Deafblind Resources for Families
If your child has a combined vision and hearing loss, or you suspect that they do, we may be able to give you valuable information to help your child learn, communicate, play, and grow.
You may want to learn how other families with children who experience combined vision and hearing loss have helped their children to grow up to be their best. We can help you make those connections!
You may want to know about your choices when teaching your child to communicate, when selecting a school program, or when planning family activities that include everyone. We can help you discuss the options.
Free family memberships
All families who have a child registered with DB Central are now eligible for a free year of membership to The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) and Michigan Hands and Voices.
NFADB continues to carry on working towards supporting national policy to benefit individuals who are deaf-blind, encourage the founding and strengthening of family organizations (state/national), share information related to deaf-blindness, and provide resources and opportunities to all families with individuals who are deaf-blind.
- Registration information for The National Association for Deaf-Blind membership.
- Learn more and apply for NFADB membership!
Read their brochures below and contact DB Central for more information on their organizations.
- View the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) 2023 Brochure - English
- View the NFADB 2023 Membership Letter - English
- View the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) 2023 Membership Application - English
- View the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) 2023 Brochure - Spanish
- View the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) 2023 Membership Letter - Spanish
- View the NFADB 2023 Membership Application - Spanish
Anyone can become a member of Michigan Hands & Voices for $25 a year! Membership renews the next November 1; if you start a membership after March, renewal is November 1 of the following year. Benefits of a Michigan Hands & Voices include more than 40 events yearly, members-only events, The Communicator in your mailbox, legislative representation, and access to national parent network! They offer scholarships to aid in purchasing memberships as well.
- Michigan Hands & Voices Brochure
- Click here for more information and to become a member of Michigan Hands & Voices!
Are you a Teacher, Intervener, or Parent supporting someone who is deaf-blind and on the DB Central registry? You may be eligible to receive one of DB Central's mini grants for materials. Receive up to $500 per child/student! Apply for mini grants by September 15th.
State of Michigan resources
Many national organizations have Michigan affiliates or liaisons to contact locally. Contact DeafBlind Central's Director Beth Kennedy for questions for more information. Reach out to the national organization to find your Michigan representative, or email DeafBlind Central for assistance!
Bureau of Services for Blind Persons Training Center (BSBPTC) Virtual Tours
Tours are available upon request. Tours are routinely scheduled Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm (ET). The tour usually takes half an hour. The BSBPTC is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It is a residential training institute that assists persons who are legally blind increase their marketable skills through onsite technical training programs. Due to current restrictions, tours are limited to virtual hours.
- Visit their website to learn more about BSBPTC virtual tours!
Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind Summer Camp
Camp registration is OPEN for the summer of 2024! OUB serves kids ages 7-17 with day camping and overnight camping opportunities. Send your kids for a fun-filled summer of cooking, crafting, swimming, hiking, field trips, sleeping in tents - and even more!
Spring Unified English Braille Class
- Feb. 21 - Jun. 5
- Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
- Register here!
This online class is for individuals who have little or no experience with braille. In the class, participants will visually learn how to read and write braille. They will also gain knowledge and practice to effectively support students who use braille. Learn about: the alphabet; punctuation and contractions; typeforms; and Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics. This class is for adult family members and school personnel supporting students in Michigan who are Blind/Visually Impaired (BVI), and college students in Michigan who are studying a BVI-related field. A certificate of completion will be issued by the Michigan Department of Education. Registration is due February 7.
Summer Unified English Braille Class
- Jun. 18 - Aug. 20
- Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
- Register here!
This online class is for individuals who have little or no experience with braille. In the class, participants will visually learn how to read and write braille. They will also gain knowledge and practice to effectively support students who use braille. Learn about: the alphabet; punctuation and contractions; typeforms; and Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics. This class is for adult family members and school personnel supporting students in Michigan who are Blind/Visually Impaired (BVI), and college students in Michigan who are studying a BVI-related field. A certificate of completion will be issued by the Michigan Department of Education. Registration opens in April.
- Michigan Family to Family Health Information Center
- Michigan Hands & Voices
- Michigan Alliance for Families
- Michigan Department of Education - Low Incidence Outreach
- Michigan Coalition for Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing People
- Michigan Association for DeafBlind
This is the association for families across Michigan. Please contact DB Central if you are interested in joining.
- CHARGE Syndrome Foundation Michigan Parent Liaison
Email Jodie Beavers
Annual Membership Drive for the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind
The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) has been supporting individuals who are deaf-blind and their families for over sixteen years. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in deaf-blindness, including people who are deaf-blind, family members, friends and interested service providers and professionals. We would like to invite you to become a member! We encourage you to visit NFADB’s website for more information about the organization and about how to become a member!
National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB): Assistant in Creating Training Series
The National Center on Deaf-Blindness is currently working on the third module of Teaching Children Who Are DeafBlind: Professional Development for Educators to help enhance competency and skills. These modules are designed for practitioners who want to improve their knowledge of deafblindness and gain practical information they can put to use right away in the home or classroom.
For use in the modules, the NCDB is looking for videos of educators, children, and family members to help illustrate the strategies and skills involved when working with deafblind children. Anyone who contributes photos or videos selected for use will receive an Amazon gift card or mailed check in the following amounts: $50 per video, $15 per photograph.
- Visit the National Center on Deaf-Blindness website to learn more about the module that is being developed!
Protactile Language Interpreting Pilot Cohort
The Protactile Language Interpreting National Education Program is charged with preparing interpreters working with DeafBlind individuals in Protactile language. Training is provided by DeafBlind educators.
For those interpreters who work regularly in communities with greater concentrations of DeafBlind individuals, PLI is launching a Pilot cohort in 2023. This is a small cohort of 12-18 participants to maintain small mentor-to-student ratios and cohort experiences.
Each cohort is a community of practice, sharing their newly-applied learnings, skills, knowledge, and resources with each other and their instructors and mentors.
iCanConnect: The National DeafBlind Equipment Distribution Program
Sending an email or chatting on the phone can be challenging for people with both significant vision and hearing loss. iCanConnect is a national program that provides free equipment and training to help people stay connected with friends, family, and the world.
iCanConnect provides equipment including smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille equipment, and software to people with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income and disability guidelines.
Compass is an innovative college readiness program. It is a nine-month virtual program build to college-aspiring high school students with visual impairment. Compass is designed to help participants proactively explore and develop a plan for building the critical academic and blindness skills they need to reach their post-secondary goals.
- Weekly meetings with coaches (up to 90 hours per year)
- Virtual weekend workshops
- Develop an individualized action plan
- Apply here for 2024!
Even more resources!
- iPad Apps for Learners with Complex Additional Support Needs
- 4to24 App Available for Parents of Deaf-Blind Youth
- National Family Association for DeafBlind (NFADB)
- National Center on DeafBlindness
- Hands & Voices
- Helen Keller National Center
- Perkins School for the Blind
- Center for Parent Information and Resources
- Affordable Connectivity Program
- National Center on Education Outcomes Video Channel
- Progress Center Student Led IEPs Webinar
National resources for specific causes of deafblindness
- CHARGE Syndrome Foundation
- Down Syndrome Family Resource Center
- Usher Syndrome Coalition
Read additional information about accommodations for students with Usher Syndrome
- Cornelia de Lange Syndrome
- Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome
- Dandy-Walker Syndrome
- Stickler Syndrome
- Goldenhar Syndrome
- Patau Syndrome
- Norrie Disease
The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H326T180045. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. - Project Officer, Eric Caruso.