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Oregon University Continues As National Deaf-Blind Center

OPB | Oct. 10, 2013 3:36 p.m. | Updated: Oct. 10, 2013 7:56 p.m. | Portland

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Western Oregon University learned Thursday it will continue to be home to the National Center on Deaf Blindness. That means Western - along with several partners - will get a 5-year, $10.5 million grant.

WOU campus

WOU campus

Western Oregon University

It’ll allow the Center to work with states to serve students who are both deaf and blind.

Jay Gense is the center’s director. He says the center at Western Oregon is helping with one of the biggest challenges schools have when students have significant disabilities: transitioning them from isolated programs into standard classrooms.

“So that’s an incredibly positive trend nationwide,” says Gense. “At the same time, it complicates the service delivery - because it means that those kids are in schools that have people who don’t have the expertise.”

Gense says a majority of deaf-blind students across the country now spend at least part of their day in traditional classrooms.

Gense says there are roughly 10,000 deaf-blind students in the US. About 70 of them are in Oregon. 

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