Increasing Recognition and Use of Qualified Personnel: State Success Stories
Promoting recognition of qualified personnel—interveners and teachers of students who are deaf-blind—is a goal of many state deaf-blind projects. To aid in these efforts, NCDB has interviewed and collected information from projects that have made progress in this area.
All of the state projects listed below have engaged in systemic-change activities to establish or strengthen intervener services, including training and support. The Illinois, Texas, and Utah projects have also worked on initiatives related to teachers of students who are deaf-blind.
The approaches taken are varied and have been informed by available opportunities and the nature of state systems. They include influencing regulatory and legislative processes, advocacy, and program development at state and local levels. For some states, legislation and regulation has come first. Others have focused on the development of training systems as a way to build capacity and promote examples of exemplary practice.
Our goal is to provide succinct, practical information that other state projects can use to plan their own qualified personnel systems-change activities. This main page provides key points for each of the highlighted states and links to short summary reports and resources. Although efforts undertaken by the states have differed significantly, the information is organized in consistent way, with the content divided into two main areas:
- Advocacy – describes activities that have occurred or are occurring to promote change
- Adoption – describes processes or structures that have been put in place (e.g., legislation, regulation, training systems)
California Deafblind Services was not interviewed for this project, but they have published an article called "The State of Interveners in the State of California: A 2019 Update" about their current work related to interveners and teachers of the deaf-blind.
- Intervener regulations have been added to Illinois School Code as a related service.
- The development of regulatory language to make interveners a related service came from the state deaf-blind project and the State Board of Education.
- Illinois has a teacher of the deaf-blind exam and endorsement, but no training program or reciprocal arrangement with another state.
- Minnesota has a state-funded home and community-based intervener program for children and youth 0-21 years of age. In 2017, the community program began providing services for individuals over the age of 21 in need of continued intervener services.
- Since 2003, the state deaf-blind project has built a highly developed training system for school and community interveners using a professional development model and ongoing supports for practicing interveners.
- The state does not have educational intervener legislation or regulations, but has instead relied on building a system through district-level technical assistance and advocacy.
- Services for children in schools vary by district, ranging from interveners with well-developed job descriptions and salary differentials, to no recognition of the role.
- Systems efforts related to qualified personnel started with recognition of the intervener role and intervener training.
- Since 2008, the Texas Deafblind Project has engaged in grassroots efforts to achieve recognition and certification of teachers of students who are deafblind.
- Although the job title “Teacher of Students who are Deafblind (TDB)” was not formally recognized in Texas at that time, project staff began using it as a way for these teachers to self-identify, to educate professionals and families about the new role, and to set the stage for systems change.
- In 2011, the project launched the TDB Pilot Program, which demonstrated how this type of program can be implemented and the powerful impact of TDBs. It also increased statewide recognition of this new role.
- Working collaboratively with stakeholders, personnel preparation program faculty, and the Texas Education Agency, teacher standards for TDBs were established and subsequently approved in October 2021.
- "Intervener" is defined in the Utah Administrative Code as "a specially trained paraprofessional who provides access to information and communication and facilitates the development of social and emotional well-being for children who are deaf-blind.”
- Teachers of the deaf-blind are essential for supervising and supporting interveners.
- Family advocacy to the Utah State Legislature has been the driving force behind the adoption and maintenance of intervener services.
- The use of state and federal funds is essential to sustaining services for students who are deaf-blind.
- The state deaf-blind project and other deaf-blind services (including outreach services) are based at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
- The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind and some school districts have adopted the position of intervener.
- In April 2013, HB 1420 was unanimously passed by the Virginia House and Senate, creating a definition of interveners and requiring the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to promulgate regulations.
- Although there is not currently a certificate or endorsement for Teacher of the Deaf-Blind, the Virginia Project for Children and Young Adults with Deaf-Blindness works with the VDOE to offer training to teams who work with children who are deaf-blind.
- Used an internal regulatory process within the West Virginia Department of Education to add interveners to state regulations.
- The intervener job description was combined with existing one-to-one support job descriptions.
- The deaf-blind project encourages school districts to assign intervener positions to their districts, rather than individual schools, so the position follows a child as he or she ages and switches schools.
- The deaf-blind project offers intervener training to districts that adopt the intervener position for a student. The need for training can be included on a student’s IEP.
- A strong relationship between the Wisconsin Deafblind Technical Assistance Project (WDBTAP) and Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction, where the project is housed, has led to policy and procedural decisions that support the recognition and use of interveners.
- A 2018 letter from Ruth Ryder, then acting director of OSEP, was an important resource for raising awareness of interveners as a related service.
- WDBTAP offers reimbursement at the CEU/non-credit tuition level for individuals who attend the Utah State University (USU) Intervener Training Program.
- WDBTAP staff provide coaching for participants during the practicum portion of the USU program.