Resource Links

  1. OSEP's TA&D Network;
    TA&D Network
    The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, supports projects that provide information and technical assistance to states, local schools, educational professionals and families. The projects address topics such as autism, deafness, disproportional representation, dispute resolution, learning disabilities, parenting children with special needs, positive behavior support and transition. Most information and technical assistance is available free of charge.
  2. American Council of the Blind
    American Council of the Blind
    The American Council of the Blind is the nation's leading membership organization of blind and visually impaired people. It was founded in 1961 and incorporated in the District of Columbia.

    Members: The Council's membership numbers in the tens of thousands. The majority of its members belong to one or more of its 71 affiliated organizations. There are also members-at-large. Membership is not limited to blind or visually impaired individuals. There are many sighted members. Legal blindness is a requirement to serve on the ACB Board of Directors (with the exception of the Secretary and Treasurer positions).

    Affiliates: ACB has 51 state and regional affiliates and 20 national special interest and professional affiliates. The state/regional groups meet statewide once or twice yearly and many of these organizations also have local chapters. Many of these local chapters meet monthly. The national special interest affiliates meet annually during the ACB national convention and many of these groups have state/metropolitan chapters.

    Purposes: The Council strives to improve the well-being of all blind and visually impaired people by: serving as a representative national organization of blind people; elevating the social, economic and cultural levels of blind people; improving educational and rehabilitation facilities and opportunities; cooperating with the public and private institutions and organizations concerned with blind services; encouraging and assisting all blind persons to develop their abilities and conducting a public education program to promote greater understanding of blindness and the capabilities of blind people.

    Publications: The Braille Forum is a free monthly national magazine with a readership of approximately 26,000. It is produced in braille, large print, cassette, and IBM capatible computer disc and contains articles on employment, legislation, sports and leisure activities, new products and services, human interest and other information of interest to blind and visually impaired people. The Council produces a monthly half-hour radio information program, ACB Reports, for radio reading information services. It also distributes TV and radio public service announcements highlighting the capabilities of blind people.

    Services: Countless numbers of blind and sighted people benefit from these and other ACB services:
    • Toll-free information and referral on all aspects of blindness
    • Scholarship assistance to blind/visually impaired post-secondary students
    • Public education and awareness training
    • Support to consumer advocates and legal assistance on matters relating to blindness
    • Leadership and legislative training
    • Consulting with industry regarding employment of blind and visually impaired individuals
    • Governmental monitoring, consultation and advocacy including the "Washington Connection," a national legislative hot line
    • Annual national convention

    Issues: Some of the major issues in which the American Council of the Blind is or recently has been involved include:

    • Advocating for improved education and rehabilitation services for blind children and adults
    • Implementation and Enforcement of Americans with Disabilities Act of1990
    • Advocating for improved healthcare for blind and visually impaired individuals
    • Promotion of accreditation of agencies serving blind people
    • Advocating for improved services to older blind Americans to enable them to live independently outside of costly institutions
    • Litigation to preserve and expand employment of blind persons as fast- food service operators through the Randolph-Sheppard Act
    • Encouraging the production and use of reading materials in accessible media including braille, recording and large print
    • Reauthorization and expansion of the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit legislation which grants tax benefits to employers who hire persons with disabilities
    • Training of airlines personnel on how to serve blind passengers, and implementation of Air Carriers Access Act
  3. American Foundation for the Blind
    American Foundation for the BlindThe American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for the more than 25 million people with vision loss in the U.S.
    AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB's work in these areas is supported by its strong presence in Washington, DC, ensuring the rights and interests of Americans with vision loss are represented in our nation's public policies.

    AFB is based in New York, and maintains the Public Policy Center in Washington, DC; the AFB Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, TX; AFB TECH in Huntington, WV; and offices in Atlanta and San Francisco. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than forty years that Helen Keller dedicated to working with AFB.

    Accessibility: The American Foundation for the Blind is committed to improving accessibility in all aspects of life—from cell phones to ATMs, on web sites and in workplaces.

    Services: Are you trying to make your products and services accessible to people with visual impairments? AFB offers expert consulting services.

    Product Evaluations: Trying to figure out what cell phone to buy? Or are you looking for objective evaluations of adaptive technologies? AFB's product evaluation lab publishes its reader-friendly reports in AccessWorld®, as well as other publications. AFB makes its product evaluations easy to find through its assistive technology product database.

    Research: AFB's accessibility research ranges from web site usability studies to research on video description, and more.

    Publications: AccessWorld®: Technology and People with Visual Impairments is a free, web-based publication with a team of experienced writers and evaluators. You will find the latest technology news and objective, reader-friendly product evaluations here. AccessWorld® is the only place to go for comprehensive coverage of cell phone accessibility, electronic voting machines' usability, reviews of screen readers, screen magnifiers, web sites, and more.  AFB Press, the publishing arm of the American Foundation for the Blind, is the leading publisher in the field of blindness and visual impairment. It produces books, journals, videos, and electronic materials, offering a wide range of information for students, professionals, researchers, and blind and visually impaired people and their families. Detailed information on AFB Press publications can be found in AFB's online bookstore. Online versions of many titles are available through AFB Press ePublications.

    AFB Press provides more texts for college and university programs and more professional books on visual impairment than any other publisher in the field and is a catalyst in developing and encouraging new authors and scholarship. It is also the publisher of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), the premiere journal of record on blindness and visual impairment in the world, AccessWorld®, a cutting-edge online magazine on technology and visual impairment, and the AFB Directory of Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons in the United States and Canada, the primary information resource on services to persons with visual impairments. AFB Press is also widely recognized as the publisher of the award-winning Foundations series, the leading university textbooks on visual impairment used by special education programs both in the United States and abroad.

    Advocacy: Would you like to know more about the laws and policies that affect our access to information? Learn about technology issues and the Internet, telecommunications, voting rights, and digital rights management.

    Contact information:
    1-800-AFB-LINE begin_of_the_skype_highlighting
    1-800-AFB-LINE end_of_the_skype_highlighting (232-5463)

    AFB Headquarters
    2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102
    New York, NY 10121
    (212) 502-7600 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting
    (212) 502-7600 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
  4. American Printing House for the Blind
    American Printing House for the Blind
    The America Primary Services: We manufacture textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products. APH's fully-accessible website ( features information about APH products and services, online ordering of products, and free information on a wide variety of blindness-related topics. One popular feature of the site is the Louis Database, a free tool to help locate accessible books available from organizations across the U.S.

    People Served: APH's products are useful to infants, preschoolers, elementary and high school students, and adults. APH primarily serves people who are visually impaired, although many of our products have application for people with learning disabilities and people with multiple disabilities.

    Many of our products can be enjoyed by visually impaired and sighted students alike, making them useful for students who are in an inclusive classroom. With the exception of magazine subscriptions, our products may be purchased by anyone.

    Ages Served: All ages.

    Referrals: Not necessary.

    Fees: Vary with product or service provided. APH accepts Federal Quota funds; purchase orders from companies and organizations; checks; money orders; and Discover®, MasterCard®, Visa®, and American Express® credit cards.

    Newsletter: APH News is a monthly web newsletter featuring the latest APH products and services, introductions to new APH staff, news about workshops and events, and much more. Subscribe to receive a monthly email containing a link to the latest issue or read the newsletter online at No outside advertising is accepted.

    Advertising Material: APH offers catalogs, brochures, and other promotional materials designed to help educate service providers and consumers about APH products and services. These are available in a variety of accessible formats, which may include braille, large print, or digital files.

    President: Dr. Tuck Tinsley III.

    Founded: APH was founded in 1858 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

    Incorporation Status: APH is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductable to the extent allowed by law.

    Hours: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.

    Two Tours Offered: APH offers a guided tour of its plant and museum. Those who choose the Plant/Museum Tour will see how Talking Books and braille books are created, view demonstrations of educational products, and visit the museum. These free tours are available at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday, except holidays, and last approximately one and a half hours.

    Groups who want to focus on the historical and educational content of the museum may choose the Guided Museum Tour, available by appointment, Monday-Saturday.

    Please make advance reservations for groups of 10 or more. Call 502-899-2356 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 502-899-2356 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to schedule either tour.

    Museum: The history of the education of people who are blind is presented in APH's unique multimedia museum. Artifacts, photos, and electronic displays introduce the history of tactile alphabets, the braillewriter, Talking Books, and much more. A new feature exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the company opened in May 2008. All displays are accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

    The free museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday, except holidays, and 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

    Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field: The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

    The Hall is located at APH but belongs to the entire field of blindness. Kiosks display accessible bas-relief plaques of the legends and cases display artifacts. Visit the virtual Hall of Fame at Click on "Hall of Fame."

  5. National Federation of the Blind
    National Federation of the Blind
    With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States.  The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.  It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.  The NFB has affiliates in all fifty states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, and over seven hundred local chapters.

    Race for Life

    Race for Independence — The Race for Independence is quite simply the expression of our desire to speed toward our goal of achieving first-class citizenship status in society at an ever-increasing pace.  It is the anchor of the National Federation of the Blind’s Imagination Fund, the annual campaign to raise proceeds for NFB programs at the national, state, and local levels.

    The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind
    The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind (IBTC)
    Opened in 1990, this is the world's largest and most complete evaluation and demonstration center of adaptive technology used by the blind. The center contains nearly two million dollars' worth of technology from around the world, including all of the speech and Braille assistive devices for use with computers and other related technologies. Blind persons, parents, teachers, employers, manufacturers of assistive technology, and other interested persons may visit the center by appointment. In addition, the IBTC publishes reviews of the many speech and Braille programs and devices.

    NFB-NEWSLINE® — The world's first digital talking newspaper for the blind, this service is free to anyone who is legally blind. NFB-NEWSLINE® uses computer speech technology to reproduce the texts of various national newspapers and transmit them over the telephone. Current newspaper offerings include USA Today, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Dozens of local papers and a few magazines are also available each day to subscribers. In addition to carrying the news, local sites can use one or more special channels to distribute announcements of specific interest to the blind.

    NFB-LINK® — Recently launched, this innovative program pairs individuals seeking information or advice with experienced Federationists.  This is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about a variety of blindness issues, from how to use services at college effectively to how to re-pot an orchid nonvisually.

    Jacobus tenBroek Library
    Jocobus tenBroek Library
    This unique research and resource center on the non-medical aspects of blindness is one of the primary initiatives of the NFB Jernigan Institute.  The Library provides researchers with materials about blindness from the perspective of the blind.  Dedicated to the memory of our founding president, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the Jacobus tenBroek Library is revolutionizing attitudes about blindness and promoting independence. 

    The Jacob Bolotin Award Program — This is a cash award program to recognize individuals and organizations working in the field of blindness that have made outstanding contributions toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. 

    Youth Programs

    NFB Youth Slam
    NFB Youth Slam — This four-day academy engaged and inspired the next generation of blind youth to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Youth were mentored by blind role models during fun, challenging, and inspiring activities meant to stretch the imagination, build confidence, and increase science literacy.  The NFB Youth Slam culminated in a rally at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and a celebration at the NFB Jernigan Institute.

    NFB Scholarship Program — Each year at its National Convention in July, the NFB gives a broad array of scholarships to recognize achievement by blind scholars. All applicants for these scholarships must be (1) legally blind and (2) pursuing or planning to pursue a full time, postsecondary course of study in a degree program at a United States institution in the fall of the year of application, except that one scholarship may be given to a full time employee also attending school part-time.  

    Braille Readers are Leaders Program
    Braille Readers Are Leaders Program
     — The purpose of this program is to help blind and visually impaired students become good Braille readers, as Braille literacy is one of the highest predictors of success in later life for blind youth. The Braille Readers Are Leaders program generates enthusiasm, raises expectations, and instills pride as students come to realize that reading Braille is fun and rewarding.

    Braille Is Beautiful — This innovative program teaches sighted students how to read and write the Braille alphabet code, and increases students' sensitivity and understanding of blind persons. The Braille Is Beautiful program targets grades four through six; however, it can also be used effectively with younger or older children and in community youth projects.

    Braille Reading Pals - Early Literacy Program
     — A non-competitive Braille literacy program for blind infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and older students with reading delays. The goal of this program is to expose the family and the child to Braille and to encourage parents (or other responsible adults) to read aloud to or with their children a minimum of fifteen minutes a day during the program period. We know that it may be difficult or impossible for many parents to read to their children every day, but we set the goal high to demonstrate the importance of literacy and to encourage parents early on to "reach for the stars."

    Adult Programs

    Possibilities Fair for Seniors — The Possibilities Fair for Seniors Losing Vision and for their Families provided a hands-on opportunity for those 55 and older who are losing vision to learn how to improve their lives.  The Fair included demonstration areas featuring alternative techniques, equipment, services for seniors losing vision, and helpful hints about enjoying life.

  6. Council of Schools for the Blind
    Council of Schools for the BlindCOSB schools are an excellent example of why the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) calls for a range of educational placement options so that the learning opportunities of students are not restricted by the limitations of any one type of educational setting. Under IDEA students should have the option of attending a school that best matches their learning needs at a particular time in their educational career. An ideal balance is achieved when a student's local public school and that state's COSB school collaborate to allow the student to freely move between settings based upon educational need.

    The Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB) is a membership organization of special purpose schools for students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities. We work together as a professional learning community to improve services to students enrolled on our campuses and to promote quality educational outcomes for all blind or visually impaired students regardless of where they attend school.

    COSB schools educate a diverse population of learners in environments that promote the highest academic standards as well as meeting the needs of students with significant learning challenges. Throughout our schools and classrooms specialized approaches to instruction in small group settings ensure that the curriculum is fully accessible to each individual student. COSB schools excel at teaching the unique skills that students use to gain independence at the same level as their sighted peers. Known as the Expanded Core Curriculum, these skills such as Orientation and Mobility (travel and movement skills) and the use of Assistive Technology become the tools students use to maximize learning in school and to be fully engaged in their homes and communities.

    COSB schools provide important leadership in the continuous improvement of educational outcomes for all students with blindness or visual impairments in the United States through a wide variety of services and supports. Key among these are specialized residential and day campuses in most states; short and longer-term program options; outreach services to students and educators in under-served areas; training and networking opportunities for families; professional development programs; the development of specialized curricula and teaching practices; research; Braille production; and clearinghouses for instructional materials and public information on blindness. Each COSB school has developed its mix of services to be a valuable partner in the continuum of educational opportunities for students in its home state, and each COSB school is a committed advocate for excellence in the education all children with visual impairments.
    National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
    Founded in 1983, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children is a national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children reaching out to each other to give vital support, encouragement, and information. We have over 3,000 members in all 50 states and divisions or parent contacts in about 30 states plus Puerto Rico.

    What is different about the NOPBC?  Our status as a division of the National Federation of the Blind, the largest and most influential organization of blind people in the world, provides many benefits. Our members are well informed about the technological, legislative, and societal issues that affect blind people. We also enjoy the resources, support, and expertise of 50,000 blind people who can serve as mentors and role models for our children. And finally, as our children grow up, they, too, have the Federation to belong to. The purpose of the NOPBC is to:
    • create a climate of opportunity for blind children in home and society.
    • provide information and support to parents of blind children.
    • facilitate the sharing of experience and concerns among parents of blind children.
    • develop and expand resources available to parents and their children.
    • help parents of blind children gain understanding and perspective through partnership and contact with blind adults.
    • function as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind in its ongoing effort to achieve equality and opportunity for all blind persons.
  8. National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)
    National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)The National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) is a non-profit organization of, by and for parents committed to providing support to the parents of children who have visual impairments. NAPVI is a core partner for the Families & Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE) project spearheaded by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights (PACER).

    Mission Statement
    - NAPVI is a national organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities.

    NAPVI provides leadership, support, and training to assist parents in helping children reach their potential.

    NAPVI is dedicated to:

    • giving emotional support
    • initiating outreach programs
    • networking
    • advocating for the educational needs and welfare of children who are blind or visually impaired

    What We Do

    • Promote and provide information through workshops and publications which will help parents meet the special needs of their child(ren) with visual impairment.
    • Provide an information and referral service.
    • Promote the development of state and local organizations of, by and for parents of children with visual impairments.
    • Provide seed money awards for establishment of local NAPVI chapters.
    • Publish and disperse a quarterly publication entitled Awareness.
    • Maintain a national support and information network through phone and mail correspondence.
    • Increase public awareness about children with visual impairments so they are accepted by society.
    • Provide workshops and conferences.
    • Foster communication and coordination of services among federal, state and local agencies and organizations involved with people with visual impairments.

    Why Join? - Join NAPVI today and be a part of an organization of, by, and for parents! Benefits to members include:

    • You will receive our quarterly publication "Awareness" which is filled with resource information for parents of children with visual impairments.
    • Access to a national parent-to-parent network on rare eye conditions.
    • Promote the development of state and local organizations for parents
      of children with visual impairments.
    • Information on local, regional, and national conferences.
    • Updated information on legislation that affects the education of our children.
    • Increase public awareness concerning specific needs of our children.
    • Foster communication and coordination of services among federal, state, and local agencies and organizations involved with people with visual impairments.
    • Opportunity to contribute to an endowment fund to secure NAPVI's mission.
    Alexander Graham Bell Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

    Alexander Graham Bell Association of the
    Deaf and Hard of Hearing

    The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps families, healthcare providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.

    Chapters - AG Bell currently has chapters in 31 U.S states, each serving as an extension of AG Bell as well as being a local resource for information and support.

    - An up-to-date listing of important issues in the hearing loss world, including the latest news from AG Bell.

    International Affiliates
    - The International Affiliate Program provides encouragement and support to organizations that promote the AG Bell mission throughout the world.

    Directory of Services
    - Are you looking for local, national or international educational programs, private practices, or businesses that cater to your family or individual needs? Then start your search here.

    Financial Aid Opportunities
    - AG Bell provides a range of financial aid and scholarships to families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing seeking educational opportunities and support services.
  2. American Society for Deaf Children
    American Society for Deaf Children Logo
    We believe deaf or hard-of-hearing children are entitled to full communication access in their home, school, and community. We also believe that language development, respect for the Deaf, and access to deaf and hard-of-hearing role models are important to assure optimal intellectual, social, and emotional development.

    We believe that consideration of communication opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing children should be based on facts. Research consistently demonstrates that fluency in sign language and English offers deaf children (including those with cochlear implants) and hard-of-hearing children optimal opportunities for social and academic success, and thus both should be part of their language-rich environment.

    We believe there should be access to identification and intervention by qualified providers, family involvement, and educational opportunities equal to those provided for hearing children. The goal should be to provide children what they need in order to become self-supporting and fulfilled adults.

    We affirm that parents have the right and responsibility to be primary decision-makers and advocates. For this role, parents need education, access to information, and support.
    Council on Education for the Deaf
    Council on Education for the Deaf
    Mission Statement:
    • To enhance the preparation of new teachers.
    • To support the ongoing professional development of existing teachers.
    • To expand the array of learning resources and opportunities that are available to
    • deaf/hard-of-hearing (d/hh) students.
    • To increase collaborative activities between all those individuals involved in the education  of d/hh students.

    This site is a result of two projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education's PT3 initiative. These grants, awarded to the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACE-D/HH), are referred to as Join Together and Catalyst (for more information on these projects, please visit our grant portal page).

  4. Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools a Programs for the Deaf -  
    Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools a Programs for the Deaf
    The Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf is an association of schools and educational programs involved with the education of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

    Founded in 1868, CEASD is committed to the promotion of excellence within a continuum of equitable education opportunities for children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. At the national level, CEASD serves as an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing with governmental bodies concerned with the establishment of educational policy and the implementation of federal legislation.

    The CEASD Mission: The Mission of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) is to promote excellence within a continuum of equitable educational opportunities for all children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. CEASD advocates on behalf of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and supports the efficient management of schools, programs, program service centers and governmental units offering educational and related programs and services.  -Adopted by the CEASD Board of Directors, December 1996.
  5. Hands and Voices
    Hands and VoicesThe Hands & Voices Story - In the early-1990s, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington , D.C. , was preparing an exhibit called "Silent America." It was intended to raise positive awareness of the Deaf Community, highlighting cultural and linguistic (American Sign Language) aspects of the Deaf experience. Meanwhile, a number of people who were deaf or hard of hearing, but who were not living with those aspects of the Deaf experience, had a problem with the exhibit. From their perspective, it did not represent who they were-specifically, listening/oral communicators. They resented what they perceived to be the exclusionary nature of Silent America's point of view. Controversy roiled across the land. Both camps fired off angry letters towards each other, and at the Smithsonian exhibit planners. In the end, the Smithsonian scrapped the whole project. Regardless of what side any one was on, we all lost that battle.

    We Are Hands & Voices - As individuals who are in so many ways connected to each other through deafness or hearing loss - professionally, parentally, or otherwise-we'd had an opportunity to rally around the things that unite us and really show the whole world, but instead we burned ourselves out in the same old heated arguments over communication methodology. Those events were the coming of age for Hands & Voices. Twelve years ago, we were just a fledgling Colorado parent support group (who would become Hands & Voices) watching the whole Silent America debacle take flame. It was incredible, as in 'not believable'. Why didn't they just ask us how to do this? Perhaps through natural selection or just by serendipity, our group was increasingly comprised of diversely communicating parents, professionals, and deaf and hard of hearing adults fully united by our cause. As we grew, we became galvanized by the need to create strength and unity in our community. Certainly, we're not the first or only who have ever wanted to accomplish that, but in many ways, joining all camps together towards a common goal continues to be the unique selling point of Hands & Voices.

    Hands & Voices Goes National - At national conferences, through word of mouth referrals, and via our website, Colorado Families for Hands & Voices, our first and flagship chapter, got a lot of press. Here was a successful family support effort with a parent-driven agenda modeling true parent/professional collaboration-plus an unbiased approach to communication. Wow! Could this be replicated elsewhere?

    In the beginning, we expanded our Colorado membership to anyone who wanted to join individually from other states. As people signed on, the next challenge was responding to the demand to start a "chapter" where they lived. Hands & Voices started growing so quickly that we were still developing a plan for 'How to Start a Chapter in Your State' after several "chapters" were already up and running! As a national presence, Hands & Voices has been able to build a strong network of families, professionals in all related fields, state/federal tech support resources, modality-based groups, institutions of higher education, service providers, and consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing. We help each other by sharing ideas and advice, collaborating on projects, and passing on information of interest to each other.

    As our identity has grown, we've been able to leverage greater exposure and opportunity for new Hands & Voices chapters. Our efforts are as "grassroots" as they are "snowcap." From the bottom up and the top down, we are working on the issues at the local and national level towards achievement of our goal: improved educational and social outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

    Today, our membership continues to grow individually, and collectively with new chapters emerging not only across the U.S. , but in other countries across the world.
  6. Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    The Association of College Educators – Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACE-DHH) is an international group of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing college and university professors who prepare teachers for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our conference occurs annually at various cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and is well-attended by university faculty, candidates for doctoral degrees, field venders, and sign language interpreters.
  7. Gallaudet University
    Gallaudet University
    Mission Statement - Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.
    Approved by the Board of Trustees November 2007

    Vision Statement - Gallaudet University will build upon its rich history as the world's premier higher education institution serving deaf and hard of hearing people to become the university of first choice for the most qualified, diverse group of deaf and hard of hearing students in the world, as well as hearing students pursuing careers related to deaf and hard of hearing people. Gallaudet will empower its graduates with the knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success in the changing local and global communities in which they live and work. Gallaudet will also strive to become the leading international resource for research, innovation and outreach related to deaf and hard of hearing people.

    Gallaudet will achieve these outcomes through:
    • A bilingual learning environment, featuring American Sign Language and English, that provides full access for all students to learning and communication
    • A commitment to excellence in learning and student service
    • A world-class campus in the nation's capital
    • Creation of a virtual campus that expands Gallaudet's reach to a broader audience of visual learners
    • An environment in which research can grow, develop, and improve the lives and knowledge of all deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide   Approved by the Board of Trustees, May 2009
  1. -
    Helen Keller Fellows

    Purpose of the HK Fellows Project: Through the objectives of this proposal, a cadre of geographically dispersed and networked teacher leaders will be prepared to provide evidence-based practices and professional expertise required to meet the educational needs of children with simultaneous vision and hearing impairments.

    Why is this project necessary? There is a significant and ever widening gap separating children with simultaneous vision and hearing impairments (i.e., deaf-blindness) from the professional knowledge necessary to meet their varied educational needs. Fewer than 6% of children with deaf-blindness are served by a teacher with training in deaf-blindness. Learners who have both hearing and vision losses require specific instructional techniques to learn to communicate, to develop concepts, to learn to interact, gain mobility and acquire independent living, academic, and vocational skills. The availability of qualified special educators to serve children with disabilities nationwide remains a critical concern. This issue is amplified in the area of low incidence disabilities and especially severe for students with simultaneous vision and hearing impairments.

    However, it would be impossible to produce enough classroom teachers to guarantee that each child with deaf-blindness has a teacher with a graduate degree in the field. A more realistic solution is to identify and train highly qualified “teacher leaders” to extend the reach of the state technical assistance projects in order to support district level mentoring and sustained professional development. The development of such a cadre would assist the field by providing coaching/mentoring to their educational colleagues, enhancing instructional programs, and providing job-embedded professional development within the least restrictive educational environment.

    Who will implement the HK Fellows Project? The Teaching Research Institute at Western Oregon University, in conjunction with ten geographically dispersed universities (Boston College, East Carolina University, Hunter College of City University of New York, San Francisco State University, Texas Tech University, University of Alabama – Birmingham, University of Arizona, University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Utah, and Utah State University), will collaborate to implement the Extending a Legacy through the Helen Keller Fellows Project. This project addresses the critical shortage of qualified personnel in low incidence disabilities with particular emphasis on simultaneous vision and hearing impairment (i.e., deaf-blindness) and was awarded through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities Combined Priority for Personnel Development (CFDA 84.325K). It targets Focus Area b (Training Personnel to Serve School Age Children in Low Incidence Disabilities).

    How does the Helen Keller Fellows Project work? Participating universities select candidates from their respective graduate programs. Candidates are typically teachers who wish to become teacher leaders with an emphasis in deaf-blindness. Over the four year grant cycle it is anticipated that 36-40 Fellows will complete their master degree programs and become teacher leaders in the field of deaf-blindness.

    Each Helen Keller Fellow receives a $10,000 educational stipend. As required by section 662(h) of IDEA, Fellows agree to a service obligation to provide special education services to children with disabilities for a period of two years. Sixty-five percent of the total HK Fellows budget must be designated for Fellow stipends and enrichment activities.

    HK Fellows Enrichment Activities: Each Fellow will: (1) attend a Fall HK Fellows Orientation; (2) participate in “webinars with the experts” that incorporate live video, real-time online interaction, and asynchronous communication with leading researchers, technical assistance providers and master teachers; (3) attend the annual topical conference on deaf-blindness hosted by the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness; (4) attend a face-to-face, three-day seminar focusing on leadership and systems-thinking; and (5) intern with their home state’s deaf-blind technical assistance project for at least two weeks to experience a variety of environments including high-poverty communities, rural areas and urban areas.

    Upon completion of their university’s graduate program requirements and consortium activities, each Fellow will receive a master’s degree in education as well as documented competencies in addressing the needs of students with deaf-blindness and the educators who work with them. The overall goal of the HK Fellows Project is to improve the quality and increase the number of personnel who are fully credentialed to meet the needs of children with the most severe disabilities.

  2. National Family Association for Deaf-Blind
    National Family Association for Deaf-Blind
    What is NFADB? The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) is a non-profit, volunteer-based family association. Our philosophy is that individuals who are deaf-blind are valued members of society and are entitled to the same opportunities and choices as other members of the community. We are the largest national network of families focusing on issues surrounding deaf blindness.

    Mission Statement: NFADB exists to empower the voices of families of individuals who are deaf-blind and advocate for their unique needs.

    Fundamental Beliefs: NFADB believes that individuals who are deaf-blind are valued members of society and are entitled to the same opportunities and choices as other members of their community.

    What Are The Functions Of NFADB?
    • Train and support families as they advocate for their needs
    • Collaborate with organizations, such as NCDB, DB-Link, National Coalition on Deafblindness, AADB, AFB to strengthen consumer and family representation at the national level.
    • Advise professionals researching best practices for educating, training and assisting individuals who are deaf-blind.

    What We Offer Members And Affiliates:

    • Membership in a nationally recognized organization
    • Networking with families who have similar needs
    • Access to information: website, listserv, newsletter
    • Affiliation for state family organizations
    • Topical training for affiliate parent groups
  3. National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness
    National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness
    The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for children and youth who are deaf-blind. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), NCDB builds on the technical assistance activities of NTAC, the information services and dissemination activities of DB-LINK and adds a third focus related to personnel training. NCDB brings together the resources of three agencies with long histories of expertise in the field of deaf-blindness, The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University, the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC), and the Hilton/Perkins Program at Perkins School for the Blind. NCDB works collaboratively with families, federal, state and local agencies to provide technical assistance, information and personnel training.

    The consortium focuses on two major purposes as required by OSEP. The first is to promote academic achievement and results for children and youth (from birth to age 26) who are deaf-blind, through technical assistance, model demonstration, and information dissemination activities that are supported by evidence-based practices. Activities are directed toward families, service providers, state deaf-blind projects, state and local education agencies, and other organizations responsible for providing early intervention, education, and transition services. The second purpose is to assist in addressing state-identified needs for highly qualified personnel who have the necessary skills and knowledge to serve children and youth who are deaf-blind.

    The following objectives provide an overview of NCDB activities:

    1. Communicate, collaborate, and form partnerships as directed by OSEP and with agencies, organizations, and projects in order to improve results for children and youth and their families.

    2. Implement an ongoing, multilevel needs assessment to systematically identify the needs of children and youth, their families, and service providers, including personnel training, in order to adequately and appropriately address those needs.

    3. Provide national leadership in the implementation of evidence-based practices to address gaps in knowledge and to scale up current practices.

    4. Implement an array of technical assistance and personnel-training activities to build the capacity of state and local agencies to meet the needs of children and youth who are deaf-blind and their families.

    5. Utilize collaborative partnerships and facilitated efforts to build the capacity of youth who are deaf-blind and their families in order to promote self-advocacy, personal empowerment, and knowledge of deaf-blindness.

    6. Provide leadership in a coordinated national effort to promote personnel training on the implementation of IDEA and evidence-based practices in order to address the shortage of leadership and highly qualified personnel in the field of deaf-blindness.

    7. Identify, collect, organize, and disseminate information related to deaf-blindness, including evidence-based practices, in order to respond to inquiries and increase knowledge that promotes effective early intervention, education, and transition services, and supports families.

    8. Expand the utilization of information resources by developing and disseminating accessible products that synthesize evidence-based research, effective practices, and emerging knowledge.

    9. Implement a comprehensive system of evaluation to assess the impact of the consortium's objectives and activities across the four outcome domains of child, family, service provider, and systems.

  4. Helen Keller National Center  

    Helen Keller National CenterOur Mission: The mission of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults is to enable each person who is deaf-blind to live and work in his or her community of choice.

    Authorized by an Act of Congress in 1967, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) is a national rehabilitation program serving youth and adults who are deaf-blind.

    Who We Serve: The Center provides services to youth and adults who are deaf-blind according to the definition of deaf-blindness in the Helen Keller Act.

    Where We Are Located: The Center operates a residential and training facility at our headquarters in Sands Point, NY. Switchboard hours at headquarters are 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

    Support services for youth and adults who are deaf-blind, their families and the professionals who serve them across the country are provided through our system of field services.