ADAMLS: Assessing Access to Sign and Fingerspelling

Presentation Slides

Robbie Blaha, M.Ed., and Tina Hertzog

Sign language, fingerspelling and speechreading are visual by definition, and vision loss can greatly affect the ability of the child with deafblindness to access these modes of communication. Accommodations that allow access to sign and fingerspelling are typically not addressed in evaluations required by teachers of the visually impaired or deaf/hard of hearing. As a result, many qualified students may fail to progress or even be considered incapable of learning these language systems. This session will provide an overview of an assessment that leads to the development of appropriate accommodations to support access for students with deafblindness.

Credits: Act 48, ASHA, ACVREP, Psych, Instructional Hours
Audience: Teachers who work with students who are blind or visually impaired; Teachers who work with students with hearing loss; Teachers who work with students who are Deaf-Blind; Orientation and Mobility Specialists; Other (Paraprofessionals who serve as Interveners)

Speakers' biographies: Robbie Blaha, M.Ed., has served children with deafblindness for 49 years both as a classroom teacher and as a consultant on the Texas Deafblind Project. She is the author of “Calendars for Students With Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness” and the co-author of “Assessment of Deafblind Access to Manual Language Systems (ADAMLS)”.


image of Robbie Blaha, M.Ed.

Tina Hertzog is a retired Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments residing in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. As a graduate of Kutztown State College/Kutztown University, Tina taught in a vision resource room for two years in Elmira, New York, before working thirty-one years as an itinerant vision teacher for the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, PA.
In 2009, Tina took a sabbatical and enrolled in Texas Tech’s Master’s of Science Program in Special Education with a concentration in Deaf-Blindness.  In 2010, she was selected to represent Texas Tech as a Helen Keller Fellow. As a Fellow, Tina was asked to be an Open Hands Open Access: Deaf-Blind Learning Modules contributor, an honor bestowed for all four module creation cohorts. In addition to participating in the OHOA modules creation, she has been both an OHOA field tester and an expert reviewer.
After retiring from teaching in 2013, Tina currently facilitates/hosts OHOA module cohorts for state Deaf-Blind Projects in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Minnesota, New England and Arizona. In addition to facilitating the OHOA modules, she is an Independent Deaf-Blind Consultant contracted with PaTTAN to support their grant writing goals. Tina also consults with a local school district to support the educational teams for two students with deaf-blindness.

image of Tina Hertzog