California Deafblind Services

 SFSU/CDBS Intervener Training Program

ENROLLMENT (on the SFSU College of Extended Learning Website)



SFSU/CDBS Intervener Training Program

Response to the intervener training pilot program was overwhelming and after another successful year hosted here at San Francisco State University (SFSU), the next program is happening Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 with SFSU.


ENROLLMENT (Online at SFSU CEL Website)

(Updated 03/27/23) The next Intervener Training Program courses will begin in FALL 2023. Sign-up on the course site for email updates for enrollment this summer:

Please note that the program includes two courses, and they must be taken in order. The first course is in Fall semester and the second course in the Spring semester.

Registration for the Fall 2023/Spring 2024 cohort will open in July 2023. Interested candidates can visit the CEL site ( to add your name for notifications under the "Send me updates" tab.


Why enroll in our Intervener Training: Deafblind Education program?

Quality Instruction for Qualifications
Train with Open Hands, Open Access – online modules that address all seven standards set by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for interveners supporting students who are deafblind.

Time-Efficient Training
Spend just 2.5 hours every week for 2 semesters to complete the course.

Learn from your Living Room
Find all the class materials online, anytime you want it, anywhere with internet connection.

Opening Up you Career Opportunities
Unlock previously inaccessible positions by developing specialized skill sets.

Certificate Program

The Intervener Training: Deafblind Education program uses the Open Hands, Open Access, a set of Deafblind Intervener learning modules. The training requires a total of 10 learning modules, 9 required plus 1 elective. You complete the program after only 2 semesters. (You must take the first class in the Fall semester to enroll in the second class during the Spring semester.)

In the first semester, you learn about:

  • An Overview of Deafblindness and Instructional Strategies
  • The Sensory System, the Brain, and Learning
  • The Role of the Intervener in Educational Settings
  • Plus more relating to the principles of intervention

In the second semester, you learn about:

  • Communication Principles
  • Routines for Participation and Learning
  • Concept Development and Active Learning
  • Plus more intervention practices for students who are deafblind

Course materials include slideshows, video interviews, activities and readings. All course materials are available online, allowing you to set the pace for your progress. To supplement your independent study, you have the opportunity to converse directly with your instructors. Three in-class meetings are scheduled per semester on the Zoom meeting platform for a total of 6 meetings over 2 semesters.


Intervener Training: Deafblind Education: $480 for 2 semesters

San Francisco State University (SFSU) and California Deafblind Services (CDBS) collaborate to provide a university-based intervener training program to prepare paraeducators to effectively serve learners who are deafblind. Interveners are paraeducators with specialized knowledge and skills in deafblindness. Trained interveners allow school districts and agencies to effectively meet the unique individualized support needs of students who benefit from intervention services.

Over the course of two semesters, students will engage in an online course of study that includes the rigorous and nationally recognized Open Hands, Open Access deafblind intervener learning modules. Through self-guided study, students access the modules asynchronously (i.e., at days and times of their own choosing), with three synchronous class meetings each semester. Course instructors will be deafblind specialists from SFSU and CDBS.

District and LEA support of the participant’s efforts (e.g. release time, stipend) will increase the likelihood of successful completion of this training program. This is a non-credit bearing university program. Upon successful completion each participant will receive a university certificate of completion of the SFSU/CDBS Intervener Training Program.


Only paraeducators, or those training for paraeducator or intervener positions, are eligible for this program. Teachers or others holding professional certification or credentials will not be admitted. This program is not intended for general training in deafblindness for families. Your state deafblind project can provide you with information about available training in deafblindness for families and teachers/specialists.


Recruitment Criteria:

  • Desire to work with and support individuals with deafblindness
  • High school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Commitment to 2.5 hours of module participation per week for the 2 semesters
  • Basic internet skills, knowledge of computer functions, and ability to use online communication tools (email, video conferencing, and online learning platform)


Benefits of this training program include:

  • High-quality professional development for the paraeducator
  • Increased knowledge and skills for the paraeducator regarding the use of evidence-based practices for learners with deafblindness
  • Support staff that meet Council for Exceptional Children paraeducator competencies in the area of deafblindness
  • University certificate of completion of the SFSU/CDBS Intervener Training Program


Courses of Study:
The training utilizes 10 total modules (nine prescribed and one elective learning module) from the Open Hands, Open Access Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules, which are aligned with all seven of the CEC standards for special education paraeducators intervener for individuals with deafblindness.


During the training, participants will receive:

  • Feedback on all assignments
  • Support and monitoring to ensure active engagement
  • Opportunities for discussion with other participants via web conferencing
  • Course materials (provided at no additional cost)


Semester One:
Overview of Deafblindness and Principles of Intervention

Semester Two:
Intervention Practices with Learners who are Deafblind



Testimonials from first year participants:

These modules are an invaluable tool when teaching deafblind students.   — Michelle, California

This program is well organized and packed with helpful tools. I definitely feel more equipped to jump into the world of deafblindness. The instructors are so much more than your typical online program. Julie, Maurice and Christopher are true advocates for those that have a passion for this role. I truly believe their support will reach far beyond this course.   — Amber J., California

Taking this course really helped me better understand my student and her needs. The professors were there for support and help anytime I needed it. It didn’t matter if I needed help with my course work or my actual job, they were willing to help by giving suggestions or just being there to listen. This is a great way to understand your role as an intervener better.   — Amber R., California



Registration and Program Fees:

The tuition pricing for the two semesters through San Francisco State University is $480.

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For more information please contact:



Julie Maier

California Deafblind Services - or 415-405-7558




Logo: Ideas that Work - US Office of Special Education ProgramThe contents of this website were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H326T180015. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.  Project Officer, Susan Weigert.

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