Dr. Jan van Dijk - Actual news

Jan van Dijk updates his blog


I look forward to your comment and hope you like to share your own experiences.

Besides comment, you might start a new forum discussion.

Monday, 08 December 2014 10:17

Gift Rotary Club of Almelo

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Rotary Club AlmeloOn October 27 Dr. Jan van Dijk received two checks for the deafblind school named after him in Santiago, Chile: Escuela Jan van Dijk.

One check was donated in memory of Mathijs Voskamp. The other one by the Rotary Club of Almelo , Mr Jan Voskamp father of Mathijs (middle) is a member of the club. At his right side Dr Jan van Dijk, on his left side the chairman of the club. Mathijs was a former deaf student at the school where dr van Dijk was once the principal.Donation Rotary Club Almelo

CatherineThe months of September and October '13 were very busy. I lectured at several places in the USA, but assessed, sometimes as part of my assessment presentations several children. Again and again it shows that our “approach” brings many (positive) aspects of the child to the surface, which have not been discovered before. A nice example is Catherine. With permission of the parents we have copied part of mother’s blog and the video clips she took of the assessment of her daughter.

Here it follows:

And then, as if the month couldn’t get any better, we got to visit with Dr. Jan Van Dijk, the world’s authority on reaching deafblind children. He was even knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands for his work and he received the Anne Sullivan award (you do know who she is don’t you?) I called him the Special Needs Whisperer, and he came all the way from the Netherlands to see Catherine. Catherine can hear just fine, fortunately. She’s registered with Maryland’s Deaf Blind Connection because of the difficulty reaching her given her extreme challenges with communication. And Dr. Van Dijk – I’ll just call it miraculously – got her to sing!

Saturday, 26 October 2013 10:17

Mini Symposium Rick van Dijk

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Rick van Dijk

proefschrift Rick van Dijk

uitnodiging mini symposium Rick van Dijk

In april 2012 verdedigde dr. Rick van Dijk, de toenmalige directeur van Instituut voor Gebaren, Taal & Dovenstudies, zijn proefschrift Cognitive Perspectives on Deafness.

Op vrijdag 15 november 2013 organiseren wij rondom zijn proefschrift een minisymposium waarin een aantal belangrijke sprekers  aan het woord zal komen. Het programma ziet er als volgt uit:

chili_afiche_seminarioDuring the International Deafblind Conference in Brazil in September 2011, a lady approached me and said: I am Teresa Barrientos, the Director of the Special school “ Jan van Dijk”  in Santiago de Chili. I was very surprised and honored  to hear that a school was named after me. The school was founded in 2003 and a year later the parents decided to give the school my name.

Teresa asked me: "will you come to Chili to see our school and advise us how to deal with children with challenging behaviors"?

The school cooperated with the University Mayor of Santiago to bring me and my colleague Dr. Catherine Nelson (University of Utah,USA) over to Chili. First we lectured to the students of the University and showed them live how to assess a child with multiple  sensory disabilities.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 09:22

Forum closed and new blog

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Jan van DijkThe goal I had in mind when I developed in close cooperation with my web master Pim this website, was to interact with our readers.

We are very satisfied with the statistic results of the first 26 months.

Since we launched this site two years ago (October 1th, 2010) almost 13.500 unique visitors (December 18th,  2012) read articles on this site.

They are from 127 different countries from all over the world and they read more than 105.000 pages. This we would never have imagined

But, in the 'Forum' part of this site only a few persons had taken the opportunity to raise questions to be discussed. We don’t know why this is, but we feel forced to close it, also because of increasing spam.

Now, I am working on a new blog about my visit to the ‘Special School Jan Van Dijk’ in Santiago, Chili (October 21th untill 23th 2012), where I together with Dr. Cathy Nelson lead a meeting on the education of people with special educational needs and multiple disabilities. Hope you look forward to this!

Until next time, take care and have yourself a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!


What we have noticed is that many people have downloaded the articles we have included on our website. Apparently there is an interest in my work. I have only published a small part of my writings on the website and some of them are outdated. In the recent years I have written several articles which reflect new ideas which I have developed on the assessment and intervention of Deafblind children.

It seems that there is an overall interest in my Assessment techniques. An important issue is the validity and reliability of the “Van Dijk Approach”. This has been established by Nelson et al in 2010. A year before the American Printing House has published the Manual : Child Guided Strategies: The van Dijk Approach to Assessment

In order to make our German speaking colleagues aware of the Van Dijk Assessment protocol the Handbook of Augmentative Communication (Handbuch der Unterstützten Kommunikation") has requested Prof. Dr. Catherine Nelson and myself to discuss the framework of our approach.

We present you this article in the English version: "[rokdownload menuitem="168" downloaditem="34" direct_download="true"]Every Child has Potential - Child-guided Strategies for Assessing Children using the van Dijk Framework[/rokdownload]", by Prof. Dr. Catherine Nelson and Dr. J. van Dijk.

I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Dr. Jan van Dijk

flag_brazilUnderstanding Children who are Deafblind Through Child-Guided Strategies, International World Conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil

by Prof. Dr. Jan van Dijk and Prof. Dr. Catherine Nelson

The Editor of the Journal DBiReview requested the presenters of the pre-conference on Assessment, Drs. Nelson en Van Dijk to write a short report of  their experiences. This report will be published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal. We received permission to publish this  report on our website.

Dr Nelson wrote:

Dr. Jan van Dijk of the Netherlands and Dr. Catherine Nelson of the University of Utah in the United States were pleased to have been given the opportunity to present two sessions on their Child-Guided Assessment Method for children who are Deafblind at the Deafblind International World Conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Within the presentations were descriptions of the methods utilized in the assessment as well as the framework used to determine child strengths, needs, and future directions for intervention. On each workshop day, Dr. van Dijk conducted a live demonstration of the assessment with a child and then the audience used the framework to formulate instructional goals for the children. Later in the conference, Dr. van Dijk assessed a third child to give participants another opportunity to gain knowledge about how to assess children who are deafblind using this unique approach.

Saturday, 18 June 2011 15:25

Webcast Child Guided Assessment

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Perkins School for the BlindAs you can read in this section, I have visited Perkins School for the Blind in October 2010. Prior to a course and demonstration on my assessment techniques, I was interviewed for a webcast on this topic by a very professional team. I am happy to inform you that this webcast can be viewed on this site or on the Perkins site by following this link.

The resource manager of Perkins Dr. Mary Zatta forwarded the following message:

"I hope you are well. I wanted to share the feedback we have received regarding your webcast – we are thrilled with the comments!  See below."

This is excellent!  So well-organized and just the right amount of information for a webcast. The video clips were very helpful and well-edited. Thank you.

Thursday, 12 May 2011 13:33

Mirror Neurons Group

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Mirror Neurons GroupI strongly believe that the mirror neuron system helps us better understand a person with multiple sensory impairments, and propose that “the van Dijk approach” might be based on a system in our brain nobody even knew existed when I began my work.

If you are as excited as I am about this new research from the field of neurobiology, please join our Mirror Neurons Group. Let us see how, together, we can meaningfully incorporate these findings into our practice.

You need to be registered to have Mirror Neurons Group access.

I became interested in the role of mirror neurons about 10 years ago, soon after researchers at the University of Parma, Italy, published the results of their first data. The mirror neuron system (MNS) is a brain circuit that enables us to better understand and anticipate the actions of others. The circuit activates in similar ways, whether we perform actions or watch other people perform those same actions.

Read an explanation by Dr. Christopher Fisher through this link: http://www.bmedreport.com/archives/27282.

To be honest, at the beginning I was a bit afraid that the “discovery” of the mirror neuron system was all hype. But, after studying the MNS in detail (the way it functions when we see or hear another person, our feelings when we watch spiders walk over someone else’s body, etc.), I could understand how people with one or more sensory impairment might have difficulty comprehending the emotions of other people.

CDBACanada has a prominent place in the service for persons with deafblindness. The Canadian Deaf Blind Association plays a vital role in this. The CDBA was formed in 1975 by parents of children with deafblindness who were attending the W. Ross Macdonald School for Students who are Blind and Deafblind in Brantford, Ontario. Initially, the CDBA was an advocacy organization representing a small group of children born with deafblindness largely from the congenital rubella epidemic.

Its mission has been expanded from advocacy to include service provision, awareness, public education and research. The CDBA is inclusive and represents all Canadians with deafblindness. CDBA has 7 chapters, representing most of the Canadian Provinces.

I was invited by the Ontario Chapter to speak about the Limbic System. During a previous visit to Ontario I had spoken with the Director of Training & Consultation, Ms Sue Hall, that I was getting very much involved in the new findings of the neuro sciences on the early brain structures and how this new ideas could effect our work.

Friday, 22 April 2011 15:21

My Trip to Michigan, March 13-17, 2011

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DB CentralThe Director of The deafblind Central: Michigan’s training and resource Project invited me to spend 4 days (March 13-17, 2011) with them to demonstrate and to discuss the Child Guided assessment techniques: the van Dijk Approach.

Over the last years I have several times collaborated with this organization, which is associated with Central Michigan University. The organization of my trip has been always perfect and also this time. The Director Beth Kennedy and her Assistant Jennifer had selected 9 children to assess.

I did this in 3 days and at the 4th day a seminar was organized. The Project is very strong on including intervenors and it was for me no surprise to find so many of them in the audience. The format of the seminar was quite unique.

Every two years, the Outreach Programs of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) organize a symposium on deafblindness. I was honoured by an invitation to present a keynote address and two breakout sessions at this year’s symposium.

Despite the unusually bad Central Texas weather (snow, ice and slippery roads), which caused over 100 people to cancel, the turnout was very good. Almost 300 parents, professionals and paraprofessionals attended. The symposium’s organization was excellent, as were accommodations at the Omni Austin Hotel.

Many people who came to the symposium had also attended the most recent Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas (DBMAT) annual conference, where I spoke last October, so I carefully previewed the content of my presentations with Chris Montgomery, one of the symposium organizers. I did not want to repeat information I had already presented.