As with all SESA services, the Alaska Deaf-Blind project's assistance is provided free-of-charge to families, schools, and community organizations. The Deaf-Blind project is different than other programs at SESA in that it's under a federal, rather then a state, grant. The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness funds a project in each state to support and serve the needs of its deaf-blind infants, children and young adults.

The Alaska Deaf-Blind Project serves any individual from premature birth to age 22 with a hearing and vision loss as specified below. We serve those in urban as well as remote areas as well as individuals not enrolled in school, those in secondary school, and those who have graduated.

Note that the eligibility criteria for Deaf-Blind services are different than for SESA's hearing and vision impairments services, as it falls under the federal definition of Deaf-Blindess:

The individual must have:
  1. Visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye with correction as determined by an eye specialist (i.e., 20/100, 20/200, etc.).
  2. Visual field restriction of 20 degrees or less (“tunnel vision”).
  3. Functional vision, which is virtually absent or immeasurable for purposes of learning as indicated by a vision specialist.
  4. A need for special services requiring the use of nonstandard instructional materials or aids designed to facilitate the child’s learning as recommended by a vision specialist.
  5. A temporary impairment or loss of vision due to such factors as illness, accidents, temporary treatments.
  6. A diagnosis of syndrome or disorder associated with vision loss.
  7. Be diagnosed with a progressive vision loss.
  1. Hearing impairment of 30dB or greater unaided in the better ear.
  2. Recurrent otitis media or a documented history of otitis media affecting language or learning abilities as indicated by a hearing specialist, audiologist, or speech/language pathologist.
  3. Functional hearing, which is virtually absent or immeasurable for purposes of learning, as indicated by a hearing specialist, audiologist, or speech/language pathologist.
  4. A diagnosis of a syndrome or disorder associated with a hearing loss.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE ALASKA DEAF-BLIND PROJECT The SESA vision impairment program provides on-site support in the following areas of need:
  • Provide functional hearing and vision assessments.
  • Provide information and training on American Sign Language, Tactile sign language, pre-symbolic communication, braille and picture and object cues.
  • Assist with the development and implementation of student's IEP or IFSP programs.
  • Support the transition into an ILP program, into school, and into adulthood.
  • Demonstrate and/or teach specialized strategies to local school personnel, parents, and community.
  • Assist educators, group homes and families in obtaining specialized instructional materials and /or in adapting available material/equipment.
  • Provide interagency liaison.
  • Provide topical in-services and workshops.
  • Provide culturally appropriate interventions.


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