What's New

INFORMATION FOR FAMILIES DURING THE LONGEST SPRING BREAK EVER

NEW!  Connecting Families of Individuals with Deaf-Blindness during the COVID-19 Pandemic:  The Family 2 Family Communities (F2FC) project is offering a series of drop-in zoom meetings for families to connect and support one another. Any family member of an individual with deaf-blindness is welcome to participate. You do not need to be previously registered with F2FC- all are welcome!  As of today (March 24) meetings are scheduled for March 26 & April 9, Thursdays at 2PM EDT/1pm CDT/ 12pm MDT /11am PDT&MST for 90 minutes March 31 & April 14, Tuesdays at 7pm EDT/6pm CDT/5pmMDT/4pmPDT&MST for 90 minutes.  For more information download this flyer Connecting Families of Individuals with Deaf-Blindness during the COVID-19 Pandemic.   

Maravillosas familias, Myrna Medina y el equipo de California Deafblind Services han invitado amablemente a cualquier familia de habla hispana con niños o adultos sordociegos a sus llamadas telefónicas diarias.  Estas son una gran oportunidad  de conexión y apoyo. Esta llamadas se realizaran diariamente a partir del Lunes 30 de Marzo del 2020.   Aquí esta el enlace para la reunión de Zoom.  Tema: Llamadas en Español  Hora:  6:00 PM hora central  (US y Canadá) Cada semana, Lunes, Martes, Miércoles, Jueves y Viernes hasta el 11 de Mayo del 2020, 31 eventos.  Zoom Meeting
https://sfsu.zoom.us/j/741989383  Meeting ID: 741 989 383  Si tiene alguna pregunta, no dude en llamar a Myrna a  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sign Language During Social Distancing  Thank you to the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative (NYDBC) for sharing this practice- and policy-based tips sheet that summarizes strategies and other points to consider while hosting online meetings and presentations, and addresses face-to-face interpreting issues during shelter in place orders.

Dear strong, wonderful, resourceful families, 

We know you've got this - you teach and care for your children every day.  But in case you would like an idea, a bit of positive information or a friendly email or phone exchange in the next few weeks, Project Reach is open for business.  We will be posting information here including "How Do I Talk With My Child with DeafBlindness About COVID19" (Based on the NIH/CDC article), "Sign Language Signs You May Want to Know", "Resources to Teach Hand Washing to Children Who are DeafBlind" (videos and songs, info graphics, activity calendar information), a COVID19 social story from Easterseals and the Illinois Autism Partnership (to help calm students who are worried) (also available in Spanish) and daily Home Learning Activities section specifically selected for Project Reach student (added below).  Come back often, and please take us up on our invitation to call 630-790-2474 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or, email or call your DeafBlind Specialist or Bilingual Family Engagement Coordinator.

CONTINUE LEARNING WHILE AT HOME

Looking for new ideas to do with your child while they are home during this unexpectedly LOONG spring break?  Come back frequently for ideas on learning ideas selected with the student with DeafBlindness in mind!  The students we serve have a broad arrange of interests and current skills, so if the suggested activity offered does not seem like a good “fit” for your student, please feel free to contact Project Reach for individualized suggestions!

March 31

myASLTech is offering free one-month kid subscriptions to help keep your deaf child engaged and learning while school is closed. There are games, a science series, stories, a dictionary, and publishing tool, to name a few. To get one, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and mention this opportunity. We will need an email address, your name, your child’s name, and child’s school name to get your child started. Offer expires on May 1, 2020.

March 30

Kevin Hollinger, Orientation and Mobility Specialist shared this information he received from Dave Krueger, a Digital Media Specialist from Yellowstone National Parks.  Below are a few of the ways he offered for students with visual impairments to explore Yellowstone online.  Thank you to both Kevin and dave for sharing these options!

  1. NPS Yellowstone App  Free and available for iOS and Android devices. This has audio tours of a big part of the Upper Geyser Basin (where Old Faithful is located) and Fountain Paint Pot. It also has a large collection of park sites, which the device's accessibility features can dictate, as well as audio description for many of the site.
  2. Kids: Places  This page provides descriptions of many of the popular places in the park.
  3. Audio postcards  An aural way to explore Yellowstone and many of its wildlife and natural features.

March 27

Are you the parent of a child in the U. S. with deafblindness,  between the ages of 4 to 24 years, who would also describe that child as having additional cognitive, developmental, or learning disabilities? Are you looking for activities to prepare your child for the future? Then check out this awesome opportunity!

The National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision (NRTC) at Mississippi State University now has the 4to24 App with the focus on Transition Skills and Employment ready for Parents of Children and Youth who are Deaf-Blind to take it for a field test!  They are looking for at least 40 parents to check it out for 6 months and provide feedback.  Once signed up, families will use the app and complete surveys (between 10 -30 minutes long) before, during and after the 6-month trial period. The very cool thing about this app is that it provides monthly information and activities to families to help build skills like communication, mobility, and independent living. It offers ideas that are flexible for different ability levels, but is specifically geared toward children and youth who have additional cognitive, developmental, or learning disabilities. Follow this link and download this flyer for more information!

March 26

Freedom Scientific is generously supporting learners at home who use JAWS, ZoomText or Fusion.  ..."Special licenses have been created to assist students and workers who must remain home during the COVID-19 crisis. A free short-term Home Annual License of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion (expires June 30, 2020) is available to anyone with a personal email address in the United States and Canada."  More information is available at https://portal.freedomscientific.com/SponsoredSoftware

March 25

A big “Thank You!” to Amy Schmidt, SLP from Eastern IL Area of Special Education (EIASE) for today’s learning material.  She is sharing a collection of pictures and suggested questions to pose to your children that include identification of pictures, yes/no questions, problem solving scenarios, and other options, all using the same eight pictures.  If pictures are not the right “fit” for your student, you can still do one of the suggested activities with your student using the actual materials during a bath time routine.  Thanks again, Amy, for sharing Language Activities During Bathtime

March 24

Have you added chores to your student's home schedule?  Here is a fact sheet for families of students that use objects to know what to do, when, called Object Schedules for Chores  If this is not a good "fit" for your student or your family, please feel free to contact your DeafBlind Specialist or the Bilingual Family Engagement Coordinator for personalized suggestions!

March 23

It is a great time to teach your child how to clean around the house!  For children and youth who are visually impaired and DeafBlind, cleaning and other Daily Living Skills are part of the Expanded Core Curriculum.  The Expanded Core Curriculum is a set of concepts and skills that youth with visual impairments and DeafBlindness must be taught directly since they do not have equal access to incidental learning (learning by watching and hearing things as they happen around them).  This fact sheet on Cleaning Using Patterns explains several ways to teach thorough cleaning without sight.  

March 20

Has your student been given eLearning assignments, but having vision or hearing accessibility challenges from home?  Here are some resources gathered and shared by the Illinois Supervisors of Programs for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals (ISHI) and the Illinois Vision Leadership Council (IVLC) that you can share with your student’s school… 

Accommodations for students using sign language or hearing technologies:

https://amara.org/en/

https://www.acscaptions.com/

https://zoom.us/

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA34877/how-do-i-turn-live-captions-subtitles-on-during-a-skype-call

For students with vision needs:

  • · Accessibyte (a variety of cloud-based software including school tools and games.  The company is offering free access during this challenging time).

https://www.accessibyte.com/stay-safe/

For students with  variety of access needs:

https://www.waynecc.edu/wp-content/uploads/vlcCourseAccListUpdated.pdf

  • · Described and Captioned Media Program (federal program that provides network-produced, educational content customized to serve the needs of K-12 students.  Teachers and families that use the service must have a free membership.

https://dcmp.org/

March 19

Does your child like to have books read in ASL or listen to books read in English?  The check out this AMAZING resource of animated, well known children’s books read in ASL, captioned, and read aloud in English.  Best of all, it is free and can be accessed by phones and tablets just by reading a QR code!  Check out   https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VBJkmttmj5AJsm73Cs1wstV-uN9qM06H/view?fbclid=IwAR0q5cYuipMLM7DKbl_bZebITpI9MPwZ8wyB1Y6FqUR1BW9mOdB-kwTnv70

March 18

Check out the website Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss This site, designed for emergent (pre) readers, has a reading skills checklist that you can quickly complete to determine which activities are a good fit for your student.  When you complete the checklist and decide the best place to start, you will see links to reading, writing and comprehension strategies to try, and some have links to articles and videos showing you how to create those ideas!  If you have questions, please contact Project Reach!

Ideas that Wrok

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

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