Events & Training

2022 Training Calendar

Spring 2022 Webinar Series: Early Identification of DeafBlindness Continued

Due to the overwhelming popularity of our Winter 2022 Early Identification of DeafBlindness webinar series, the Montana DeafBlind Project is pleased to welcome Dr. Tanni Anthony for our Spring 2022 continuation of the series!

Play as an Assessment and Programmatic Vehicle in the Early Years

Session Description: Sensory and developmental status can be gleaned from watching and contributing to the play interactions of a young child. Once equipped with this information, the team can continue to use play routines as a place to guide and reinforce next step learning. Information will be shared about how to use early play as a tool for horizontal (increasing generalization of existing concepts and skills) and vertical (scaffolding to the next level of concepts and skills) strategies.


  • To introduce participants to a play-based approach as a viable assessment model for infants and toddlers with blindness/visual impairment.
  • To illustrate how to embed developmental next step strategies into the play / daily routines of the young child.

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 12-1:30 PM MDT

Winter 2022 Early Identification of DeafBlindness Series

The Montana DeafBlind Project is delighted to welcome back nationally renowned expert Dr. Susan M. Bashinski for this two-part series on Early Identification.

Experiences that occur during the earliest years of life have a profound effect on a child’s ability to learn, move, and interact with others. This is especially true for children with combined vision and hearing loss—known as DeafBlindness—whose physical, communicative, cognitive, social, and emotional developmental domains are deeply intertwined. Because the impact on learning is exponentially greater for combined vision and hearing loss than for vision or hearing loss alone, early identification, followed by early intervention services from individuals who understand the unique impact of DeafBlindness, is essential. Register for this two-part webinar series to learn more.

MT OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Early Identification of Children with DeafBlindness

The foundation for this webinar is the assumption that early identification of combined vision and hearing loss is positively correlated with minimizing the negative impacts of sensory loss on a child’s future development in multiple domains. The webinar will include a discussion of risk factors for DeafBlindness, as well as early behavioral signs or symptoms of this condition. The presenter will examine authentic assessment approaches, and suggest ten primary areas in which families and early intervention teams might focus their observational assessment, should they suspect a baby or toddler might experience DeafBlindness. The webinar will conclude with a brief mention of resources for assistance with identification of DeafBlindness.

Date: February 3, 2022, 12:00-1:30 MST

Bridging Early Identification of DeafBlindness to Effective Intervention

The purpose of this webinar is to provide strategies for mitigating the potential impacts of limited visual and auditory stimulation on a baby or toddler’s long-term development. The presenter’s purpose is to assist families and early intervention teams to build a foundation for the young child’s learning and access to the environment, through developing supports to maximize the baby’s / toddler’s (1) use of residual sensory abilities and (2) receive communicative input. The presenter will discuss intervention strategies appropriate for implementation in the NICU, home, and on-site preschool—for both families and early interventionists, with the over-arching consideration that it is most critical to ensure the baby / toddler feels safe and environments are as predictable as possible.

March 3, 2022, 12:00-1:30 MST

2021 Training Calendar

Introduction to Interveners

The Montana DeafBlind Project is pleased to welcome Julie Maier, California Deafblind Services Educational Specialist, to provide an introduction to and overview of interveners. Attend this free webinar for answers to questions such as:

  • What is an Intervener?
  • How do they differ from paraprofessionals and interpreters?
  • Why might students with DeafBlindness need an intervener?
  • How do you determine that an individual student needs an intervener?
  • What skills and training does someone need to be an intervener?
  • Where can they learn those skills/obtain that training?
  • What is the Cogswell-Macy Act and what does it have to do with intervener services?

MT OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Monday, August 9, 2021
9:00-10:30 AM Mountain Daylight Time

Introduction to DeafBlindness: What is DeafBlindness?

This webinar will introduce a functional definition of DeafBlindness, along with the key questions to be answered in order to determine if a particular learner experiences DeafBlindness (DB). The presenter will introduce various etiologies of and categorization schemes for DB (i.e., by time of onset, degree, and type), as well as benefits of categorizing DeafBlindness by both time of onset and degree. Specific examples of each of four major categories of DB will be included. The webinar will conclude with an explanation of the primary ways in which DeafBlindness impacts a learner’s interaction with the environment and school performance.

MT OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Date: March 24th, 2021

Introduction to DeafBlindness: Introduction to Vision Loss and to Hearing Loss

In this webinar, the presenter will examine vision loss and hearing loss independently. For both visual and auditory sensory systems losses, discussion will include: the major types of loss, how a learner processes information as a result of various individual types of loss, and the potential impact of combination of losses in each sensory system. The webinar will include a general description of the way in which diagnosticians describe each sensory loss. It will conclude with a presentation of some key resources for families and educational teams.

MT OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Date: April 7th, 2021

Introduction to DeafBlindness: Unique Learning Needs and Building Structure through Routines

Foundational to this webinar is the fact that learners who experience DeafBlindness (DB) are an incredibly heterogeneous group. The presenter will discuss general characteristics of learners with DB, relevant to learning, within the context of what communication partners should remember and strategies they should utilize when they meet and interact with a learner who experiences DB. The webinar will provide a functional definition of a routine and its essential elements, while focusing on the critical importance of structure for a learner with DB. The presentation will conclude with an examination of the essential skills a learner can gain from meaningfully structured activities / tasks.

MT OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Date: April 21st, 2021

Designing Meaningful Work Experiences

The Montana DeafBlind Project is pleased to announce the fourth session in our webinar series on work experience and employment for students with a significant impact of disability, including students with DeafBlindness.

Microbrewery owners, Veterans living with PTSD, inmates at the Montana Women’s Prison, a bank president, a documentary filmmaker…  Question: What could possibly link all these individuals (and more) together?  Answer: Alana, A Jill of All Trades!

Discover how Alana and her mom, Kim, have opened themselves to opportunity and built a life full of joy and purpose by sharing their passions in the vocational realm and beyond. Alana – A Jill of All Trades is synonymous with a group of individuals working together to make our world a little brighter, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to do the same!

See how Alana’s community is built one relationship at a time as her contagious spirit and fearlessly authentic presence brings folks of all backgrounds together. Explore ways to utilize resources to support individuals with a significant impact of disability in their endeavors. And, understand how this can all be accomplished in the face of adversity!

MT OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Date: February 11th, 2021
Time: 12-1:30 Mountain Time

Customized Employment

In this webinar, Cheri Reed-Anderson and Ellen Condon will introduce audience members to Customized Employment, illustrate how this strategy can support access to community employment for students with significant disabilities, and share information about how to access Customized Employment through Vocational Rehabilitation in Montana.

Date: January 14, 2021

2020 Training Calendar

Health Care Transition 

The Montana DeafBlind Project, in partnership with the Montana Transition Resources Project, is pleased to welcome Laura G. Buckner for this free learning opportunity. OPI renewal unit credit is available.

August 6, 2020

Understanding and Nurturing the Communicative Competence of Learners with Significant Disabilities

The Montana DeafBlind Project, in partnership with the Montana Transition Resources Project, welcomes Philip Schweigert, M.Ed, for a two-part webinar series in August. The webinar series is focused on Understanding and Nurturing the Communicative Competence of Learners with Significant Disabilities.

Session 1: Recognizing the Communication Abilities of Learners with Significant Disabilities

August 10th, 2020

Description: This session will focus on assessing levels of communication for learners at the non-symbolic or early symbolic level of communication. The Communication Matrix (Rowland,C., 2006) will be used to review the assessment process and how to target levels for instruction and programming.

Session 2: Promoting the Communicative Competence of Learners with Significant Disabilities

August 12th, 2020

Description: This session will present participants with a variety of examples of learners at various pre-symbolic stages and intervention strategies to further their communicative abilities. It will also discuss the transition from pre-symbolic to emerging symbolic communication and describe interventions designed to promote the learner’s continued progress at this stage of expressive communication development.

SSI Work Incentives for Youth Who Work

September 23, 2020

Join this webinar to learn about different Social Security Administration (SSA) work incentives available for youth who are thinking about going to work and who receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) cash benefits.

Turning 18? What You Should Know About Social Security

There are changes that come into play when a person turns 18 years old, both in life and with Social Security.  Join this webinar to learn: What the Redetermination process is and how to best prepare for it; What other Social Security disability programs 18-year-olds might qualify for, and how to identify and access them; and What Work Incentives are geared towards younger individuals who receive Social Security benefits.

October 14, 2020

Confronting Challenges as a Pandemic Technology Moderator: Strategies for Engaging Students with Disabilities in Virtual Learning and the Use of Netiquette

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, students with disabilities were required to abruptly transition to the use of virtual platforms for everyday activities, such as learning, doctor/service provider appointments, and maintaining a social life. This resulted in educators, parents, guardians, caretakers, and service providers being required to assume the role of technology moderators for students with disabilities. Many new challenges, in which strategies and answers were not available, surfaced.

This webinar presentation will give a brief overview of the following challenges, as well as provide several strategies for addressing these challenges: (a) engaging in virtual learning; (b) the use of netiquette (the etiquette of the internet); and (c) the safe use of social media platforms. This session will conclude with a short question and answer portion in which questions about these challenges can be asked.

October 20, 2020

Discovering Talents, Strengths and Interests With Kimberly Norris-Scrano

After an alarming “SLAM, SLAM, SLAM,” Kim often comments to complete strangers how her daughter, Alana’s, perfect job would be testing the durability of new products for Anderson Windows and Doors. This one-liner joke is quite successful in bringing smiles to previously startled faces, but there’s quite a bit of truth to it. Alana was born with complex multiple disabilities, so Kim has known for years that her daughter’s path to employment would be unique.

Beginning in elementary school, Kim started pairing Alana’s strengths and interests with activities that could springboard into vocational opportunities. Alana graduated from Hysham High School in 2019, and the mother-daughter team have been busy ever since! In this webinar, you will learn how to open the floodgates of possibility for individuals like Alana by seeing the potential in their preferred tasks. Whether it’s zipping up plastic baggies, throwing balls, ripping paper, exploring sensory bins, or triggering a cause-and-effect gadget – there is a place for most any passion in the vocational realm and beyond!

Date: November 5th, 2020


Promoting Work Experiences for Students: Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) With Montana Vocational Rehabilitation

Learn about Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) in Montana. This webinar will introduce families and professionals to the concept and help them understand how to access Pre-ETS. Participants will learn how Vocational Rehabilitation, high schools, Community Rehabilitation Programs, Independent Living Centers, universities and other programs are working together to help students with disabilities prepare for life after high school. Presenters will share examples of how students with the most significant impact of disability are receiving Pre-ETS. There will be a special focus on Pre-ETS for students with hearing and/or vision loss.  OPI renewal unit credit is available.

Date: December 3rd, 2020

Transition to Employment Webinar Series
hosted by the Montana DeafBlind Project

The purpose of this series of webinars is to provide teams supporting students with DeafBlindness and a significant impact of disability, the tools to: explore community employment as a post-school outcome for all of their students; begin identifying students’ interests, skills and abilities, and support needs; and, identify tasks the student could offer in employment. The end goal of the webinar series in year one is for teams to use the information to create an individualized work experience for a student they are currently working with.

Webinar One: Accessing Competitive Integrated Employment through a Customized Approach

This session will introduce audience members to strategies called customized employment and discovery; explain how discovery can be used as an alternative to traditional assessments, to highlight a student’s interests, abilities, support needs, and potential work tasks.  

Webinar Two:  Using the Strategies of Discovery to Learn about the Student

This session will introduce the strategies of observation, interview and description to assist teams to identify skills and interests, ideal conditions for success, and potential tasks that a student could do for employment.

Webinar Three: Translating the Information Learned in Discovery into Characteristics of a Well-matched Work Experience

This session will illustrate how to translate interests and skills into job tasks, and perceived barriers to employment into ideal conditions for success. 

The final webinar in this series will talk about how to translate what you have observed and learned during the work experience (or other Discovery activities) into a plan for additional work experiences and/or a blueprint for the student’s well-matched job.

The University of Montana provides reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities who request and require them. Please contact Kim Brown for information and to arrange accommodations.

Annual Conferences in Montana

Additional Training