Interveners in West Virginia

Students who are deafblind have absent, partial or distorted vision and hearing. These students represent the lowest of the low incidence disability groups and the most diverse group of learners.  Many have additional disabilities and often have an exceptionality other than deafblindness. With varying degrees of vision and hearing loss, deafblindness severely limits access to visual and auditory information that forms the basis for learning and communication and creates barriers to education, social competence, communication and independent living. These barriers present challenges for districts, schools, and teachers.  Intervener services offer the solution to meet the challenge of providing students who are deafblind with access to information and communication and facilitate the development of social and emotional well-being.
Note: Inclusive of all students with combined vision and hearing loss regardless of identified primary exceptionality.

What is an Intervener?

An intervener is a specially trained person who works consistently one-to-one with a student who is deafblind.  The intervener facilitates access to the environmental information that is usually gained through vision and hearing but which is incomplete to the child who is deafblind.  The intervener helps the student gather information, learn concepts and skills, and develop communication and language.  (Policy 2419:  Regulations for the Education of Students with Exceptionalities – pages 95 and 125)

How to determine if an intervener is appropriate?

Not all students who are deafblind need an intervener.  The decision by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Team to provide intervener services is based on the level of supporting a student who is deafblind needs in order to gain access and effectively participate in his/her educational environments both academic and non-academic.  A variety of support approaches and strategies may be creatively employed by the Team to address the student’s individual needs.  In some cases, an intervener trained in deafblindness with specific knowledge and skills may be the most appropriate, effective and/or efficient service delivery model.

Are Intervener Services Appropriate for Your Student with Deafblindness: An IEP Team Discussion Guide
(Electronic fillable form available:


How to hire an Intervener?

There is not a classification for interveners in WV Code or Policy 5202: Minimum Requirements for the Licensure of Professional/Paraprofessional Personnel and Advanced Salary Classifications.  Considerations should be given to combining the qualifications and duties of an intervener with the existing classification that most aligns with the student’s need.  Sample job descriptions for the following are provided:

How do I find training?

An intervener, by definition, is a person with specialized training to work with a student who is deafblind.  WVDE Deafblind grant (WV SenseAbilities) coordinates this specialized training in collaboration with the district. The following are options available for training (at no cost to the district):

  • Utah State University – 12 hours (credit or non-credit) is provided online for coursework and onsite for practicum.  Please note: 16 hours are recommended
  • Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) modules – WV SenseAbilities, using the National Center on

Deaf-Blindness 28 modules, will individualize a training plan for the intervener in accordance to the needs of the assigned student.

  • Central Michigan University Deafblind Intervener Certificate (DBI) – 12 credit hours – online modules