Online Learning

Explore these resources for learning and professional development.

National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) Professional Development Opportunities

Topics curated by NCDB.

NCDB Resources  include the Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA): Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students
(ages 3 through 21) who are deaf-blind and being served in educational settings. 

To inquire about utilizing OHOA modules to improve your understanding, skills,
or to meet Professional Development Needs,
please contact Shelly Voelker

OHOA Module: An Overview of Deaf-Blindness and Instructional Strategies (NCDB)

Active Learning Principles

This self-paced course covers the basic principles of Active Learning, an approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen of Denmark. This approach is used to provide instruction to individuals with visual impairments and DeafBlindness who are developmentally below the age of 48 months no matter what their chronological age. Many of these learners have, in addition to visual impairments, significant physical, cognitive and emotional delays.
The Active Learning approach emphasizes that all individuals learn best by active participation. In the earliest stages of learning (sensorimotor and early preoperational stages) it is this active participation which actually “wires the brains” of all human learners.

(Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired – TSBVI – How to Register)

Other Professional Development from TSBVI

Assessment and Planning; 


Early Intervention;    Expanded Core Curriculum;

Life Skills;    Literacy;

Routines and Calendars;

Teaching Strategies;    Technology;    Touch;    Transition;

Vision and Hearing;

Working with Families and Teams

Perkins School for the Blind

Active Learning Tutorial

This webinar will provide a brief introduction to Active Learning, which is an educational approach created by Dr. Lilli Nielsen of Denmark designed for learners who are functioning below the developmental age of 48 months (4 years). Basic principles will be discussed, along with resources to help families and practitioners to get started implementing this approach.  Presenter Charlotte Cushman manages the Active Learning Space website, as well as Paths to Literacy.  Kate Hurst is an Educational Consultant at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired Outreach Programs who has collaborated in the development of Active Learning Space and online courses related to Active Learning and has provided training on Active Learning.

Child Guided Assessment

In this Perkins webcast, Dr. Jan van Dijk, internationally-recognized expert on deaf-blindness, shares his expertise related to Child-Guided Assessment. Dr. van Dijk has over 50 years of experience working with students with deafblindness. He discovered long ago that typical assessment methods are not successful for these individuals. This child-guided approach is recognized and used throughout the world. The webcast chapters are as follows: 1. Introduction 2. The Domains of Van Dijk Assessment 3. Behavioral State 4. Orienting Response 5. Channel of Learning 6. Approach/Withdrawal 7. Memory and Anticipation 8. Social Interaction and Problem-Solving 9. The Advantages of Van Dijk Assessment 10. Insight Gained From Assessment.

CHARGE Syndrome: The Impact on Communication and Learning

This very insightful webcast explains the physical, sensory and neurological issues shared by many children with CHARGE and how these issues can affect their success in school. Martha Majors, who has served many children with CHARGE in the Deafblind Program at Perkins, offers guidance for educators in developing an effective educational program that will improve the emotional wellbeing and success in learning for students with this syndrome. (see also CHARGE Syndrome: An Overview)

CHARGE Syndrome: Behavioral Issues

In   this Perkins webcast, Dr. Timothy Hartshorne addresses the topic of Behavioral Issues in CHARGE Syndrome. Dr. Hartshorne is a Professor of Psychology at Central Michigan University and has been interested in CHARGE Syndrome since 1989 when his son was born with the syndrome. He is also the director of the CHARGE Syndrome Lab at CMU.

Conversations: Connecting and Learning with Persons who are Deafblind

In this webcast, Barbara Miles, a well-know as an author and lecturer, discusses her approach to engaging in conversations with students who are deafblind. She encourages people to think of how they converse with their friends and try to replicate the elements of those successful interactions in a way that is accessible to a child with limited vision and hearing. For example usually people initiate a conversation because the other person expresses a willingness to talk, through a smile or some other cue. Miles offers alternative strategies for making that connection when the person with whom you want to converse can neither see or hear you.

Tangible Symbols

Elizabeth Torrey is a Speech and Language Pathologist in the Early Learning Center at Perkins School for the Blind. She has extensive experience working with children with visual impairments who are at the early stages of language development. In this webcast, Elizabeth talks about the use of “tangible symbols,” a term originally coined by Charity Rowland, Ph.D. and Philip D. Schweigert, M.Ed, to support the development of communication in children who experience a variety of severe communication disorders and who are unable to use abstract symbols. The webcast draws from the work of J. Van Dijk as well as the work of Rowland and Schweigert.
Ch. 1: Introduction, Ch. 2: What Are Tangible Symbols, Ch. 3: How Tangible Symbols Should Be Presented, Ch. 4: The Benefits of Using Tangible Symbols, Ch. 5: Considerations When Developing Tangible Symbols, Ch. 6: Behavioral Benefits.