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College of Education and Human Sciences

About Us



What we do: (see our brochure English or Spanish)

Mississippi Hearing-Vision Project is a federally funded project to provide technical assistance to individuals between the ages of birth and 21 years. Whether it is in the home, school, or agency setting, our staff can provide assistance and training to help make a better quality of life.

The Mississippi Deaf-Blind Project changed its name to Mississippi Hearing-Vision Project in the 2013-2018 grant application in order to be more inclusive and demonstrative of our commitment of being a resource to the community of those learners having both hearing and vision challenges.  While there are numerous words used to describe this low incidence population, in the previous funded years we found many families were uncomfortable with the term "deaf-blind," thus preventing our involvement.  By focusing on the hearing-vision challenges, we hope to provide the much needed specialized supports to even more school districts and families of students regardless of varying degrees and severity of this combined sensory involvement.

Our Mission:

The overall mission of the Mississippi Hearing-Vision Project is to provide technical assistance to families and services providers of children/young adults with hearing-vision challenges, also referred to as deaf-blindness.

We believe that: 

  • activities should be as family-centered as possible
  • technical assistance activities should be individualized for each child or young adult with hearing-vision loss
  • technical assistance provisions should have specific outcomes that are clear to both families and services providers
  • team approaches should be used to develop curriculum and adaptations for both educational transitional services
  • activities conducted and products disseminated should be user-friendly and focused on the needs of families and service providers

 What does deaf-blind mean?

The federal definition of deaf-blindness is "concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination that creates such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education in programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness."  FR Dept. of Education, 34 CFR Parts 300 & 303. Vol. 64. No. 48.3/12/99

What that means is a condition in which both a hearing and vision loss are present at the same time.  The combined effect of these losses, even if both are mild, creates unique challenges for the individual that cannot be addressed solely within a special education program for the deaf or special education program for the blind.

Deaf-blindness affects more than 10,000 children between birth and 21 years of age in the United States.  It affects many children in the state of Mississippi.  Deaf-blindness has over 70 known causes, including Usher's syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, meningitis, and rubella syndrome.  Within each of these etiologies, there are specific concerns that carry lifelong challenges.  Appropriate education must address both the hearing and vision impairment, as well as any other disabilities that may be present.

Who is eligible?

Children living in Mississippi, birth through 21 years of age, with varying degrees of hearing and vision losses.

Who can request services?

Any parent, family member, or service/care provider of a child, birth through 21 years with both vision and hearing losses.

Referral Packet

If you have a child that is eligible for assistance through the MS Hearing-Vision Project, please print the following pdf file of our Initial Child Identification Form and send back to us along with any supporting documentation you might have.  Someone from our office will be in contact with you regarding your request.

 MHVP Initial Child Identification Form

Each form can also be downloaded separately if you wish:

Cover Letter - introduction and overview of MHVP

Checklist - use this list to ensure that all necessary documents are submitted

Complete Application- to be completed, signed, and returned in order to have child placed on federal registry

Release of Information - must be signed and returned BEFORE MHVP can work with child

Federal Definition of Deaf-Blindness

Brochure - English

Brochure - Spanish

Return Envelope - print, cut, and glue or tape to your envelope to send application and documentation back to the project.

Project Staff:

Toni Hollingsworth, Project Director

Kasey Keith, Project Coordinator

Advisory Committee Members

Individuals with Deaf-Blindness & Family Members
Aubre Watts
Andre Jarreau, Deaf-Blind Community of MS
Danay Trest, Usher Syndrome Coalition Board Member
Jayna Stogner
Angie Nix 
Valerie Yerks 
Cindy Williamson 
Lori-Beth Robinson
Sheri Little 
Pat Theriot
Alicia McClendon 
Wil McClendon
Rebecca Newman
Pete Formica

Direct Service Providers
Ian Cowart, Brandi’s Hope
Kelly Schwartz, Hancock County Schools
Beth Haller, Madison County Schools
Dr. Jocelyn Whipps, Rankin County Schools
Eddie Spann
Gussie Farris, Special Education Consultant
Nan Wilson, Consultant
Wendy Troutman, Harrison County Schools
Anita Medley, Consultant
Michelle Miller, OT – Kidz Therapy Spot

 Community Partners:
Mississippi State Agency Partners
Pam Dollar, MOU Partner, Mississippi Parent Training & Information
Gretchen Cagle, MS Department of Education
Robin Acord, MS School for the Blind
Wendy Rogers, MS School for the Deaf
Ashley Lacoste, MS Department of Mental Health
Stacy Callender, MS Department of Health
Amy Holley, University of MS Medical Center
Kara Butler, University of MS Medical Center
Carly Preslar, University of MS Medical Center
Charles Hughes, MS Council on Developmental Disabilities
Chris Howard, MS Department of Rehabilitation Services


Mississippi Organization Partners
Matt Nalker, Arc of MS, Inc.
Lisa Burck, Arc of MS, Inc.
Patrina Pendarvis, National Federation of the Blind – MS Chapter
Greg Crapo, De l’Epee Deaf Center

 Mississippi In-service Program Partners
Dr. Sandra Nichols, University of Southern MS – Special Education Department
Dr. Hollie Filce, University of Southern MS – Professor – REACH MS
Dr. Marietta Patterson, University of Southern MS – Deaf Education
Dr. Christina Perigoe, University of Southern MS – Deaf Education
Sarah Case-Price, University of Southern MS – Children’s Center
Dr. Rebekah Young, University of Southern MS – Institute for Disability Studies
Sandra Hester, Hinds Community College Interpreter Training Program
Michelle McDonnell, MS State University – NRTC on Blindness & Low Vision
Janie Cirlot-New, MS State University – T.K. Martin Center for Assistive Technology
Dr. Kasee Stratton, MS State University – Bulldog CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab


Contact Us

College of Education and Human Sciences

116 Owings-McQuagge Hall (OMH) 
118 College Dr. #5023
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Campus Hattiesburg

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Contact Us

College of Education and Human Sciences

320 Hardy Hall 
730 East Beach Boulevard
Long Beach, MS 39560

Campus Gulf Park

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