A woman practicing haptics by touching another woman's back with her hand. They sit in a circle with other people and look at a presenter.

What We Do

Information, Research and Professional Development (IRPD) is a department within the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) that gathers and disseminates information relevant to improving the lives of people who are DeafBlind. Our team works to ensure that HKNC’s services are research-based and accessible. We also offer access to high quality professional learning for those seeking to advance their knowledge and skills.


We disseminate a wide range of information that is useful for people who are DeafBlind, their family members, service providers, educators, employers and the community at large. IRPD coordinates publications, newsletters, online resources and tours of our headquarters in Sands Point, NY. You can also contact us and we will do our best to connect you with the information that you need.

Professional Development

The IRPD Department offers a diverse array of in-person and online professional development opportunities. Our online Learning Center is the gateway to many of our courses and online resources.

In-Person Trainings

In-person trainings include a variety of hands-on learning experiences for professionals working with individuals who are DeafBlind. Trainings take place at the Helen Keller National Center campus in Sands Point, NY or by request at locations throughout the U.S.

Online Courses & Webinars

Our online training modules offer maximum flexibility, enabling you to balance your studies with your work and family obligations. You can complete your classwork at home, at the time of day that makes the most sense for you. Courses are available in both English and Spanish.

Hybrid Courses

Our hybrid training models combine online and in-person training to maximize efficiency while gaining valuable hands-on experiences.


IRPD conducts empirical research on topics related to deafblindness and also consults with organizations and institutions of higher education to improve the representation of people who are DeafBlind in research projects. Visit our research page for information about our current research.

Older Adult Program

IRPD also oversees the Older Adult Program. Older Adult Services at HKNC include in-person or virtual Confident Living Program (CLP) for older adults 55 and better to come together to learn skills to help them maintain their independence across core rehabilitation areas with combined hearing and vision loss.

Our older adult specialist and 11 HKNC regional representatives are available to provide information about resources and training opportunities that are available to them locally and nationally.

Confident Living Program

Participants in the Confident Living Program connect with our national Older Adult Specialist, Jenee Alleman, who provides resources, consultation, and trainings across the U.S. and U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands.

Who We Are

The IRPD department is comprised of professionals and researchers with a mix of professional and personal experience in the field of deafblindness. This collective wealth of knowledge makes IRPD a great resource for professionals, researchers, and DeafBlind community members.