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An Intervener is a person who works consistently one-to-one with an individual who is deaf-blind. Deaf-Blindness is a low incidence disability that describes individuals with varying degrees of vision and hearing losses. The combined loss often compromises the ability to access information in the environment or to communicate effectively. Inverveners, through the practice of intervention, provide a vital link to the people, things and events in the world surrounding a person who is deaf-blind. Interveners provide services in educational settings for students, as well as in early intervention and community settings.
In educational settings, interveners, through the provision of intervener services, provide access to information and communication and facilitate the development of social and emotional well being for children who are deaf-blind. An interventer is typically a paraeducator who has received specialized, in-depth training in deaf-blindness and works one-to-one with an infant, child, or youth. The intervener serves as a member of the student’s educational team. Working under the guidance and direction of a student’s classroom teacher or another individual responsible for ensuring the implementation of the student’s IEP, an intervener’s primary roles are to:
- provide consistent access to instruction and environmental information that is usually gained by typical students through vision and hearing, but that is unavailable or incomplete to an individual who is deaf-blind;
- provide access to and/or assist in the development and use of receptive and expressive communication skills;
- facilitate the development and maintenance of trusting, interactive relationships that promote social and emotional well-being; and,
- provide support to help a student form relationships with others and increase social connections and participation in activities.
Development of Intervener Services in the US
The concept of intervener services for individuals who are deaf-blind arose in Canada in the 1970s, and has been developing as a practice in the U. S. over the past two decades. In that time, significant efforts by many individuals across the nation have improved the availability of intervener services for children who are deaf-blind. Since 2002, there has been a national intervener task force that has developed valuable resources, including materials that raise awareness of intervener services and guidelines for intervener competencies. Families have educated policymakers about the role of interveners and the positive impact an intervener can have on the education of a child who is deaf-blind. State deaf-blind projects, part of the system of federal supports for this group of students, have developed creative ways to train interveners and support them in classrooms. Formal and informal collaborations are leading towards the development of a stronger national infrastructure to support this practice. Currently, a national set of recommendations, a national set of competencies for training interveners, national training modules and a national association are part of a strong foundation for promoting quality intervention services for individuals with deaf-blindness.
- Alsop, L.; Blaha, R.; Kloos, E. (2000). The intervener in early intervention and educational settings for children and youth with deafblindness. Monmouth, OR: Western Oregon University, Teaching Research, National Technical Assistance Consortium for Children and Young Adults Who Are Deaf-Blind.
- "Intervener Services and Interveners in Educational Settings". National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness. Retrieved 2013.
- McInnes, J. M (1999). "Intervention". A guide to planning and support for individuals who are deafblind. University of Toronto Press. pp. 75–118.
- "Intervener Services Recommendations". National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- National Center on Deaf-Blindness
- Recommendations for Improving Intervener Services
- Interveners and Children Who Are Deafblind Website
- National Intervener Association
- Specialization Knowledge and Skill Set for Paraeducators who are Interveners for Individuals with Deafblindness
- Intervener Services and Interveners in Educational Settings - Definition