School Age Services for the Deafblind

Our Deafblind Resource Services at the W. Ross Macdonald School provides consultative services for students with Deafblindness residing within the Province of Ontario.

For a referral package, or to request support from Resource Services and Outreach Programs, Deafblind Program, please contact Amanda Gowan

Criteria for Service
We use the international definition of deafblind to determine eligibility for services:

  • One who has a combined loss of the two distance senses of vision and hearing such that neither can be the primary means of learning.

Service Levels

Full Service

A comprehensive, individualized program where the specialist consultant makes regular visits to programs and/or homes. This level of service is not always necessary where existing programs are in place and operating well. Full service is reviewed regularly.

Scheduled Consultative

The specialist consultant visits programs and/or homes according to the schedule that meets the needs of the clients, parents, and program providers. The frequency can be one visit per term or a certain number of visits per year.

Requested Consultative
The specialist consultant will visit upon request to provide assessments, provide program suggestions and assistance as requested.

Levels are determined by identified needs and the benefit of the program to the client.

Consultants are specialists in the field of Deafblindness. Their experience and training has qualified them to address the needs of students with combined losses in vision and hearing, where specialized methods and techniques are necessary for learning and development. The role of the Resource Consultant includes:

  • Support families
  • Integrate therapeutic, community, educational services, etc. into the total program
  • Establish the needs of the client according to level of functioning
  • Provide written program plans and consult in the IEP process
  • Attend IPRCs and medical appointments upon request
  • Provide information on funding support services
  • Provide workshops for family and community education
  • Assist in transition to educational settings and adult services
  • Provide specific training for intervenors
  • Assess clients for purposes of identification followed by a written assessment report outlining suggestions and recommendations

We assess the child’s functional use of vision and hearing before providing services. Ophthalmological and audiological reports, information provided by parents and caregivers, as well as the child’s responses during interaction with consultants from Deafblind Resource Services, are all considered in order to determine the suitability of an identification of Deafblindness.

Following identification, a consultant makes regular visits to the student’s home and/or the school they are attending. A comprehensive individualized program for the student is designed by the consultant in a collaborative effort with information gathered from family and school staff. As well, the consultant will offer information and demonstrations of methods and techniques that are most suitable to foster the student’s development and learning.

Other services to School Boards include presentations and workshops to provide information about the educational implications of Deafblindness. Each year we host an annual Fall two-day workshop entitled Introduction to Deafblindness and Intervention. This workshop includes:

  •  What is Deafblindness? Vision Loss, Hearing Loss, and the Combined Effect
  • Communication with Individuals who are Deafblind – Total Communication, Calendar systems
  • Activity Based Programming
  • Creating a Reactive Environment
  • Intervention – Methods and Techniques
  • Specialized Information Sessions

Deafblind Resource Services is also committed to expanding awareness of the unique nature of the challenges faced by individuals with Deafblindness. Upon request workshops and presentations are provided to schools and agencies who may be involved in supporting these students.

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