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New Jersey Center on Deafblindness

The New Jersey Center on Deafblindness (NJCDB) is a statewide project that provides expert support for the unique educational needs of students who are Deafblind, their families, and school personnel.  

Overview

What is NJCDB?

The NJCDB project offers a menu of professional development activities including anchored technical assistance (both on-site and virtual), specialized topical training, and information /resources. In addition, as a requirement of a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Education, NJCDB is mandated to conduct child find activities for the purpose of creating a state registry of children Birth to 21 who are deafblind (regardless of their formal classification).  Each year this data is submitted to the National Center for Deafblindness who in turn submits an annual report to the USDOE and the US Congress.  The process of finding and documenting New Jersey’s children who are deafblind, also enables NJCDB to identify and address statewide systems change initiatives.

NJCDB is housed and operated as a component of The College of New Jersey’s Center for Sensory & Complex Disabilities (CSCD) within the School of Education. The CSCD is a research, training, and technical assistance center which focuses on the specialized needs of children and adults with sensory disabilities (deafness/hard of hearing; blindness/low vision; and deaf-blindness) AND those who may be described as “complex”.  The CSCD mission is to provide professional efforts on meeting the needs of those infants, children, youth, and adults with the most significant challenges to their development, education, and inclusion within our schools and communities. 

NJCDB is a federally funded grant project of the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs and therefore provides services free of charge on behalf of any New Jersey deafblind infant, child or youth.  Although NJCDB cannot supplant the mandated services of local school districts, provision of indirect support and expertise is provided through a collaborative agreement between families and schools.

Population(s) Served

NJCDB provides technical assistance, training, and information on behalf of an infant, child, and/or young adult through their families, teachers, therapists, medical personnel, etc. Ongoing collaboration with families, schools, and other educational / habilitation programs are provided on an individualized basis through the development/implementation of a service plan that reflects discreet goals and objectives.  It should be noted that individualized services and supports anchored to individual children, requires families to register their child with the NJCDB Project.

NJCDB Project Focus

The NJCDB project focuses on the overall outcome of assuring the ability of local and state educational service providers and families to appropriately the individualized needs of these infants, toddlers, children, youth, and young adults who are deafblind through (but not limited to) the provision of:

  • Technical Assistance (TA) and professional development/training (including follow-up coaching); 
  • activities that increase the early identification and referral of children who are deaf-blind; 
  • efforts that will facilitate emerging and developing literacy and numeracy; 
  • activities that continue and expand support to children who are deafblind and their families during the transition to postsecondary education or employment; 
  • activities that increase support to families and their involvement in the education and transition opportunities for their children with deafblindness; and the
  • collect information regarding the needs of the project’s constituents

DeafBlindness: Definition and Determination

NJCDB adheres to the federal and state definition of “deafblindness” which is defined as follows: 

“Deafblindness” refers to concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which cause such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness. NJAC 6A:14-3.5 (c)7

Services and Professional Development

Referral Process/Requesting and Receiving Services

The project provides services at no cost to districts and families of children considered “eligible” and then confirmed as meeting the definition of deafblindness.  In order to receive technical assistance, a child should be registered with NJCDB. To register a child, please complete our census intake form. Once registration has been completed, the family, school, agencies, or any other related service provider serving that child with deafblindness can request technical assistance.

To register a child, complete the Census Intake Form (English or Spanish).

If the child is already registered with NJCDB and you would like to request services, please complete our initial request form.

Services Provided

Services are provided through a wide range of on-site and virtual avenues depending on the nature and feasibility of the needed support.  These include training to groups (e.g., school staff); technical assistance anchored to individuals, or dissemination of relevant information and resources.  Service plans are developed in collaboration with the requesters that identify elements and parameters of support and specific outcomes.

Events, Forms, and Other Initiatives

NJCDB Staff

NJCDB consists of a small team of trained and experienced professionals dedicated to improving the lives and educational outcomes for all New Jersey’s children who are Deafblind.   The overall goal of the project is to foster the capacity of the state, local, and family systems to better educate New Jersey’s infants, children, and youth who are deafblindness through a variety of activities that support evidence-based educational practices and support of existing educational service systems.

Heather Osowski, Project Director

Michelle Ragunan, Project Manager

Jennifer Henkle, Family Engagement Coordinator

Peggy Lashbrook, DeafBlind Specialist

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at njcdb@tcnj.edu and visit us on social media!

Facebook

@NewJerseyCenteronDeafBlindness

Twitter

@NJ_CDB

Instagram

@njcdb2022