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Interveners need training in deafblind-specific knowledge and skills in order to work effectively with individuals with deafblindness.


Overview of the Intervener Training Program in Deafblindness at Utah State University Leading to the National Intervener Credential

Required Coursework
The USU Intervener Training Program is based on the CEC Approved Specialization Knowledge and Skill Set for Paraeducators who are Interveners for Individuals with Deafblindness.  In the program students must complete the following 10 hours of coursework with a GPA of at least 3.0:

  • SPED 4106, Introduction to Deafblindness (4 credits) – This course is an introduction to Deafblindness and its impact on learning and development. It is an overview of the sensory systems and the issues that arise when an individual has a combined loss of vision and hearing. Emphasis is on the unique needs of the individual with deafblindness and on effective intervention strategies.
  •  SPED 4107, Combined Vision and Hearing Loss (4 credits) – This course focuses on communication, language, and literacy for individuals with combined vision and hearing loss. It also addresses issues related to sensory functioning and integration, orientation and mobility, and self-determination. Emphasis is on the unique needs of the individual with deafblindness and on effective intervention strategies.
  •  SPED 4108, Practicum in Deafblindness (4 credits) – This course is designed to give interveners experiences in providing one-to-one intervention with individuals who have combined vision and hearing loss in educational settings.  During the practicum experience, interveners receive support and guidance from the Practicum Instructor and Intervener Coach.

The Practicum Instructor evaluates the performance of interveners during the practicum and grades all practicum assignments and the completed portfolio.  The Instructor provides guidance and support to interveners throughout the Practicum.  The Instructor and the Intervener Coach communicate during the practicum about the intervener’s progress.   The Instructor incorporates the Intervener Coach’s feedback into the final assessment of the intervener’s performance.  The intervener will receive a pass/fail grade for the Practicum course.

The Intervener Coach participates in coach’s training provided by USU.  The Coach maintains ongoing communication with the intervener and schedules a minimum of 3 visits to the educational settings to provide support and guidance based on evidence-based coaching practices.  The Intervener Coach documents the coaching sessions and makes recommendations as appropriate to guide the intervener in making improvements.  The Coach communicates regularly with the Practicum Instructor.

Practicum Requirements

The responsibilities that each intervener is expected to fulfill for the practicum are:

  • Spend a minimum of 100 hours of contact time with an individual with deafblindness, providing one-to-one intervener services.  Interveners document the hours spent and describe the activities involved.  The classroom teacher/supervisor is asked to verify the number of hours documented by the intervener.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and skill competencies needed to be an intervener and demonstrate proficiency in the implementation of intervention strategies with individuals who are deafblind.
  • Work cooperatively and collaboratively with classroom teachers, educational teams, and/or agency staff.
  • Participate in a minimum of three coaching sessions with a trained Intervener Coach, and implement changes and suggestions as appropriate.
  • Complete a 10-15 minute video demonstrating the application of effective deafblind-specific intervention practices with individuals with deafblindness.
  • Adhere to the organizational structure, processes, rules, and working conditions of the practicum site.
  • Demonstrate professional behavior and professional ethics throughout the practicum.
  • Complete a portfolio based on the National Intervener Competencies, which provides evidence of intervener knowledge and skill competencies.

The Intervener Portfolio includes the following:

  • Intervener Coaching Plans (Coaching Session #1, #2, #3)
  • Coaching Session Record (completed by Intervener Coach)
  • Intervention Practices Form (completed by Intervener Coach)
  • Intervener Coaching Feedback Form
  • Practicum Tracking Sheet documenting 100 hours of one-to-one intervention with an individual who is deafblind
  • Copy of USU Transcript or a non-transcript document provided by the program
  • Certificate of Completion of SPED 4106/6106 and SPED 4107/6107 from USU
  • 10-15 minute video (in addition to other videos that document evidence of specific competencies)
  • Intervener Portfolio Assessment Form with intervener competencies documented by a minimum of two lines of evidence.

The Instructor evaluates the portfolio and scores it based on a rubric and a possible 382 points.  To pass, the portfolio must score a minimum of 306 points.  Once the portfolio is reviewed and evaluated as meeting the criteria for passing, it is sent on to the National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals for credentialing.

Program Evaluation is done for the Intervener Training Program each semester by USU through course evaluations.  In addition, additional evaluation is conducted as needed.


The deafblind courses are designed to prepare paraprofessionals to work as interveners with children and youth who are deafblind. It can also be useful to teachers, parents, administrators, and adult service providers

  • Option 1: Students can take the training program in deafblindness that consists of two 4-credit hour classes.  Upon successful completion of the coursework, students will be awarded a certificate of completion from USU. These courses can also be taken for graduate credit.
  • Option 2: Students can also take the deafblind courses for CEUs. This option allows students to have their grade posted to an official transcript. The cost for this option is currently $600* per course. The CEU option also allows students to change to a credit basis at a later date for an additional fee if it becomes necessary. If you choose to take the courses for CEUs, contact Linda Alsop at (435) 797-5598 or for a registration form. (*Tuition is subject to change.) 

    Option 3: Students can take the coursework as part of an Associate’s Degree program in General Studies with a Focus in Deafblindness. This online program includes 30 semester hours of general education classes and 30 hours of coursework that includes the deafblind classes and other related topics. If interested in participating in this training, please contact: Linda Alsop, SKI-HI Institute, (435) 797-5598, 

    Students who complete the coursework on a non-transcript basis are still eligible to obtain the National Intervener Credential.
  • 2019-FALL Deafblind Flyer– Intervener Training Program Flyer
  • Sponsor Authorization Form (PDF).  Students should have their sponsors complete this form if the sponsor will be supporting the tuition costs for the student.

Information About Other Programs

Michigan’s Deafblind Training Program

National Intervener Credential

The need for Intervener training programs has long been recognized in the field of deafblindness. Although some local, state, and regional programs have been developed to address this need, there is a general lack of common standards, competencies, and practices among these training programs. The National Intervener Credentialing Program, administered through the National Resource Center for Paraeducators and Related Service Providers (NRCP), establishes common standards, competencies, and practices in a way that is both rigorous and affordable. Administrators of local and state education agencies can be assured that students who have completed the NRCP-approved training, practicum, and credential process have met standards that are rigorous and recognized beyond their local school, district, and state.

What are the requirements for obtaining a credential? 

  • A minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework from an Institution of Higher Education (university or college).  This includes online coursework plus a practicum experience.
  • A practicum experience under the supervision of the course instructor that includes 100 hours of contact time with a child who is deafblind, plus a minimum of three coaching sessions with a trained intervener coach.
  • A completed Intervener portfolio based on the National Intervener Competencies which provides documentation that the intervener has acquired the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective intervener. See The Intervener Portfolio Assessment-Knowledge and Skills for an example of the portfolio assessment used by Utah State University.



Intervener Competencies (PDF)

This document contains competencies for training Interveners to work with children/students with deafblindness. Competency levels of mastery are defined by both knowledge and implementation, organized under eight standards as follows:

What Every Special Educator Should Know (PDF)

These Intervener standards are from the CEC “red book” which includes the general standards for all paraprofessionals as specified by CEC. There are 10 separate standards which contain both knowledge and skill areas. They are the recommended standards for university and college intervener training programs.

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