Certified Deafblind Intervenor Specialists (CDBIS) Handbook, Section 3 - Scope of Practice for Low Vision Therapists

Certified Deafblind Intervenor Specialists are highly trained professionals who work with individuals who are deafblind and those identified as having a dual sensory loss. Intervenors are narrators, informers, guides, communicators, and generally a link to the world for someone who is deafblind. They act as a “bridge? not a barrier” and subscribe to the philosophy "Do with NOT for”.

An intervenor facilitates the interaction of the person who is deafblind with other people and the environment. The intervenor takes direction from the individual who is deafblind and provides information about the environment and what is happening (using receptive language), assists the individual who is deaf blind to communicate (using expressive language), provides or develops concepts where necessary, confirms actions, assists with life skills and most importantly, assists the individual to achieve as much independence as possible within their situation.
The sector that they serve is comprised of people who are Deafblind or living with dual sensory loss. CDBIS's are experts in providing auditory, visual and tactile information to someone who is deafblind. In doing so, CDBIS provide access to information and afford opportunities for inclusion, skill development, empowerment and independence.

CDBIS are committed to a strong Code of Ethics that is derived from the belief that "all individuals who are deafblind have the right to fully access all information / communication clearly and without bias. This includes the right to participate successfully in their community by accessing qualified intervenors that uphold the highest standards of professional integrity, competence, and ethics.
CDBIS employ a total communication approach to intervenor services, relaying and interpreting auditory, visual and tactile information in their immediate environment as well as about local and global issues. Systems of communication include but are not limited to formal languages such as American Sign Language, Langue Signe du Quebecois, English and French as well as modes such as 2-Hand Manual, tactile cues, hand-over-hand, Pro-Tactile, gestures, and Signed Exact English. Other communication strategies include note taking, large print note, print on palm, braille and calendar systems.

CDBIS' adhere to a strict standard ethical practice and strive to empower their clients by ensuring that all choices, thoughts and ideas are accurately communicated. Additionally, intervenors encourage self-advocacy; however in instances where individuals are not able to do so, intervenors will follow directives to advocate on the person’s behalf.

Service provision is done in a variety of settings including but not limited to the client's home, medical facilities, educational environments, volunteer/workplaces, sporting events, religious institutions, non-profit agencies, longterm care homes, independent living programs, financial institutions, as well as various locations within the community for tasks of daily living. As the words 'link to the world' imply, intervenors not only support the person who is Deafblind, but also anyone they are 'linking' to.
CDBIS work as part of an inter disciplinary team of professionals to develop strategies to meet changing needs and to support the overall health and welfare of the people serve.

The deafblind community is very diverse; therefore Certified Deafblind Intervenor Specialists work with people of all ages, race, creed, gender, gender orientation, cognitive and physical abilities.
The knowledge and skills applied in intervenor services include but are not limited to:

  1. Understanding of Deafblindness
  2. Values, Ethics and Principles of Intervenor services
  3. Strategies Used in Providing Intervenor Services
  4. Theories and Practices of Communication
  5. Social, Emotional, and Psychological Impact of Deafblindness
  6. The Relationship between Deafblindness and Health, Mental Health and Aging
  7. Sensory Systems
  8. Orientation and Mobility
  9. Use of Assistive Devices and Technology