TEA coordinates the provision of services to children who are blind or have a visual impairment (VI), deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), or DeafBlind (DB). This coordination is through collaboration with the 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs), the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI), and the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD).
- Services to Students who are Blind or Have a Visual Impairment
- Services to Students who are DeafBlind
- Services to Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- State Plans
- State Guidance
- State Resources
- National Resources
Services to Students Who Are Blind or have a Visual Impairment
TEA is required to develop and administer a comprehensive statewide plan for the education of children under 21 years old who have a VI (see Texas Education Code (TEC) §300.002). The statewide plan address the diagnosis and evaluation, and educational programs for services to students in their home communities whenever possible. TEA fulfills these and additional responsibilities through collaboration with ESC Region 11 and TSBVI.
The agency is also a member of the Education of Blind and VI Students Action committee, a statewide stakeholder group that provides suggestions for action to state agencies and groups regarding students who have a VI. In addition, the agency coordinates with the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) to provide instructional materials for qualifying students.
Services to Students Who Are DeafBlind
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 04) defines deafblindness as "concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness" (34 CFR §300.8(c)(2)).
When an individualized educational program (IEP) is developed for students who are DeafBlind, an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee require participation from professionals certified in the education of students with VI and auditory impairments (AI) (19 TAC §89.1131(b)(4)). TEA contracts with the Outreach Division of the TSBVI to provide technical assistance to districts serving students with DeafBlindness.
An intervener is an individual who has received specialized training to assist children who are deaf-blind by (a) facilitating access to environmental information, such as who is present, what is being said, and what activities are occurring, (b) supporting their development and use of communication skills, and (c) promoting their social and emotional well-being by maintaining a trusting and interactive relationship (Alsop, Blaha, & Kloos, 2000). For further information regarding interveners see: https://nationaldb.org/groups/page/9/national-intervener-services-initiative
Services to Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
TEA fulfills a requirement for a comprehensive statewide plan for educational services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) through a State DHH Plan (seeTEC §30.083). TEA works in collaboration with ESC Region 11, the Educational Resource Center on Deafness (ERCOD) at TSD, and stakeholders from an interagency task force referred to as the Texas National Agenda Action Committee (TNAAC).
Responsibilities are divided as follows:
- ESC Region 11 provides statewide leadership in areas related to services to infants and toddlers, communication access, and access to the general curriculum.
- ERCOD provides outreach support to schools and families.
- TNAAC provides suggestions for action regarding the alignment of the State DHH Plan with the National Agenda for deaf and hard of hearing students.
A comprehensive statewide plan is required for the education of students under 21 years old who are VI and AI.
- State VI Plan-a tool to identify needs, set priorities, and guide the service development and provision for students with visual impairments.
- State DB Plan-a tool to identify needs, set priorities, and guide the service development and provision for students with DeafBlindness.
- State DHH Plan (33KB)-a tool to help identify needs, set priorities, and guide services development and provision to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The following guidance is provided for AI and VI students:
- Early Transition Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)- The purposes of the AI/VI MOU for services to infants and toddlers, birth through two are to:define roles and responsibilities between the Health and Human Services Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) and TEA within the respective federal and state mandates; enhance interagency collaboration and relationships; and coordinate an effective system of activities, policies, and procedures, which guide and support the development and implementation of services.
- Educating Students with Visual Impairments in Texas: Guidelines and Standards- The Guidelines and Standards document helps in the development and implement programs and services for students with visual impairments and provides a clear understanding of the unique learning needs of these students.
- Interpreter Certification Guidance is in regards to federal requirements for certification of interpreters.
- Critical Mass Guidance for Regional Day School Programs for the Deaf (27 KB) - This guidance is regarding the importance of service students in programs where there is a critical mass of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- RDSPD Shared Services Arrangements (SSA) Procedures (79.6 KB) provide information regarding RDSPD Shared Services Arrangements.
The following resources are provided for AI and VI students:
Statewide Leadership for students with visual impairments- ESC XI provides leadership, staff development, technical assistance, and support to help Texas school districts meet the educational needs of students who have visual impairments.
Statewide Leadership for students who are deaf or hard of hearing- ESC XI provides leadership, staff development, technical assistance and support to help Texas school districts meet the educational needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
TSD- Serves as a special public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Educational Resource Center on Deafness (ERCOD) is a statewide resource to parents of these children and professionals who serve them.
TSBVI- Serves as a special public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. It is also a statewide resource to parents of these children and professionals who serve them.
Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS VRS)- Assists individuals with disabilities and their families. VRS envisions a Texas where people with disabilities reach their goals and enjoy the same opportunities as other Texans to pursue independence and employment.
Health and Human Services Early Childhood Intervention (HHS ECI)- ECI is a statewide program for families with children, birth to three, with disabilities and developmental delays. ECI supports families to help their children reach their potential through developmental services.
Health and Human Services Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS)- Works in partnership with people who are deaf or hard of hearing to eliminate societal and communication barriers in order to improve equal access. DHHS advocates for people of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing to enable them to express their freedoms, participate in society to their individual potential, and reduce their isolation regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or degree of disability.
Texas DeafBlind Project- Operates through a federal grant to provide information and training about deafblindness to families and the professionals that work with them. TEA contracts with the DeafBlind Outreach team at the TSBVI to provide technical assistance to meet the unique needs of children, birth through 21 years of age, who have both a vision and hearing impairment.
The following resources are provided for AI and VI students:
Deaf Education (aka DeafEd.net) is sponsored in part by the Division for Communicative Disabilities and Deafness (DCDD) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
The National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities, Revised is a historical statement of consensus in the field about how educational programs must change to meet the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities.
American Printing House for the Blindis the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.
National Consortium on DeafBlindness (NCDB) is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for children and youth who are DeafBlind.