Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Deaf-Blind Child Count?
    The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), requires the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project to conduct the National Deaf-Blind Child Count an an annual basis. The Deaf-Blind Child Count records the number of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and students who have dual sensory impairments or who are at-risk of developing dual sensory impairments, and who are enrolled in early intervention or special education as of December 1 of the current school year.

  • How does Pennsylvania conduct the Deaf-Blind Count?
    Annually, each and every Approved Private School (APS), Early Intervention Program (EI) and Local Educational Agency (LEA) is tasked with submitting data for any enrolled children that meet the definition of deaf-blindness set forth by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB). These records are submitted to the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project and a summary is submitted to NCDB. If an LEA/APS has no children to report, a submission is still required so that the data accurately reflects Pennsylvania as a whole.

  • What it the importance of collecting this data?
    Collecting accurate data helps state and federal agencies determine the level of funding provided to the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project, which is turn allows the Project to better serve this population of children by appropriately funding technical assistance, training and research in the coming year. 

  • Who at the LEA/APS is responsible for the submission?
    While any staff member at an LEA/APS that has access to a child's information can submit for the Deaf-Blind Count, ideally it should be a staff member that is familiar with the student.

  • What if an LEA/APS believes that they have no students that meet the criteria for submission?
    The Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project makes itself available to all LEA/APS to assist in making those determinations. If you are unsure about a particular child, please reach out. 

  • What exactly is meant by the term “deaf-blind”?
    The PA Deaf-Blind Project recognizes that this is a difficult question for families and educators, and that the federal definition can be confusing. To make it more clear, the PA Deaf-Blind Project uses a functional definition of deafblindness: If a student (birth through age 21) has combined hearing and vision needs that are significant enough to require considerations (such as specialized adaptations, modifications, and strategies) when presented with information or interacting with others, then that child should be included on the Deaf-Blind Child Count and would be eligible to receive support from our project. Examples include:

    • Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and students who have a diagnosis of deaf-blindness and/or receive both vision and hearing support services; 

    • Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and students who have mild to profound hearing loss and vision loss with correction that still requires adaptations or modifications; 

    • Infants and toddlers (ages 0-3) who have a diagnosis that places them at risk for an intellectual disability with inconsistent responses to light and sound. (At-risk means a diagnosis that does not guarantee hearing/vision loss); or 

    • Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and students with multiple disabilities who may demonstrate inconsistent responses to light and sound.

  • What if the hearing and/or vision problems are neurological in nature? What if the hearing and/or vision issues are “processing” problems? 
    For the purposes of the PA Deaf-Blind Child Count, you should include children with sensory needs that are neurological in nature—such as cerebral (or cortical) visual impairment, central auditory processing disorder, and/or auditory neuropathy—on the Deaf-Blind Count. These students usually require adaptations and modifications to their programs in order for them to succeed. In addition, these hearing and vision needs should be considered when developing effective, formal communication systems for these students. When in doubt, refer to the functional definition of deaf-blindness above.

  • If my child is not classified as deaf-blind on their IEP, should they still be included on the Deaf-Blind Count?
    Yes. LEA’s follow the IDEA and Chapter 14 criteria when determining eligibility classification of students with disabilities. However, there are instances where students with combined vision and hearing needs are classified under categories other than deaf-blindness for the purposes of the Pennsylvania Child Count which is different from the Deaf-Blind Child Count. Given that these students that still have combined vision and hearing needs, they should be included on the PA Deaf-Blind Child Count.