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The term "technical assistance" is used to mean "consultation" or, simply “providing assistance or help”. INDB Services Technical Assistance (TA) basically means consultation with staff to address specific challenges you may be experiencing with a child or young adult who is deaf-blind. Technical assistance can be about any topic related to deaf-blindness (e.g., communication and language, instructional activities, recreation, visual and auditory adaptations, transition to adulthood, etc.).

 

What is Technical Assistance?

The term "technical assistance" is used to mean "consultation" or, simply “providing assistance or help”. INDB Services Technical Assistance (TA) basically means consultation with staff to address specific challenges you may be experiencing with a child or young adult who is deaf-blind. Technical assistance can be about any topic related to deaf-blindness (e.g., communication and language, instructional activities, recreation, visual and auditory adaptations, transition to adulthood, etc.). You might request technical assistance for a number of reasons, including:

  • Your child/student has been recently diagnosed with vision and/or hearing problems
  • You have concerns about a child/student’s hearing and/or vision
  • You have a new student in your classroom and aren’t sure how to best meet his or her needs
  • You are puzzled by one or more aspects of your child/student’s development
  • You need ideas on how the child/student can be more actively engaged in valued home and school activities

Technical assistance is different from direct services and is not written into IEPs/IFSPs. It is also different from assessments. However, TA can be a support for both direct services and the assessment process.

The Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project has a three level TA Process that includes Universal TA, Targeted TA, and Intensive TA. Each type of TA differs based upon the needs of the recipient and whether the TA is more informational or focused on a particular topic or individual.

Who can request technical assistance?

Technical Assistance can be requested by any family member, care provider, and/or educator/service provider of an individual ages birth through 21 years with combined vision and hearing loss. The TA request must come directly from the person(s) who will be receiving the service. The Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project does not have the authority to accept third party referrals (i.e., you cannot request TA for someone else).

What is Targeted technical assistance?

Targeted TA is designed to address specific needs for an individual and may include ongoing distance communication or minimal face-to-face visits. It may also include topical trainings for an LEA/educational team. It is possible that out of a Targeted TA activity, the need for Intensive TA might be identified. If this happens, project staff will assist you in transitioning from this more basic TA level to the more Intensive level described below.

What can I expect with Targeted technical assistance?

Once you make a TA request, INDBS staff will conduct an initial observational visit and will work with you to develop a TA plan. Targeted TA will typically involve one onsite visit and some follow up via email or web conferencing, as well as participation in an evaluation process to determine your satisfaction with the TA and to evaluate any child change as a result of the TA.

What is Intensive technical assistance?

Intensive TA is designed to address multiple challenges faced by many team members and/or on-going TA involving extensive follow-up and coaching, either onsite or using audio/video/web technology. Services will be longitudinal, in that they will occur over an extended period of time. The team may identify training needs as a result of the intensive TA activities, in which case project staff will conduct training for your team or link your team to existing training opportunities. This training may be onsite or via distance technology such as webinars.

What can I expect with Intensive technical assistance?

Once the TA request is made, the first steps will be similar to what you could expect from the targeted TA process, but the TA plan you develop will involve the entire educational team and family members and will address broader TA needs. It is strongly suggested that teams receiving Intensive TA develop a Person Centered Plan for their student. Project staff will be able to facilitate this step in the process. Because of the commitment project staff will make to those receiving intensive TA, a readiness assessment also will be conducted to ensure that certain things are in place for the team receiving TA (e.g., administrative support, parental support, specific technology needs, etc.) and recipients will be required to participate in a project evaluation process. In addition, recipients may be asked to complete an evaluation from a federal government contractor of our funder—the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

What kind of commitment does each level of technical assistance require?

Targeted TA is short-term assistance; Intensive TA will typically involve a commitment to programmatic and systemic change—as required—to meet your team’s technical assistance needs.

Does Intensive technical assistance require that all members of a child's/student's team agree to a statement of needs?

Yes. There must be evidence that the entire team—family members, teachers, specialists, and administrators—have identified and agreed to a set of needs and that the group is committed to working with staff to address these needs. This is important because evidence shows us that intensive, sustained TA will only be successful if all team members are actively engaged in every step of the TA process.

Is there a cost for technical assistance services?

No, the Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project is a federally funded grant program under the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Grant #H326T130078) and all services are provided at no cost to recipients.

What is distance technology and what do I need in order to participate at that level?

Distance technology refers to any number of possible ways the Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project can communicate with you. The telephone represents the most basic level of distance technology, but our hope is that we can expand and improve on the basic phone call. We believe that an essential element of change is building relationships and one way this can happen is by having face-to- face communication over Internet platforms such as Skype, Adobe Connect, or BlackBoard Collaborate. These platforms allow for interaction that is more personal than phone calls or email exchanges. If you work for a district or agency that has policies that discourage or disallow this kind of videoconferencing, we will ask that you work with your local systems to address these issues, and staff can assist with this. In cases where videoconferencing is not possible, TA can be delivered through email and telephone as necessary.