California Deafblind Services

Spring 2012 (Vol. 17, No. 1)


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Beyond the Classroom and into the School Community

By Gloria Rodriguez-Gil, Educational Specialist


Students who are deaf-blind may have better opportunities for learning and develop a greater sense of belonging and communication with the world around them if they can increase the diversity and frequency of direct experiences within natural environments. One way to accomplish this is to expand the learning environment at school beyond the classroom doors. Broadening the frame of the school experience is especially important for students with deaf-blindness who frequently have more limited exposure to society at large.

The wider school community has many resources that are often untapped for the student who is deaf-blind. All schools have the capacity to offer children and youth with deaf-blindness an enhanced array of positive social and educational experiences with its staff and students beyond the classroom itself. These can include: 1) a larger and diverse body of students and school personnel, 2) diversity of classes and services offered, 3) multiple places in the school where students can do a variety of activities, 4) school events, 5) special clubs or activities that promote social integration, and 6) interconnection with other schools.

.... (Please open the link above for the complete article.)

"Mind the Gap"

by Deb D’Luna, Parent

“Mind the gap.” The gap between school and adult services is a yawning crevasse without a clear bridge, no matter how many transition forms the school staff complete.

In California, a student with disabilities ages out of eligibility for special education services at age 22. To parents and family, this fact comes as no surprise, yet after 22 years, it’s easy to become reliant on the partnership of special education teachers, staff and administrators. At home, parents must constantly cope with the special needs of a disabled child. During weekdays, the time spent at school is not only intellectually challenging and nourishing for the special needs child, but that time is precious for the parents and caregivers as well. Those are the hours when someone else is responsible, someone else is scheduling the day, the hour, the moment, and providing multiple opportunities to grow in independence and understanding of the world.

.... (Please open the link above for the complete article.)

Sensory Confusion

by David Brown, Educational Specialist

... These recent comments from Facebook were written by a mother about her young son with deaf-blindness. They show a highly developed understanding of these issues, and the way that they can be identified, understood, and dealt with effectively. For many people in the world of education, however, anything involving the word “sensory” seems to cause a lot of confusion. We hear people talk about specifically “sensory” toys, even though all toys are sensory, and rooms filled with special lights and music are traditionally referred to as “sensory rooms.” We also hear about “sensory” sessions in a student’s daily program, even though all school sessions involve the senses. There are people who regard “sensory work” as an acceptable alternative to any kind of regular “school work,” and other people who consider any kind of “sensory work” to be purely and inevitably recreational with nothing to contribute to development and learning. This brief article will try to clarify some of these misconceptions.

.... (Please open the link above for the complete article.)

Fact Sheet #45:  Ten Easy Steps for Making and Posting a Custom Signed-Communication Instructional Video

by Maurice Belote, CDBS Project Coordinator

Learning signed communication can be a challenge for educators and family members alike. Traditional print versions of sign dictionaries can be confusing because the drawings and descriptions are sometimes unclear. Some commercially available instructional DVD series are good, but it can be time consuming to wade through signs that aren’t particularly relevant to get to the ones you really need (e.g., you may not want or need to know how to sign all the zoo and farm animals). Free online sign dictionaries like are also good, but can be time consuming and signs can vary from those used in specific schools or communities.

.... (Please open the link above for the complete article.)


Topic: reSources Spring 2012

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