Innovations - Working with Infants who have Multiple Disabilities

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Developmental/Intervention Guides
Hearing Loss
Visual Impairments


Chen, D., Klein, D.M., & Haney, M. (2000). Promoting learning through active interaction: An instructional video [video & booklet]. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. Video examples of a five step process for developing communication with infants with multiple disabilities including visual impairment and hearing loss. The video is available in English (closed captioned) and Spanish with a viewer’s guide in English.

Chen, D, & Schachter, P.H. (1997). Making the most of early communication. Strategies for supporting communication with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers whose multiple disabilities include vision and hearing loss [video & booklet].New York: AFB Press. Examples of early caregiver-infant games, simulations of visual impairment and hearing loss, strategies to promote communication with infants and preschoolers, interviews with parents and teachers, and activities in an oral communication preschool class, and in total communication classrooms for toddlers and preschoolers. A viewer’s guide is provided and the video is available with closed captions or audio descriptions.

Hussey-Gardner, B. (1996). Understanding my signals. Palo Alto, CA: VORT. This booklet contains photos of premature infants to assist caregivers in interpreting their cues. Photos illustrate an infant’s approach, coping, and avoidance signals. Suggestions for interactional strategies and a user’s guide are provided.

Chen, D., Klein D.M., & Haney. (2000). Promoting learning through active interaction. A guide to early communication with young children who have multiple disabilities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. A curriculum composed of 5 modules for developing early communication with infants and young children with multiple disabilities including visual impairment and hearing loss.

Manolson, A. (1992). It takes two to talk. A Hanen early language parent guide book. Toronto, Canada: Hanen Early Language Resource Centre. A curriculum guide of the process for developing early conversations and activities to encourage communication with very young children who have a range of abilities.

Rowland, C. (1996). Communication matrix. A communication skill assessment for individuals at the earliest stages of communication development. Portland, OR: Oregon Health Sciences University, Center on Self-Determination. An instrument which identifies the range of communication development from pre-intentional behavior and intentional behavior to the use of abstract symbols and language.

Rossetti, L.M (2001). Communication intervention: Birth to three (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Singular. Provides intervention strategies on communication for young children up to 36 months of age. Includes efficacy data, assessment protocols, family information and a section on the neonatal intensive care nursery.

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Developmental/Intervention Guides

Blind Babies Foundation (1999). Off to a good start. Access to the World for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments. San Francisco: Author. Resource sheets with ways to support early learning and development in home and community settings including the doctor's office.

Bricker, D., Pretti-Frontczak, & McComas, N. (1998). An activity-based approach to early intervention (2nd. ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. Provides a process and format for infusing early intervention objectives within an infant's daily routine.

Chen, D. (Ed.) (1999). Essential elements in early intervention. Visual impairment and multiple disabilities. New York: AFB Press. Chapters on a variety of topics including early intervention purposes and principles, meeting the intervention needs of infants with multiple disabilities, caregiver-infant interaction, early communication, functional vision assessment and interventions, understanding hearing loss and interventions, clinical vision assessments, audiological evaluations, creating meaningful interventions within daily routines, and adaptations for including preschoolers with multiple disabilities in typical settings.

Chen, D., Friedman, C.T., & Calvello, G. (1990). Parents and visually impaired infants. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. Collection of protocols for gathering information and developing interventions activities for infants with visual impairments based on observations and caregiver interviews, for using video taped data collection, tips for conducting homevisits, and for developing home-based social routines.

Furuno, S., O'Reilly, K.A., Inatsuka, T.T., Hosaka, C.M., & Falbey, B.Z. (1993). Helping babies learn. Developmental profiles and activities for infants and toddlers. Tucson, AZ: Communication Skill Builders. A manual of information on early development and developmental sequenced activities for home routines, indoors and community outings, and information on difficult behaviors, health and safety.

Klein, M.D. (Ed.) (1990). Parent articles for early intervention. Tucson, AZ: Communication Skill Builders. A series of short easy-to-read articles on developmental areas, adaptations, and intervention strategies to assist families of children (birth to 36 months) with disability. Includes information about family support and the IFSP. Articles may be duplicated and used as handouts.

Lueck, A.H., Chen, D., & Kekelis, L. (1997). Developmental guidelines for infants with visual impairment. A manual for early intervention. Louisville: KY: American Printing House for the Blind. A review of related developmental research with implications for early intervention and suggestions for activities in the following areas of development: social-emotional, communication, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, and functional vision.

Morgan, E.C. (Ed.). (1994). Resources for family centered intervention for infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are visually impaired. VIISA Project (2 nd.), Logan, UT: HOPE. A two volume comprehensive guide for addressing the intervention needs of young children with visual impairments. Topics include: working with families, support services, early intervention programs, transition, preschool programs, and curriculum units (communication, language, social-emotional development, child-care and self-care, orientation and mobility, learning through the senses, and cognitive development)

Overbrook School for the Blind (1995). Early Childhood Parent Education Series. Louisville, KY: American Printing House. A series of family-friendly sheets with tips for supporting the early development of very young children with visual impairment.

VandenBerg, K.A., & Hanson, M.J. (1993). Homecoming for babies after the neonatal intensive care nursery. A guide for professionals supporting families and their infants' early development. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. An easy to read resource with information to increase the early interventionist's understanding of the early developmental needs of infants who are premature or have other health care needs.

Watkins, S. (1989). A model of home intervention for infant, toddler, and preschool aged multihandicapped sensory impaired children. The INSITE model. Logan, UT: HOPE. A comprehensive two volume resource which provides practical information for the role of parent advisors (early interventionists) in working with families and strategies for enhancing early communication, hearing, vision, cognition, motor, and social-emotional development.

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Chernus-Mansfield, N., Hayashi, D., Horn, M., & Kekelis, L. (1986). Heart to heart. Parents of children who are blind and visually impaired talk about their feelings. Los Angeles: Blind Childrens Center. A booklet based on interviews that describes parents' reactions to the diagnosis of their children's visual impairment and their emotional experiences.

Lynch, E.W., & Hanson, M.J. (1998). Developing cross-cultural competence (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. A comprehensive and invaluable source. Provides a review of the literature related to cultural diversity, child-rearing practices, cultural perspectives on disability, and healing practices. Identifies the process of developing cultural-competence with particular implications for early interventionists. Specific chapters discuss working with families of Anglo-European, Native-American, African-American, Latino, Asian, Pilipino, Native Hawaiian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds.

Schmitt, P., & Armenta-Schmitt, F. (1999). Fathers. A common ground. Los Angeles: Blind Childrens Center. A booklet based on interviews that discusses the perspectives and experiences of fathers of young children who are visually impaired.

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Hearing Loss

Center for the Education of the Infant Deaf (2001). Pediatric resource guide to infant and childhood hearing loss. Berkeley, CA: author Contains comprehensive information and resources on newborn hearing screening, identifying hearing loss, and thediagnostic and intervention process.

Chen, D. (1997). What can baby hear? Auditory tests and interventions for infants with multiple disabilities [video & booklet]. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. Video examples of audiological tests, functional hearing screenings, interviews with parents and early interventionists, and classroom activities with infants. A viewer’s guide is provided and the video is closed captioned.

Early Education Unit, Special Education Division, California Department of Education (1998). Ear-restible: Hearing test procedures for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, birth through five years of age. Sacramento, CA: Publications Division, California Department of Education. A description of screening procedures, questions, and observations, and audiological methods for identifying hearing loss and use of hearing in young children

Flexer, C. (1999). Facilitating hearing and listening in young children (2nd). San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group. A text that provides comprehensive and easy to read information on hearing loss, hearing aids, and strategies for developing listening skills.

Music 2 my ears: Hearing detection kit (formerly the Hear Kit). Available from Bright Eyes Enterprise, Inc, P.O. Box 822, Georgetown, CO 80444 1 (888) 880-5188. Contains a bag with 6 sound toys, a ball to divert the infant's attention, a screening questionnaire, a score card and directions for using the kit.

Swartz. S. (1996). Choices in deafness: A parent's guide to communication options. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House This very user friendly book discusses medical information, audiological tests, communication options and the personal experiences of families.

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Infants and Young Children: An interdisciplinary Journal of Special Care Practices. Frederick, MD: Aspen.

Journal of Early Intervention. Reston, VA: Division of Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children

Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Young Exceptional Children. Denver:CO: Division of Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children.

Zero to Three Bulletin. Washington, DC: Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.

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Visual Impairments

Blind Babies Foundation (1998). Pediatric visual diagnosis fact sheets. San Francisco: Author. A series of information sheets on vision tests and common vision problems in young children and related intervention strategies.

Chen, D. (1998). What can baby see? Vision tests and interventions for infants with multiple disabilities [video & booklet], New York: AFB Press Video examples of clinical vision tests, interviews with parents and an early interventionist, and related activities with infants. A viewer’s guide is provided and a video is closed captioned.

Early Education Unit, Special Education Division, California Department of Education (1997). First look: Vision evaluation and assessment for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, birth through five years of age. Sacramento, CA: Publications Division, California Department of Education. A description of screening procedures, questions and observations and assessment methods for identifying visual impairments and vision functioning young children.

Birth to 3 years and Multihandicapped Vision Kit
Vision Associates The kit includes materials to identify early visual skills including visual fixation, tracking, and functional acuity. Based on the work of Dr. Lea Hyvarinen.

McDowell Vision Screening Kit
The Psychological Corporation, Therapy Skill Builders Assesses distance visual acuity, point visual acuity, ocular alignment and motility, color perception and ocular function in very young children.

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Innovations Web Site
Project Director:

Ideas That Work logo This web site is supported by awards (9/1/00-8/31/06) to California State University, Northridge from the U.S. Department of Education: PLAI Outreach # H324R000098 and INNOVATIONS # H325N000055.

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