Category Archives: Hearing Impairments

Anne Sullivan: An Early Transition Teacher

Transition may be something that has come to the forefront of the Special Education world, but it’s not something new.

Every June, the world celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Helen Keller, acclaimed blind/deaf/mute woman who captured the world with her successes despite her disabilities.

Anne Sullivan

While Keller developed the fortitude and self-determination to pursue her dreams and goals, much of the credit goes to her lifelong teacher, Anne Sullivan, who also struggled with a vision impairment. What she did to prepare Keller to be a productive citizen may not have been called “transition”, but that’s exactly what it was.

At only 21 years of age, Sullivan showed great maturity and ingenuity in teaching Keller. She wanted to help Keller make associations between words and physical objects, and worked hard with her rather stubborn and spoiled pupil. After isolating Keller from her family in order to better educate her, Sullivan began working to teach Keller how to communicate with the outside world. During one lesson, she finger-spelled the word “water” on one of Keller’s hands as she ran water over her student’s other hand. Keller finally made her first major breakthrough, connecting the concept of sign language with the objects around her.

Helen Keller

Thanks to Sullivan’s instruction, Keller learned nearly 600 words, most of her multiplication tables, and how to read Braille within a matter of months. News of Sullivan’s success with Keller spread, and the Perkins school wrote a report about their progress as a team. Keller became a celebrity because of the report, meeting the likes ofThomas EdisonAlexander Graham Bell, and Mark Twain.

Preparing students for life after high school: Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

This high school program is doing some amazing things to prepare students with visual and hearing impairments to life after high school.

Blumberg Center receives multi-year grant to provide services, support for deaf-blind Indiana youth

Indiana State University website post

An Indiana State University resource center has received a five-year grant to continue providing services to caregivers of young Hoosiers who have both vision and hearing impairments.

The new grant, which is for about $210,000 per year, calls for additional focus on improving the transition outcomes for deaf-blind youth, Poff said. In Indiana, students over 14 years old are considered “transition-age” and their educational program should address their needs for being successful as they move from high school to postsecondary education or a career, Poff said. Nationally, fewer than 20 percent of adults who are deaf-blind are employed and only 5 percent live independently.

“Part of the new grant is to make sure we have identified what those needs are for them … and try to provide resources and training that will help improve their outcomes,” Poff said. “The outcomes for kids who are deaf and blind are pretty dismal in terms of what happens after they graduate.”

During the next five years, Poff hopes to increase services to family members of deaf-blind youth so they can more actively participate in educational and life planning for their children. She also wants to expand the use of technology (including the project’s website, Facebook and distance learning) so that more people can access resources online, including the resources that are located in the project’s resource library at Indiana State.

Read more here.