Linda Hagood - Deafblindness- Portland State University
Linda Hagood has worked for 30 years as a speech language pathologist, with more than half of that time focused on communication intervention with children and adolescents who have visual and multiple impairments. She entered this career path through her work with students who have deafblindness in a special program at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired for children who had rubella syndrome following the epidemic of the 1960s. This work, initially as a paraprofessional, then as a teacher and SLP, sparked her interest in the unique communication challenges faced by this population. Later, after being trained as a speech language pathologist in the speech communication program at the University of Texas, she worked both as a a communication specialist and educational consultant in a variety of settings, including TSBVI, public school programs, regional technical support centers, and private speech clinics, where she received and provided specialized training in the area of autism to augment her background in visual and multiple impairments. While working at TSBVI, Linda developed two curriculum guides, both published by the school’s curriculum department. The first guide, Communication: A guide for teachers of students with visual and multiple impairments (1996) focused on communication programming for children with deafblindness and other multiple disabilities. The second guide, Better Together (2008) was developed to address the growing population of students with dual diagnoses of visual impairment and autism. Linda has enjoyed sharing her work with teachers, therapists and parents through professional development presentations throughout the US and most recently in India, where she was supported by Perkins International in a training activity in 2015. She currently teaches an online graduate course for Perkins School for the Blind on relationship based programming for students with visual impairment and autism, entitled “Better Together.” Linda continues to work and play with children who have social communication needs and visual impairment; the students have always been her best teachers.
Linda currently lives in western Washington state on the Kitsap Peninsula, where she enjoys kayaking, hiking and exploring the nooks and crannies of the Olympic Peninsula. Her children are grown and she is happy to stay connected to them, while focusing her caregiving instincts on a big white dog and an occasional guest cat.