This is a picture of LeeAnn Bryan, an adult deaf blind person who is receiving the 2006 Annual DBMAT “Christian Knapp Award” for being a Great Motivator. From left to right are Lee Ann’s mother, Jackie Bryan, Lee Ann’s long-time intervener, Helen Porter, Gary Knapp, the father of Christian Knapp, Lee Ann Bryan herself, and Melanie Knapp, mother of Christian Knapp.
“Once I knew only darkness and stillness... my life was without past or future... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”
What is an Intervener?
An intervener provides a bridge to the world for the person who is deafblind. By definition, an intervener is a one-to-one service provider with specialized training and skills in deafblindness. The intervener helps the person gather information, learn concepts and skills, develop communication and language, and establish relationships that lead to greater independence. The intervener is a support person who does WITH -- NOT FOR- the person. Specialized training is needed to become an effective intervener. Training should address a wide range of topics necessary to understanding the nature and impact of deafblindness, the role of the intervener, and appropriate educational strategies to work with persons with combined vision and hearing loss.(Alsop, Killoran, Robinson, Durkel, & Prouty, 2004;McGinnes, 1986; Robinson et al, 2000)
The role of the Intervener
The basic role of the intervener is three-fold. The intervener:
1. Facilitates access to the environmental information that is usually gained through vision and hearing, but which is unavailable or incomplete to the person who is deafblind.
2. Facilitates the development and/or use of the person's receptive and expressive communication skills.
3. Develops and maintains a trusting, interactive relationship with the person who is deafblind that promotes social and emotional development and well-being (Alsop et at, 2002)