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State Education Department Awarded $1.75 Million Grant to Serve Students Who are Deaf and Blind

Harrisburg, PA – Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera announced today that Pennsylvania will receive a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to better serve children and youth who are deaf and blind.

“Students who are deaf and blind are a diverse group of learners who live in communities of all sizes across the commonwealth,” Secretary Rivera said. “These students’ needs are varied, and complex and require highly specialized instruction, materials, and resources that will support their continued success.”

“This funding will provide resources to schools, educators, and families to help them provide equitable instruction to students who are deaf-blind.”

Pennsylvania currently educates 602 deaf and blind students, who are ages birth to 21 years-old. These students exhibit varying degrees of hearing and vision loss, which are often complicated by other disabilities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Bureau of Special Education applied for the federal funds to implement the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project, which aims to establish a system of technical assistance and resources to support schools, educators and families of deaf-blind students.

The project is designed to address the complex needs of educators and families through a multi-tiered system of assistance, including:

  • Implementing a regional model using the state’s intermediate units to establish deaf-blind resource teams,
  • Providing qualified paraprofessionals and interveners with training geared toward addressing needs to deaf-blind students, and
  • Facilitating family participation and engagement strategies to connect them with state and national resources.

The project will also evaluate education and employment outcomes for students who are deaf-blind.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov

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