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Update — August 2020

CDBS Announces Modified Technical Assistance Model During the Pandemic

The staff of California Deafblind Services (CDBS) has revised our technical assistance model to better meet the needs of family members and educators during the pandemic and the switch—at least for now—to distance learning. We know that many families are struggling to support the education of their children while trying to juggle multiple responsibilities. For educators and agency personnel, we know that distance learning is a challenge for children and youth who are deafblind and we are here to help you best meet the needs of the children/students you serve.

Because face-to-face activities in schools, agencies and homes are not possible at this time, this temporary technical assistance (TA) model collapses the three previous levels of CDBS TA into one new level: Targeted TA. CDBS staff will meet all requests for targeted TA for the remainder of 2020.

Targeted TA might include one or more of the following components:

  • Observations of children/students using the Zoom platform or other platforms required by local education agencies.
  • Team meetings using the Zoom meeting platform or other platforms.
  • Demonstration using the Zoom meeting platform of potential educational and communication strategies. 
  • Sharing of print and video resources, learning modules, webcasts, webinars, and podcasts, all chosen for you by CDBS staff to meet your specific, immediate needs.
  • Training activities conducted on Zoom and custom designed to meet specific needs.
  • Linkages to other California family members and/or educators working to address similar challenges.
  • Hosted participation for educational teams (i.e., mini-cohorts) in specific Open Hands Open Access learning modules.
  • Other TA activities as needed.

Targeted TA plans will run through December 2020. At that time, CDBS staff will meet with TA recipients to determine winter/spring needs based on the status of face-to-face instruction in 2021.

To request TA, simply complete the ‘2020-2021 Request for Targeted Technical Assistance’ form below and email a scanned copy of the form in PDF or MS Word format to Brian Devereux at devereux@sfsu.edu. Alternately, you may also cut and paste the text of these questions and answers into the body of an email and send to Brian Devereux at devereux@sfsu.edu. Once we receive your request, we will assign a CDBS staff member to be your primary point of contact for your technical assistance activities. For families who want to request TA but who may not be able to scan and email this document, we are happy to take the information over the phone or Zoom.

Questions? Contact anyone at CDBS for help.



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Frequently Asked Questions about

CDBS Technical Assistance Activities



  What is technical assistance?


The term "technical assistance" is not specifically about 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 deafblindness (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 deafblind. CDBS staff members understand the uniqueness of deafblindness 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 their 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 Urgent technical assistance?

Urgent TA is meant to address an immediate or emergency need with a child or student such as the sudden and significant loss of vision and/or hearing, significant and unexplainable changes in behavior, or infants who are not yet receiving any services. During the pandemic, urgent technical assistance will be handled in the same way as targeted technical assistance.


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 #H326T180015) and all services are provided at no cost to recipients.


What is distance technology and what do I need in order to participate? 


CDBS utilizes the Zoom platform for all TA and distance learning activities during the pandemic. Access to the Zoom platform for TA activities is provided at no cost.

What documents may be requested by CDBS to aid in the TA?


CDBS staff members may request the following supporting documentation:

  • IFSP or IEP
  • Triennial IEP
  • Most recent vision report   
  • Most recent audiological report    
  • Orientation and mobility assessment
  • OT assessment
  • Other assessments and reports as needed

If requested, please take whatever action is required by your LEA or agency/program to be able to share these documents with CDBS.

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. While it is not mandatory, we do appreciate your feedback.


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Logo: Ideas that Work - US Office of Special Education ProgramThe contents of this website were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H326T180015. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.  Project Officer, Susan Weigert.

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