- Deafblind people,
- Deafblind people -- Services for
The region served by Portland State University’s Orientation and Mobility (O&M) and Visually Impaired Learner (VIL) hybrid preparation program is geographically vast. The states of OR, WA, ID, MT, AK, and HI comprise 28% of the US’s geography, covering more than 1,061,000 square miles. Because of regional personnel shortages, faculty must prepare candidates to serve geographically dispersed children and adults with visual impairment or deaf-blindness using technologies that support distance-based consultation.
As a part of a federally funded grant from the US Department of Education, faculty in the O&M program developed an online learning module for candidates to use as a part of their practicum experiences. Through a systematic review of the literature and consultation with professionals in the field of blindness and deafblindness, PSU faculty synthesized findings on distance consultation practices and have begun to further validate and refine module content through field-testing. At SOMA workshop, participants gained knowledge of approaches that may be used to maximize services to those in remote communities. During the conference, faculty sought to increase the content validity of the ideas presented in the module by engaging interested stakeholders in evaluating the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the distance consultation approaches. While at SOMA, O&M, and TVI specialists engaged in conversation about equity, their own distance consultation practices, as well as any ethical concerns regarding telepractice. As the module is field-tested and refined with PSU students and clinical partners, a validated framework for maximizing services to those in remote communities will be shared with the field.