Blumberg Center for
Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education

indiana deafblind services project

for families

Welcome to our Just for Families section! This section of our website is designed to provide families of children who are deafblind with important information. In addition, we hope to include ways to keep Indiana families linked both with each other and to the activities of our project. What you can find here may include: basic information on deafblindness and why we use that term; family scholarship information; opportunities for family involvement in project activities, as well as other state and federal groups; and, upcoming family conferences and events.

We would love to expand what we offer to families on our website, so please let us know what we can add that would help you and your family!

Why do you think my child is "Deafblind"?

The term "Deafblind" is often very difficult for families to hear. You, as a parent, may think, "My child isn't deafblind; she can see . . . or he can hear." What is important to remember is that there are all types and degrees of vision and hearing loss in children who are deafblind. Very rarely are we talking about a child with total blindness and complete deafness. Deafblindness encompasses a complete range of hearing and vision losses from mild to profound and from low vision to total blindness. In addition, often a child may have an impairment that only effects one eye or one ear or is diagnosed with a progressive loss that currently may not be a problem.

Why use the term "Deafblind"?

The most simple answer to this question is because "deafblindness" is used to talk about a specific disability. It describes any combined vision and hearing losses that are significant enough to require special modifications or supports that go beyond what would normally be needed if the child had just a hearing loss or just a vision loss. When a child can see but is deaf, he or she relies on visual information, such as pictures or sign language for communication. Conversely, when a child can hear but is blind, he or she relies on auditory information, such as speech or sounds in the environment, to help learn about the world around him or her. If the child has both a vision and a hearing loss, some if not all of these methods of gathering information are closed to him or her.

In addition, although using the term "deafblind" may sound overwhelming, it does describe the reality of this disability. Deafblindness is not simply deafness plus blindness. The effect of both vision and hearing loss is more like deafness multiplied by blindness. Missing a little bit of what can be seen and a little bit of what can be heard means missing a lot of what is happening around us. This missing information also may cause miscommunication and misunderstanding. It is important to realize that without the proper support, even a mild vision and hearing loss has a dramatic impact on a child's ability to access information and learn.

Family Training Fund

Families need to be involved in their child's education and learn to advocate for their child's best interests. You are the ones who know him or her best. In order to help provide you with the information that you need, the Indiana Deafblind Services Project provides financial support through the Family Training Fund to assist you in attending workshops or conferences. Assistance is available only to families of children who are reported on the Project's deafblind census. These awards may be used one time per year to attend workshops or conferences on deafblindness or a closely related topic.

In order to apply, please fill out the Family Training Fund Application Form prior to the event and return it to: Sharon Bryan, Indiana Deafblind Services Project, Bayh College of Education, University Hall 009, 401 North 7th Street, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809

Opportunities for Involvement

Indiana Partners in Policymaking: The Governor's Council for People with Disabilities is recruiting applicants for the next Partners in Policymaking Academy scheduled for October 2010. The Partners in Policymaking Academy (PIP) offers eight weekends of intensive training designed to educate participants to be active partners with those who make policy. Every other year, 35 people with disabilities and family members are selected. PIP curriculum utilizes national presenters and promotes the values of integration/ inclusion, and the belief that all people with disabilities should be respected and contributing members of their communities. Applications must be postmarked by June 4, 2010. Sessions are monthly beginning in October and ending with graduation in May, 2011. If you need more information, contact Partners in Policymaking at 317-232-7770 or by e-mail or visit

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