About the Minnesota DeafBlind Project
The Minnesota DeafBlind Project serves families and educators of children and youth, who have combined hearing and vision loss, with or without additional disabilities, from birth to age 21.
The goal of the Project is to provide support to Individual Education Plan (IEP) and Interagency Family Services Plan (IFSP) teams and team members, including parents, and build collaborative relationships which improve services to children who are deaflbind.
The Project is a unique collaborative project of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Metro Educational Cooperative Service Unit (ECSU) and a range of community partners throughout Minnesota.
The team includes a parent of a child who has combined hearing and vision loss (deafblindness) as the family engagement coordinator, an education specialist with years of experience supporting and teaching students who are deafblind and a program coordinator who is also a parent of a child who is deafblind.
How did the Minnesota DeafBlind Project start?
Following the rubella epidemic of the 1960’s, the federal government learned from parents and educators of children and young adults that combined vision and hearing loss creates unique challenges to access and learning. The U. S. Department of Education set aside special funds to help families, professionals and paraprofessionals in each state. At first, the grants were used to run special schools for children with deafblindness, but now they are used to help support and train teachers, administrators, related service providers and interveners about how to work with children and youth in schools, mostly in home communities. Grants are also used to provide resources and support to families, including activities to connect them to each other since deafblindness is a rare low incidence disability.