Hand In Hand: Understanding Deafblindness for Education Teams

NEW Dates for the Three Modules
Session 1: January 10 & 11, 2022
Session 2: March 9-11, 2022
Session 3: April 28 & 29, 2022

There will be NO session in November 2021 as previously announced.


Location: Missouri School for the Blind
3815 Magnolia Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63110

Hand in Hand will be offered in-person. Vaccination will be required to attend in-person; please bring your ID and vaccination card when you sign in at Missouri School for the Blind. CDC guidelines will be followed.

Register here: Hand In Hand Application

For more information: Hand In Hand Information

This course, totaling seven days throughout the academic year, provides instructional strategies and practices specific to the education of students with dual sensory loss. The course combines three instructional sessions, follow-up mentoring provided by a specialist in the field of deafblindness and the development of a student profile.

The target audience for this course is the educational team of a student with a combined vision and hearing loss (dual sensory loss), the student’s parent(s), teachers, classroom paraprofessionals, therapists, Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Interpreters and Interpreting students. 


For more information, contact:

Natasha Baebler
DeafBlind Project Coordinator


VIISA Course I: Infants and Toddlers with Vision Impairments in Home-Based Settings


Session 1: November 3-5, 2021

Session 2: April 13-15, 2022

Location: Missouri School for the Blind
3815 Magnolia Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63110

Vaccination will be required to attend. Space is limited.

VIISA 2021-2022 class is now full. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please contact Mandy Clayton at the contact information below.


For more information: VIISA Announcement

The purpose of this course is for participants to gain and develop skills in understanding the unique needs of infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired. This training will cover topics related to the unique needs of preschoolers with vision loss, including: observation, assessment, the IEP/IFSP process, intervention techniques, use of appropriate methods, curricula and materials in teaching skills in all developmental domains, developing the use of all senses, meeting the child's needs in the group setting, socialization, school readiness, early literacy and orientation and mobility. The course combines self-studies, homework assignments, and two three-day sessions with course instructors. See announcement (below) for more details. Course is free to education professionals in the state of Missouri.


Mandy Clayton

Deaf-Blind School Support Specialist





Location: Missouri School for the Blind
3815 Magnolia Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63110

You may register for individual sessions or for the full week.
Due to the interactive nature of these presentations, MSB Outreach Fall PD will be in-person only, unless the State of Missouri restricts travel. Vaccination will be required to attend; please bring your ID and vaccination card when you sign in at Missouri School for the Blind. Accommodations requested at least two weeks in advance may be offered on a case-by-case basis for those unable to be vaccinated due to disability. CDC guidelines will be followed. Space is limited.
All workshop sessions are provided free of charge. Working lunch will be provided each day. Transportation, lodging, and other meals will be the responsibility of the applicant (unless you are a MoSPIN Parent Advisor).

Come join us for five days:

  • Communication, Gestures and Literacy

    October 25-26

    Susan Bashinski

    This two-day session is premised on the belief that ALL individuals with deaf-blindness DO communicate—not that they all can learn to communicate. The workshop will focus on practical strategies that families and educational teams can implement to facilitate growth in the direction of conventional communication, including the incorporation of comprehension and expression with gestures. The presenter will provide communication partners with specific strategies to help enable a learner’s more active engagement in family and school activities and begin to focus instruction on emergent literacy skills.
    Susan M. Bashinski is a Professor of Special Education, Director of graduate programs in Education, and Interim Dean of the Graduate School at Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri. She has more than 40 years’ experience working with learners who experience multiple disabilities, including deaf-blindness. The body of Susan’s work is grounded in educational practice. She not only has a passion, but believes also a professional responsibility, to conduct pragmatic research and to work diligently to try and translate research findings into effective everyday practice—and then share those through the classes she teaches and workshops she presents for families and professionals.


  •  Welcoming Students Who are Visually Impaired

    Welcoming Students who are Visually Impaired/Blind to your School

    October 27

    Jane Herder and Steve Nation

    Image of a cartoon teacher with the words "Welcome Back! School is fun!"This pesentation covers the basics of teaching students with a visual impairment/blindness. Accommodations, modifications, textbooks, low vision aids and Orientation and Mobility will be covered. An excellent course for those new to teaching the VI/B, special education administrators, related service providers, families and paraprofessionals.
    Jane Herder is the Director of Outreach and Project Director of the Missouri Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Project. Jane came to the Outreach Department of Missouri School for the Blind in August of 2017. Jane has 23 years as an Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist in Missouri, Colora do and New Mexico. She received her MA. Ed. degree in Severe Needs: Vision Impairments and Orientation and Mobility from the University of Northern Colorado and endorsement from the University of Northern Colorado in multiculturalism. She is a Library of Congress Certified Braille transcriber. Lastly, she has an additional MA Ed. degree in Technology in Schools from University of Missouri-St. Louis and she recently finished her graduate certificate in Deafblindness from Texas Tech University.

    Steve Nation is a Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired in Missouri. He taught special education for 10 years prior to becoming a TVI. He currently works with students with Visual Impairments in 8 school districts and also First Steps for early intervention. He volunteers with Southeast Kids In Action (SEKIA) which is a group promoting socialization and new experiences for children with Visual Impairments. He holds a B.S.Ed. with certification in Special Education K-12 and General Education 1-6, a MA Ed. in Teacher Leadership, a M.S.Ed. in Special Education with certification in Blindness/Low Vision Instruction B-12, and is working on his Orientation and Mobility Certification and National Library of Congress Braille Transcriber Certification. 


  • Comprehensive Literacy for Your Student with Multiple Disabilities/Dual Sensory Losses

    October 28

    Rubecca Wilson and Karen Carl

    Join us for this hands-on literacy workshop. All students can learn to read and write print. This session will be a practical guide with hands on activities for teaching students with significant disabilities. We will explain how to provide comprehensive literacy instruction addressing your students’  needs, whether they are emergent readers and writers or students acquiring conventional literacy skills. Audience: Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Teachers of the Deaf, special educators, general educators, speech-language pathologists, families and other professionals.

  • Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Interventions, Strategies and the CVI Range with Chris Russell

    October 29

    Chris Russell

    Christopher Russell is the Project Coordinator for the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative, and has experience as a classroom teacher and Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) working with children who have visual impairments and additional disabilities including deaf-blindness. Chris presents widely in NY and nationally on educational implications of deaf-blindness, cortical visual impairment, curriculum adaptations, and communication development for children with pre-symbolic communication. He has the Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsement and serves as co-instructor with Dr. Roman on the Perkins E-Learning CVI and CVI: Phase III courses.

For more information, please contact Jane Herder at Jane.Herder@msb.dese.mo.gov or 314-633-1582.



Jane C. Herder

Director Outreach/Deaf-Blind Project




Intervener Training

Interveners—specially trained paraprofessionals who work one-on-one with students who are deaf-blind—are greatly needed in Missouri. Interveners help schools meet the challenge of providing students with deafblindness the access to information they are unable to gather via vision or hearing. An intervener works one-on-one with a student, facilitating communication and supporting concept development.


If you are interested in becoming an intervener, Missouri Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Project (MoDBTAP) offers distance learning training and coaching opportunities. MoDBTAP utilizes the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Modules, combined with monthly online coaching, to help prepare paraprofessionals to become interveners. These Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules are a national resource designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students (ages 3 through 21) with deafblindness who are being served in educational settings. Topics covered include building a trusted relationship, concept development and active learning, self-determination, communication principles, and developing social skills. A $50/module stipend is available for paraprofessionals currently working with a student registered with the MoDBTAP Student Census.


Additionally, teachers, administrators, and other related staff working with a student with deafblindness may participate in “Deafblindness and Intervener Awareness Training,” a two-month, self-paced study of the basics of deafblindness and the role of an intervener. A stipend is available upon successful completion of the 4-module training.


For more information, please contact Mandy Clayton at Mandy.Clayton@msb.dese.mo.gov or 314-633-1553.




Mandy Clayton

Deaf-Blind School Support Specialist



INSITE: In-Home Sensory Intervention Training and Education



A curriculum model of home intervention for infants, toddlers, and preschool aged children who have a visual impairment and may have other multiple disabilities, including deaf-blind.  The INSITE model and training is for Parent Advisors for MoSPIN (Statewide Parent Involvement Network0 home visits.  This curriculum includes the following areas: communication, hearing, vision, cognition, motor impairments, and developmental resources.


You Could Be A PA: https://msb.dese.mo.gov/outreach-services/documents/YouCouldBeAPAFormAccessible.pdf



Melissa Moore

Lead Parent Advisor/Family Engagement Coordinator





Unified English Braille Code

To find more information on Unified English Braille Code, please visit http://www.brailleauthority.org/ueb.html


Coursework Leading to Certification as Teacher of the Visually Impaired

TVI and OM programs breakdown

Training and Certification (undergraduate and graduate)


Considering a degree program?

The following college and university programs have successfully completed the accreditation process and have earned the distinction of “AER Accredited.” Each of these personnel preparation programs has demonstrated adherence to high quality standards that lead to a valuable academic experience; and the competencies needed for employment and certifications.


Lighthouse for the Blind-St. Louis Tuition Reimbursement Program

The Tuition Reimbursement Program was developed for individuals who are specializing in the field of service to persons who are blind or legally blind. This program is for college students in their senior year in an undergraduate program, OR a graduate student OR a paraprofessional that is currently employed and working in the field.


Please see Lighthouse for the Blind Tuition Program


So you want to be a TVI/OM?


AER Accredited Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Programs


AER Accredited Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Programs


AER Accredited Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) Programs


Deafblindness Programs