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The DBIE is a comprehensive program, providing an immersion experience on the campus of the Helen Keller National Center headquarters in Sands Point, NY. Individuals who are DeafBlind with intellectual disabilities from transition-age through seniors and their support team have an opportunity to work with the HKNC team to create a person-centered profile and collect recommendations for community, work and home environments.

During this 5-day immersion, each DeafBlind individual (focus person) will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive a lifestyle consultation through participation in preferred functional activities related to work, home, and leisure.
  • Explore communication systems that may include object cues, object symbols, picture cues, and basic visual or tactile sign language. 
  • Receive functional consultation in Low Vision and Audiology.
  • Identify environmental modifications, such as tactual cues and markings, visual contrast, low vision adaptations, audiological cues, and vibrating alerting systems.

Each support person on the team will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive a hands-on, in-the-moment consultation and mentoring while interacting with the focus person from 8am-8pm.
  • Explore alternative communication systems, basic sign language, Haptics, and conversational approach.
  • Receive training in the use of tactual teaching techniques and adaptive strategies for vocational and daily living activities.
  • Participate in person-centered planning and receive consultation related to community participation.
  • Contribute to the creation of an activities/communication portfolio to assist in continued development of skills and evaluation for the focus person when they return home.
2 people handling a case of Dasani water bottles while 2 staff members wearing black are watching them. One person wears sunglasses

2 people folding towels at a laundromat

A team of HKNC’s experienced staff will guide and model tactual techniques and personalized strategies to support the focus person to participate more fully in life.

Staff who would benefit from this experience include job coaches, habilitation specialists, program managers, behavior specialists and therapists. Family members are also encouraged to participate. The focus person and their support persons will reside in the HKNC Residence. Visiting support persons will be responsible for the support and administration of medications for the focus person for the duration of the program.

The entire team will leave with resources and recommendations as well as the opportunity to join a community of practice that includes teams that have completed the program. The community of practice provides opportunities to share experiences, ask questions and learn from each other. 

For more information, contact Tammie Christian, Coordinator of the DeafBlind Immersion Experience, at

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