To request Focused TA or Comprehensive TA, complete the CDBS Request for Technical Assistance below:
Frequently Asked Questions about
CDBS Technical Assistance Services
What is technical assistance?
The term "technical assistance" is not related to assistive technology. It is a term used in education, government, and industry to mean "consultation" or, at its most simple, "help." CDBS technical assistance can pertain to anything related to deaf-blindness (e.g., communication and language, instructional activities, recreation, visual and auditory adaptations, transition to adulthood, etc.). Although it does not specifically relate to technology, CDBS technical assistance can address high and low-tech issues if this is an area of need for you.
CDBS technical assistance (TA) basically means consultation with CDBS staff to address specific challenges you are experiencing with a child or young adult who is deaf-blind. CDBS staff members understand the uniqueness of deaf-blindness and the profound impact that a combined vision and hearing loss can have on all areas of development. You might request technical assistance for a number of reasons. Here are some of the reasons individuals have requested CDBS technical assistance:
- Your child/student has been recently diagnosed with vision and/or hearing problems
- You have concerns about a child/student’s hearing and/or vision
- You have a new student in your classroom and aren’t sure how to best meet his or her needs
- You are puzzled by one or more aspects of your child/student’s development
- You need ideas on how the child/student can be more actively engaged in valued home and school activities
Technical assistance is different from direct services and therefore technical assistance is not written into IEPs/IFSPs. Technical assistance is also different from assessments. In education, “assessment” is a legal term with specific definitions, processes, timelines, etc. Technical assistance can, however, support the assessment process in many cases.
Who can request technical assistance?
TA can be requested by anyone on a child's educational team, including family members. The TA request must come directly from the person(s) who will be receiving the service. CDBS does not have the authority to accept third party referrals (i.e., you cannot request TA for someone else).
What is Focused technical assistance?
Focused TA is designed to address a single need by one member of a child’s team or a small number of educational team members. Services will be provided using distance technologies such as Adobe Connect or Skype (see last question/answer below). It is possible that out of a focused TA activity, the need for comprehensive TA might be identified. If this happens, your CDBS service coordinator can assist you in determining how to transition from this more basic TA level to the more comprehensive level described below.
What can I expect with Focused technical assistance?
Once you complete the TA referral packet, CDBS will assign one of our project staff to serve as your team’s service coordinator. This CDBS service coordinator will act as your primary point of CDBS contact. The service coordinator will work with you to develop a TA plan and schedule the first videoconference with you and other team members involved as appropriate. Focused TA will typically involve one videoconference, one follow-up videoconference, and participation at a later date in an evaluation process to determine your satisfaction with the TA and to evaluate any child change as a result of the TA.
What is Comprehensive technical assistance?
Comprehensive TA is designed to address multiple challenges faced by many team members. Services might be provided onsite and/or using distance technologies such as Skype. Services will be longitudinal, in that they will occur over an extended period of time. The team may identify training needs as a result of the comprehensive TA activities, in which case CDBS staff will conduct training for your team or link your team to existing training opportunities. This training may be onsite or via distance technology such as webinars.
What can I expect with Comprehensive technical assistance?
Once the referral packet is complete, the first steps will be similar to what you could expect from the focused TA process, but the TA plan you develop will involve the entire educational team and family members and will address broader TA needs. Because of the commitment CDBS staff will make to those receiving comprehensive TA, recipients will be required to participate in a CDBS evaluation process. In addition, recipients may be asked to complete an evaluation from a federal government contractor of our funder—the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
What kind of commitment does each level of technical assistance require?
- Focused TA is short-term assistance.
- Comprehensive TA will typically involve a commitment to programmatic and systemic change—as required—to meet your team’s technical assistance needs.
Does Comprehensive technical assistance require that all members of a child's/student's team agree to a statement of needs?
Yes. There must be evidence that the entire team—family members, teachers, specialists, and administrators—have identified and agreed to a set of needs and that the group is committed to working with CDBS staff to address these needs. This is important because evidence shows us that intensive, sustained TA will only be successful if all team members are actively engaged in every step of the TA process.
I am not sure if I should be requesting Focused or Comprehensive Technical Assistance (TA).
If this is the case, Focused Assistance would be the most likely choice. Focused Assistance will allow us to speak by video-conference and phone to answer questions and make suggestions and plans. If at a later date, you and the other members of the child's team agree and would like more intensive and sustained consultation including in-person visits to the school or classroom, Comprehensive Assistance would then be the choice.
Is there a cost for CDBS technical assistance services?
No, CDBS is a federally funded grant program under the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Grant #H326T130031) and all services are provided at no cost to recipients.
What is distance technology and what do I need in order to participate at that level?
Distance technology refers to any number of possible ways CDBS can communicate with you. The telephone represents the most basic level of distance technology but our hope is that we can expand and improve on the basic phone call. We believe that an essential element of change is building relationships and one way this can happen is by having face-to- face communication over Internet platforms such as Adobe Connect, Skype, Google Hangout, or BlackBoard Collaborate. These platforms allow for interaction that is more personal than phone calls or email exchanges. If you work for a district or agency that has policies that discourage or disallow this kind of videoconferencing, we will ask that you work with your local systems to address these issues, and CDBS staff can assist with this. In cases where videoconferencing is not possible, TA can be delivered through email and telephone as necessary.
What if I want help related to a home or residential setting instead of the school setting? (Example: the youth lives in a group home environment and we would like to learn about providing more specific services or assistance.)
Please select "Focused" Assistance and keep the environment in mind when completing section number three in the request form.
After my TA was completed, I received an email survey. Did you send this? Is completing it mandatory?
We periodically will email a survey to a sampling of people we have worked with. This is to look for suggestions for improvement and to ensure satisfaction with the process. It is not mandatory. We do appreciate your feedback.
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