DEAF BLIND SERVICES
Contact: Jackie Brennan Jackie@obs.org
Overbrook School for the Blind serves children with deafblindness in all of their out- reach and educational programs. Teachers in the Early Intervention Outreach Program work closely with teachers of the deaf and hearing impaired to provide a complete program to meet the sensory needs of infants and toddlers who have both a vision and hearing loss. Teachers from our Early Childhood Out Reach Program, provide services in preschool or home based settings for children in Philadelphia who do not attend Overbrook. On campus the Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, High School and School to Work Programs all serve children with deafblindness. By providing services in this way, rather than a separate program, the diverse needs of the students can be met in an age appropriate environment. Our on-campus students with deafblindness range in age from 3-21 and have very different educational needs based on the degree of vision and hearing loss and additional disabilities.
Each student’s program focuses on using a communication and amplification program specifically designed to them. Many of our students use an oral/aural approach using speech as communication while other students may use visual or tactile sign language, touch or object cues, or other augmentative communication systems or devices. Classroom teachers work closely with each student’s family, PT, OT, and Speech therapist to develop an appropriate system and instructional program.
Students and staff also receive additional support from the Pennsylvania Deafblind Project, Hand In Hand. An Educational Consultant provides technical assistance and training for staff both on and off campus as well as working with families. For families, the Deafblind Project provides a computer listserv so that parents can communicate with each other over the internet, self paced home training modules to educate parents about the loss of vision and hearing, sponsorship for parents to attend conferences and trainings, and an annual family weekend for families to get together for fun and learning. The project also provides in-service training to Overbrook staff and to support Overbook’s professional development program.
Overbrook is committed to serving children from birth – 21 years old who have both a vision and hearing loss using approaches and accommodations to meet their individual needs. Students are included throughout all of Overbrook’s programs and related services. Overbrook’s partnership with the PA Deafblind Project is an outcome of this commitment.
The PA Deafblind Project is a federally and state funded project designed to provide technical assistance and support for children who are deafblind, their families, and educational and service providers. For more information on this project, contact Jackie Brennan at Jackie@obs.org or (215) 877- 0313, ext 215 or go to view the
Resource on Waivers.. provided by Patti McGowan
Family Liaison, PA Deaf-Blind Initiative
Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network
PA Deafblind Project, Hand In Hand on the PaTTAN website.
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