RI Services to Children and Youth with Dual Sensory Impairments, also known as the DSI Project, is a federally funded grant designed to provide technical assistance to educational teams and families who serve learners with deaf-blindness (birth – 22 years old) in Rhode Island. Our Project goals include:
Collaborate with the medical, community, and infant toddler services to identify children with dual sensory impairments early so services can be provided to the child and family
Provide training to families and service providers who work with children with dual sensory impairments
Provide family and self-advocacy support
Assist families and educational teams access supports to maximize their child’s independent living and help them prepare for times of transition
Maintain information on the Rhode Island census for the National Child Count
Who Is Eligible For DSI Project Services?
Dual Sensory Impairment (deafblindness) can be characterized as low vision to complete blindness along with a mild hearing loss to profound deafness. The combination of the two sensory losses makes it challenging to implement typical educational strategies and approaches into the student's IEP.
Eligibility is determined by a review of a child’s medical records, and through a conversation with a child’s family and/or educational team. It is essential that the referral form be complete and accurate. A consent form must accompany the referral. Without complete and accurate information, it is possible that an individual who is eligible for the project could be determined ineligible and, thus, would not benefit from the project's services. In addition, the project is required to send yearly reports that require complete information for each individual involved with the project. (This information is submitted without the individual's name.)
Referral To The DSI Project
The first step in getting connected with our project is to refer a child, birth to 22 years of age, to the RI DSI Project. Once a learner meets eligibility requirements, they become eligible for our services. If you know of a child who experiences both vision and hearing loss, we encourage you to contact our Project today.
Through the Rhode Island DSI Project, family members of children with dual sensory impairments, as well as the learner's educational team, can access a variety of services at NO COST. Services could include consultations, trainings, resource sharing and networking with other families. The Rhode Island DSI Project can connect you with other resources within the state and the nation. Our loan library, as a part of the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College has media that can be checked out for free on topics related to deaf-blindness and many other topics. Other special updates can also be shared with families and their school teams.
To be referred to the DSI Project, the following information is needed:
A release form signed by the child’s parent or legal guardian Release Form 15 kb (PDF)
A vision evaluation must include information regarding the student’s visual acuity (near and distance with correction), field limitation, general visual functioning, nystagmus, ocular motor functioning, date of onset for the vision condition, etiology,
A hearing evaluation must include information regarding the student’s degree of hearing loss, type of hearing loss, overall hearing functioning, auditory processing loss, date of onset for the hearing condition, etiology, any chronic condition which significantly interferes with the auditory learning mode, current hearing with correction (if necessary).
An educational report (IEP or IFSP) that documents important information such as: effective teaching strategies, student and family preferences, assessment results, present levels of performance in all applicable areas, annual goals, services and accommodations (such as assistive technology, hearing aids, magnification, communication).
DSI Project Services
The DSI Project provides support tailored to the individual needs of a child with dual sensory impairments, their family, and/or the educational team as part of early intervention or school.
Parents are often overwhelmed with the complexity of their child's life. Some parents benefit from identification of their child/s strengths, coordination of services and assistance during times of transition (such as entering a school program, changing classrooms, and moving into the adult world). This project supports each family throughout their child's education, and helps families make realistic decisions regarding their child's participation in current and future settings.
Children with dual sensory impairments often require specialized communication systems, which focus on a child's strongest sensory systems. This federal project works with the child, and those who support the child, to identify and utilize communication systems, mobility systems, learning styles, material and curriculum modification, and alternative assessment techniques.
Project staff provides the educational community with ongoing education through personal classroom contact, in-services for teachers, and related staff, and university courses within the Department of Special Education at Rhode Island College. The focus of professional support includes:
The unique needs of children and youth with vision and hearing impairments
Techniques on the successful inclusion of students with dual sensory impairments in general education settings
Information and access to resources, which support families and educators in the area of recreation, communication, assessment, and program planning