Why Are Intervener Services Important?

Deafblindness severely limits access to visual and auditory information that forms the basis for learning and communication and creates challenges for educational systems mandated to provide a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. (Are Intervener Services Appropriate for Your Student with Deaf-Blindness: An IEP Team Discussion Guide, National Center on Deaf-Blindness, 2016). Intervener services help meet the challenge of providing students who are deafblind with access to information they are unable to gather through vision and hearing. Intervener services provide students with a means to compensate for the challenges related to communication and concept development that occur as a result of a combined vision and hearing loss.

What Is the Role of an Intervener?

“An intervener is defined as a person who works consistently one-to-one with a child who is deafblind and who has training and specialized skills in deafblindness” (A Family’s Guide to Interveners for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss, 2012).

According to Deafblindness and the Role of the Intervener in Educational Settings (Utah State University, SKI-HI, 2010), the role of an Intervener is to support children with combined hearing-vision loss by improving:

  • Access to Information

    An intervener provides access to the environmental information that is usually gained through vision and hearing, but is unavailable or incomplete for the child who is deafblind.

  • Access to Communication

    An intervener facilitates the development and/or use of receptive and expressive communication skills for the child who is deafblind

  • Access to Social and Emotional Development

    An intervener develops and maintains a trusting, interactive relationship that promotes social and emotional well-being for the child who is deafblind (Utah State University, SKI-HI Institute, 2012).

Individuals who provide intervener services:

What Knowledge & Skills Do Individuals Providing Intervener Services Usually Possess?

An intervener typically demonstrates knowledge and skills related to:

Developing Intervener Knowledge and Skills: Available Training Options

The Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA) intervener training modules – available through NCDB at www.nationaldb.org – are useful in supporting the development of knowledge and skills for individuals working with children with combined hearing-vision loss and children with multiple disabilities including sensory loss.

Individuals interested in developing intervener skills to work with students with deafblindness may complete the online modules independently or as part of a facilitated training. The Ohio Center for Deafblind Education (OCDBE) offers facilitated intervener services training using the OHOA module content. OCDBE offers contact hours to individuals who complete OCDBE facilitated training. 

Content addressed through OHOA modules are organized into the following five topical categories:

Impact on Deafblindness and Learning

7 Modules about Impact on Deafblindness and Learning

View on OHOA


5 Modules about Communication

View on OHOA

Promoting Learning

8 Modules about Promoting Learning

View on OHOA

Preparing for Adult Life

3 Modules about Preparing for Adult Life

View on OHOA


3 Modules about Professionalism

View on OHOA

Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA)

Learn more information about Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA) module learning outcomes

For more information on how OCDBE can assist individuals or teams in scheduling Intervener Services trainings using the OHOA module content, contact OCDBE at (614) 897-0020 or by using the Contact Us page.

OCDBE Intervener Services Training

OCDBE intervener services training is provided through a variety of formats as shown below and offers contact hours to individuals who complete the assignments and participate in the webinars associated with the training.

Teams of educators and parents working with an individual student may contact OCDBE and arrange a facilitated online training using specific OHOA modules that focus on the student’s or team’s needs.

Groups of educators (general education teachers, intervention specialists, related service providers, etc.) with common needs and interests can arrange for an OCDBE facilitated, online training using specific OHOA modules based upon the needs or interests of the group

Individual educators, educator teams, and parents may participate in OCDBE advertised, facilitated online training on predetermined groupings of OHOA modules that focus on specific topics.

Parents or educators may select may select one or more modules of interest and complete them as an independent student

Intervener Services Factsheet & Information

The following letter and fact sheet provide information on intervener services on behalf of the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness.

Interested in Obtaining an Intervener Services Certificate?

Shawnee State University offers a 30-credit hour program offering undergraduate level coursework leading to a Shawnee State University issued Intervener Certificate. The Intervener Program is designed to be completed in two years. Applicants must meet the admission requirements at Shawnee State University. Coursework is primarily completed in an online format, culminating with a 2-credit hour face-to-face practicum experience.

Interested in Becoming Credentialed or Certified as an Intervener?

Several universities offer intervener training through coursework and coaching leading to a national credential through the National Resource Center for Paraeducators. Some universities offer both on-campus and online intervener training programs that lead to a certificate of completion and/or the National Intervener Certification. Utah State University is n example of a university that offers both on-campus and online intervener training.

Interested in Obtaining National Intervener Certification?

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) and the Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center (PAR2A Center), with support from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), have created a national certification system for interveners. The National Intervener Certification E-portfolio (NICE) System is an assessment process that individuals can use to submit evidence of their knowledge and skills via a portfolio. More information is available on the NCDB site.

Would you like to be a member of NIAA?

National Intervener & Advocate Association (NIAA) is a national organization dedicated to the profession and excellence of highly trained Interveners. Membership in NIAA is open to members who hold a National Intervener Credential after completing a training program through a university or college.

More Information

What is Deafblindness?
OCDBE Services
Ohio Deafblind Census


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