The following information is courtesy of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC).
Resources continue to expand for the DeafBlind population in Illinois. Below are some resources:
Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind
The Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (HKNC) gives people who are DeafBlind tools to live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice. HKNC has a regional office, known as Region 5, in Moline, IL that also covers some surrounding states including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Judy Knisely, who is the representative for Region 5, is available for assistance and is able to connect DeafBlind individuals, their families, and service providers to programs, services, assistive technology, and more. Judy can be contacted at email@example.com or 419-951-6020/419-951-0474 (VP).
HKNC maintains a confidential National Registry of people who are DeafBlind. The collected information assists in their research, program planning, and enhances their advocacy efforts.
HKNC offers a variety of programs: the traditional programs, youth programs, senior adult services programs, DeafBlind Individuals with Cognitive Challenges programs, professional development programs, and some online courses including “Confident Living: A Course for Individuals Supporting Older Adults with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss” and “Working with Individuals who are DeafBlind: A Course for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Other Professionals.
In addition, HKNC is accepting applications for their Confident Living Program for Senior Adults to be held at the headquarters in Sands Point, NY. This on-site training will be provided on October 3-8, 2016. Please contact Judy Knisely for more information.
The Chicago Lighthouse (CLH) provides educational, clinical, vocational and rehabilitation services for children, youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired including DeafBlind and multi-disabled. Their DeafBlind program provides communication support, crisis intervention, adaptive technology training and advocacy. The program serves people throughout the state of Illinois with varying degrees of visual and hearing losses, providing access to other Lighthouse programs, services within the community and appropriate referrals to agencies. The DeafBlind program offers the following services: telecommunication assessment and training, job readiness preparation, braille phone/Deafblind communicator training, sign language training, braille training, basic counseling and functional assessment.
CLH also administers the iCanConnect Program (The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program) which is a national accessibility program providing communications technology free of charge to low-income people of all ages who have combined vision and hearing loss. Individuals work with qualified program specialists to identify hardware, software and applications that best suit their communications technology needs.
CLH also operates a north side facility in Glenview, IL, known as the Chicago Lighthouse North that sponsors a parent support group facilitated by psychologist Dr. Joseph Wallach for parents with children who are blind or visually impaired. Their Children's Enrichment Program also offers music therapy for children ages 6 months to 3 years old, a teen transition program, and social events designed to connect families.
Project Reach is a federally funded grant program that provides technical assistance, information, and training to address the early intervention, special education, related services, and transitional services needs of DeafBlind children and enhance state capacity to improve services and outcomes for children and their families. Technical assistance is designed to assure that service providers more effectively provide special education services, provide in-service training to paraprofessionals and professionals, provide activities to facilitate family involvement, provide consultative services, and promote the integration/inclusion of children with deaf-blindness with children with other disabilities and without disabilities. Project staff members include DeafBlind specialists and family specialists with many years of experience. This grant program is currently funded until September 30, 2018 and is located at the Phillip J. Rock Center & School in Glen Ellyn, IL. They distribute newsletter bi-annually and you can find this information at this page.
Illinois Service Resource Center
The Illinois Service Resource Center (ISRC) provides behavior support to Deaf, Hard of Hearing & DeafBlind students in Illinois. Behavior support can be for individual students with challenges, or at the preventive level with classrooms or school programs. ISRC serves students with hearing loss regardless of communication mode.
ISRC provides free training, onsite assistance and resources for parents and educators of students who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind. ISRC team members visit homes and schools to work with families and educators in developing positive behavior support plans for DHH students in need of intensive level supports. ISRC team members work with DHH programs and classrooms to develop positive behavior support plans that teach appropriate expected behaviors for all students. The ISRC logo now includes printed braille letters as well as sign language. Stay posted for more information as ISRC expands its mission.
Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission
The Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC) has a Service Animals Resource page on its website. For information, please check this page. In addition, IDHHC has a Statewide Services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind page that gives brief information on each agency including its mission that provides services to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind in the state of Illinois.