About Us

The Ohio Center for Deafblind Education (OCDBE) is a grant-funded project awarded to the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, University of Cincinnati, by the U.S. Department of Education with support from the Ohio Department of Education. The project provides services in Ohio to individuals, birth through 21 years, with deafblindness, including collaborative technical assistance to families, educational personnel and services providers through training and information dissemination. The OCDBE is dedicated to offering innovative approaches to improving the education of children and youth with deafblindness.

Our Team

Deb Telfer of Ohio Deaf Blind

Dr. Deborah Telfer, Project Director and Principal Investigator
Deb Telfer joined the project in March of 2011 and oversees all aspects of the project as well as other initiatives coordinated through the University of Cincinnati Systems Development and Improvement Center. Prior to joining the university, she served as executive director of the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE’s) Center for School Improvement where she was responsible for the development and growth of Ohio’s statewide system of support. In addition, Deb worked as the associate and interim director of ODE’s Office for Exceptional Children.

Dr. Lynne Hamelberg

Dr. Lynne Hamelberg, Family Information and Outreach Specialist
Lynne joined the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education in April of 2016 after serving as a director of special education in Ohio for many years. Lynne supports Tier I dissemination and outreach efforts and provides consultation and technical assistance to families of children with combined hearing-vision loss. She coordinates the annual parent retreat and works in collaboration with the project’s deafblind education consultant to plan and deliver training and professional development to families, school district and agency personnel, and others

Thomas Lather

Thomas Lather, Fiscal & Data Operations
Tom manages all aspects of the annual Deafblind Census and provides outreach services to districts and regions in order to increase awareness of issues related to deafblindness and improve accurate identification and reporting of students with combined vision-hearing loss. Prior to joining the OCDBE, he was employed by the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children as an Educational Consultant, Associate Director and Interim Director.

Leanne Parnell

Leanne Parnell, Deafblind Educational Consultant
Leanne coordinates many of the professional development (PD) and training provided through OCDBE including PD to build the capacity of educators, agency personnel, and families to provide intervener services; PD for related service providers in the areas of interpreter and orientation and mobility; curriculum training using INSITE, VIISA and SKI*HI; and other related awareness and outreach designed to improve understanding of the needs of children with combined hearing-vision loss. She also coordinates the provision of direct consultative services through the project’s Deafblind Technical Assistance Program (DBTAP) and oversees all request fs for project and related resources and lending library requests

Kathy Richards

Kathy Richards, Administrative Assistant
Kathy provides administrative support to the project, helping to coordinate training opportunities including the annual parent retreat, and other project meetings and events such as quarterly Technical Assistance Design and Deployment (TADD) Team meetings and twice yearly Advisory Board meetings. She manages the cataloguing of project library materials and supports the dissemination of such materials and other project resources to interested parties.

Consultants

OCDBE provides technical assistance with the help of our skilled and knowledgeable team of consultants who live and work around the state of Ohio. Our consultants can conduct a classroom observation, meet with school district personnel, or meet with parents. You can request a consultation by contacting Leanne Parnell.

Advisory Board (AB)

THE OCDBE AB advises project personnel on the development, implementation and evaluation of project activities, and in making connections among and across state, regional and local entities as they relate to the work of OCDBE. The Board meets two times per project year – once in the fall and once in the spring.

Technical Assistance Deployment & Design (TADD) Team

The TADD Team advises project personnel on the design and delivery of consultation, professional development (PD) and training, and technical assistance (TA) across tiers to be provided to a variety of target audiences including families, educational and medical professionals, regional providers, and community agency representatives. TADD pays particular attention to the quality, relevance, and usefulness of TA, and the efficiency of TA delivery provided across all tiers. TADD also advises on the identification and use of strategies for extending and sustaining the work of the project during and after the life of the grant.

Intervener Services Work Group (ISWG)

The ISWG advises the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children (ODE, OEC) and the OCDBE in the development of decision rules, resources, and training for the provision of intervener services for children with deafblindness who need such services. Information and/or products developed, based on Work Group recommendations, will align with resources developed through the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB).

[Note: The term intervener is recognized internationally in the field of deafblindness and is used to describe a professional with training and specialized skills who works consistently one-to-one with a child who is deafblind]

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