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Helen Keller National Center

Current Section  Purpose
Funding Status
Applicant Info
 Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Home

Program Office: OSERS, Office of the Assistant Secretary (OAS)

CFDA Number: 84.904A
Program Type: Direct appropriation
Also Known As: HKNC, Helen Keller National Center for Youths and Adults Who Are Deaf-Blind

Program Description

The Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) provides intensive vocational rehabilitation services on a national basis to individuals who are deaf-blind through a comprehensive rehabilitation training center at its headquarters in Sands Point, New York.

Through its 10 regional field offices, HKNC offers technical assistance, information, referral, advocacy and training to private and state agencies enhancing the ability of service providers to better meet the rehabilitative needs of people who are deaf-blind.

HKNC's Deaf-blind National Community of Practice (NCOP) is a national network of 38 service providers working collaboratively to initiate and expand services to individuals who are deaf-blind, and maximize a national coordinated effort to develop effective practices through research and shared learning.

In 2016, the Center served 93 adult training clients and provided specialized short term training to 29 clients at its headquarters. In addition, the Center reported that in FY 2016 HKNC's regional programs served 1,528 consumers, 447 families and 985 organizations and agency service providers with a broad spectrum of services, including consultation, referral, training and individualized services related to independent living and employment.

Types of Projects

HKNC conducts needs assessment and surveys to guide professional development materials, course offerings and technical assistant to state and local agency partners and other professionals in order to effectively meet their needs and build capacity among service providers to work with individuals who are deaf-blind. Recent surveys addressed important areas and included:

  • Mental health.

  • Working with Seniors with Age Related Vision and Hearing Loss.

  • Administration of Support Service Provider (SSP) Programs.

  • Five state-wide needs assessments regarding services for deaf-blind community.

HKNC's Professional Learning department in collaboration with HKNC practitioners and consumers host regular professional learning seminars. The seminars address a variety of professional disciplines and include:

  • Community Based Living Options seminar created for staff working at group homes, day programs, family members and advocates of deaf-blind individuals with multiple disabilities.

  • Interpreting Strategies for Individuals who are Deaf-blind seminar for gaining knowledge of assistive technology, strategies for visual and tactile communication, human guide techniques, cultural awareness, touch signals and SSPs.

  • Orientation and Mobility seminar offering a hybrid curriculum (one-week of distance learning and four days of onsite training) expanding upon the mobility curriculum for individuals who are deaf-blind.

  • Train-the Trainer Adaptive Technology seminar.

HKNC offers three program options for transition age youth who are deaf-blind:

  1. The Young Adult Summer Seminar

  2. Summer Assessment Program

  3. Summer Youth Vocational Program

HKNC's Confident Living Program for Senior Citizens is a week long program for seniors with combined vision and hearing loss which is offered to individuals age 55 or better. One of the benefits of this program is to encourage seniors to develop and maintain peer support opportunities. In addition, seniors receive exposure to techniques and technology that help persons with combined vision and hearing loss maintain independence in their homes.

The HKNC Professional learning and Leadership Institute (PLLI) provides qualified deaf-blind individuals who are currently unemployed or underemployed with an opportunity to participate in a three month paid internship HKNC. The anticipated outcome is employment within the deaf-blind rehabilitation field. This program promotes increased opportunities for peer-to-peer adult learning approaches in the deaf-blind rehabilitation field.

Last Modified: 06/29/2017