete description of the Expanded Core areas.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Peggy Freeman's comprehensive program of care for parents of babies who are deafblind  with multiple disabilities includes sections on relationships, routines, vision, touch and touching, development of communication, moving/being moved, play, and signing.  Each section offers numerous concrete suggestions for activities to enjoy with your child.

Source: National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

The Legal Framework is a template that summarizes state and federal requirements for special education by topic. The Legal Framework includes an A-Z index, frameworks, a glossary of special education terms and acronyms, links to statutes, citations, websites, guidance and resources. Multiple features are translated into Spanish; however, legal citations reflect English only.

Source: Texas Education Agency

Although the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment increases with age, most surveys of ocular disease do not include nursing home residents.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

A list of travel skills, particularly with public transportation, which can be next-step goals for older children. Also available in Spanish.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

This website outlines two specific behavioral models for toilet training. There is also information on the role of the primary care physician, toilet training as a school goal, the home environment, and specific diagnostic groups.

Source: Utah Collaborative Medical Home Project

Kent Moreno lists a protocol for toilet training individuals who have a developmental disability, including data collection, the development of a schedule, cueing, and making the experience in the bathroom a positive one.

Source: Down Syndrome: Health Issues

This article introduces the range of literacy options for children with multiple disabilities, including print, braille, and symbol systems.

Source: Family Connect

This information sheet introduces touch cues, including their purpose, examples of their use, considerations, advantages, and disadvantages; available in English and Spanish.

Source: Project SALUTE

How to develop a functional curriculum for students with visual impairments and additional disabilities. Emphasis on working with the family and the community; an overview of the Individualized Transition Plans.

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