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Created by Scott Baltisberger, TVI / Outreach Education Consultant and Chrissy Cowan, TVI and Outreach Mentor Coordinator

These are a series of lesson plans for teaching self-determination skills to students with visual impairments. You may also download a printable file in PDF or Word format.


Unit 1:  The Eye and Sight

Topics 

  • What is an Eye?  (Lesson 1)
  • How Does an Eye Work?  (Lesson 2)
  • Everyone Has Different Eyes – Animals  (Lesson 3)
  • Everyone Has Different Eyes – People  (Lesson 4)
  • How is My Eye Special?  (Lesson 5)

Unit 2:  Student Toolbox

Topics

  • How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information?
    • K-2nd Grade  (Lesson 6)
    • 3rd-12th Grade  (Lesson 7)
    • My Personal Goals (Lesson 8 -all grades)
  • Strategies for Increasing Access
    • Strategies for Braille Readers (Lesson 9)
    • Strategies for Print Readers (Lesson 10)
    • Strategies for Using Audible Materials (Lesson 11)
  • Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access
    • Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media (Lesson 12)
    • Creating a Product to Communicate Visual Strategies/Tools with Teachers (Lesson 13)

Unit 1 Lesson 1:  The Eye and Sight

Topic:  What is an eye?

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify all major structures of the eye.

Rationale:  When a student has specific knowledge about the structure of the eye, he or she can discuss the nature of vision in general, and his or her own specific visual condition with more confidence and ownership.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory Ask student to think about how they get information from the environment.Guide toward naming body parts that take in sensory information - ears, tongue, fingers, nose, eyes. The five senses: hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, seeing
Introduction "Today we will talk about one of those body parts: The Eye.""Can you name any of the parts of the eye?"Allow student to name any parts he/she can."   
Stating the Goal "After our lesson, you will be able to show me all the parts of the eye, both inside and outside, and also tell what each part is called."  
Instruction Using an eye poster or an eye model, point out the different structures of the eye and provide their names. Make sure student repeats the names, pronouncing them correctly.First present exterior structures. Next present interior structures, moving from surface to inside. * Note: Depending on age and abilities of the student, it may be helpful to omit some structures from the discussion in order to reduce the amount of information and complexity of the task. Eye brow, eye lash, eye lid, eye ball, sclera, cornea, iris, pupil, lens, anterior chamber, posterior chamber, retina, macula, optic nerve
Variation 1 Draw a picture of the eye together, labeling each part as they are drawn.Provide a black line drawing of the eye, color each part as you discuss.Provide a raised line, tactile diagram of the eye.  

 Resources and materials:

Eye poster

Eye model:


Unit 1 Lesson 2:  The Eye and Sight

Topic:  How does an eye work?

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will describe the function of all major structures of the eye and the sequence of events that occur to result in seeing.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Previously we talked about the five different senses, how we get information about our environment and the parts of the body that make use of that sense. We talked about the eye in more detail and learned that it has many different parts, both inside and outside."

The five senses:

hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, seeing

Introduction

"Each of the parts of the eye has a special job. Do you know what are the special jobs of any of the parts?All these parts working together create the sense that we call 'seeing'."

 

Stating the Goal "When we finish our lesson today, you we be able to tell me what each part does and how."

 

Instruction 1

"People use different words to talk about using the eye to get information. Three words that you will hear are: seeing, sight and vision. They all mean the same thing."

Seeing, Sight, Vision

Instruction 2

"The first thing that is needed in order for seeing to happen is a light source. It can be the sun, the moon, a light bulb or a candle.The light source sends out light rays and the rays bounce off something."

Light source, Light rays

Instruction 3

Use model, picture, drawing or tactile diagram of the eye to demonstrate pathway of light:

Light rays bounce off object and go toward the eye

Through cornea - like window that lets light in but protects inside of the eye

Iris and pupil - controls amount of light that goes inside the eye. Too much light can hurt the eye

Lens - Focuses light

Interior chamber - like a big room, lets light go through

Retina - receives light; is covered with cells (rods and cones) that transfer the light to electrical impulses and sends them to the optic nerve

Optic nerve - carries information to the brain

Visual Cortex - part of the brain that processes electronic information into information that shows us what we see

(It may be fun to practice this several times with the student picking different objects to "see". You could draw a picture of the object together or make up a story about why you need are looking at that particular object.)

Cornea, Iris, Pupil, Lens, Interior chamber, Retina (rods and cones), Optic nerve, Visual cortex

Check for Understanding

"Show me how we would see ________."

Using model, picture, drawing or tactile diagram, have student demonstrate the pathway that an image takes along the visual pathway, from the observed object to the visual cortex.

 

Closure

"Now we've learned about each part of the eye and the special job each of those parts have to help us see things. Next time we will talk about different kinds of eyes and how each one is special and unique from one another."

 

Rationale: An understanding of the mechanics of visual perception will allow the student to better understand the nature of his or her own visual condition.

Note: Amount of detail presented to the student may vary according to age and/or level of comprehension. For some students, a more simplified version of the visual pathway may be more appropriate. Other students may benefit and enjoy learning about additional structures.

Resources and materials:

Eye poster:

Eye model:

Websites to explore:


Unit 1 Lesson 3: The Eye and Sight

Topic:  Everyone Has Different Eyes - Animals

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify how the eyes of at least four different animals function, how they are similar to one another and how they are different.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Today we're going to learn more about eyes. Can you show me the parts of the eye and tell me what they do?"

(Student uses materials to name parts and describe visual pathway)

 

Introduction

"What are some things that have eyes?" (Student names animals or bugs that have eyes.)

"Have you noticed anything that is different about different animals' eyes?" (Student names differences. May include size, color, position, etc.)

"Let's look at a few different animals and learn about some other ways that each animal's eyes are unique."

 

Stating the Goal

"After our lesson today, you will be able to tell how the eyes of animals are different and why they are different."

 

Instruction 1

Collect pictures of several animals and also (if possible) of that animal’s eye. You can present these in a booklet form or as separate sheets of paper. Look at the pictures and let the child identify the animal. Talk about the animal’s environment and behavior. Talk about how each animal's eyes are different because they are used in different ways.

Environment, Behavior

Instruction 2

Obtain one of the books about animal eyes (see "Resources" below). Read book together and discuss the information.

 

Instruction 3

Explore websites that provide information about animal eyes (see "Resources"). Discuss each animal, its behavior, environment and eyes in more detail.

 

Some examples of animal eyes

Box jellyfish has 24 eyes.

Camels have three eyelids.

Squid have eyes 27 centimeters across.

Dogs can't distinguish between red and green.

Goats have square pupils.

Owls can't move their eyes, that is why they swivel their head at almost 360 degrees.

Worms don't have any eyes.

Chameleons can move each eye in different directions at the same time.

Rattlesnakes can see infrared heat signatures of other animals.

 

Check for Understanding

Child writes the names of four different animals and what is special about the eyes of each one.

Child draws pictures of four animals and also a picture of their eyes, showing what is special about each.

Play game with cards: Name or picture of animal on one set of cards, picture of or description of eyes on other set of cards. Child matches.

 

Closure

"There are all different kinds of eyes in the world. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors and they do different things. It is natural that the eyes of different animals are different. One eye is not better than the other; each is good for its purpose. Next time, we'll talk about how people's eyes can be different too."

 

Rationale: By studying the eyes of animals, which show great variation, the student will understand that diversity in eyes is common and normal. This understanding will enable the student to approach the concept of differences among human eyes as completely natural phenomena. This, in turn, will reduce feelings of being "different" from others due to having a visual impairment.

Note: Amount of detail presented to the student may vary according to age and/or level of comprehension. For some students, a more simplified version of the visual pathway may be more appropriate. Other students may benefit and enjoy learning about additional structures.

Resources:

Books

  • Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins
  • Animal Eyes by Mary Howland
  • Animal Eyes by Daisy Griffen

Web


Unit 1 Lesson 4: The Eye and Sight

Topic: Everyone Has Different Eyes - People

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify at least four ways in which human eyes differ from one another.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Review the parts of the eye and the visual pathway. Use a model or diagram or draw a picture.

Discuss some of the interesting things learned about the eyes of animals. How are the different and why are they different?

 

Introduction 

Discuss some of the interesting things learned about the eyes of animals. "How are they the same and how are they different? Why are they different?"

"Just like there are differences between the eyes of different animals, the eyes of different people can also be different."

 

Stating the Goal

"We will learn about some of the ways that the eyes of people can be different. You will be able to tell me five different ways that our eyes are unique."

 

Instruction

You may want to read together one of the books (see "Resources" below) that address visual differences in people and use this as an introduction to the concept. Ask student to think about the eyes of peers and adults. What do they notice are some things that are different?

Some things that a student might notice:

  • Color (iris)- brown, blue, green, black, yellow, hazel, etc.
  • Size - big, small, tiny, etc.
  • Shape - round, oval
  • Glasses - some have them, some don’t. Different kinds of glasses.
  • Blinking - Blinking, rubbing, other behaviors associated with eyes.
  • Droopy - eyelids
  • Eye contact - don't like to look at you
  • Other things you might bring up:
  • Acuity - Some students are able to see things that are far away. Some kids can see things that are near.
  • Field - Some students might tend to trip or not see things that are on the floor or off to one side.

Iris, Pupil, Epicanthic fold - affects shape of eye, Acuity, Fields, Eye contact

Check for Understanding

Student draws a picture of people, including their eyes, including information that illustrates what makes each one both unique and similar.

Student makes a list or chart, such as a Venn diagram, of types of eyes and how they are the same and how they are different.

Teacher and student discuss the student's product.

 

Closure

"Now we know how eyes can be different, not only between different types of creatures but also between different people. We see that these differences are very common and very natural."

 

Rationale: When a student understands that it is natural for there to be variation in the structure and function and behavior of the eyes of different individuals, it will allow them to view his or her own visual condition as natural and no more or less than that of their peers.

Resources:

Books

  • Arthur's Eyes by Marc Brown
  • Does and Owl Wear Eyeglasses by Harriet Ziefert
  • Jacob's Eye Patch by Beth and Jacob Shaw

Unit 1 Lesson 5: The Eye and Sight

Topic:  How is MY Eye Special?

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will describe the nature of his or her visual impairment, including the specific structures that are affected and how this impacts how he/she sees.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Review parts of the eye.

Discuss differences and similarities that can be found among eyes in both the animal and human worlds.

 

Introduction 

"We've learned that eyes are similar in many ways but also that eyes can have many differences and that this is a natural thing. Today, let's talk about our own eyes and what might be special about them."

 

Stating the Goal "Once we are finished with today's lesson, you will be able to tell people all about your own eyes and your own vision."  

Instruction

The content of this lesson will, of course, be very individualized according to the nature of the student's visual impairment.

Using an eye model, chart or drawing, point out structures that are affected by the student's etiology.

Demonstrate the path that light takes through the visual system, noting how the affected structures in turn affect what the student sees.

Vocabulary will be specific to the student's visual impairment.

Instruction

You may want to introduce a term, such as "visual impairment" at this time, explaining that it is used to indicate when an individual’s vision is different from that of most other persons.

Alternatively, you might want to wait and present this concept as a separate lesson during the "History" or "Rights" Units.

visual impairment, extraordinary vision, atypical vision, different vision

Instruction

Locate a website with information specific to the student's visual impairment and explore it together.Obtain a book that addresses the visual impairment and read together.Create your own booklet using information from a website to explore together.

 

Check for Understanding

Using a model or chart of the eye, student independently demonstrates part of the eye affected by visual impairment and how this, in turn affects vision.

Student draws a picture of her eye and writes a short paper or paragraph that describes their visual impairment.

 

Closure

"Sometimes our friends or our teachers might not understand why you are not able to see certain things in the same way that they see them. Knowing how your vision is special can help you explain it to them. In the future, we will talk about some more ways that we can help other people better understand your special vision (visual impairment)."

 

 Rationale: Having the knowledge of how his or her own eyes function, and the vocabulary to talk about it, will enable the student to better advocate for him- or herself with peers and adults.

Note: The amount and type of information presented in this lesson will vary to a great degree based not only on the student's visual impairment but also his/her age and grade level.

Resources:

Websites

Albinism - http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/genetic/albinism.html

Books

  • My Fair Child by Maureen Ryan (albinism)
  • Albino Animals by Kelly Milner Halls

Unit 2 Lesson 6:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? K-2nd Grade

Unit Goal:   Student will develop a set (toolbox) of strategies to optimize visual functioning in a variety of settings.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to express vision strengths and limitations in relation to school, community, and home activities.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to think about things he likes to do or need to do at home, at school, and in community settings (like the grocery store, at a park, etc.). As the student names activities and/or objects, ask how easy or difficult it is to see clearly.

community

Introduction 

“Your vision may affect how you do things.  There are probably many things you can do on your own, like brush your teeth or eat a meal; then there are things you might need a little help with seeing or doing, like using a microwave or crossing a street; or maybe there are things that are just too difficult for you to see, like words written on a board or menus in a restaurant.  We are going to figure out the things you can see/do on your own, things you ask others to help you with, and things you just can see/do at all.  Once we fill in this list, we are going to work at finding out ways to help you become more independent—or do things without too much help from others.”  

 

Stating the Goal

“After our lesson, you will have a list of the activities and things you can see on your own or with an optical device, and things you could work on to see without the help of others with a little more instruction.

 

Instruction

Introduce the worksheet How I View the World.  Using the worksheet as a guide, create a list of activities and things the student can see without help or with an optical device, things he asks others to help with, and things he cannot see at all.  

Optical device

Instruction

 Ask the student to select some items on the worksheet that (s)he would like to see better or be able to access. 

Discuss the possibility of increasing independence and participation once (s)he can improve access skills.  Note:  for the functionally blind student, “see” may mean “figure out” or “do” through tactile strategies. 

AccessIndependence

Check for Understanding

“Let’s look back over your list. (read list to the student)  Is there more you would like to add?”

 

Closure

“Today you listed activities and things you can see on your own or with an optical device.  There are also some things/activities you need someone else to help you with.  We are going to be working on ways in which you can access as many things on your own (independently) as possible, without depending on others.” 

 

 Rationale:  This lesson is designed to begin a conversation with the student about building independence.  There will be some items the student mentions that you feel could be topics for future lessons.  For example, “I can’t see the teacher when she writes on the board”, may lead to a future lesson on the devices needed to read the board, and how to politely advocate for yourself when you can’t see something.  Make sure home, school, and community settings are addressed.  Student may need prompting on typical activities for all three settings.  Avoid questions such as, “Can you see_________?”  Rather, say “Tell me how you see____________.”  

Materials


Unit 2 Lesson 7:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? Grades 3-12

Unit Goal: Student will develop a set (toolbox) of strategies to optimize visual functioning in a variety of settings.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to express vision strengths and limitations in relation to school, community, and home activities.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to think about things he needs to do in his home, at school, and in community settings (like the grocery store, at a park, etc.) that typically require vision.  As the student names activities and/or objects, ask how easy or difficult it is to see or perform these tasks.

 

Introduction 

“Your vision may affect how you do things. We are going to complete a survey of visual tasks to figure out just how hard or easy visual tasks can be for you.  Once we fill in this survey, we are going to work at finding out ways to help you become more independent—or do things without too much help from others."

 

Stating the Goal

“After our lesson, you will have an idea of visual tasks you need to be able to access in home, school, and community settings.  When you are finished with the Visual Tasks Survey, your score will help us determine which skills we can begin to work on to increase your self-confidence and independence in these settings.” 

access

Instruction Introduce the “Visual Tasks Survey”.  Review the instructions, including the scoring rubric.
  1. Allow student to complete this survey.
  2. Total the score and find the range at the bottom of the survey.
  3. If the score is between 22 and 88, discuss some tools and strategies that could be used with individual items to increase independence and participation.  Make a list of these tools/strategies specific to each task.  Future lessons will involve training for specific tools/strategies to increase access, independence, and self-confidence.
  4. Review Tools for Accessing Different Environments and Increasing Self-Sufficiency to see which might apply to the student.

assistive technology

Instruction

If the score is between 22 and 88, discuss some tools and strategies that could be used with individual items to increase independence and participation. Make a list of these tools/strategies specific to each task.  Future lessons will involve training for specific tools/strategies to increase access, independence, and self-confidence. 

 

Check for Understanding

“Let’s look back over your survey. What areas (of access) do you feel are your strengths?  What areas do you feel you need to work on to increase your access/independence?”

 

Closure

“Today you took a close look at typical visual tasks that occur in school, at home, and in the community.   In future lessons, we are going to be working on skills to help you access as many things on your own (independently) as possible, without depending on others.” 

 

 Rationale: This lesson is designed to begin a conversation with the student about building access to visual tasks and independence.  Future lessons will build upon how the student answered each individual task rating, and might include instruction on the tools/strategies that would help the student gain independence on specific tasks. Access skill instruction will differ, depending on many factors, such as the student’s visual acuity, stamina, availability of assistive technology, etc.  It is important to note that, as a student’s ability to access tasks increases, his self-confidence and ability to represent himself as a person with a visual impairment who can compete with his peers increases as well. 

Materials:

Resources for Skill Instruction:

Looking to Learn (AFB Press) for teaching optical devices

TSBVI website (www.tsbvi.edu) for teaching specific assistive technology skills

ESC 10 website (http://www.region10.org/supplementary-services/programs/vi-assistive-technology/) for teaching specific assistive technology skills

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.


Unit 2 Lesson 8:  Student Toolbox

Topic 1:  How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? -  My Personal Goals

Unit Goal: Student will develop a set (toolbox) of strategies to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to express vision strengths and limitations in relation to school, community, and home activities.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to think about what his special interests are.  What skills might be needed within these special interests? 

Personal goal

Introduction 

"Sometimes it helps to clarify your personal goals in order to figure out the tools and strategies you will need to accomplish these goals.  A personal goal can be short-term, like walking to a friend’s house independently; or, longer-term, like finding a part-time job.  In this lesson we will explore these goals and figure out the steps you would need to take, tools and strategies you would need to use, and supports and resources that will help you reach your goals." 

Tools, Strategies

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you clarify your personal goals related to leisure activities, recreation, school, independent living skills, and/or career pursuits." 

 

Instruction

Ask the student to complete #1 on the My Goals worksheet.

Discuss #2 on the worksheet together.

Create a document for #3, listing the steps the student would need to take to achieve one or each of the three goals.

Create a document for #4, listing supports and resources to complete the steps listed in #3.  Supports and resources may be technology, people, or agencies. 

Supports

Check for Understanding

Check to make sure the student’s goals are realistic and achievable in a relatively short amount of time. 

 

Closure

“Today we’ve selected 3 goals you would like to work on (restate the goals).  You have identified supports and resources to help you reach these 3 goals.  For our next few lessons we will start taking the steps necessary to help you achieve your goals.”

 

Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to get the student to think about setting goals and learning the visual strategies and/or accommodations he might need to achieve these goals.  The assumption is that learning the skills needed to accomplish one’s goals contributes to self-determination.  Goals may be short term, such as walking unassisted to a friend’s house or preparing a meal; goals may be longer term, such as something related to work, or going to college.  A standard interest inventory may help the process of figuring out the students interests, which could then be followed by a conversation about goal setting. 

Materials:

Resources for Skill Instruction:

Look for interest inventories on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/explore/student-interest-inventory/)

Look for student goal setting worksheets on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/wileyteaching/goal-setting/ )


Unit 2 Lesson 9:  Student Toolbox

Topic 2:  Strategies for Increasing Access -  Strategies for Braille Readers

Unit Goal: Student who are using braille will develop a set of strategies (toolbox) to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to efficiently use strategies and assistive technology to increase independent access to visual tasks.  Strategies might include using a braille device, audible materials, tactile materials, assistive technology, and/or working with a partner

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to describe the kinds of learning activities he needs to complete in any given class.  (e.g., copy/read near and distance materials, give a speech, read from a textbook/work sheet, complete a written assignment, read charts/ maps/ graphs). 

Tell the student you will be working together to develop ways to complete these typical classroom activities using a variety of tools and strategies. 

Tools, Strategies

Introduction 

“We are going to be looking at the tools, such as assistive technology devices you have that help you participate in classroom activities, and the strategies (ways of getting things done).  We’ll see how well these are working for you, and look at ways to increase your proficiency with these tools and strategies.  We’ll also try to determine if there are additional tools/strategies that might work better for you.”  

 

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you learn strategies to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings."

 

Instruction

Begin by writing down the learning activities the student named (see Anticipatory).  Add to this as needed.

Ask the student to show you the equipment he uses for braille, as well as any AT he uses for access to auditory materials.  Determine student’s proficiency on each piece of equipment, including telling you the kinds of activities he is able to do with each piece.

Complete the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet

Make a list of each class the student attends.  Using the results of the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet, ask which of these tools/strategies he uses for each individual class.  Are there any problem areas?  Are there things he is currently not able to access at all?

Ask him to select a visual task (from the left column) to begin to “fine tune”, given the AT equipment issued.

Begin to work on strategies for using technology to access individual visual tasks.  Some of these strategies will involve braille AT, and some will involve auditory AT.  Each strategy will require initial assessment (what does the student already know) and instruction (how can the student use this equipment to access this particular activity). A great resource for braille-access skills can be found on pp. 193-195 and pp. 197-201 in ECC Essentials.  A resource for auditory access skills and technology can be found in chapters 4-5 in Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn.

Create a document or other product (i.e., PowerPoint) that can be shared with others and gives access details across the curriculum.

Begin to explore access outside the school, and how the same tools could be used to access recreational and career-related activities.

MP3 Player

Check for Understanding

Check to make sure the student understands the connection between using a device and accessing specific tasks.  The device is a tool to help them participate with their peers on classroom assignments/activities. 

Check to see if the student can complete this statement, “With this ______ (tool), I am able to participate with my peers on these activities/tasks________________.”

 

Closure

“Today we have learned how to use a tool or strategy to complete a specific task or tasks in a specific subject area class.  Our next several lessons will continue to build the tools/strategies and the settings in which you can use these in your classes.”

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to come up with a plan for accessing all the typical classroom tasks.  There will be different student-specific tools for this, including assistive technology, auditory strategies, and even the use of educational partners.  Since classrooms/subject areas are so varied, ultimately you will want to cover each class, completing a summary of access strategies called “My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School”.  Along the way you will be assessing the student’s competency in using technology, and teaching the student how to use a device to access to classroom activities. Once the student has a record of the strategies and tools he uses for access, as well as the necessary skills in using the technology, he will use this record to advocate for his skills and needs with individual classroom teachers. 

Note: This unit is not intended to cover skill instruction for specific devices, and relies on the teacher’s ability to access additional instructional materials for teaching skills related to assistive technology within the context of classroom tasks.

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

SETT Framework (acronym for Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools), by Joy Zabala.  http://www.joyzabala.com/

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess    

“Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation” – Overview of Assistive Technology: http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx


Unit 2 Lesson 10:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  Strategies for Increasing Access - Strategies for Print Readers

Unit Goal: Student who are using print will develop a set of strategies (toolbox) to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to efficiently use strategies and assistive technology to increase independent access to visual tasks.  Strategies might include using an optical device, audible materials, assistive technology, and/or working with a partner.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to describe the kinds of learning activities he needs to complete in any given class.  (e.g., copy/read near and distance materials, give a speech, read from a textbook/work sheet, complete a written assignment, read charts/maps/graphs). 

Tell the student you will be working together to develop ways to complete these typical classroom activities using a variety of tools and strategies. 

Tools, Strategies

Introduction 

"We are going to be looking at the tools, such as assistive technology devices you have that help you participate in classroom activities, and the strategies (ways of getting things done).  We’ll see how well these are working for you, and look at ways to increase your proficiency with these tools and strategies.  We’ll also try to determine if there are additional tools/strategies that might work better for you."  

 

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you learn strategies and tools to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings."

 

Instruction

Begin by writing down the learning activities the student named (see Anticipatory).  Add to this as needed.

Ask the student to show you the equipment he uses for accessing print, as well as any AT he uses for access to auditory materials.  Determine student’s proficiency on each piece of equipment, including telling you the kinds of activities he is able to do with each piece.

Complete the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet

Make a list of each class the student attends.  Using the results of the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet, ask which of these tools/strategies he uses for each individual class.  Are there any problem areas?  Are there things he is currently not able to access at all?

Ask him to select a visual task (from the left column) to begin to “fine tune”, given the AT equipment issued.

Begin to work on strategies for using technology to access individual visual tasks.  Some of these strategies will involve AT to access print, and some will involve auditory AT.  Each strategy will require initial assessment (what does the student already know) and instruction (how can the student use this equipment to access this particular activity). A great resource for information access skills can be found on pp. 190-191 and pp. 197-201 in ECC Essentials.  A resource for auditory access skills and technology can be found in chapters 4-5 in Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn.

Create a document or other product (i.e., PowerPoint) that can be shared with others and gives access details across the curriculum.

Begin to explore access outside the school, and how the same tools could be used to access recreational and career-related activities.

MP3 Player, Screen enlargement software, Electronic tablet, Optical device

Check for Understanding

Check to make sure the student understands the connection between using a device and accessing specific tasks.  The device is a tool to help them participate with their peers on classroom assignments/activities.  Check to see if the student can complete this statement, “With this ______ (tool), I am able to participate with my peers on these activities/tasks________________.”

 

Closure

“Today we have learned how to use a tool or strategy to complete a specific task or tasks in a specific subject area class.  Our next several lessons will continue to build the tools/strategies and the settings in which you can use these in your classes.”

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to come up with a plan for accessing all the typical classroom tasks.  There will be different student-specific tools for this, including assistive technology, auditory strategies, and even the use of educational partners.  Since classrooms/subject areas are so varied, ultimately you will want to cover each class, completing a summary of access strategies called “My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School”.  Along the way you will be assessing the student’s competency in using technology, and teaching the student how to use a device to access to classroom activities. Once the student has a record of the strategies and tools he uses for access, as well as the necessary skills in using the technology, he will use this record to advocate for his skills and needs with individual classroom teachers. 

Note: This unit is not intended to cover skill instruction for specific devices, and relies on the teacher’s ability to access additional instructional materials for teaching skills related to assistive technology within the context of classroom tasks.

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

SETT Framework (acronym for Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools), by Joy Zabala.  http://www.joyzabala.com/

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess   

Reading, “Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation – Overview of Assistive Technology:

http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx

Three videos on the topic of teaching students to use optical devices, found at http://www.tsbvi.edu/selected-topics/optical-devices :

  1. Instruction in the Use of Optical Devices
  2. Optical Device Use, Part 2: Visual Access In a Range of Environments
  3. Optical Device Use, Part 3: Selling Optical Device Use to the Tough Customer

Unit 2 Lesson 11:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  Strategies for Increasing Access - Strategies for Using Audible Materials

Unit Goal: Student will develop skills to benefit from audible materials.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to efficiently use audible information and technology as a back-up strategy for print. 

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Sometimes reading assignments may be lengthy, and there may be reading assignments that are difficult to get in a print/braille format.  In these instances, it’s a good idea to supplement with audible materials." 

Auditory, Audible

Introduction 

"We are going to be learning how to use the auditory equipment efficiently as a way to deal with visual fatigue and as an auditory way to access print materials. By the end of this unit you should feel comfortable with using audible materials efficiently."

 

Stating the Goal

"These lessons will help you learn strategies and tools to optimize functioning with audible materials, including audio books, audible output on computers/tablets, live readers, and lectures." 

Audio books

Instruction:Critical Listening Skills

Read aloud, starting with short sentences and moving to longer paragraph/stories.  For each, as the student to recall as many details as he can.

Work with the student on taking simple notes as he listens.

Read aloud a paragraph or passage and ask the student to restate the order in which events happened. Have the student write out events as he listens, then place these events in chronological order.

Read a paragraph to the student and ask him to state the main idea.

  

Instruction:Technology for Listening 

Begin by listening to recorded books for pleasure and discussing these.

Use auditory games on the computer/tablet to enhance listening skills.

Listen to a screen reader while using the computer.

Listen to audible literature on digital players (such as an MP3 player) and retell story.

Teach the student how to set up a tablet for auditory output (Voice Over or Google Voice) and practice using this on materials the student is interested in.

Visit the Learning Ally website together to review how to access/use this service.

Teach the student how to use the Learning Ally Audio app.

 

MP3 Player, Voiceover/Google Voice, Learning Ally, Learning Ally Audio App 

Instruction:Using Digital Books

Teach student how to access e-books via synthesized speech or read with a refreshable braille display.

Teach student how to use an MP3 player, CD player, e-book reader, PDA, smart phone, or computer to access digital talking books.  This skill includes navigating through the audible text:  examine the book by page, section, chapter, table of contents, and an index; setting bookmarks

Teach student how to take written notes of critical information as they listen and how to use these notes to study for exams.

E-Books/Digital Text, Digital Talking Books, Audio Books

Instruction:Audio-Assisted Reading

It is important that students are able to listen to gain information.  Audio-assisted reading is a method for students to use recorded books along with the corresponding print/braille book.  For steps in this lesson, refer to handout, Audio Assisted Reading, by Ike Presley. These steps can also be found in Learning to Listen/Listening to Learn, pp. 138-140. 

Audio-Assisted Reading

Check for Understanding

Your final check for understanding will be a student who can function efficiently with audible materials, and can express his preferences for using audible materials to teachers.

 

Closure

Once the student can use audible materials, develop a grid or listing of classes and make note of where or on which materials could be paired with auditory content. 

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson series is to teach the student the necessary listening skills as a tool to access learning materials.  Within the context of the expanded core curriculum (ECC), this lesson covers the categories of Sensory Efficiency, Assistive Technology, Compensatory Skills, and Self-Advocacy.  The student will need to have efficient listening skills and advocate for audible materials as a tool for learning.  Audible materials are varied—from lectures to voice output devices—and will require targeted instruction.  Listening, within the context of learning, is not a passive activity, but rather one in which the student must have methods for listening with discrimination, make notes, and be able to retrieve information efficiently.

Note: Make sure your student has a current hearing assessment.

Materials:

  • Computer system with screen-reading software
  • MP3 Player
  • Learning Ally Audio App and Reading Ally Membership
  • E-reader with voice output
  • Bookshare Membership
  • Read2Go App

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012.  Chapters 4 and 5.

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess

“Reading, Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation” – Overview of Assistive Technology:http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx

Texas Talking Book Program https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html and BARD mobile App.

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012.  Chapters 4 and 5.

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess

“Reading, Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation” – Overview of Assistive Technology:http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx

Texas Talking Book Program https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html and BARD mobile App.


Unit 2 Lesson 12:  Student Toolbox 

Topic:  Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access - Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media

Unit Goal: Student will develop skills to communicate preferred accommodations to compensate for vision loss.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to create and share a product that notes strategies for increasing participation in visual activities across the school curriculum.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Most of your teachers have never experienced having a student with a visual impairment in their class.  There will be some assignments and materials that will be difficult for you to access (use) in the format presented by your teachers.  It will be important for you to learn how to let your teachers know, in advance as well as in the moment, what your preferred adaptations/accommodations are."   

Self-Advocacy, Access, Adaptations, Accommodations

Introduction 

"We are going to be learning how to document and communicate your preferred adaptations and accommodations for school work.  Being able to communicate with teachers will also help you advocate for your visual preferences as an adult when you are at college and/or in the work force." 

 

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you learn strategies and tools to communicate your need for adapted materials, and/or adaptations to the presentation of learning materials."  

 

Instruction:Collecting and Documenting Information on Vision and Access 

Work with the student to complete the worksheet, Access to Visual Media, which will help the student clarify his personal preferred methods of access across a range of visual tasks. Using information from the Access to Visual Media, the student should begin to complete the worksheet, Personal Preferences for Access. Have the student look online to research some basic (non-technical) information on his etiology to complete the first part of the Personal Preferences for Access worksheet.  He should include any additional health concerns associated with the visual impairment (e.g., sensitivity to sunlight, activities to avoid due to retinal concerns)Continue to discuss and write information in all of the categories on the Personal Preferences for Access worksheet. 

Visual Media 

Check for Understanding

At the end of this lesson the student should be able to explain his vision etiology to you and tell you how he best functions on typical classroom activities/materials.  He should also be able to state strategies he uses to access classroom activities/materials, as well as the tools he uses to increase personal access. 

 

Closure

“Can you tell some things you learned about your vision and how you complete visual tasks in your classes as a result of this lesson?  Are there some things you think we should learn more about or cover in the future related to access to visual tasks?”

 

 Rationale: This lesson is a critical component of self-advocacy and empowerment for a student with a visual impairment.  The intent is to teach the student how to clarify the ways in which he accesses an array of visual tasks, and to communicate his needs to others.  By the end of this lesson he should have a clear idea of both tools (such as assistive technology) and strategies (such as requesting downloadable copies of assignments in advance to be read on a tablet) so that he can help teachers understand specific accommodations to the school curriculum.

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 12, “Self-Determination”.


Unit 2 Lesson 13:  Student Toolbox 

Topic:  Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access - Creating a Product to Communicate Visual Strategies/Tools with Teachers

Unit Goal: Student will develop skills to communicate preferred accommodations to compensate for vision loss.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to create and share a product that notes tools and strategies for increasing participation in visual activities across the school curriculum.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

We have spent some time studying your visual impairment, as well as the tools and strategies you need to participate with your peers in class.  In this lesson, we will create something (product) that can help them understand how you best function on visual tasks in their class.  

Difference between a  “tool” (AT) and a “strategy” Product

Introduction 

We are going to be learning how to document and communicate your preferred adaptations and accommodations for school work.  Being able to communicate with teachers will also help you advocate for your visual preferences as an adult when you are at college and/or in the work force. 

 

Stating the Goal

This lesson will help you create a product to communicate your preferred strategies and tools that compensate for your vision loss.

 

Instruction: Creating a Product 

Using the Personal Preferences for Access worksheet, allow the student to select a product through which he will communicate visual preferences to teachers.  Products could include one or any combination of these:  PowerPoint, notebook with dividers, brochure, portfolio, one-page document, and/or short video, photograph slideshow of tools/strategies.

Product should include:

  • Student’s etiology and any health concerns
  • How eye condition affects visual performance
  • Strategies used to complete visual tasks in school
  • Tools (assistive technology) used
  • Personal preferences for the presentation of school-related materials

Power Point Portfolio

Instruction:Presenting Product to Teachers

Student should practice having a discussion with his TVI first, using his product as prompt.

Select one general education teacher to listen to the student’s presentation of the product.  Gain feedback from the teacher and adjust as necessary.

Select additional teachers individually, or in a group meeting, for the student to present his product

 

Check for Understanding

The student should be able to (a) explain his visual condition (etiology), and (b) use his product as a conversational tool with others. 

 

Closure

By the end of this lesson, the student should have a product that captures the key discussion points to be shared with teachers.  He should first practice his presentation with the TVI, then with at least one general education teacher. 

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson series is to teach the student how to clarify how he accesses an array of visual tasks, and to communicate his needs to others. 

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 12, “Self-Advocacy”.


 Unit and Lessons Overview

This unit is the third in a series of lesson plans developed by Chrissy Cowan and Scott Baltisberger to help teachers of students with visual impairments teach students how to understand their rights as a student with a visual impairment.  The lessons in this unit are divided into six distinct topics that range from prejudice and stereotyping to the legal rights available to students in secondary and postsecondary settings.  These lesson topics contribute to self-determination and self-advocacy skills within the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Following the lessons are materials that are referenced in the individual lesson plans.

  • Unit 3:  Your Rights as a Student with a Visual Impairment

Lessons 

  • Prejudice and Stereotyping (Lesson 14)
  • Discrimination (Lesson 15)
  • Civil Rights (Lesson 16)
  • Civil Rights Movements (Lesson 17)
  • Participating in the Education Process-IEP and ARD (Lesson 18)
  • Differences in Legal Rights between Secondary & Postsecondary Settings (Lesson 19)

Unit 3 - Lesson 14:   Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic:  Prejudice and Stereotyping

Unit Goal: Students will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): Student will define the terms “prejudice” and “stereotyping” and give specific examples of this from his or her life.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory

Inform student that you want him/her explore some objects together and share his/her thoughts.

Present object that has some tactile or auditory feature, especially something that is striking/startling (heat or cold, loud noise such as a buzzer, vibration – like from a novelty store, some type of small snack food that is bitter or weird-tasting, jelly beans of a single flavor). Perhaps present a series of objects that have this feature.

Talk about the object and the feature. Elicit the child’s descriptions and his/her feelings about the object: What is the physical appearance? Do they feel positive/negative/neutral? Do they feel anxious or excited when handling the object?

Present the same object but with the feature removed. When button on the buzzer is pushed, it does not buzz.

Note the child’s reaction: Are they surprised or confused? Have a discussion about their feelings.

 

Introduction

 

Guide the student toward understanding that previous experience with the object caused them to view all objects the same way, to “judge” all the objects. This “Pre-judging” is known is often not true and is known as “prejudice”. Prejudice - preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience; harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment.
Stating the Goal Student will be able to define the term “prejudice” and describe how and why it occurs.  
Instruction 1

Discussion: Why do people prejudge things? In what way might pre-judging be helpful? Learn protective behaviors. Examples:

  • Fire - We touch a flame and it is hot. We prejudge all fire to be hot so we no longer try to touch it, avoiding injury.
  • Knives - We see a knife can cut things. We prejudge all knives are sharp so we are careful when we handle them so we don’t get cut.
  • Reading - We learn that this letter “B” makes a certain sound. When we are reading and we see the letter, we pronounce it with the sound because we prejudge the letter to make that sound. It is easier to read this way.

What can we conclude? Prejudging can help us. It can be useful to apply prior experience to a current situation. We don’t have to relearn things. It can make tasks easier or safer.

Another term to describe applying prior experiences to subsequent situations is Generalization.
Instruction 2 Is prejudging always right? Can you think of some situations in which you prejudged something but it turned out to not be accurate? Examples:
  • Water - Expected water from faucet to be hot or cold and it was the opposite.
  • Travel - Walking in a familiar area that was always clear of obstructions in the past. Suddenly there is an object or piece of furniture in the way.
  • Party – Were invited to an event and thought it would be fun (or boring) and it turned out to be the opposite.
 
Instruction 3 Sometimes prejudice occurs not from our own experience but from what we hear from others. Examples:
  • Food - Person tells you it’s not very good so you are ready to not like it… But then you do like it! (Or the opposite!)
  • Music – Some people say that they hate a type of music but you find that you enjoy this style.
  • People – A friend says that another person is really nice but then that person teases you or says something unkind.
 
Instruction 4

How does this apply to people? What are some expectations that we have about certain kinds of people? Are the expectations always true?

  • Gender roles - How are boys/girls expected to be? What kinds of games do they play? What kinds of interests do they have? How do they act? How do they dress?
  • People from different backgrounds (Texans, “Yankees”, Asians, Latinos, African-Americans)
  • People with disabilities – physically challenged, speech difficulties, cognitive challenges
  • People with visual impairment -

This is called “Stereotyping”.

Stereotyping - belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic

 

Independent Practice Student fills out “Prejudice and Stereotyping” worksheets 1.a and 1.b, using personal experiences to give specific examples.  
Check for Understanding Discuss student’s responses on worksheets 14.a and 14.b. Have them tell how and why the examples they gave constitute prejudice and stereotyping.  
Closure We often engage in stereotyping and prejudice without even being aware about it. It is important to recognize when we are doing this as well as when other people are doing this to us.  

 Rationale: With a clear understanding of what constitutes prejudice and stereotyping, a student will be better able to identify when they are the target of this behavior and should take steps to address the situation through self-advocacy.

  • Resources and materials:
  • Worksheet 14.a Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Worksheet 14.b Prejudice and Stereotyping

Websites:

 

Worksheet 1.a - Prejudice and Stereotyping

Think of three different times that you prejudged a person, a thing or a situation. Fill out the table using your experiences.

What I judged What I thought Why I thought that. What was the stereotype? What I really found
1.      
2.      
3.      

 

Worksheet 1.b - Prejudice

Think of three different times when someone prejudged you. Fill out the table using your experiences.

What they thought about me What did they think that about me? Was what they though true? What was actually true about me?
       

 


Unit 3 - Lesson 15: Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic:  Discrimination

Unit goal: Student will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within and society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): Student will define discrimination and describe how it can negatively impact expectations.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Review information from previous lesson: “Prejudice and Stereotyping”.
  • Ask student to define terms prejudice and stereotyping.
  • Discuss the examples the student provided on worksheets 14.a and 14.b.

Prejudice

Stereotyping

Introduction

 

People have a natural tendency to prejudge things, including other people. We also tend to put things, including other people, into categories and assign them all the same attributes (stereotyping). Sometimes we treat people differently when we stereotype them. This is called “discrimination”. Discrimination: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people
Stating the Goal We will see how prejudice and stereotyping can lead to discrimination.  
Instruction 1
  • Card game: Make a set of cards. Each card should represent an individual child. On one side, provide a physical description of the child. For children who are visual learners, photos or pictures could be used. The following “types” are suggested:
    • Boy with dirty face, mean look.
    • Girl wearing nice dress, hair done up.
    • Overweight child.
    • Skinny boy wearing glasses
    • Girl in a wheelchair
    • Black child
 
  • Ask the student to share their feelings and impressions about each child, writing this information down on index cards and then pair each with its descriptive card. The observations can be short sentences or single words (nice, mean, friendly, sad, funny, shy, etc.). Prompt them to think about whether they would enjoy playing with the child, would want to be friends; what they think they know about the child’s personality and life just from the description.
 
Instruction 2
  • On the reverse side of each card, provide a description of the child’s background and/or behavior. When the student has completed their responses, look over the descriptions together.
    • Note discrepancies between the student’s impressions and the actual descriptions.
    • Discuss whether the stereotyping the student applied to the children was fair.
 
Instruction 3
  • Use information from Worksheet 14.b to prompt observations about how others may be stereotyping the student him or herself.
  • Upon what might the stereotyping be based? Is it accurate?
  • Is it fair?
  • Think about what happens if not only you, but a larger group of people discriminate against the child.
 
Check for Understanding Student completes worksheet 15.a “Discrimination” using information from the activity. It may be most helpful to do these together. Discuss the responses.  
Closure Prejudice and stereotyping can have a negative impact on the way we treat one another. When groups of people engage in this practice against other groups it can result in discrimination. It is important to identify discrimination when it occurs so one can advocate for one’s self. Next lesson we will learn how groups of people engage in advocacy when they suffer discrimination.  

 Rationale: With a clear understanding of what constitutes discrimination, a student will be better able to identify when they are the target of this behavior and should take steps to address the situation through self-advocacy.

Resources and materials: Worksheet 15.a - Discrimination

Worksheet 15. a. Discrimination

Think about how you reacted to the different students in today’s activity and answer the following questions:

1. Was there a child for whom you had a false stereotype?

 

 

2.  Which child was this and why did you have the stereotype?

 

 

 3. Do you think other people might have the same stereotype?

 

 

 4. How could this stereotyping have a negative impact on the child?

 

 

 5. What are some things you can do to counteract this discrimination?

 

 

 6. Have you ever felt discriminated by other people?

 

 

 


Unit 3 - Lesson 16: Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic: Civil Rights

Unit Goal: Student will define and give examples of “civil rights” and describe examples of civil rights movements.

Lesson objective(s): Student will define and give examples of civil rights

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Review information from prior lesson on prejudice and discrimination. Student learned that sometimes we pre-judge people unfairly. This prejudging can be based on many different traits such as: gender, skin color, language, ethnic group or disability.

Prejudice

Discrimination

Introduction

 

What are your feelings about prejudice and discrimination? Do you feel this is true or false? Kind or unkind? Fair or unfair?

Some people may practice prejudice and discrimination even if it is unfair. However this is not only unfair or unkind… it is against the law.

 
Stating the Goal The government has laws in place that guarantee us certain freedoms and rights regardless of individual differences. These freedoms and rights are called Civil Rights. In this lesson we will learn what civil rights are and also give some examples of these rights. Civil Rights
Instruction
  • The United States government guarantees our civil rights. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights tell us what are our civil rights and what are the rules for them. Civil rights ensure that everyone is treated equally. They help us live together in a peaceful and positive manner.
  • Everyone is required to follow the rules for civil rights.
Note: You may or may not need to explore info about the Constitution and Bill or Rights, depending on your student’s age/grade level or level of knowledge.

Constitution

Bill of Rights

 

Instruction Discussion about specific civil rights. Civil rights include the freedoms to thought, speech, privacy, religion, press, assembly and association, due process, voting and movement.
  • Younger children – use Civil Rights Cards to lead discussion (see “Resources”).
  • Older children – may do guided on-line exploration of civil rights (see “Websites”). Student can pick a right and do an online search.
Thought, Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, Due Process, Voting, Movement
Check for Understanding
  • Younger children – Play a game with the Civil Rights Cards. Matching: Each player receives five cards. Calls, “I want your …… card. Player must accurately describe the right in order to receive the card. Memory: All cards on table with description facing up. Player reads description and tries to name the right. Turns card over to check.
 
Closure Now you know a bit about what are your civil rights and why you have them. This is important because not everybody always follows the rules. Even the government doesn’t always follow the rules. In these cases, people need to advocate for their civil rights. Knowing your rights will help you know when you need to advocate. Advocate

 Rationale: When a student understands their rights as an individual, they are better able to identify when these rights have been infringed upon and advocate effectively for themselves. Having a broader perspective of the civil rights afforded to the public at large allows the student a more in-depth, contextualized understanding of the concept.

Resources and materials: 16.a - Civil Rights Cards

 

16. a. – Civil Rights Cards

 Thought

The freedom of an individual to

hold or consider a fact, viewpoint,

or thought, independent of others'

viewpoints

Speech

The right to articulate one's

opinions and ideas without fear

of government retaliation

or censorship, or societal

sanction. 

Religion

The freedom of an individual or

community, in public or private, to

manifest religion or belief in teaching,

practice, worship, and observance 

Press

The right to publish newspapers, 

magazines, and other printed  

matter without governmental 

restriction  

Assembly

The individual right or ability of

people to come together and

collectively express, promote,

pursue, and defend their ideas

Due Process

The legal requirement that the

state must respect all legal

rights that are owed to a person 

Voting

Voting rights cannot be abridged

on account of race, color,

previous condition of servitude,

sex, or age for those above 18 

Movement

The right of individuals to travel

from place to place within

the territory of a country, and to

leave the country and return to it 

 

Unit 3 - Lesson 17: Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic: Civil Rights Movements

Unit Goal: Student will define “civil rights” and describe the movement for the civil rights of persons who are blind or visually impaired

Lesson objective(s): Student will define what is a civil rights movements and describe the movement for civil rights by people with blindness and visual impairments

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Review information presented in prior lessons on prejudice, discrimination and “Civil Rights”:
  • Prejudice is our tendency to assign value to others without first having information about them.
  • Discrimination results from prejudice; treat people with a certain trait differently from others. Result can be that these people are treated unfairly.
  • Civil Rights are laws to prevent discrimination and ensure that all people are treated fairly.

Prejudice

Discrimination

Civil Rights

Introduction

 

  • Discuss some of the prejudices explored in Lesson One - Prejudice and Discrimination: Gender, Race, Language, Disability. If many people feel prejudice for a group, they might deny that group their civil rights. In those situations, the group will need to advocate for themselves.
  • When a person publicly supports a certain idea that is called “advocacy” and that person is an “advocate”. One can be an “advocate” for civil rights. If an individual supports his/her personal rights, they are a “self-advocate”. If they join with others to support right for their group, this is sometimes called a “civil rights movement”.
  • There have been many civil rights movements in the history of our country and they have helped us grow by ensuring that we can live in a peaceful and fair manner.

Advocate

Self-advocate

Civil Rights Movement

Stating the Goal After this lesson, we will be able to describe some civil rights movements, how they came to be, what they sought to change and how they went about doing this.  

Instruction

Part 1

Different groups have felt the need to advocate for their rights due to discrimination. The discrimination has been based on race, ethnicity, gender and national origin, among other things. When members of the group see that their civil rights are not being granted, they form a civil rights movements.  

Instruction

Part 2

Examples of Civil Rights Movements: Provide an overview of two or three prominent civil rights movements in the United States. There are many materials available to address these movements (see “Resources”) and your student may already be familiar with them. If he/she is not familiar with this history or demonstrates high interest, you might explore them further using the additional resources and materials listed. Possible movements include:
  • African Americans
  • Women
  • Latin Americans
  • Native Americans
 

Instruction

Part 3

  • Note information gathered in worksheets from lessons 14, 15 and 16. We can see that VI persons can be affected by prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. Historically persons who are VI were denied certain rights. As a group, VI persons have struggled for their rights.
  • Use the information in “Resources” under “Movement for Disability and VI Rights” to have discussion on this topic.
 
Check for Understanding Student completes Worksheet 17a – “Civil Rights Movements”  
Closure Advocating for rights occurs on both the individual and the group level. It is important to know the history of your own group, how you can contribute to the group through your own individual advocating and how the group can support you.  

 Rationale: Knowledge of the origins, goals and history of civil rights movements, including that promoting right of the visually impaired, will allow a student to better understand the historical context of their personal situation in regards to self-advocacy.

Resources and materials:

Websites:

Movement for Disability and VI Rights:

 


Worksheet 17a: Civil Rights Movements

Use what you learned from your discussions to answer the following questions about groups who struggled for their civil rights.

 1. Why are some groups denied their civil rights?

 

 

 

 2. Name three groups who started movements to advocate for their civil rights.

 

 

 

 

 3. What are three rights for which persons with visual impairment have advocated as a group.

 

 

 

 

 4. List three important events in the history of the struggle for civil rights of the visually impaired..

 

 

 

 

 5. Name one group that has advocated for the rights of persons who are visually impaired.

 


Unit 3 - Lesson 18:  Your Rights as a Student with a Visual Impairment

Topic: Participating in the Education Process - Individual Education Program (IEP) Document and the Admissions, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Meeting

 Unit Goal: Students will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to describe the components of an ARD meeting and participate in writing their own IEP

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory The ARD and IEP are tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Act.  The student should be familiar with these and be able to be an active participant in the planning process.     

Introduction

 

As a student with a visual impairment, you are entitled to certain rights in school.  These rights are outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which includes an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  We are going to spend a few lessons on learning how to contribute to the creation of your own IEP, and the skills you would need to be able to comfortably participate in your ARD meeting.

(Review “What are my Rights As a Student With a Disability?”)

IDEA

ARD

IEP

Stating the Goal These lessons will teach you how to participate in the writing of your personal education plan, and give you some pointers on how to represent yourself at your ARD (IEP) meetings.   
Instruction Related to the IEP Explain that, according to IDEA, the IEP must focus on the student’s preferences, interests, needs and strengths. Every ARD meeting (called IEP meeting in other states) will discuss and write an IEP.  We will be working on how you can participate in writing and presenting your own IEP.
  1. Begin with the IEP Participation Student Rubric to get some idea on what your student knows.
  2. Show the student their own IEP.  Use “It’s All About Me! Understanding My IEP” for this activity.
  3. Begin one of the two student worksheets on understanding the parts of an IEP.  For elementary age: Complete “I’m Determined! I.D. Understanding and Preparing for My IEP”. This step may take more than one session. 
  4. Revisit the district’s IEP form.  Work with the student to fill in a blank IEP with their own information.  This could be used as a draft for their ARD meeting. 

Present Level of Performance

Accommodations

Annual Goals

Postsecondary Goals

Services

Transition

Participation in Statewide Testing

Instruction Related to the ARD Meeting

Explain that an ARD meeting is held to discuss the student’s educational programming, and each ARD meeting follows a format as per special education law (IDEA).  Restate your goal that the student participate in, and possibly lead, portions of the next ARD meeting, and that these activities will prepare him for this. 

  1. Briefly review the components of any ARD (IEP) meeting. See Simple ARD/IEP Agenda
  2. Print out IEP Participation Brochure (“Suggestions for Your Participation in the IEP Process”).  Use this to keep track of tasks that need to be done before, during, and after an ARD.
  3. One way a student can lead their ARD meeting is to introduce the meeting by sharing a presentation that reflects their preference, interests, needs and strengths. Samples of these can be found under “Sample Student PowerPoints”. Watch one of these with your student, then complete the “One Pager Implementation Guide” to give your student some ideas for creating his own PowerPoint.
  4. Create a PowerPoint with your student that can be presented at his next ARD.  Keep it short!  There is a blank IEP PowerPoint template that can be used for this.
  5. Use the IEP Participation Brochure (column called “During the Meeting”) to review the ARD meeting structure, and determine when might be the best time for your student to show his PowerPoint.
  6. Prior to the ARD meeting, check to see that the components of the first column (“Before the Meeting”) on the  IEP Participation Brochure have been completed or are in process.
  7. Practice (role play) student participation during an ARD meeting.  You both may decide that there are some parts of the meeting you (the teacher) will take, and parts the student will take.
  8. After the ARD meeting, complete the third column (“After the Meeting”) of the IEP Participation Brochure.
  9. Finish this segment on ARD meetings by completing the Student Exit Survey.  Discuss changes that could be made before the next ARD meeting

Evaluation data

Eligibility

PLAAFP

Assistive Technology

Annual Goals/Objectives

Related Services

Placement-LRE

 

Check for Understanding Use the I’m Determined website’s “Student Exit Survey” to check for understanding.  
Closure The information covered in these two activities helps you (the student) become a more self-determined individual.  It will be important for you to be able to represent yourself as the school team (including you!) discusses your future.   

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to educate the student about the required components of the IEP so that they can partner with their TVI in developing their own education plans.  In addition, students will learn how to represent their choices and opinions about their own education plans at the IEP/ARD meeting. 

Materials:

  • Computer or tablet to create a PowerPoint
  • Print or braille copies of the materials mentioned
  • Optical devices as needed to read print materials
  • Student’s IEP and ARD paperwork from previous ARD meeting

 Resources and Materials:

I’m Determined module on Student-Led IEPs http://www.imdetermined.org/quick_links/modules/module_four Also includes a PowerPoint (“Student-Led IEP PowerPoint) that teachers and parents should watch before beginning these lessons.           

Texas Project First:  Components of an ARD meeting in Texas:  ARD agenda with definitions

Important Words to Know About Me and My IEP

http://www.imdetermined.org/files_resources/90/importantwordslessonplan.pdf

It’s All About Me: Helping Students Create PowerPoint Presentations for IEP Meetings

http://www.imdetermined.org/resources/detail/02_iep_involvement_tool

Me!  Lessons for Teaching Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy

http://www.ou.edu/education/centers-and-partnerships/zarrow/trasition-education-materials/me-lessons-for-teaching-self-awareness-and-self-advocacy.html

Videos from I’m Determined Website


Unit 3 - Lesson 19:  Your Rights as a Student with a Visual Impairment

Topic: Understanding the Differences in Legal Rights Between Secondary and Post-secondary Educational Settings

Unit Goal: Students will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): The student will be able to discriminate between their legal rights in both secondary and postsecondary educational settings. 

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Did you realize there are laws that function as guidelines and safe guards for you within educational systems?  As a consumer in an educational system, it would be empowering for you to be aware of these laws and know how to find information on them.  Empower
Introduction All through your public school life you have been educated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires schools to provide a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment designed to meet your unique needs.   When you graduate, another law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will ensure that you will not be a subject of discrimination based on your visual impairment

IDEA

ADA

FAPE

 

Stating the Goal We are going to learn about the difference between these 2 laws, and how they will affect you in secondary and postsecondary settings.  
Instruction Review the 6 principles of IDEA with the student. Discuss how these principles relate to the student’s program.  Reinforce this concept/vocabulary using the IDEA matching cards.  Rights-Something that is due a person by law (voting, getting an education, etc.)
Instruction

An anti-discrimination law that protects you after high school:

ADA is a civil rights law that protects people with disabilities by requiring places to be accessible to people with disabilities. ADA is different than Section 504 because it applies to more places, such as transportation (public buses), telecommunication, as well as schools

Provide a print or braille copy of a document titled “American with Disabilities Act (ADA)” found at https://ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq9805.html Take turns reading through this document together.  Ask the student which of these regulations might apply to him now, or possibly in the near future. Take the ADA True/False Quiz.

Discrimination

Anti-Discrimination

 

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Discuss the fact that, after high school, the student will bear the responsibility of communicating with others about his adaptations and modifications in educational settings and on the job. 

Colorado State University has outlined the legal mandates that uphold the rights and responsibilities of qualified students with disabilities and faculty as they relate to a student’s participation in higher education and to making accommodations. Open this page, and review these with your student:  http://accessproject.colostate.edu/sa/modules/sec3/tut_sec3.php?display=pg_6

 

Relationship between your “rights” and your personal responsibility
  For students who will be transitioning to a college, trade school, or university, review this document: “College Preparation for Students with Disabilities Handbook”.  Play the “Roll the Dice IDEA vs. ADA Game” (instructions provided as a handout)  
Checking for Understanding

Use the document “ADA and IDEA Scenarios for Role Play” to review and reinforce what the student has learned. 

As you and the student prepare for IEP meetings, review the components that constitute a “right”, or the legally required components of IDEA that are reflected in the IEP and the IEP meeting. 

 

 Rationale: Students should understand that there are laws that protect them from discrimination as an individual with a visual impairment.  One law (IDEA) is monitored by adults (parents, teachers, administrators, disability agency caseworkers) while they are in a public school system.  When they graduate, another law (ADA) will provide them with the protection they might need to avoid discrimination due to their impairment in educational settings, on the job, and in the community.  Teachers can start to educate students about their protected rights under the law by explaining the IEP, for example, and by discussing the student’s responsibility to communicate their preferences/adaptations/modifications with others. 

Resources and materials:

 

19. a. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Matching Cards

Use with Lesson 19

Instructions:  Cut these cards apart, mix them up, and match them back together. 

 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Students with a disability are entitled to this.  There should be services designed to meet a student’s unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. 

Appropriate Evaluation

Schools are required to conduct appropriate evaluations of students that are administered on a non-discriminator basis.  Evaluations must determine and make recommendations regarding a student’s eligibility for special educations services. 

 Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

A written document which uses existing evaluation information in order to meet a student’s unique educational needs.  Must include:  present levels of educational performance, goals, objectives, services & supplementary aids. 

 Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

States that students with disabilities receive their education, to the maximum extent appropriate, with nondisabled peers and that special education students are not removed from regular classes unless, even with supplemental aids and services, education in regular classes cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

 Parent Participation

Parents are notified of evaluations, and involved in all meetings regarding their child’s placement.

 Procedural Safeguards

These protect parental access to information pertaining to placement/transition planning, and evaluations.  Procedures are put in place to resolve disagreements between parents and schools regarding student placement.

19. b. ADA Quiz

Select true or false for each question.

  1. Public buildings are required to provide braille labels on doors and elevators.  T    F
  2. Dog guides are not allowed on public transportation and in public buildings.  T   F
  3. An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability.  T   F
  4. I will be expected to pay for reasonable accommodations on the job.  T   F
  5. I have to tell people about my visual impairment in postsecondary education settings order to receive specialized services from disability support services staff. T   F
  6. Accommodations are automatically provided for me in postsecondary education.  T   F
  7. There will be a “special teacher” assigned to me in postsecondary settings that can advocate for my special needs.  T    F
  8. “Self-Identify” to a potential employer means providing my name, address, and social security number.  T     F
  9. Documentation of my visual impairment can be my glasses prescription.  T     F
  10. When in postsecondary education, you are considered an adult in the eyes of the law. T   F

Answers: 1. T, 2. F, 3. T, 4. F, 5. T, 6. F, 7. F, 8. F, 9. F, 10. T

19. c. Roll the Dice IDEA vs. ADA Game

Materials

  • Dice (braille or regular)
  • 3 small baskets or boxes
  • Use the chart titled What Are the Differences Between High School and College? from the document “College Preparation for Students with Disabilities Handbook” (found on pp. 19-22).

Game Instructions

  1. Cut the squares out, mix them up, and place them in one container (box).  Have two empty baskets/boxes:  one labeled “IN HIGH SCHOOL”, and another labeled “IN COLLEGE”. 
  2. (In most situations, the teacher and student will be competing with one another)
  3. Player 1 rolls the dice, then draws a card out of the master pile.  Read the card, and place it in one of the other two baskets.  Check the master document to see if you are right.  If you placed it in the correct basket, you get to add the points on the dice.  Player 2 gets a turn. 

 

19. d. ADA and IDEA Scenarios for Role Play

 Tell how you would handle these situations:

  1. Juan is in the 6th grade.  His class goes to the computer lab every Thursday to work on a research project.  None of the computers in the lab have software he needs to be able to enlarge the print or read the screen.  Which law supports Juan?  What should Juan say or do to let his teacher know that this adaptation is necessary for him to complete the assignments? 
  2. Jessica goes to a community college and is studying to be an occupational therapy assistant.  Much of the reading she has to do involves medical diagrams and charts with print that is way too small for her to see. Is there a law that supports Jessica?  What should Jessica do?  (refer to Rights to Assistive Technology in Higher Education http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/557401.pdf )
  3. When Julia was in her senior year of high school, a TVI contacted all of her teachers to notify them of Julia’s visual diagnosis and how they (the teachers) could accommodate for Julia’s reduced acuity.  Now Julia has enrolled in a university, and she’s not sure who will do this on her behalf.  What does ADA law say about Julia’s rights? What should Julia do?  (refer to Differences between Secondary Education and Post-secondary Education….  See “Who is responsible for initiating service delivery?”)
  4. Jaxson, who is blind, is getting ready to go talk to his university disability office and then professors about some accommodations that would help him in school.  What are some things he should mention?  (refer to http://accessproject.colostate.edu/disability/index.php for these possible answers: Priority registration; Alternative testing arrangements such as extra time; a less distracting environment; provision of a reader/scribe; and use of a computer, including adaptive software and hardware; Course materials in an alternative format such as braille or digital; Braille labels: Adaptive lab equipment (talking thermometers, calculators, probes, timers).
  5. Kate is starting her first year at her local community college.  On the first day of school she could not find the women’s restroom so she just started opening doors.  Kate was desperate!  The first door opened to a broom closet, so she ran into some mops and brooms.  She opened a second door and a man yelled, “Hey!  This is the men’s restroom!” Which law mentions labeling in public buildings, and what does it say? What can Kate do? (see ADA Signage Requirements, 703.2 http://www.mtc-inc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Signage-Requirements11.pdf )
  6. Brock is in the 5th grade and has very low vision.  His IEP has goals and objectives listed for using an iPad to make classwork and teacher lectures accessible.  His TVI is working with him on these goals, and they want Brock to be able to upload homework files and connect to the interactive board via the internet.  However, his school is saying that no students can have internet access, which means Brock won’t be able to receive and send files with his teachers.  Is there are law that is being violated here?  What can Brock and his TVI do?  (refer to “Building the Legacy:  IDEA 2004”, http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,regs,300,B,300%252E105

Unit 4 and Lessons Overview

This unit is the fourth in a series of lesson plans developed by Chrissy Cowan and Scott Baltisberger to help TVIs teach students how to represent themselves to others.  

The lessons in this unit are divided into 7 topics that range from self-identity and values to disability disclosure. These lesson topics contribute to self-determination and self-advocacy skills within the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Following the lessons are materials that are referenced in the individual lesson plans.

Unit 4:  Representing Yourself to Others

Lessons

  • Traits (Lesson 1)
  • Values (Lesson 2)
  • Expectations (Lesson 3)
  • Character (Lesson 4)
  • Disability Disclosure (Lesson 5)
  • Disclosure Strategies for Doctors, Peers, and Family Members (Lesson 6)
  • Handling Awkward Situations (Lesson 7)

Unit 4: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 1.1: Traits

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries. The student will create a list in which they identify their own values. The student will graphic in which they identify their boundaries. The student will identify how maintaining or not maintaining boundaries can impact self-esteem and self-identify.

Topic: Traits

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify and describe the physical and personality traits or both themselves and another person..

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step  Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory  
  • Bring in some kind of object that can has a number of various attributes, preferably an object or some kind of gadget with which the child may not be very familiar. Some possibilities might include: a piece of driftwood, an odd piece of machinery, an unfamiliar kitchen tool, a small sculpture or other knick-knack.
  • Ask them to describe the object, starting with an overall impression (shape, color, size, etc.). Next, have them describe smaller components of the object.
  • Note on accommodations: Using an object will work for both sighted and non-sighted students. With sighted students, it may also be possible to use a photograph, diagram or picture for this exercise. With non-sighted students, a raised-line drawing or other tactile graphic could serve the purpose.
 
Introductory  
  • Discuss the process the student used explore the object - going from most general to most detailed.
    • Explain that another word for the parts of the object is traits.
    • Another way to say” finding all the different parts” is to identify the traits.
  • Discuss other things that have traits that can be identified. This could be literally anything, such as a dog, cloud, bicycle, glass of water, tree, river, house, goldfish, etc. Use the vocabulary words trait and identify to talk about the things.

Trait - a distinguishing quality or characteristic

Identify - establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is

Stating the Goal
  •  People also have traits that we can identify. We will explore and identify some of our own attributes.
 
Instruction 1  
  • Physical Traits
    • The traits that we can hear, see, touch, taste and smell are called physical traits.
    • Pick an individual. This could be an individual the student knows personally or a public figure.
    • Describe the physical traits of the individual and write it on the worksheet.
 Physical Traits
Instruction 2  
  • Personality Traits
    • A person also has traits that you cannot experience through seeing, hearing or touching but through how they act or how they make us feel These are their personality traits.
    • How would you describe the way this person acts, the way they make you feel? Nice, funny, sad, happy, reliable, angry, etc.
Personality Traits 
Instruction 3  
  • Now ask the student to complete another chart for themselves.
    • Identify their own physical traits. This could be an opportunity to incorporate information about the student’s visual impairment. However, this should be instigated by the student himself/herself rather than prompted by the teacher. The student should have ownership and agency in building their own self-identity. Some students may see this as a critical aspect of their identify, others may view other traits as more defining of who they are.
    • Identify their own personality traits.
 
Check for Understanding  
  • Review the two charts that the student created. Ask the student to point out the similarities and differences in both physical and personality traits.
  • Ask the student to circle those traits they feel are most important. Discuss why they chose these traits.
 
Closure  
  • Put completed worksheets in folder.
  • Now we’ve learned about traits and how to identify them.
  • Next, we will identify traits that everyone shares.
 

Notes:  Development of self-identify is a process that occurs throughout one’s life. However it is during childhood and young adulthood that strong foundations can best be laid. A strong self-identity will originate from an inward orientation regarding values and worldview. That is, strength of conviction will come from thinking deeply about one’s own experiences and relationships as contrasted with simply following the status quo as presented by outside influences. Due to the pervasive influence of social media, advertising and peer pressure, young people are at high risk to develop a low sense of self-identity and self-esteem. This can have negative consequences for choice-making and judgement.

Materials:

  • Traits Worksheet
  • Crayon, pencil or marker
  • Accomodations for blind students:
    • Brailler and braille paper
    • Braille copy of the worksheet
  • Notebook or folder to collect completed worksheets for this unit.

Resources:

It may be helpful for the teacher to look over some of these websites which provide information about teaching values as well as much additional exercises for students:


Unit 4: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 1.2: Traits

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries. The student will create a list in which they identify their own values. The student will graphic in which they identify their boundaries. The student will identify how maintaining or not maintaining boundaries can impact self-esteem and self-identify.

Topic: Shared Traits - Individuals and Groups

Lesson objective(s): Student will describe his or her individual traits relative to group traits.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Present a map of the student’s school. Locate different areas, including the student’s classroom. Pick a color and shade in the classroom. Locate other classrooms of the same grade and shade the same color. Locate other grades, shading each its own different color.
 
Introductory
  • There are many groups within groups. Point out how the map has many colors, many groups, yet all of these are part of the same group: “ school name”.
  • We can belong to many different groups at once.
 
Stating the Goal
  • Will identify some of the many groups within groups to which we belong.
 
Instruction
  • Present the student with a map of the city, town or community. Discuss the traits of the people who live in the community. Locate where the student’s school is located on the map and discuss the traits of people who are part of the school. Compare and contrast the two groups. Emphasize that all members of the school are also members of the community.
  • Continue this progression, using maps in an expanding order, to talk about, the groups to which the student belongs. In general, the progression will be:
    • classroom
    • school
    • city
    • state
    • country
    • continent
    • earth
    • solar system
  • Each time, have the student color their own group within the larger group.
  • As each group location is discovered and colored, write it down, using the worksheet provided. Prompt student to write down the traits for that group. This can be as simple as “all boys and girls in Ms. Sanchez’s class” or “all the people who live in North America”.
 
Instruction  
  • Discussion:
  • Does being a part of one group make you less a part of the larger group?
  • Expansion: The student may want to identify further subgroups based on gender, ethnicity, language, etc. These can also be written down.
 
Check for Understanding 
  • Using the maps, student will name each group to which he/she belongs and identify the traits for that group.
  • Refer back to the “Traits” worksheet and compare this with the current worksheet. Note that the student has traits that are specific only to the student. This might be another situation where the trait of “visual impairment” could arise. Again, this should be at the student’s suggestion rather than dictated by the teacher.
 
Closure
  • Put completed worksheets in the folder.
  • We see that we share traits with some groups and not with others. We also see that there are some traits that everyone shares.
  • Next lesson will learn about another trait that all of us have. This trait is called “values”.
 

Notes

  • Beginning with the school map has the advantage of beginning with a concept with that is more concrete and with which the student is most familiar and moving to less familiar, less concrete ideas.

Materials

 

Unit 4: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 2: Values

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries.

Topic: Values

Lesson objective(s): The student will create a list in which they identify their own values. The student will create a graphic in which they identify their boundaries. The student will identify how maintaining or not maintaining boundaries can impact self-esteem and self-identify.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Using the picture/chart created for the lesson “Personal Traits”, review the meaning of physical traits and personality traits.
 
Introduction
  • Discuss how some traits are those we admire and some are those which we do not admire.
  • The opinions we hold about admirable/non-admirable traits represent our values.
  • Values are what we feel is important about the way we live our lives.
  • Knowing what our values are helps us to make better decisions.
Values - a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life
Stating the Goal
  • The next exercise will help us to explore and identify our values.
 
Instruction
  • Ask the student to think of someone whom they admire. This should be someone whom they know personally rather than a “celebrity” such as a musician or sports figure. This will ensure the information that follows is based on a real personality rather than one that is fabricated.
  • Alternatively, you can have the student name their favorite animal and write down all those things that they admire about the animal. This has the benefit of the target being even further removed from influences of media or peer pressure.
  • Have student list those personality traits that they admire about this this person. Discuss what the trait is. Ask the student to give examples.
  • As the student identifies a trait, have them write its name on the values worksheet. For the purposes of this exercise, the list does not need to be exhaustive. Four or five words will be plenty..
 
Instruction
  • When the list is complete, review it with the student.
  • Discuss what they admire about the traits.
  • Inform that the traits we admire in others are the things that we think are important.
  • They represent our own values; they are traits we wish to build in ourselves.
 
Check for Understanding
  • Review the list again, looking at it from the perspective of the student’s own values.
  • Have student provide an example from their own life that represents this value.
  • Add this to the worksheet.
 
Closure
  • Put completed worksheet in folder or notebook.
  • Knowing one’s own values helps us to make better decisions.
  • This exercise has helped the student to better know his/her values.
  • Next we will look at making decisions that reflect our values.
 

Notes:   It is important that the adult avoid leading the student’s responses too much. The goal of this activity is for the student to engage in deep reflection on his or her own experiences and beliefs; it is not meant to inculcate in the student a predetermined set of values that are held by the adult. The results of this exercise will be much more meaningful if the student connects with them in a more personal and independent manner.

Materials:

  • Pencil, pen or marker
  • Values worksheet
  • Folder or notebook

Unit: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 3: Expectations and Boundaries

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries.

Topic: Expectations, Boundaries and Self-Esteem

Lesson objective(s): The student will identify those values for which they have high expectations. The student will identify how not maintaining boundaries for expectations can have negative impact on one’s self-esteem.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Continue discussion about “Values” from previous lesson. Use diagram from that lesson to review the student’s values.
  • What are the benefits of knowing one’s own values?
 
Introduction
  • Look at the “Examples” column of the Values Worksheet
  • Have there been situations in which you felt your one of your values was challenged?
  • Did you hold your value or did you compromise?
  • Sometimes we can have a value but not always maintain it during real-life situations.
Compromise: accept standards that are lower than is desirable
Stating the Goal
  • In today’s lesson, we will talk about how compromising your standards can affect your self-esteem.
  • Some effects of low self-esteem include:
    • Lack of confidence - don’t try new things, don’t put best effort.
    • Feeling sad or angry - isolation from friends and family
    • Passive - go along with other people’s ideas, even if it’s not what you want to do. Can even make decisions that are harmful to yourself.
Self-esteem: confidence in one's own worth or abilities
Instruction
  • Cut modelling clay into equally-sized pieces that correspond with the number of values on the chart. Press a different sized and shaped bead into each piece to mark it and give it the name of a value.
  • Mold the pieces together to create a bowl with all of the markers facing outward.
  • This container, formed of our values, represents our boundaries.
Boundaries: a line that marks the limits of an area
Instruction
  • Using a container or a faucet, fill the container with water.
  • The water represents your self-esteem. The level of our self-esteem is determined by how strong our boundaries are.
  • Strong boundaries are maintained by keeping strong expectations about our values.
  • Give examples of strong and weak expectations.
 Expectations: a strong belief that something should be a certain way
Instruction
  • Ask the student to choose one of his/her values.
  • Discuss a situation in which the expectation might be tested.
    • For example: Student has a value for “being fair”. Student sees another student being bullied. If the student helps or intervenes, the boundary stays strong. Point out how the self-esteem (water) maintains its level.
    •  If the student does nothing or joins in the bullying, the boundary is weak. Poke a hole in the piece that represents the value. Note how the self-esteem (water) is lowered.
 
Check for Understanding
  • Repair hole in the bowl.
  • Prompt student for examples of maintaining strong expectations about specific values, using the bowl as a guide.
  • Allow student to poke hole, or not, according to the scenario.
  • Ask student to provide examples of the effects of low self-esteem.
 
Closure
  • We’ve learned the importance of maintaining strong expectations about our values so that our boundaries are intact and we have high self-esteem. It can help to think and plan for situations that could arise in which our values are challenged.
  • Next lesson, we’ll identify some of these situations and how we might deal with them.
 

Notes:

Materials:

  • Modelling clay
  • Beads or small stones
  • Small container of water
  • Basin or sink

Resources:

It may be helpful to read these articles on self-esteem and discuss some of the concepts in more detail with your student.


Unit: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 4 Character

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries.

Topic: Maintaining one’s values: Character

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify examples of situations in which his or her boundaries might be challenged and describe how he or she might address things so as to maintain high expectations for him or herself.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Using the Boundaries bowl created in the prior lesson, review concepts with the student:
    • Values, Boundaries, Expectations
    • Have student describe process by which self-esteem can be raised or lowered according to the actions one takes in response to situations that challenge values.
 
Introduction
  • During our last lesson, we discussed some situations that might come up in which your expectations about different values are challenged.
  • Sometimes you can find it difficult to know how to respond during a situation. You might experience a lot of emotions or thoughts that are difficult to sort out in the moment.
  • Rather than waiting for something to happen, it can be helpful to be proactive, to plan for possible situations before they occur, to think them through before the moment happens.
Proactive: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened
Stating the Goal
  • In this lesson, we’ll talk about some situations that could occur and problem solve some ways to respond that will help maintain your boundaries.
  • Maintaining your boundaries about your values is sometimes called having strong character.
Character: the ethical qualities distinctive to an individual
Instruction
  • Ask student to think of something that happened, either to themselves or to another student, that were troubling.
  • Write a brief description of the situation on the “What’s Your Value” worksheet.
  • Identify the value that is at question and write that on the worksheet as well. The student may want to refer to the “Values” worksheet filled out in Lesson 2.
  • Identify the expectation that the student has regarding this value and write this on the worksheet as well.
  • Problem-solve some possible actions the student might take in this situation and write them on the worksheet.
  • Repeat this process for 2 or 3 more situations.
 
Check for Understanding
  • Review the completed worksheet.
  • Ask student to describe the benefits of maintaining one’s character,
  • Ask student to describe how being proactive can help when dealing with situations.
  • It may be helpful to role-play some of these scenarios with the student.
 
Closure
  • We’ve learned a lot about how to explore and identify our values and what to do to maintain character and self-esteem.
  • This should not be a one-time exercise. If you want to maintain a strong character, you should continue to think about your values and apply them whenever a difficult situation arises.
  • These situations can be big or small but they all contribute to our character.
 

Notes: This lesson might be an opportunity to suggest a scenario in which the student’s visual impairment is involved. For example: Another student teases him or her about having wearing thick glasses or needing to use a cane to travel.

Materials:

  • Pen, pencil or marker
  • Worksheet: What’s My Value?
  • Accommodations for students who are blind:
    • Brailler and braille paper
    • Braille copy of the worksheet

Resources for Skill Instruction:


Unit 4:  Representing Myself to Others

Topic:  Disability Disclosure

Lesson 5

Unit Goal:    Student will develop skills to explain their vision and its effect on personal functioning, as well as identify disability-related rights and responsibilities under the law. 

Topic:  Disability disclosure

Lesson objective(s): The student will explain the benefits of disclosing their disability to others, including which information is appropriate/necessary, and how much information to disclose. 

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsTerminology
Anticipatory You will find yourself in situations in which telling people about your disability and its effect on your functioning will be necessary.  You might also experience disability-related discrimination in certain settings.  This unit helps structure how you might explain your disability in ways that are informative, and informs you of the laws related to disability rights.    Disability (student-specific)
Introduction Effective disclosure occurs when you are knowledgeable about your disability and are able to describe both your disability-related needs and your skills and abilities clearly.  We will be learning how to explain your disability, match the amount of information to specific situations/settings, and how much information you want to share in these different settings. Disability Disclosure
Stating the Goal This lesson will allow you to practice explaining your disability and inform others about the strategies you use to compensate for your visual impairment.  
Instruction: Definition of Disclosure

Refer to Unit 2 in The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities “Disclosure…What Is It and Why Is It So Important”

Introduce the concept of disclosure:  disclosure occurs when you intentionally release personal information about yourself for a specific purpose (e.g., financial information for a bank loan or credit card; medical history for any doctor)

The importance of keeping some information confidential (e.g., social security number, banking records, medical records) and when it might be necessary to release this information.

Complete activity #1 on examples of disclosure (Unit 2, pages 2-5)

Disclosure

Confidential

Sensitive Information

Accommodation

Instruction:  Advantages and Disadvantages of Disclosure

Refer to Unit 3 in The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

“Weighing the Advantages & Disadvantages of Disclosure”

Before you disclose your disability, you will need to determine the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, considering all the options to help you make an informed decision. 

Discuss terminology related to this section. 

Complete activity #2 on advantages/disadvantages of disclosure for a variety of scenarios (Unit 3, pages 5-6)

Review a few famous people who have surpassed the expectations of others to become leaders in their fields:  https://brailleworks.com/braille-resources/famous-people-with-visual-impairments/

Advantages

Disadvantages

Self-image

Impact

Self-advocacy

Instruction: Rights and Responsibilities Under the Law

Refer to Unit 4 in The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

“Rights and Responsibilities Under the Law”

We will be reviewing how systems and protective laws change when you leave high school, as well as a basic overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how this law pertains to your life as a person with a disability. 

Discuss terminology related to this section.  (Unit 4, pages 1-2)

Complete the activity on p. 4-7, “Defining Your Disability”.  Then review “Basic Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act” on p. 4-14 & 4-15.  How is this different from IDEA?

Introduce the concept of “discrimination”, and how and where this might occur.  Complete the activity on p. 4-9, “Recognizing Discrimination”.  Ask the student to write out or relate an incidence in which they have either experienced or witnessed disability-specific discrimination. 

Accessible

Adult services

Compensatory Strategies

Disability (under the ADA)

Discrimination

Eligibility

Entitlement

Free appropriate public education (FAPE)

Hidden disabilities

Visible disabilities

Check for Understanding Review by asking the student to define “disclosure” and relate situations in which disclosure would be an advantage.   
Closure Ask the student to think of situations in which disclosure would be useful and/or necessary in school and community settings.   

Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to teach the student the concept of “disclosure”; when it is appropriate to disclose information about one’s visual impairment, and how much information to share for different situations. Students should also have a working knowledge of disability-specific laws so that they can develop strategies for dealing with discrimination related to their visual impairment.

Materials:

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities (print and audio version) is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure. Helps young people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives. http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure

Credit: 

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. (2005)
The 411 on Disability Disclosure Workbook. Washington, DC:  Institute for Educational Leadership.

Workbook for youth on cyber disclosure 

http://www.ncwd-youth.info/cyber-disclosure

FAQs About Disability Disclosure Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):  http://disabilityrightsiowa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/FAQ-About-Disability-Disclosure-under-the-ADA.pdf

Resources for Skill Instruction:

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability NCWD for Youth  http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure


Unit:  Representing Myself to Others

Topic:  Disclosure Strategies for Doctors, Peers, and Family

Lesson 6

Unit Goal:    Student will develop skills to represent himself as an individual with a visual impairment to specific categories of people.

Topic:  Communicating with eye doctors, parents, and peers

Lesson objective(s): The student will develop the language and strategies to communicate with peers, doctors, and family members about their visual condition and necessary accommodations.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsTerminology
Anticipatory This unit helps structure how you might explain your disability to peers, doctors, and family members. Disability (student-specific)
Introduction There are people in your life who will need to know some information about your vision and how it affects your abilities.  Some of these individuals may make assumptions about how you function unless you provide some information.  How do you decide what each needs to know?  This unit will help you think through these situations.  Disability Disclosure
Stating the Goal This lesson will allow you to practice explaining your disability and inform peers, family members, and eye doctors.  
Instruction:  Representing Yourself to Your Eye Doctor

Start by sending a letter or email home to parent/guardian to inform them of this lesson so that your lesson can be reinforced in the doctor’s office by the parent if necessary.

Ask the student to relate an experience with an eye exam.  Some questions you might ask the student include:  What do you and your doctor talk about?  Do you feel comfortable with asking questions?  Who does most of the talking—you or your parent?

Review a website on “What to Expect in an Eye Exam”.  A good website for this with links to definitions for tests the eye doctor will perform.  https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/child-eye-exam

Review the parts of the eye, using a chart or model, to clarify the parts of the eye affected by the student’s etiology. 

Complete the worksheet “Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam” together.  Give a completed copy to the student, and keep one for yourself. 

Role play a visit to the eye doctor, using the questions noted by the student on the “Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam” worksheet.  Practice having the student explain problems (s)he is having with visual tasks.

Optometrist

Ophthalmologist

Parts of the Eye

Instruction:  Representing Yourself to Family Members

Discuss the connection between life skills and independence. To earn independence, a student will need to demonstrate independence living skills to adults.

For 5+ graders, use the worksheet “Essential Skills for Teens” to rate the student’s life skills.  Then ask the student to prioritize skills (s)he would like to work on. 

Complete the worksheet “Can You Feed Yourself” as a precursor to independence in the kitchen.  Prioritize and work on skills the student lacks.

For younger students, consider contacting parent/guardian to review the document, “Age-by-Age Guide” to rate the student’s skills. Target specific skill instruction for your student that both the parents and you can address.

Life skills

Independent living skills

Independence vs. dependent

Instruction:  Representing Yourself to Your Peers

Ask the student to list some of the questions other kids ask them about their eyes and eyesight

Complete the worksheet, “Sharing Your Vision Information with Peers”

Use the worksheet as a guide for a role play situation where a peer asks about their eyesight

Discuss respectful ways to deflect questions about the eyes/sight.  Use the worksheet “Enough About Me” as a conversation starter.  Ask the student which of these suggestions (s)he might use. 

Peers

Disclose

Modification

Check for Understanding Review by drawing the connection between acting independently/responsibly and the likelihood of gaining more autonomy and respect. The student should be able to relate actions that reflect responsible behaviors in situations involving medical professionals, peers, family members, and others.  Autonomy
Closure Ask the student to think of a situation in which (s)he can practice one or more of the strategies covered in this lesson plan, and to report back to the teacher if/when a strategy was applied.  

Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to teach the student how to make the connection between acting independently/responsibly and the likelihood of gaining more autonomy and respect.  Students will need to feel comfortable with providing information about their vision strengths, needs, and accommodations in a variety of settings, with an array of people.  Students will also learn how to appropriately control situations in which questions about the eyes/sight are unwelcome. 

Materials:

Parent Letter

Worksheets:

  1. Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam
  2. Essential Skills for Teens
  3. Can You Feed Yourself
  4. Age-by-Age Guide
  5. Sharing Your Vision Information with Peers
  6. Enough About Me

Resources for Skill Instruction:

How to Change the Subject:  https://www.wikihow.com/Change-the-Subject-in-a-Conversation; https://www.liveabout.com/how-to-gracefully-change-the-subject-when-talking-to-your-friend-1385319

How to Deal with Rude People:  https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Rude-People

Life Skills Your Teen Should Learn
http://www.momjunction.com/articles/everyday-life-skills-your-teen-should-learn_0081859/#gref 

Things Teens Should Know How to Do
http://www.womansday.com/relationships/family-friends/g2936/things-teens-should-know-how-to-do/

8 Things Kids Need to Do by Themselves Before They’re 13
http://redtri.com/stop-doing-these-8-things-for-your-teen-this-school-year/

I Did it All By Myself! An age-by-age guide to teaching your child life skills
https://www.familyeducation.com/life/i-did-it-all-myself-age-age-guide-teaching-your-child-life-skills

Concept Development for Independent Living Skills
http://www.perkinselearning.org/transition/blog/concept-development-independent-living-skills

Budgeting and Money Management Skills
http://www.perkinselearning.org/transition/blog/concept-development-independent-living-skills

Meal Preparation
http://www.perkinselearning.org/transition/blog/concept-development-independent-living-skills

Kids in the Kitchen  (from Albinism InSight, Spring 2017)
https://indd.adobe.com/view/47f78bfa-e021-45a5-b7a7-88d3024cb3bf

Allman, Carol and Lewis, S., eds.  ECC Essentials-Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments. New York, NY: AFB Press, 2014. pp. 313-323.

There are many more websites, downloadable activities, and ideas on Pinterest for life skills.  Enter “Life Skills Activities for Kids (or Teens)” in the Pinterest search field.  This site has tons of information:  https://www.edhelper.com/life_skills.htm


Materials to Accompany Lesson 6: Disclosure Strategies for Doctors, Peers, and Family

  • Essential Life Skills for Teens
  • Age-by-Age Guide for Teaching Life Skills
  • Enough About Me….
  • Parent Letter
  • Can You Feed Yourself?
  • Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam
  • Sharing Your Vision Information with Peer

Essential Life Skills for Teens

Sometimes family members are not sure about your vision and what you can do for yourself.  They might be concerned about your safety or your ability to do certain tasks.  They might try to do things for you, or keep you from doing things for yourself.  If you would like to show people just how capable you are, you will need to work on skills that lead to self-sufficiency in many areas. 

How would you rate yourself on the following skills?  Remember that learning these skills leads to independence and prepares you for life on your own. 

Money or Budgeting Skills

  • Make a budget—know when to spend and when to save
  • How to open a bank account, use the ATM, transfer money online and write a check
  • Know how credit works and how quickly you can get sucked into a whirlpool of debt if you are not careful
  • Save money for emergencies
  • Give money to charity without going overboard

Cooking and Food Skills

  • Using kitchen appliances like microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher and toaster
  • Knowledge about utensils, cutlery and how to use them
  • Being able to prepare a healthy meal or snack
  • Storing fresh produce, packaged food, and liquids safely
  • Reading food labels for nutrition and ingredient information
  • Knowing how to clean dishes by hand or in a dishwasher

Dressing Sense or Clothing Skills

  • Choosing the right kind of clothes for the right occasion
  • Iron a shirt and pants
  • Doing laundry
  • Fold clothes and put them away
  • Read and understand fabric labels

Cleanliness and Hygiene

  • Dusting, vacuuming, and mopping
  • Keeping bathrooms and toilets clean
  • Keeping the kitchen clean.
  • Clearing garbage regularly
  • How to wash/fix your own hair
  • How to shave

Personal Healthcare and Basic First Aid

  • Knowing when to go to the doctor
  • Read dosage instructions on medicine
  • Handle medical emergencies, like calling 911
  • Basic first aid skills like how to clean a wound, use bandage, and other first aid in case of medical emergencies

Navigational Skills

  • Being able to read bus, train or flight schedules, and timetables
  • Use a map/mapping program to go from point A to point B
  • Understand directions – north, south, east, and west; left, right
  • Be aware of information about the different transport options to reach different places
  • Mobility and orientation skills

Skills to Stay Safe

  • Exercise caution with strangers
  • Keeping someone posted about your whereabouts
  • Replacing batteries in a flashlight

To stay safe online:

  • Use passwords that aren’t easy to guess.
  • When browsing online, it is safe to use a VPN to protect personal information.
  • Avoid accessing banking accounts using public networks.
  • Avoid talking to strangers, or sharing personal information and photos with them.
  • Alert you if someone makes sexual overtures online

Age-by-Age Guide for Teaching Life Skills

Ages 2-3: Small Chores and Basic Grooming

This is the age when your child will start to learn basic life skills. By the age of three, your child should be able to:

  • Help put his toys away.
  • Dress himself (with some help).
  • Put his clothes in the hamper when he undresses.
  • Clear his plate after meals.
  • Assist in setting the table.
  • Brush his teeth and wash his face with assistance.

Ages 4-5: Important Names and Numbers

When your child reaches this age, safety skills are high on the list. She should know:

  • Her full name, address, and phone number.
  • How to make an emergency call.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Perform simple cleaning chores such as dusting in easy-to-reach places and clearing the table after meals.
  • Feed pets.
  • Identify monetary denominations, and understand the very basic concept of how money is used.
  • Brush her teeth, comb her hair, and wash her face without assistance.
  • Help with basic laundry chores, such as putting her clothes away, and bringing her dirty clothes to the laundry area.
  • Choose her own clothes to wear.

Ages 6-7: Basic Cooking Techniques

Kids at this age can start to help with cooking meals, and can learn to:

  • Mix, stir, and cut with a dull knife.
  • Make a basic meal, such as a sandwich.
  • Help put the groceries away.
  • Wash the dishes.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Use basic household cleaners safely.
  • Straighten up the bathroom after using it.
  • Make his bed without assistance.
  • Bathe unsupervised.

Ages 8-9: Pride in Personal Belongings

By this time, your child should take pride in her personal belongings and take care of them properly. This includes being able to:

  • Fold her clothes.
  • Care for outdoor toys such as a bike.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Take care of personal hygiene without being told to do so.
  • Use a broom and dustpan properly.
  • Read a recipe and prepare a simple meal.
  • Help create a grocery list.
  • Count and make change.
  • Take written phone messages.
  • Help with simple yard duties such as watering and weeding flower beds.
  • Take out the trash.

Ages 10-13: Gaining Independence

Ten is about the age when your child can begin to perform many skills independently. He should know how to:

  • Stay home alone.
  • Go to the store and make purchases by himself.
  • Change his own bed sheets.
  • Use the washing machine and dryer.
  • Plan and prepare a meal with several ingredients.
  • Use the oven to broil or bake foods.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Read labels.
  • Iron his clothes.
  • Learn to use basic hand tools.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Look after younger siblings or neighbors.

Enough About Me….

Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking about your vision when people ask questions.  That’s perfectly fine!  Let’s talk about some things you can say or do that are respectful to others.

Which of these statements can you use when someone asks you about your eyes and/or vision? 

I have a condition called____________, but I’d really rather not talk about that right now.

I might do things a little differently from you, but I get the job done.

One way to get people off of the topic of YOUR vision is to change the subject. Here are some ideas for that:

  • “Oh, I have a condition called_______.  Did you watch the game last night?”  (substitute a question about anything else)
  • "You know what? I'd rather than not talk about it. But I do want to talk about..." and then change the subject by doing things like asking about their life, a news item, or just a topic yourself you would like to talk about.
  • You can bring up a new topic without using a bridge like small talk. Just say something like, "I've been meaning to tell you…" and launch an entirely new subject.  It doesn't matter if you were done with the old subject or if the new subject is related.
  • If you can’t think of how to change the subject, take a look at your surroundings for inspiration. For example, at the mall, comment on the people you see walking through the stores. Or at someone's house, ask about an object, pet, or picture. This change is more abrupt than other methods but still allows someone to transition to a new topic without awkwardness.
  • You might not be the only one that wants the conversation to change. If someone else is standing with you, ask them about a new topic in front of everyone. Pick something positive that they'll be happy to talk about.
  • When you've tried to change the subject gracefully without success, it's time to be more direct. This happens when a peer is stuck on one particular subject (or even an old argument) and can't seem to move beyond it no matter what you do. In this case, you've tried to be as graceful as you can, and now you need to be polite but direct. Say, "You know what? I'd rather not talk about it. But I do want to talk about..." and then change the subject by doing things like asking about their life, a news item, or just a topic yourself you would like to talk about.

If someone is rude or persistent, you can always walk away or walk up to another person to start a conversation.  Visit this site and decide what works for you:  https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Rude-People


Parent Letter

From:_________________ TVI

To: ___________________ (parent/guardian)

Date:__________________

Your son/daughter and I have been working on lessons related to self-advocacy.  There are situations in which a student with a visual impairment should be encouraged to inform others of any specialized materials, lesson accommodations, and/or information (s)he might need. 

One area of self-advocacy we will be working on involves communicating with the eye doctor.  This is a professional your child will be communicating with for the long term, and it would be a good idea for him/her to be comfortable with sharing visual information and asking for clarification.

The lessons we will be working on cover the following:

  • Parts of the eye affected by your etiology
  • How to prepare for your eye exam
  • Questions to ask your eye doctor
  • Visual information to share with your eye doctor

Please talk with your child about this lesson and the process of visiting the eye doctor.  Also, you might practice some of the above issues prior to the visit to the eye doctor.  Until your child becomes comfortable communicating with this particular medical professional, (s)he might benefit from prompts from you in the exam room.  Please do allow your child the opportunity to do as much of the talking as possible.

Thank you,

_______________________________


Can You Feed Yourself?

After watching reruns of "The Walking Dead", I realized that in the Zombie Apocalypse that cooking skills may actually be quite valuable.  So, given this, I wondered how my own cooking skills would rate.  

As a guide, here's an approximate scale:

0 - Will die of starvation without other humans to provide food.

2 - Could open canned goods after reading directions on can opener package.

4 - Uses packaged goods plus a few fresh items to make a simple dish.

6 - Uses primarily fresh items with some small supplements of packaged items.

8 - Whips up fresh and tasty meals from scratch.

What level would you rate your cooking skills?  How much could you improve them?

Now rate your kitchen skills on a scale of 0-2

0 = I can’t do this at all

1 = I have done this a few times, but I’m not comfortable with this

2 = I do this often and am very competent

  • Cut vegetables and other stuff with a chef (big) knife.  0  1  2
  • Adjust the fire/temperature on a stove and cook something in a pot.  0  1  2
  • Adjust the temperature and cook something in an oven.  0  1  2
  • Heat up water for tea, coffee, oatmeal, etc.  0  1  2
  • Use a beater to make a cake.  0  1  2
  • Know how long to store milk and meat in a refrigerator.  0  1  2
  • Know how to work a toaster oven.  0  1  2
  • Know how to read a measuring cup and measuring spoons.  0  1  2

List some things to eat that you have prepared for yourself of someone else:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

List some things to eat that you would like to be able to prepare for yourself of someone else:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 


Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam

  • Look online at your eye doctor’s website to get an idea of what the layout is.
  • Learn your doctor’s name, and introduce yourself when (s)he enters the exam room.
    • Write your doctor’s name here______________________________
  • Tell your doctor about some of the things you are having trouble seeing. Think in terms of tasks up close, and tasks or things at a distance.  Include things during the school day, and after school.  Make a list here:
Problems with things up close Problems with things at a distance
   
   
   
   
   
  • Write out a list of vision questions or concerns. Which of these sample questions might apply to you?  Highlight all that apply.  Take this list with you!
    • Why do I have trouble seeing in bright light?
    • What part of my eye is affected?
    • Why do I have trouble seeing in dark areas like hallways or when the lights are out?
    • Why do my eyes hurt (or burn)?
    • Can glasses help? If not, why?
    • Will it damage my vision if I participate in _______ (sport)? Do I need to wear protective eye wear if I do?
    • Will I outgrow this condition? Will it get worse? 
    • If my vision will get worse, how long will it take for that to happen?
    • Will I lose all of my vision (go completely blind)?
    • Is there treatment or surgery for my eye condition?
    • Can I pass my eye condition on to my own children in the future?
    • Is there an optical device (low vision device) that will improve my vision functioning for reading? For seeing greater distances?
    • Will I be able to drive?
    • Is there special medicine for my eye condition? If so, what does it do, and how do I use it?
    • Are there any vision symptoms that would require an immediate call to you?
  • Write down anything you notice about your vision that might be different from your last visit to tell the doctor.

Sharing Your Vision Information with Peers

People are curious.  They might ask you about your vision, or why you do something differently from them.  Often it is best to be open about your vision and how you might do the same tasks with some modifications.  This sheet will help you organize your information so that you can “disclose” the information you are comfortable with sharing.

Write down 3 main facts about your vision.

  1. The parts of your visual system that are involved:

 

 

  1. How your vision affects your ability to see things up close:

 

 

  1. How your vision affects your ability to see things at a distance:

 

 

Write down 2 strategies you use for doing each of these things:

  1. Playing a sport (any sport)

 

 

  1. Ordering food in a restaurant

 

 

  1. Observing a sporting event or assembly

 

 

  1. Getting information from the board/projector screen

 

 

  1. Finding your way around a grocery store

 

 

Are there any things you need help with from peers?  If so, what are these?

 

 

Is there a question about your vision that your peers are always asking you?

 

 

What would YOU like your peers to know about you?

 


Unit:  Representing Myself to Others

Topic:  Handling Awkward Situations

Lesson 7

Unit Goal:    Student will develop skills to handle situations in which other people misunderstand the student’s use of special tools and/or strategies because of a vision loss.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to advocate for himself with adults and peers in situations in which the student feels he is not being treated fairly in regards to access to information/materials, and/or in regards to general respect for a person with a visual impairment.  

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory Sometimes you find yourself in a situation in which a peer or adult makes a comment about your vision or how you need to do things differently.  These comments might seem rude/mean to you, but mostly people just don’t understand your visual condition, or the strategies you need to use to perform a task.

Advocate

Awkward Situation

Strategy

Introduction We are going to be learning what to say or do in awkward situations where someone says or does something you find insensitive to you. Insensitive
Stating the Goal This lesson will help give you the words that will educate others about how you need to function as a person with a visual impairment.  
Instruction
  1. Ask the student to relate situations in which someone made a remark that seemed insensitive or even rude. Make a list with the student. 
  2. Have a discussion with the student to help clarify the difference between rude/insensitive comments, vs. curiosity of on-lookers that is not intended to be hurtful/rude.
  3. Discuss situations in which others may be overly-cautious or protective, and why this might occur.
  4. Use the document, “Handling Awkward Situations”, as a starting point for an activity related to role playing. Younger students might enjoy a game format, where the “situations” are cut into strips and drawn from a bag, with points earned for logical and polite responses.  Older students can look through the list and select those that they can relate to, or ones that have happened to them before.
  5. Play the “It Bugs Me” game with 2 or more students. 
Rude
Check for Understanding Check to see if the student can give responses that are informative and respectful to a variety of scenarios related to awkward situations related to his vision.  
Closure The student should be able to name situations related to incidents that happen because of his visual impairment that make him feel uncomfortable, angry, or upset.  He should be able to give others (peers, teachers, parents, relatives, etc.) enough information to explain why he may need certain adaptations, or why he may need to perform tasks/activities differently.  

Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to teach the student how to handle situations in which others make comments that may seem rude or insensitive.  It is important for the student to realize that sometimes people are just curious, cautious about the student’s safety, or otherwise well-intentioned.  On the other hand, some people are just unkind or insensitive.  The student needs to be able to handle these situations in a way that is polite and informative.  Examples:  “I take a little longer to read the board because my vision makes it difficult to take everything in the way you do.”; “If you could use a dark marker instead of that red one, I could read the board much easier.”; “Thanks for the help, but I can cross the street by myself.” 

Materials:

Document:  “Handling Awkward Situations-Strips”

Document:  “It Bugs Me Game”-Instructions for creating and playing the “It Bugs Me” activity

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

  • ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014. See chapter 12, “Self-Advocacy”.
  • It Bugs Me Game http://www.tsbvi.edu/tsbvi-blog/it-bugs-me-game

Materials to Accompany Lesson 7: Handling Awkward Situations

  • Handling Awkward Situations

  • It Bugs Me Game


Handling Awkward Situations

Instructions for Teacher

Reprint or braille these statements and glue them to strips of paper.  You might color code the strips according to the different settings.  Place the strips in a cup and have the student pick one for the role play. 

Instructions for Student 

Role play how you would handle these situations that could happen in home, school, or community settings. Remember that your interactions with people should be respectful and polite.   

In School Settings

The teacher hands you a worksheet and tells you to “do the best you can.”

You don’t get a braille copy of an assignment at the same time other kids are getting their work.

You get a print copy of an assignment that is very difficult to see because it is blurry, too busy, or just a poor copy.

The teacher is demonstrating something and you can’t see it. 

You need to sit closer to see something, and you don’t want to interrupt the teacher.

You don’t get picked to play on someone’s team in PE or recess.

You can’t find a friend in the cafeteria or outside.

Someone says, “Can’t you see that?”

Everyone is working on the computer in the lab or watching a video, but you can’t see what’s on the screen.

You have to take notes in class, but can’t write fast enough to keep up.

Someone passes you in the hall and says “hi”, and you don’t know who it was.

You can’t keep up with a group assignment and you are afraid people think you are not doing your part.

You’re at an outside sporting event (like a football game) and everyone is cheering and you don’t know what’s going on.

Someone grabs or hides your cane. 

In Community or Home Settings

You accidently bump into someone and they say, “Hey! Watch where you’re going!”

You drop something important on the floor in a crowded room and can’t find it.

You are trying to read an overhead menu in a restaurant and the person behind you is telling you to hurry up.

Someone asks you why your eyes, skin, or hair look different.

Your mom or dad won’t let you go somewhere by yourself.

Someone asks you what your magnifier, telescope, or cane is for.

Your mom or dad won’t let you cross the street.

Your mom or dad won’t let you cook anything that needs heat.

People tell you what to order in a restaurant when you don’t know what’s on the menu.

No one invites you to spend the night or do stuff after school.

Your mom or dad won’t let you do stuff because they think it is dangerous (give an example).


It Bugs Me Game

Created by Chrissy Cowan and Cindy Bachofer, TSBVI Outreach

The objective of the It Bugs Me game is for students to role play verbal responses they could use with people who may sometimes make insensitive remarks about an individual’s vision, appearance of the eyes, or visual adaptations, or in situations where they feel others don’t understand their abilities.  An individual student draws a card with a situation explained and the student reads the card to the group.  Each card begins with the stem, “It bugs me when….”.  (see photos 1 and 2) For example, “It bugs me when I’m reading an overhead menu with my telescope in a restaurant and the person behind me tells me to hurry up.” 

Situations can occur in the community, school, or at home.  The student thinks of a reply that is both informative and respectful, and shares this with the group.  Students are asked to place themselves in the situation on the card if they have not had personal experience with the scenario selected.  Other students determine if the response given is reasonable, effective, and respectful by indicating with a thumb up or thumb down signal. Players are encouraged to offer advice and this often leads to shared stories, examples of comments given in frustration, or personal insights.  If the group agrees, the student gets to pick a plastic bug from the bug bag and takes a step forward on a giant game board taped to the floor (brightly colored squares form rays of the sun leading to the sparkly circle at the center; see photo 3).  The objective is to reach the inner circle together, empowered with some new solutions to buggy situations.  In addition to eliciting valuable conversations within the group, this game helped the kids realize that awkward situations are a commonality among students with a visual impairment, and there are tactful ways for dealing with these situations in the moment.

Itbugsme1
Examples of situations
itbugsme2
Student draws a situation card
Itbugsme3
Interactive game board

 

Originally published in Texas SenseAbilities Fall 2008
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Lisa Ricketts, OTR, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Abstract: This article discusses the impact of visual impairment on sensory integration, and how sensory integration disorder manifests in students with blindness and visual impairments.  Treatment approaches and educational interventions are also described.

Keywords: sensory integration, blindness, visual impairment, motor development, tactile skills.


 

As an Occupational Therapist at TSBVI, I am inspired to learn all I can about the theory of sensory integration by Dr. A. Jean Ayres. As a specialist for children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities, I am studying the impact of vision loss on the other senses and overall developmental progression. I also work at a sensory integration clinic here in Austin for the treatment of autism and sensory processing disorders.

I am lucky to be surrounded by expert teachers, therapists, school psychologists, and, most importantly, by my students, whom I learn from every day.  My purpose here is to share terminology, explanations, and problem solving ideas with students, parents, and teachers.

Sensory Integration and Motor Control

The author and initial researcher of the Sensory Integration Theory used in Occupational Therapy is Dr. A. Jean Ayers.  Her work presents an expansive theory describing how the brain and the body processes, organizes, and integrates the sensations received through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, body position, and movement.

Students with visual impairment rely on hearing, touch, body position and movement sensations for everyday activities.  Normally these activities are directed by vision. Sensory Integration theory provides a framework to help emphasize and explain the role of all our sensory systems.

Touch

The tactile system processes touch experiences felt through the skin as light touch, firm touch or pressure, static touch, moving touch, temperature, pain, and comfort. There are two primary functions of the tactile system. One is protection and the other is discrimination.

The protective touch function is neurologically bound to the limbic system of the brain.  This system is described as the emotional control center with direct connections to the primal flight or fight responses. The protective function of the skin is reflexive and primarily unconscious with touch sensations automatically categorized into calming, soothing, familiar sensations, or into danger reactions.

The discrimination functions of the skin are conscious, cognitive tasks that are learned through experience.  These include touch localization, recognition, and stereognosis. Localization refers to knowing where on the body one is being touched. Tactile recognition is required to learn characteristics of objects such as size, shape, texture, and the weight of items.  Stereognosis is object recognition through touch.

Signs of tactile system imbalance:

  • Reacts negatively to touch, does not like being picked up or hugged.
  • Does not like being touched and may rub or press on his or her skin after being touched.
  • Startles easily.
  • Inability to feel touch immediately and responses are delayed.
  • Extraordinarily high or low tolerance for pain.
  • Does not like certain clothing or tags in clothes, and wears clothes for the wrong season.
  • Does not like band-aids or stickers on skin.
  • Uncomfortable wearing shoes or socks, or unwilling to walk barefoot.
  • Does not like brushing hair or teeth, or cleaning and trimming nails.
  • Avoids certain foods because of texture, or does not chew food well.
  • Rejects touching messy materials and will not handle clay, mud, shaving cream.
  • Washes or wipes hands often.
  • Uses fingertips instead of the entire hand.
  • Has a hard time sitting still.
  • Is poorly coordinated, is a heavy walker, or walks on toes.
  • Craves touch and may over-touch others or objects.
  • Doesn’t notice when hands or face are messy.
  • Doesn’t notice when clothes are twisted, or when feet are not well placed in shoes.

 

Body Position

Proprioception refers to body position sensation and is required to regulate movement and posture. This system allows us to feel the position of our limbs for motor control and to determine the amount of strength needed for specific actions, or graded force. It is an unconscious feedback system between the muscles & joints of the body and the brain. The receptor stimuli is the bending, straightening, pulling, and compressing of the body’s joints between the bones. Proprioception is neurologically connected to both the tactile and the vestibular systems.

Signs of proprioceptive system imbalance:

  • Has difficulty planning and executing motor tasks for gross or fine motor activities such as getting on or off a bike or riding toy, climbing on/off playground equipment, buttoning clothes, turning on/off a faucet, pouring, etc…
  • Has a high need for jumping.
  • Enjoys hanging by the arms.
  • Tends to lean on or hang on people or furniture.
  • Enjoys falling down.
  • Assumes odd body positions.
  • Is clumsy and plays roughly.
  • Breaks toys often.
  • Grips a pen or pencil too loosely or too tightly.
  • Has difficulty with fine motor skills for picking up small objects.
  • Did not crawl much during early development.
  • Difficulty grading muscle force—muscle exertion is either too much or too little to manipulate objects and perform tasks.
  • Puts non-food items in the mouth, chews on clothes, or grinds teeth.
  • May hit, pinch, or bite self or others.

Movement

Vestibular processing refers to movement and balance sensations.  These are the combined functions of the semicircular canals of the inner ear, basal ganglia, cerebellum and the cerebral motor cortex. This system regulates the feelings of motion such as balance, acceleration, deceleration, starts and stops, direction, rhythm, and creates and stores patterns of movement. The hair cells inside the semicircular canals are activated according to position and movement of the head in relation to gravity. Vestibular processing is likely to be impacted by auditory impairment.

Signs of vestibular system imbalance:

  • Difficulty maintaining balance and controlling the speed and direction of movement.
  • Poor balance reactions such as protective extension or righting responses.
  • Poor spatial orientation and is easily confused by directions.
  • Fears being upside down or tipped sideways.
  • Is anxious when feet are not touching the ground.
  • Is anxious about walking up or down inclines.
  • Is anxious walking up or down stairs.
  • Rejects unfamiliar movement activities and is afraid to move backwards.
  • Is afraid of movement, or is gravitationally insecure.
  • Gets motion sickness easily.
  • Is anxious about swimming.
  • Seeks out gross motor movement and may have a very high tolerance to spinning.
  • Possible extraneous or non-purposeful movements.
  • Can’t sit still—craves movement.
  • Likes to fall without regard of safety.
  • Difficulty with self regulation.
  • Needs to be moving but this may interfere with listening and interacting.
  • Needs to be moving in order to listen or be attentive.
  • Needs to jump or spin.
  • Likes inverted upside down position.
  • High or low muscle tone­—the vestibular system combines with the proprioceptive system to regulate muscle tone.

 

Impact of Sensory Integrative Dysfunction

Sensory integration is the organization of sensation for use.  Countless bits of sensory information enter our brain at every moment, not only from our eyes and ears, but also from every place in our body.  Sensations are food for the brain that provide energy and knowledge needed to direct our body and mind.  The greatest development of sensory integration occurs during an adapted response; this is a purposeful, goal directed response to a sensory experience.  In an adaptive response, we master a challenge and learn something new.  At the same time, the information of an adapted response helps the brain to develop and organize itself.  The first seven years of life our brain is a sensory processing machine nourished by having fun through play and movement.  The child who learns to organize play is more likely to organize activities of daily living.

If the brain does a poor job of integrating sensations, this will interfere with many things in life.  The brain is not processing or organizing the flow of sensory impulses in a manner that gives good, precise information about the body or the world.  Learning is difficult and a child often feels uncomfortable and cannot easily cope with demands and stress.  If a child is blind or visually impaired this difficulty is compounded when attempting to make sense of his or her world.

Complex medical problems associated with many syndromes at birth may result in delayed sensory integration development.  This delay may be due to either neurological disorders or medical issues creating limitations to sensory experiences that nourish the brain.  Symptoms of irregular sensory processing in the brain are different for each child.  There are three basic sensory systems that impact how a child learns and behaves in the environment. They are the tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems.  The following outline is a brief description of symptoms observed in each of the three systems when dysfunction of sensory processing is present:

 

The Tactile System (Discriminative versus protective touch)

Dysfunction in the discriminative system may result in:

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills impacting daily living skills.
  • Problems articulating sounds due to inadequate information from touch receptors in and around the face and mouth.
  • Difficulty with accurate tactual perception and basic concepts.
  • Impaired awareness of body scheme.
  • Inefficiency in how one tactually explores an object or the environment in order to gain additional cues which give meaning about the object and about the environment
  • Contributes to somato dyspraxia – a specific disorder in motor planning

Dysfunction in the protective system may result in:

  • Interpreting ordinary contact as threatening
  • May be frequently in a state of Red Alert
  • May react with flight/fright/or fight, either physically or verbally.
  • Being labeled tactually defensive
  • Some children feel too much and feel too little.  Some may have a high tolerance for pain because they do not accurately feel what is happening to them.
  • They may not react to being too cold or too hot because they are unaware of temperature.

Proprioceptive System

The proprioceptive system is our unconscious awareness of muscles and joint positions that constantly send information to the brain to tell us our body position and posture.

Dysfunction in proprioception results in: Slower body movements.

  • Clumsier movements.
  • Movements involve more effort.
  • Difficulty grading muscle force—muscle exertion is either too much or not enough when manipulating objects or performing activities.
  • Difficulty feeling the weight of objects
  • Difficulty planning body movements while performing gross or fine motor activities (getting on or off a riding toy, buttoning clothes, turning on a faucet, etc.)

Vestibular System

The vestibular system responds to the position of the head in relation to gravity and accelerating or decelerating movement, and linear or rotary movement. Vestibular receptors are the most sensitive of all sense organs and are major organizers of sensations to all other sensory channels.

The location of the vestibular system is in the inner ear called the “labyrinth.”  Abnormalities of the ears and hearing loss are common features in many syndromes, the influence of this system plays a major role in the developmental milestones of sensory processing and gross and fine motor skills.

Influence of vestibular system on eye and neck muscles:

  • Ability to visually follow objects.
  • Ability to move eyes from one spot to another.
  • Ability to interpret—is it an object, our head, or our whole body that is moving?
  • Ability to interpret—is our head moving or tilted?
  • Ability to maintain a stable visual field.

Influence of vestibular system on muscles of the body:

  • Generates muscle tone.
  • Helps us to move smoothly, accurately, and with proper timing.

Influence of vestibular system on postural and equilibrium responses:

  • Maintains balance.
  • Controls spontaneous body adjustments.
  • Facilitates co-contraction of muscles.
  • Elicits protective extension and other balance reactions.

Other areas influenced by the vestibular system:

  • Reticular Interactions – responsible for arousal of nervous system (calming effects vs. arousal effects); the vestibular system keeps the levels of arousal balanced.
  • Relation to Space – perception of space; position and orientation within that space.
  • Auditory Processes – helps the brain process what is being heard; vestibular disorders slow down speech development.
  • Emotional Development / Behavior – for emotions to be balanced the limbic system, which generates emotionally based behavior, must receive well modulated input from the vestibular system.

 

Two types of vestibular disorders

 

Under-reactive vestibular system:

  • Child may tolerate an enormous amount of movement (merry-go-round, swinging, spinning) without getting dizzy or nauseous.
  • Has poor integration of the two sides of the body.
  • Is easily confused by directions or instructions.
  • Hands and feet do not work well together. Poor bilateral coordination and upper/lower body coordination.

Over-reactive vestibular system:

Child is hypersensitive to vestibular input resulting in:

  • Gravitational insecurity – a feeling of anxiety or stress when assuming a new position, or when someone else tries to control movement or body position; swings, merry-go-rounds, and other playthings that move the body in non-ordinary ways may feel terrifying.
  • Intolerance to movement – discomfort during rapid movement; the child is not necessarily threatened by movement, but it causes  uncomfortable, or possibly nauseous feelings.

Evaluation and Intervention

If there is suspicion that a child has dysfunction with sensory motor processing, an evaluation can be conducted by either an occupational therapist or physical therapist.  Evaluation consists of both standardized testing and structured observations of responses to sensory stimulation, posture, balance, coordination, and eye movements.  The therapist who conducts the testing may also informally observe spontaneous play, and may ask the parents to provide information about their child’s development and typical behavior patterns.  A report will follow the evaluation that provides test results and interpretation of what the results indicate.  The therapist will then make recommendations regarding the appropriateness of therapy using a sensory integrative approach.

Providing intervention based on the principles of sensory integration theory requires that the therapist be able to combine a working knowledge of sensory integration theory with an intuitive ability to gain a child’s trust and create the “just right” challenge.  Therapy will involve activities that provide vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile stimulation, and are designed to meet a child’s specific needs for development.

Activities will also be designed to gradually increase the demands upon a child to make an organized, more mature response.  Emphasis is placed on automatic sensory processes in the course of a goal-directed activity, rather than instruction on how to respond.  Parent or teacher involvement is crucial to the success of a child’s development and improved sensory processing.  The therapist may make suggestions to the parent and teacher about how to help a child in the home and school environment.

Sensory Integration and Sensory Motor Activities

Tactile Play Activities

Try the following ideas for tactile stimulation. If your child or student will not touch materials with their hands and fingers, don’t push.  Try letting them touch with a spoon or fork or straw, or try wearing dish or other gloves to get started. Keep soft cloths and water ready for clean up.  Provide wash cloths for frequent hand wiping as needed. If touching bath foam or finger paint is too stressful, put a small amount into a zip lock bag and hold and squeeze the bag. Begin play with dry textures if wet, messy materials are too stressful.

  • Try water play outside of demanding situations such as bathing and tooth-brushing. Use various textures of washcloths, sponges, water toys, squirters, water guns. Water plants with a spray bottle.  Clean and wipe tables or floors with sponges and a bucket of water.  Play with cool and warm temperatures.  Help wash dishes in warm water and rinse in cool.
  • Fill large storage bins with dry beans or rice, encourage play in the bin with hands and feet.  Hide small toys for searching, use cups and coffee cans for pouring, stir with large spoons, play with funnels and other kitchen toys.  Pour beans or other textured material outside on the sidewalk and try to walk across.
  • Use lotion for firm touch massage.  Teach self massage.  Remember that firm, deep touch is calming and organizing.
  • Consult an OT or PT familiar with skin brushing and joint compressions.  This is a technique recommended to help reduce tactile defensiveness with frequent, structured tactile and propriooceptive input.
  • Art activities: finger paint, modeling clay, glue and glitter, glue and sand.  Make art with pasta and glue or string and glue.  Glue designs on paper.
  • Create feely boxes or bags with a variety of textured materials and various textured toys.  Fill with fabric swatches to discriminate, label or match.  Fill with items to identify and describe, like wooden puzzle shapes, beads, etc.
  • For hand fidgets, keep a fanny pack available with a variety of textured items inside.  For squeezing try stress balls, thera-band, thera-tube, and stretch toys.  Use noisy squeeze toys for play.
  • Cooking activities – mixing and stirring cookie dough, pushing cookie dough into cookie cutters.  Measuring and pouring ingredients.  Make pudding and jello. Sift flour.
  • Carefully introduce various textures for exploration and play.  Place materials on a cooking sheet or plastic placemat – shaving cream, bath foam, lotion, play dough, silly putty, toy slime (gak).  Introduce toys for ideas such as a “bath foam or shaving cream car wash.”  Drive toy car through shaving cream or draw shapes and write designs with fingers.
  • Play dough – use rolling pin, cut dough with safe/dull scissors, practice cutting with knife and fork, use cookie cutters and molds, hide items to search for (coins, marbles, pebbles, or small toys).
  • Sand play – use cookie sheet, cover table with plastic, or play outside.  Use clean dry sand and a spray bottle with water for added moisture.  Play with cookie cutters or toys, such as plastic dinosaurs or cars.  Write in sand, or build shapes or a sand castle.
  • Fabric and texture play – use carpet squares for walking on; space out squares to find with toes.  Use swatches of various types of fabric (corduroy, satin, velvet, fake fur).  Play and walk on egg crate foam; also use foam to roll up inside “taco or hot dog game”
  • Trace raised lines of tactile maps.
  • Any pushing through the hands will help.  Such as on the tummy over a yoga ball holding body weight through arms and hands.  This “prone weight bearing” is very helpful for tactile tolerance, general strength, postural control, and proprioceptive/vestibular input.
  • Theraputty is a resistive exercise material used by therapists.  Colors vary according to resistive strength.  Hide toys, coins, or buttons inside for tactile searching.  Keep in a sealed container and be careful not to get on clothes or carpet. (It will stain and stick!)
  • Try vibration with massagers or vibrating mats or toys, squiggly pens, or electric toothbrushes.

Proprioceptive Play Activities:

  • Move as much as possible!  Jump on a trampoline or a mini-tramp. Bounce on yoga balls. Outside play on all kinds of equipment for supervised climbing and up and down a slide.
  • Prone weight bearing – such as four-point crawling or on the stomach over a therapy ball holding weight through arms and upper body.  If strong enough, try “wheel barrel walking.”  (Prone weight bearing is very important for postural strength, upper body and arm/hand strengthening, and reflex inhibition).
  • Scooter board activities: for small size scooter boards sit cross-legged and propel with hands.  Ideally have long size scooter boards available for riding on the tummy to propel with arms.  Add wrist weights for increased proprioceptive and pressure sensation. Try all directions, forward backward turning full circles left to right.  Push off from a wall to propel backward.  Crash into cardboard brick walls or stacked boxes.  Ride scooter board down a ramp to crash into toy bowling pins or crash into a large pillow.  Ride a scooter board short distances to search for and pick up toys or bean bags and return.  Try prone on a scooter board with a large rope to pull forward for hand over hand reach.
  • Add weights to items for more feedback.  For example add weight to a cane or pre-cane to help keep it in the correct position and to provide greater pressure feedback.  Small size wrist and ankle weights are available – these can be worn for extra proprioceptive feedback and can also be added to other items.  Ask OT/PT if a weighted vest might be helpful.  Weighted blankets are available or try heavy quilts.  Neck and shoulder wraps are available in drug stores sometimes designed to go in the microwave for heat – these can be used without heating around the neck or held in the lap.  Weighted sweatshirts can be made easily by sewing seams shut after filling with dry beans or rice or sand.  Wear loosely over the shoulder and back or on the lap.
  • Hang from a trapeze bar or chin up bar – if this is too scary have a step stool to stand on and feel the pull through the arms and hands without having to support full weight.
  • Teach simple isometric exercises such as wall push-ups and chair push-ups.  Teach modified push-ups and sit-ups.
  • Practice pouring over the sink or outside from heavy containers – gallon and ½ gallon jugs.  Practice pouring with pitchers filled with sand or other dry materials.
  • Use squeeze horns such as a bike horn. Have a variety of stress balls—there are many different types and interesting toys for squeezing. Wring water from sponges and cloths.  Squeeze bottle glue and squeeze bottle puff paints for art. Use spray bottles to water plants or keep spray bottles at sinks or in tubs for play.
  • Zoomball game” is a toy with a plastic ball strung on two ropes.  The ropes have handles on both ends and the object is to pull arms apart quickly to send the ball to your partner.  Arms are spread quickly and closed quickly for a successful pass.
  • Try using tools with supervision – hammer, screwdriver, pliers, or sanding wood. Use dull/safe scissors to cut heavy paper or cardstock.
  • Pull with a partner for tug-o-war games.  Pull a friend in a wagon or push/pull a laundry cart.
  • Roll in foam pad or quilt for deep pressure games—“the hot dog”, the “burrito”, or the “enchilada.”  Use rhythmical touch with hands or roll over with a therapy ball.  Try weighted balls such as a medicine ball (weighted PE ball).
  • Climb and lie under large pillows, bean bags, mattresses, or cushions.  If other students are available have them try to crawl across and then take turns being underneath.
  • Throw balls against a wall.  Throw to the left and right sides, forward and backward and overhead.
  • Vestibular Play Activities:
  • Sit and bounce on yoga balls.  Try prone (on the tummy positions) and supine (lying on the back).  Give support to lie back and stretch the back and hang the head backward.
  • Stationary bike and treadmill exercise.  Ride tandem bikes.  Help a younger child ride tricycles and bikes with training wheels for left/right integration and reciprocal control.
  • Ride stand up scooters (with handle bars) and support. Roller skate with hand hold support or put a large belt around the body to hold on to.
  • Bouncy shoes or “moon shoes”—these are large toy shoes that fit over regular shoes to bounce, jump, and walk with.
  • Try as many types of swings as possible—standard playground swings, platform swings, bolster swings, pogo swings (a bouncy and rotational swing) and hammock swings.
  • Use rocker boards and spin boards. Both are low to the ground and the rocker board can be used in sitting or standing with support. Try four point position (crawling position) or tall kneel position with support. The spin board is only used in sitting!
  • Try a T-stool.  Try to keep balance while throwing a ball against the wall.
  • Rolling games or races; rolling down or up hills outside. (Rolling is terrific for tactile, proprioceptive, & vestibular input and reflex inhibition).
  • Practice balancing on one foot.  Hop with feet together and hop on one foot.  Jump one foot to the other.  Practice marching, running, or stomping in place.
  • Try very low balance beams or tandem walking in a straight line (heel toe, heel toe).  Use hand hold support, hold onto a hula hoop, or dowel – add a bean bag to balance on the head for greater challenge.  Place a ladder on the floor and try to step across separate rungs.
  • Use an inner tube to step or hop inside and walk around the edges for balance.
  • Balance in tall kneel position or half kneel.  Toss a ball against the wall while holding balance or keep a bean bag on the head.
  • For smaller feet, place feet in shoe boxes to slide along the floor.  Try walking with swim fins.
  • Directional movement practice – use a heavy wooden chair for sit/stand commands, in front/behind move to the left/right sides, circle the chair, three steps forward/backward from chair.  Add music, slow and fast movements.  Combine with Simon Says and Red Light Green Light games.  Practice directional controls for facing the front of the room, the back, & either wall.  Practice facing north, south, east, and west.  Try quick change games for moving from sitting to standing to four point to stand on one foot, etc.  Practice turning toward sound.
  • Parachute games for up/down arm movements and shaking.  If a group is available try having kids crawl under to the other side.  Add a light weight ball and bounce the parachute to toss the ball over the side.

Heavy Work Activities:

Heavy work tasks are any activities that require whole body movement and resistance such as carrying heavy objects or carrying large size boxes; pushing through heavy doors; pushing a grocery or work cart; pushing a laundry basket; pulling a friend in a wagon; helping to move furniture; vacuuming—any activity that requires resistance with movement.

Heavy work activities are thought to provide the longest sensory effect with combined benefits of proprioceptive and vestibular stimulation (heavy work routines potentially have a calming effect on the nervous system for 4-6 hours).

 

Banner Photo O&M Page

This page is a place to find resources and information related to Orientation and Mobility. The information and resources found here are intended for the whole Team: professionals, families, and students. This page is intended to provide access to a wide variety of information and resources related to students with visual impairments and deafblindness. Please send ideas for additional resources or features you would like included to Outreach Statewide Orientation and Mobility Consultant, Chris Tabb at .


Quick links for sections on this page:


Assessment

Blogs, Listservs, and LiveBinders

Education Codes And Legal References

IDEA, Related Services (Sec. 300.34)

Texas Education Code (Specific to Children with Visual Impairments, Sec. 30.002)

Q&A: Expanded Core Curriculum Instruction and Orientation and Mobility Evaluations (Word Format)

Region 18 Legal Framework - summarizes federal and state law by topic

TEA Special Education Rules and Regulations - a resource for federal and state laws, rules, and regulations that covern the delivery of special education servcies in public schools. (As of April 4, 2014 has not been updated to reflect changes related to HB 590 or SB 39.)

Pedestrian Laws in Texas (Sec. 552.010 specific to Blind Pedestrians)Sec. 552.010 specific to Blind Pedestrians)

White Cane Definition and Service Animals in Texas (Sec. 121.002, Sec. 121.005, and Sec. 121.006)121.002, Sec. 121.005, and Sec. 121.006)

Resources

Teaching Age-Appropriate Purposeful Skills (TAPS) Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) resource that is an Orientation and Mobility Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments and includes activities and suggestions instruction, assessment, writing evaluations, street crossing details, working with students with ambulatory devices, the list goes on, and on, and on.

Orientation and Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas (O&M-VISSIT) The O&M VISSIT: Orientation & Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas is designed to guide orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists in determining the type and amount of itinerant O&M services to recommend for students on their caseload.

New Mexico School for the Blind Orientation and Mobilty Inventory Another option for ongoing evaluation of students' present levels of performance and a terrific tool for planning appropriate goals and objectives.

Guidelines and Standards for Educating Students with Visual Impairments - a "go-to" document for everything about serving students with visual impairments.

Benefits of O&M

General Orientation and Mobility Recommendations for Functional Programs

Michigan O&M Severity Rating Scale 2013 - two downloadable intensity of service scales from the Michigan Department of Education. One for students with visual impairments (OMSRS) and one for students with visual impairments and additional disabilities (OMSRS+).

T-TESS Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System for COMS as a PDF document

Introduction to T-TESS for COMS document for COMS and Administrators PDF

Professional Development Assessment System (PDAS) Companion for VI Professionals: Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS©)

VI and O&M Preparation in Texas

What Should I Charge for Contractual Services? (Word or PDF)

What is the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)?

Training Events

Southwest Orientation and Mobility Association (SWOMA) is a Southwest regional conference. SWOMA typically occurs annually in or near the beginning of November. Visit the SWOMA Conference Page for additional information.

For other training opportunities around the state and nation, please see the Statewide Calendar of Training Events.

Videos

TSBVI's On-the-Go Learning, Orientation and Mobility

Washington State School for the Blind, "Video Clips on Blindness Tips"

Guide Technique from Project IDEAL

How a Blind Person Uses a Cane from BreakingBlind

How To Offer Help To A Blind Person

O & M Video for Parents from Arkansas School for the Blind

Wheelchair Orientation and Mobility from Perkins

Lighthouse O&M Folding Cane Construction from East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in Tyler

Lighthouse O&M Escalator Training from East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in Tyler

Websites

Perkins E-Learning Webinars

Paths To Literacy (Collaborative between Perkins and TSBVI)

Paths to Technology

An Introduction to Orientation and Mobility Skills- Vision Aware

Perkins Scout Orientation and Mobility- Perkins School

Cane and Compass - Blog posts and lesson ideas for Orientation and Mobility

 

 

National

Texas: General

Texas: Visual Impairment

Texas: Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Local Family Organizations

  • There are wonderful family organizations active in local communities all over Texas.  To learn more about them, please contact your local Division for Blind Services office, TSBVI Outreach or Texas Parent to Parent.

National

NAPVIJewishGuildNational Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

NAPVI is a national, non-profit, independent organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities. NAPVI provides leadership, support, and training to assist parents in helping their children reach their full potential. NAPVI is dedicated to:

  • Giving emotional support
  • Parent education
  • Initiating outreach programs
  • Networking
  • Advocating for the educational needs and welfare of children who are blind or visually impaired

NAPVI, 15 West 65th Street, New York, NY  10023
Susan LaVenture, Executive Director
Phone:  212-769-7819
Toll free:  800-562-6265

Email: 

Website:  http://www.lighthouseguild.org/napvi

Family Connect Website:  http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp    

NFADBNational Family Association for Deaf-Blind

    The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) is a nonprofit 501(c) 3, volunteer-based organization that has served families since 1994. NFADB is the largest network of families focused on deaf-blindness. Originally started by and for families of individuals who are deaf-blind, our membership is now extended to any person or organization that desires to support individuals and families who are deafblind.  

We are all in this community together!

Visit us on the web at www.nfadb.org and on Facebook.

For questions, please call Lori at 1-800-255-0411 or   

PacerPACER Center

The mission of PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. http://www.pacer.org/parent/

Founded in 1977, PACER Center was created by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges. Today, PACER Center expands opportunities and enhances the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families. PACER is staffed primarily by parents of children with disabilities and works in coalition with 18 disability organizations.

With assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education for all children, PACER's work affects and encourages families in Minnesota and across the nation.

Visit the PACER Center on the web at www.pacer.org or on Facebook  

Texas: General

TxPTIPartners Resource Network

Partners Resource Network (PRN) is a non-profit agency that operates the state wide network of federally funded Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) in Texas. The PTI Projects are:

PATH http://prntexas.org/path

PEN http://prntexas.org/pen

TEAM http://prntexas.org/team

The programs and services of PRN are based on the concept of parents helping parents. Our mission is to empower parents of children and youth with disabilities in their roles as parents, decision makers, and advocates for their children and to promote partnerships among parents and professionals.

Our web site is designed to provide timely information and to link the visitor with other resources in Texas and the nation. Our goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of infants, toddlers, children and young adults with disabilities and their families who live in the great State of Texas.

1090 Longfellow Drive, Suite B, Beaumont, TX 77706
Phone:  409-898-4684
Toll free TX Parents Only: 1-800-866-4726

Email: 

Website:  prntexas.org/

F2FFamily to Family Network

The mission of Family to Family Network is to help families of children with disabilities by providing information, training, referral and support

13150 FM 529, Suite 106 Houston, TX 77041
Phone:  713-466-6304
Email: 

Website:  www.familytofamilynetwork.org/

Texas Project First Website:  http://texasprojectfirst.org/index.html 

TxP2PTexas Parent to Parent

Texas Parent to Parent is a state-wide non-profit organization that provides support to families of children with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other special health care needs by empowering their families to be advocates for them through peer support, resource referral and public awareness.

3710 Cedar Street, Box 12, Austin, Texas  78705
Phone:  512- 458-8600
Toll free phone:  866-896-6001

Website:  www.txp2p.org

Texas: Visual Impairment  

tapviTexas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (TAPVI)

TAPVI is an affiliate of NAPVI. We are a non-profit organization that provides support to the families of children who have blindness or visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities. TAPVI enables families to find information and resources, as well as connect and network with one another. We offer leadership, support, and training to assist families in helping children reach their full potential in school and in the community.

View a video from TAPVI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fekev47SGr4

Visit the TAPVI Website: http://www.tapvi.com/

Visit TAPVI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TAPVI

TXPBCTexas Parents Of Blind Children

Texas Parents Of Blind Children (TPOBC) is the state chapter of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), a division of the NFB of Texas, a national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children.

Kim Cunningham, President, PO Box 125, Friendswood, TX 77549-0125
Phone:  713-501-9659
Email: 

Website:  www.tpobc.org/

Texas: Deafblind

DBMATDeaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas

  The mission of DBMAT is to promote and improve the quality of life for all Texans who are deaf-blind multi-handicapped, deaf multi-handicapped, and blind multi-handicapped. We support the establishment of educational, rehabilitative, vocational and independent living opportunities.  

Melanie Knapp, President
Phone:  (281) 302-5454
Email:   

Website:  www.dbmat-tx.org    

Texas Chargers, Inc.    

The Texas Chargers, Inc. is a group of Texas families, friends, and professionals who are dedicated to helping children and young adults who live with Charge Syndrome. The primary function of our organization is to support the emotional and educational needs of the people with Charge Syndrome and the families and professionals working with them, to provide them with a better quality of life.  

Kathi Barksdale, President
Phone:  325-286-4230
Email:   

Website:  www.texaschargers.org

Texas: Deaf & Hard of Hearing

TXHandVoicesTexas Hands and Voices

Texas Hands & Voices is a chapter of the nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as the professionals who serve them. We are a parent-driven, parent/professional/community collaborative group that is unbiased towards communication modes and methods. Our diverse membership includes those who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing impaired and their families who communicate orally, with signs, cue, and/or combined methods. We exist to help our children reach their highest potential.  

PO Box 2208, Cypress, TX 77410
Phone:  936-463-8948
Email:   

Website:  www.txhandsandvoices.org

Guide By Your Side Website:  www.txgbys.org

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Schools and Other Entities Supporting Visual Impairment in the United States


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Great for Young Children

General

Terese Pawletko, Ph.D
reprinted from: FOCAL Points, Fall 2002 Volume 1, Issue 2
The journal concerning Optic Nerve Hypoplasia & Septo Optic Dysplasia

As a former teacher of the visually impaired I was struck by the fact that a subgroup of children with whom I worked did not respond to typical interventions used in early intervention with children with significant visual impairment – for instance, multi-sensory approaches, narrating everything that was going on around the child, hand-overhand presentation. In fact, several of these children appeared to “retreat” and/or become distressed (e.g., might engage in stereotypic behaviors, “appear to be deaf”). Literature in the vision field did not provide an adequate explanation as to the cause for these behaviors aside from labeling the mannerisms as “blindisms” and calling them “autistic-like” – the belief being that some of these behaviors were related to the child’s sensory impairment and lack of opportunities to engage in more typical social exchanges. Rarely was the following question raised: “could this child also be autistic?” At the end of this brief introductory article, I hope that you will have a general understanding of the definition of autism and why it is possible for a child to have both a significant visual impairment and autism.

1. What is autism?

Autism is a biological developmental disorder of the brain that impairs communication and the ability to relate to others. It is often referred to as a spectrum disorder given its presentation ranges from mild to severe in any of its features.

2. What causes autism? How is it diagnosed?

Autism is not etiology specific – that is, it has many possible causes including genetics, environmental toxins, metabolic dysfunction, etc. The commonality among all the causes is that it is a brain-based disorder.

Autism is diagnosed by the presence of certain behavioral features – it cannot be diagnosed by a specific blood test or scan. The defining features include: impairments in reciprocal social interaction that is sustained (e.g., impairment in use of nonverbal behaviors; with young children may fail to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level; may lack spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment and interests with someone; may prefer solitary activities; limited to no concept of needs of others); impairments in communication marked and sustained affecting spoken language and nonverbal skills (e.g., delay in or lack of development of spoken language; or may have impairment in ability to sustain conversation; or may show repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language). For those with speech present, may have unusual pitch, intonation, rate, or rhythm to speech.

Grammar may be immature and include stereotyped use of language (e.g., repeating phrases; repeating commercials). Child may have difficulty understanding simple questions or commands. There may be a lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe or social imitative play commensurate with developmental level. Individuals on the autism spectrum also have restricted, repetitive, stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests (e.g., intense preoccupation with dates, phone numbers; electronic equipment; perhaps with parts of objects), and activities; inflexible adherence to nonfunctional routines or rituals; stereotyped/repetitive motor mannerisms, etc. They may insist on sameness and show resistance and/or anxiety over small changes. There may be stereotyped body movements (e.g., flapping, rocking, toe walking, hand posturing).

Finally, these delays or abnormal functioning in one or more of the above areas must be present before the age of three. While not a defining feature, a number of children and adults on the spectrum have hypo or hypersensitive responses to various stimuli (e.g., certain sounds; certain textures including clothing or food; smells).

3. I’ve read about autism but my child does not have every feature exactly as described in the article. Does that mean he/she doesn’t have autism?

Several issues need to be considered here. First and foremost, autism (and its related disorders, including Aspergers, PDD/NOS, for instance) is defined by the presence of the cluster of behaviors – the presence of any one behavior (e.g., flapping) does not mean that a child is autistic. In addition, it is developmental in nature and as a result, it will change somewhat in presentation as a result of the maturational process. What is important is that the cluster of behaviors be present prior to the age of 3. Finally, given it is a spectrum disorder (e.g., child’s level of function can vary on all dimensions including cognitive ability, behavioral presentation, sensory sensitivities, language/communicative abilities, social relatedness) it is highly unlikely that any individual will fit any one description to a “T.”

4. Can a child with a visual impairment be autistic too? I heard that they have “autistic-like tendencies” but not autism. Is that true?

Children with visual impairments can be on the autism spectrum as well. Remember, it is a brain-based disorder so those children with neurological vulnerabilities (e.g., seizure disorders, septo-optic dysplasia, Prematurity associated with bleeds, agenesis of the corpus callosum, congenital rubella syndrome, etc.) may be at increased risk. The literature in the field of visual impairment needs to be more cautious in its use of the terminology “autistic-like” in that it can result in missed diagnosis and/or delay in procuring appropriate services for those children who are on the autism spectrum. Strategies useful for children who are visually impaired and autistic vary considerably from those effective for children who are just visually impaired.

5. Why are we hearing so much about autism now?

Autism is not as rare as was once thought. According to Dr. Marie Bristol-Powers (1999) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, autism spectrum disorder is not rare as was once thought. Current estimates suggest that 1 in 1,000 individuals fit the definition of "classic" autism and that 1 in 200 individuals fall within the Autism Spectrum, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome.

Why the increase?

We now have clearer diagnostic criteria, increased public awareness and “acceptance”, broader definition of autism as a spectrum disorder, more children, tinier and neurologically more vulnerable children are surviving prematurity; and we have the presence of environmental toxins as potential contributors.

6. Is the notion of autism co-occurring in a child with visual impairment new?

Dr. Stella Chess - her observations of children with Rubella noted “…the difference between the autistic and nonautistic rubella children with sensory defects is the use they make of alternative…modes of experiencing. Nonautistic youngsters … are very alert to their surroundings through their other senses, especially exhibiting visual alertness and appropriate responsiveness... also through seeking of affectionate bodily contact. Some are shy, some slow to warm up, some perhaps wary; but one is impressed by their readiness to respond to appropriately selected and carefully timed overtures. …the autistic children neither explore alternative sensory modalities nor manifest appropriated responsiveness. They form a distinct group whose distance from people cannot be adequately explained by the degree or combination of visual and auditory loss, nor by the degree of retardation where this also exists. … whether retarded or not, their affective behaviors do not resemble those of children of their obtained mental age – in fact, there is no mental age for which the behaviors are appropriate.” Chess... P. 116 - 117

Why the controversy? Why the ongoing debate? Confusion in literature

  • Treated symptoms in isolation (e.g., mannerisms)
  • Viewed as indicative of emotional and behavioral problems (e.g., self-stimulatory behaviors; problems of hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity; disruptive behaviors such as oppositional; problems of social interaction; problems of mood, affect)
  • Viewed as being totally associated with sensory deprivation (e.g., turn inward for stimulation)
  • Viewed as related to mother-child attachment (e.g., in incubators longer; lack of eye contact so hard to read cues; maternal depression further limiting her involvement w/child)

Examples of some of the eye conditions where Autism Spectrum Disorder has been documented

  • Anophthalmia (may occur at critical periods in brain development and yield higher co-morbidity)
  • Lebers Congenital Amaurosis
  • Peters Anomaly
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Septo-optic dysplasia
  • Congenital Rubella Syndrome

Key thing to remember: autism is a brain related disorder; that estimated that 50% of blind children have LD and 56% of those with severe LD or IQ<50 have autism (Steinberg et al., 2002)

7. What do we do about it?

It is important to begin to advocate for appropriate diagnosis for your children through collaborative efforts between autism diagnostic centers and teachers of the visually impaired, and by advocating with your primary care providers. Cooperative efforts between vision and autism programs will be critical as most of the strategies used for children with autism rely on vision – not always an option for our children and students. For more information you can go to:

and others…

About the author:

Dr. Terese Pawletko has worked with children since 1976, first as a teacher of the visually impaired, then as school and pediatric psychologist. Starting in 1989, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, she worked at UNC School of Medicine with chronically ill children, and with autistic students, their parents, and related service providers. In 1997 she joined the staff of the Maryland School for the Blind where she worked with multiply handicapped children with a variety of disabilities including visual impairment, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and learning disabilities, as well as training staff to work with these students. While at MSB, Dr. Pawletko and her colleagues developed the first program in the country for children with visual impairment and autism. She is considered a national expert in this area and has presented at regional, national, and international conferences, conducted evaluations of children suspected of dual diagnosis, and provided consultation to and training of parents and service providers.

 
Terese's contact information:
email:  
Snail mail:
Terese Pawletko, Ph.D.
33 Johnson Lane, Eliot, Maine  03903

Active Learning Space

Please go to Active Learning Space at www.activelearningspace.org for more detailed information about Active Learning. This is a new website collaboratively developed and managed by Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Perkins School for the Blind, and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

About Active Learning

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." -Aristotle

"We are not teaching skills; we are activating neurology." - Daniel Kish

Active Learning is an approach developed by Dame Lilli Nielsen to aid visually impaired and deafblind individuals develop tactile skills and build foundational skills in other critical cognitive, physical and emotional development. Based on typical child development, this approach targets individuals of all ages who function under a developmental age of 3 when real learning only takes place by "doing". To learn more about this approach, explore the resources listed on this page.

Dame Lilli NielsenDame Lilli Nielsen (1926-2013)

Dame Lilli Nielsen passed away in June of 2013 only days after the Active Learning Conference in Houston.& We honor her life and work and mourn her passing.

Active Learning Theory was developed by Dame Lilli Nielsen, sibling of and teacher to individuals with visual impairments and deafblindness in Denmark. Her approach has been widely used throughout Texas, the nation and the world to address learning for these children.

In an effort to promote the use of Active Learning theory with students who are visually impaired, visually and multiply impaired or deafblind, Outreach Programs has collected relevant articles and information to share with professionals and family members. What follows is a listing of training events, articles, books, videos, websites, and other materials on this approach.

On this webpage:

Articles and Fact Sheets

Books

Forms

Handouts

Videos & Webinars

Websites

Other Materials


Articles and Fact Sheets

An Introduction to Dr. Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning- This article discusses some of the basic strategies of Dr. Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning Theory.

Active Learning and the Exploration of Real Objects- This article describes some of the techniques of Dr. Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning Theory.

Incorporating Active Learning Theory into Activity Routines- This article focuses on Phase IV and V of Lilli Nielsen's five educational phases of educational treatment outlined in her book, Are You Blind?, and how the Active Learning principles can be incorporated into activity routines.

Five Phases of Educational Treatment Used in Active Learning- This article focuses on five phases of educational approaches that teachers are to use in working with children if they are using an Active Learning theory approach. It summarizes the information first published as part of Dr. Nielsen's book, Are You Blind?

How to Make a Texture Board to Scratch, Grab, Hold & Release (downloadable doc)

Job One for Educators: Becoming a Good Playmate- If children learn through play, then we must become better playmates in order to facilitate better learning for the child.

Resonance Board and Little Room Design Information

Tactual Skills for Students with Visual Impairments (downloadable doc)

Taking a Look at the FIELA Curriculum: 730 Learning Environments by Dr. Lilli Nielsen- This article is based on a book by Dr. Lilli Nielsen titled The FIELA Curriculum: 730 Learning Environments and lists the developmental behaviors in three-month increments as described in this book.

Touch: A Critical Sense for Individuals with Visual Impairments (downloadable doc)

What My Daughter Taught Me About Active Learning or Whose Goal Is It?- A parent shares her journey in encouraging her daughter's learning through play—on her own terms at home and at school.


Books

Dr. Neilsen's books are published in the United States and sold through LilliWorks. These books include:

  • The FIELA Curriculum: 730 activities
  • Functional Scheme:Functional Skills Assessment
  • Early Learning Step by Step
  • Spatial Relations In Congenitally Blind Infants
  • Educational Approaches
  • Are You Blind?
  • Space and Self
  • The Comprehending Hand

One of her colleagues, Dr. van der Poel, has published a book of interest to those seeking information on Active Learning.

  • Visual Impairment - Understanding the Needs of Young Children

Forms

Active Learning Forms used by staff at TSBVI Outreach Programs

Active Learning Planning Sheet is a form created to capture information about the child's preferences and responses for use in planning Active Learning instructional activities.

Attractive Objects includes a list of objects that might be used in Active Learning activities and environments suggested in Lilli's book Space and Self.


Handouts

Handouts and Notes

Handout for Active Learning for Students with Visual and Multiple Impairments Conference in 2013

Active Learning Study Group Webinars 2013-14

September 2013 - Handout

October 2013 - Handout

November 2013 - Handout

January 2014 - Handout

Feb 2014 - Handout

April 2014 - Handout

Active Learning Study Group 2014-15

September 2014 - Handout

October 2014 - Handout

November 2014 - Handout

December 2014 - Handout

January 2015 - Handout

March 2015 - Handout

April 2015 - Handout

Websites

LilliWorks

Narbethong State Special School

Penrickton Center for Blind Children

The ABCs of Child Development: Developmental Milestones for Your Child's First Five Years

Site of Senses Project

Check out this blog from a parent using Active Learning!- Thanks for sharing this, Cindy Peters!


Videos & Webinars

Webinars and TETN Broadcasts on TSBVI's On the Go Learning

Videos & Webinars

Perceptualizing Aids: How, Why and When

Instructional Strategies for VI Students Under the Developmental Age of 3 - TETN 20440- Archived broadcast from 2013 on the TSBVI Distance Learning site.

Sophie's Resonance Board- YouTube video of a toddler in an Active Learning environment

Washington State Services for Children with Deaf-Blindness videos on Active Learning and Hand Under Hand

http://www.wsdsonline.org/hand-under-hand/

Zoe in the Little Room on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7_S4dfN_-U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=BOn6E8C0kb0&NR=1

Other Materials

Active Learning Equipment

Braille Literacy: Back to the Basics- An article on teaching tactile skills from Paths to Literacy website.

56 Tactile Math Ideas: Ideas and Suggestions for Development of Early Maths Skills - Math activities that include an Active Learning Approach on the Paths to Literacy website.

Pre-Braille - From Paths to Literacy information about important concepts, motor skills, auditory skills and tactile skills needed for developing literacy skills in children with visual impairments. All of these skills can be worked on through Active Learning approaches.

Downloadable catalog from LilliWorks with information on purchasing all of the Active Learning equipment.

Lily Voekel Foundation makes Resonance Boards for families who need one in their home and are unable to get it through typical channels. Learn more about this resource.

updated April 2017

Download this directory in Word or PDF versions.


Education Service Centers (ESC)

Texas Educational Service Center Map

Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5 Region 6 Region 7 Region 8 Region 9 Region 10 Region 11 Region 12 Region 13 Region 14 Region 15 Region 16 Region 17 Region 18 Region 19 Region 20


Region 1 Education Service Center

1900 West Schunior
Edinburg, Texas 78539
PHONE: (956) 984-6165
FAX: (956) 984-7632

  • TWINKLE MORGAN, VI Consultant and Deafblind Specialist: (956) 984-6165
  • CHARLOTTE SMITH, COMS:  (956) 984-2106
  • NORA GARZA, COMS:  (956) 984-6181
  • IDA DE LA GARZA, COMS:  (956) 795-0000 id
  • MARTHA BUSTOS GUZMAN, TVI:  (956) 984-6213

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Region 2 Education Service Center

209 North Water Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401
PHONE: (361) 561-8525
FAX: (361) 561-8535

  • MARICELA GARZA, VI Specialist:  (361) 561-8539
  • MARK THOMPSON, COMS:  (361) 561-8486
  • JANAY MULLAN, COMS:  (361) 561-8509

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Region 3 Education Service Center

1905 Leary Lane
Victoria, Texas 77901
PHONE: (361) 573-0731
FAX: (361) 576-4804

  • MARY KATHRYN EVANS  

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Region 4 Education Service Center

7145 West Tidwell
Houston, Texas 77092
PHONE: (713) 744-6368
FAX: (713) 744-6811

  • SHERYL SOKOLOSKI, Education Specialist VI  (713) 744-6315
  • KELLEY WATT, Education Specialist DB (713) 744-6363 

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Region 5 Education Service Center

350 Pine Street, Suite 500
Edison Plaza
Beaumont, Texas 77701
PHONE: (409) 951-1700
FAX: (409) 951-1801

  • PEGGY ARABIE, Program Coordinator/VI Consultant:  (409) 951-1746  
  • DION POTTER, COMS:  (409) 951-1747 

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Region 6 Education Service Center

3332 Montgomery Road
Huntsville, Texas 77340
PHONE: (936) 435-8400
FAX: (936) 435-8469

  • GWYNNE A. REEVES, VI Specialist: (936) 435-8254
  • RACHEL FOY, Low Incidence Specialist (936)435-8353

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Region 7 Education Service Center

1909 N Longview
Kilgore, Texas 75662
PHONE: (903) 988-6700
FAX: (903) 988-6877

  • CHERYL SCHULIK, VI Specialist: (903) 988-6700

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Region 8 Education Service Center

P.O. Box 1894
Mount Pleasant, Texas 75455
Physical Address:
4845 US Hwy 271 N.
Pittsburg, Texas 75686
PHONE: (903) 572-8551
FAX: (866) 929-4405

  • DAWN ADAMS, VI/DB/DHH Specialist:  (903) 575-2766  

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Region 9 Education Service Center

301 Loop 11
Wichita Falls, Texas 76306
PHONE: (940) 322-6928
FAX: (940) 767-3836

  • TRICIA LEE MARSH, VI/DB Specialist
  • TAMMY HENDERSON, COMS: 
  • CARRIE CANADA, COMS:

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Region 10 Education Service Center

400 East Spring Valley Road
Richardson, TX 75083
PHONE: (972) 348-1700
FAX: (972) 348-1569

  • CHRISTY HOUSEHOLTER, CTVI/COMS: (972) 348-1634 
  • DEATTIA MACDONALD, Team Leader, TVI: (972) 348-1590
  • BELINDA RUDINGER, Team Leader, ST/TVI: (972) 348-1606
  • DONNA CLEMENS, DB/TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • HILLARY KEYS, DB/TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • SCOTT TURNER, Lead COMS: (972) 348-1568
  • HEATHER BALLARD, TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • SCARLETT BAYARD, TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • KARA CHUMBLEY, TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • TRICIA DRACHENBERG, COMS: (972) 348-1568
  • AMANDA VOSS, TVI/COMS: (972) 348-1568
  • CATIE KING, TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • VONECIA HINES, COMS: (972) 348-1568
  • PETRA HUBBARD, TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • KERRI MENSIK, COMS: (972) 348-1568
  • SHELBY WALKER, TVI: (972) 348-1568
  • CATHERINE WELCH, TVI: (972) 348-1568

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Region 11 Education Service Center

3001 North Freeway
Fort Worth, Texas 76106
PHONE: (817) 740-3600
FAX: (817) 740-7647

  • STEPHANIE WALKER, State Leadership Services for The Blind and Visually Impaired: (817) 740-7594

     

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Region 12 Education Service Center

2101 W. Loop 340
P. O. Box 23409
Waco, Texas 76702-3409
PHONE: (254) 297-1145
FAX: (254) 666-0823

  • MICHELE CRAIG, VI Specialist:  (254) 297-1145 

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Region 13 Education Service Center

5701 Springdale
Austin, Texas 78723
PHONE: (512) 919-5313
FAX: (512) 919-5215

  • DEBRA LEFF, VI Consultant, Project Coordinator/VI/DB Specialist:  (512) 919-5354 
  • BEVERLY JACKSON, COMS:  (512) 919-5331

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Region 14 Education Service Center

1850 State Highway 351
Abilene, Texas 79601
PHONE: (325) 675-8632
FAX: (325) 675-8659

  • BRENDA LEE, VI/DB Specialist:  (325) 675-8632  
  • DENISE BROWN, COMS: (325) 675-8671

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Region 15 Education Service Center

612 South Irene Street
P.O. Box 5199
San Angelo, Texas 76902
PHONE: (325) 658-6571
FAX: (325) 658-6571

  • PAM YARBROUGH, VI/DB Specialist:  (325) 481-4056 
  • VANCE LANKFORD, COMS: (325) 481-4049

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Region 16 Education Service Center

5800 Bell Street
Amarillo, Texas 79109
PHONE: (806) 677-5192
FAX: (806) 677-5205

  • WINSTON SMITH, COMS:  (806) 677-5197 
  • CARLA PARKER, VI Specialist:  (806) 677-5192 

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Region 17 Education Service Center

1111 W. Loop 289
Lubbock, Texas 79416
PHONE: (806) 792-4000
FAX: (806) 792-4545

  • DEANNE GOEN, VI Specialist (806) 281-5712

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Region 18 Education Service Center

2811 LaForce Boulevard
P.O. Box 60580
Midland, Texas 79711
PHONE: (432) 563-2380
FAX: (432) 567-3290

  • FRED MARTINEZ, VI Specialist:  (432) 567-3254

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Region 19 Education Service Center

6611 Boeing Drive
El Paso, Texas 79925
PHONE: (915) 780-1919
FAX: 915-780-5058

  • OLIVIA CHAVEZ, Project Manager, DB Specialist: (915) 780-5344
  • CYNTHIA R. WARNICK, COMS: (915) 780-5343

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Region 20 Education Service Center

1314 Hines Avenue
San Antonio, Texas 78208
PHONE: (210) 370-5433
FAX: (210) 370-5754

  • DEBORAH THOMPSON, DB/VI Specialist, COMS:  (210) 370-5433 

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Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
PHONE: 512-454-8631
FAX: 512-206-9320

  • BILL DAUGHERTY, Superintendent  (512) 206-9133 d
  • CYRAL MILLER, Director of Outreach Programs  (512) 206-9242 m
  • MILES FAIN, Principal of Comprehensive Programs  (512) 206-9251 f
  • SARA MERRITT, Principal of Short Term Programs  (512) 206-9176
  • ANN ADKINS, VI Outreach Consultant  (512) 206-9301 a
  • JIM ALLAN, Statewide Accessibility Specialist  (512) 206-9315 s
  • CINDY BACHOFER, Low Vision Specialist 
  • SCOTT BALTISBERGER, VI Outreach Teacher Trainer (512) 206-9140
  • EDGENIE BELLAH, Deafblind Parent Support (512) 206-9423 b
  • HOLLY COOPER, Infant/Early Childhood Deafblind Specialist  (512) 206-9217 c
  • CHRISSY COWAN, Mentor Coordinator (512) 206-9367
  • ADAM GRAVES, Deafblind Outreach Consultant (512) 206-9389 g
  • KATE HURST, Statewide Staff Development Coordinator  (512) 206-9224 h
  • SARA KITCHEN, VI Outreach Teacher Trainer  (512) 206-9353 k
  • EVA LAVIGNE, VI Outreach Transition Consultant  (512) 206-9271 l
  • CHRIS MONTGOMERY, Deafblind Outreach Consultant  (512) 206-9359 m
  • SHARON NICHOLS, VI Outreach Teacher Trainer  (512) 206-9388 n
  • SUSAN OSTERHAUS, VI Math Specialist Outreach Consultant (512) 206-9305 
  • LYNNE MCALISTER, Early Childhood VI Outreach (512) 206-9269r
  • JEAN ROBINSON, VI Parent Support  (512) 206-9418 r
  • MARY SHORE, Personnel Prep Coordinator (512) 206-9156
  • MATT SCHULTZ, Deafblind Outreach Consultant (512) 206-9348
  • CHRIS TABB, VI COMS Outreach Consultant  (512) 206-9226 t
  • NANCY TOELLE, QPVI Coordinator  (512) 494-8658 n
  • PATRICK VAN GEEM, Outreach Consultant (512) 206-9464  
  • DAVID WILEY, Deafblind Outreach Transition Specialist (512) 206-9219 w 
  • ROBBIE BLAHA, Deafblind Outreach Consultant (512) 206-9232

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Texas Instructional Material Center for the Visually Impaired

1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756

  • Sue Enoch, Coordinator, APH Materials/VI Registration/DB Child Count  (512) 206-9270

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Health and Human Services Commission - Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development Program

Children between the ages of birth and 22 years who live in Texas and have vision impairment may be eligible for services. 

BCVDDP offers a wide range of services that are tailored to each child and family's needs and circumstances. We can:

  • Assist your child in developing the confidence and competence needed to be an active part of their community.
  • Provide support and training to you in understanding your rights and responsibilities throughout the educational process.
  • Assist you and your child in the vocational discovery and development process.
  • Provide training to increase your child’s independence and ability to participate in vocational related activities.
  • Supply information to families about additional resources.

By working directly with your entire family, this program can help your child develop the concepts and skills needed to realize their full potential.

Website: https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/blind-visually-impaired/blind-childrens-vocational-discovery-development-program

Office Locations

Abilene
325-795-5840
4601 South First, Suite M
Abilene, TX 79605-1463
P.O. Box 521
Abilene, TX 79604-0521 MC: 6846

Amarillo
817-792-3482
28 Western Plaza Drive
Amarillo, TX 79109 MC: 6878

Austin
512-416-0022
7701 Metropolis Dr, Blg 12, Ste 100
Austin TX 78744 MC: 0172

Beaumont
409-730-1098
3105 Executive Blvd
Beaumont, TX 77708 MC: 0291

Bryan College Station
979-776-7492
3000 East Villa Maria Rd
Bryan, TX 77803 MC: 7331

Corpus Christi
361-857-4758
4410 Dillon Lane
Corpus Christi, TX 78415 MC: 0734

Dallas
214-638-7575
1545 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75235 MC: 0889

Irving
972-721-6580
440 S Nursery Rd
Irving, TX 75060 MC: 1469

El Paso
915-834-7047
401 E. Franklin #240
El Paso, TX 79901 MC: 6900

Fort Worth
817-536-3353
4733 E. Lancaster Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76103 MC: 1469

Harlingen
956-428-8201
3525 W. Business 83
Harlingen, TX 78552 MC: 1606

Houston
713-696-3669
1459 E 45th Street
Houston, TX 77022 MC: 1737

Laredo
956-725-5195
1500 N. Arkansas
Laredo, TX 78043 MC: 2031

Lubbock
806-797-8870
6302 Iola Street
Lubbock, TX 79424 MC:

Lufkin
936-632-1108
1210 S. Chestnut St.
Lufkin, TX 75901 MC: 2201

McAllen
956-630-9441
4501 West Business 83
McAllen, TX 78501 MC: 2222

Odessa
432-334-5654
3016 Kermit Highway, Suite A
Odessa, TX 79764-7307 MC: 6934

San Angelo
325-655-0576
622 South Oakes, Suite D
San Angelo, TX 76903-7013 MC: 6979

San Antonio
210-655-8760
11307 Roszell
San Antonio, TX 78217 MC: 9057

Southeast Houston
713-948-7965
10060 Fuqua
Houston, TX 77089-1337 MC: 6925

Texarkana
903-791-6400
3316 S. Lake Drive
Texarkana, TX 75501 MC: 3111

Tyler
903-595-4841
3303 Mineola Highway
Tyler, TX 75702

Victoria
361-574-7341
2306 Leary Lane
Victoria, TX 77901 MC: 3192

Waco
254-750-9623
801 Austin Avenue #710
Waco, TX 76701-1937 MC: 6820

Wichita Falls
940-767-1720
1328 Oakhurst Drive
Wichita Falls, TX 76302 MC:3323

 

Al’an Kesler (325)829-7257
Western Area Manager
Fax (325) 795-5523

Gay Speake (512)917-1526
Southern Area Manager

Lauren Cox (214)378-2622
Eastern Area Manager

 

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STEPHEN F. AUSTIN UNIVERSITY

Department of School Services
Box 13019 SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962
PHONE: (936) 468-2906
FAX: (936)468-1342

  • MICHAEL MUNRO, VI Program Director  (936) 468-1036
  • DJ DEAN, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-1142
  • DEBBIE CADY, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-2034
  • TRACY HALLAK, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-1173
  • HEATHER MUNRO, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-5348
  • PHOEBE OKUNGU, VI (936) 468-5511
  • DONNA WOOD, Administrative Assistant  (936) 468-1145

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TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

Virginia Murray Sowell Center
P. O. Box 41071
Lubbock, Texas 79409
PHONE: (806) 834-2320
FAX: (806) 742-2326

  • NORA GRIFFIN-SHIRLEY (O&M, Professor) (806) 834-0225
  • RONA POGRUND (TVI/Interim DB, Professor) Austin (512) 206-9213
  • ROBIN REKIETA, Administrative Business Assistant  (806) 834-1322
  • ANITA PAGE, Research Associate (806) 834-1515

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Texas Education Agency

1701 North Congress
Austin, Texas 78701
PHONE: (512) 463-9414
FAX: (512) 463-9560

  • BRENT PITT, Division Of IDEA Coordination  

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Texas Workforce Commission - Blind Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Website: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/vocational-rehabilitation-services

Youth & Student Services

Get help preparing for post-secondary education and employment opportunities through the following individualized services.  Services are based on eligibility and your individual need, and are provided in collaboration with the family, high school, community college, or Educational Service Center. 

Pre-Employment Transition Services

Receive core services, as needed, to help prepare for post-secondary education and employment opportunities:

  • Vocational counseling, including counseling in job exploration and post-secondary training opportunities
  • Counseling on opportunities for post-secondary education such as college, vocational schools, etc.
  • Work-based learning experiences, including internships and on-the-job training
  • Training in workplace and employer expectations
  • Training in self-advocacy and social skills

Other Services

Services may be provided to help you achieve your education, training or employment goals, including (as needed):

  • Referrals for hearing, visual and other examinations
  • Assistance with medical appointments and treatment
  • Rehabilitation devices, including hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial limbs and braces
  • Therapy to address a disability, including occupational or speech therapy and applied behavioral analysis
  • Physical restoration
  • Medical, psychological and vocational assessments
  • Assistive technologies, including screen reader software, computer equipment and other items
  • Job matching and placement services
  • Transportation assistance to and from your job, college or certification program, Referral to other state, federal and community agencies and organizations
  • Rehabilitation Teachers Services to help you learn Braille, orientation & mobility, and home and health management skills if you have a vision-related disability
  • Vocational adjustment training
  • Supported employment services

Kevin Markel (817) 759-3514
Transition Program Field Specialist
(Fax) 817-759-3532

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Joseph's Coat: People Teaming in Transdisciplinary Ways

Originally published in Spring 1998 SEE/HEAR newsletter, from TSBVI Outreach Programs
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

by Millie Smith, Educational Specialist, TSBVI VI Outreach

In the last five years I have been working with staff and families to support their efforts to team more effectively using the transdisciplinary model. I have not seen or created any perfect transdisciplinary teams during that time. I have seen staff and parents use bits and pieces of the model very effectively to improve programs for students. I am more convinced than ever that transdisciplinary teaming is the best of the service delivery models available to us at the present time. I am equally convinced that the best chance we have of increasing its use is to assure staff and parents that partial implementation is not only realistic, but probably as effective as a more idealistic whole cloth application. The product may be a patchwork conglomeration of pieces supplied by different people at different times, but a coat nevertheless.

The most powerful aspect of the transdisciplinary model, in my opinion, is its emphasis on plugging the expertise of specialists into the day-to-day instruction of students with severe multiple impairments. In this model specialists work in classrooms. They may provide direct instruction or therapy to the student during a regular activity or they may model, coach, and monitor interventions implemented by others. Often they do a combination of both.

Another powerful aspect of the model is that, whenever possible, specialists, instructors, and family members collaborate by meeting together to design instructional activities. More often, they collaborate by leaving each other notes, sharing video tapes, and calling each other on the phone. By collaborating, an effort is made to provide as much consistency in programming as possible across settings and people.

The best approach for implementing transdisciplinary teaming strategies may be to treat the total model like a menu of options. Teams can choose to concentrate their efforts on assessment, IEP development, or instruction. They can do some transdisciplinary work in each category without doing everything that category offers. In order to make informed decisions about where to concentrate efforts, a global understanding of the model is helpful.

Why is transdisciplinary teaming important?

Students with severe impairments receive instruction and services from a variety of different people. Instructors include teachers, teaching assistants, and family members. Special services may include speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision, hearing, and others. Teaming allows specialists, teachers, and families to work together to teach skills in natural contexts where there is more opportunity for frequent practice.

Many specialists have changed the way they serve students with severe impairments in the last ten years. The professional organizations to which most specialists belong have endorsed a service delivery model that emphasizes integration of special services. Integration of special services benefits students with severe impairments in two ways: skills are worked on in natural contexts so that students don't have to try to generalize skills learned in a special setting, and skills are worked on every time the opportunity occurs, whether the specialist is present or not, so that practice is frequent.

In an integrated service delivery model, specialists assess needs, do diagnostic teaching to try out techniques and strategies, model techniques and strategies for other staff and family members, and monitor effectiveness and progress. When the integrated model is transdisciplinary, information is shared among specialists, instructors, and family members. This type of service is intense and dynamic, and highly effective.

How can specialists provide natural contexts and frequent practice?

The traditional service delivery choice for specialists has been direct or consult. For students with severe impairments a wider range of choices is necessary.

 AdvantagesDisadvantages
Direct Pull-out Always one-to-one. Special equipment. Infrequent practice. Context not natural.
Integrated Direct One-to-one or small group. Natural context. Infrequent practice.
Traditional Consult General information shared. Contact very limited
Collaborative Consult Specific information shared with team. Accountability  tied to progress in instructional activities. Requires more time.

Each of these models has a place in transdisciplinary teaming. For instance, direct pull-out may be appropriate for post trauma students or for a student learning a new communication device. Usually, this service is provided for as short a time as possible and a very structured transition period follows pull-out in order to transfer skills to natural contexts. That transition period might be integrated direct service. Integrated direct service is often used by speech/language pathologists teaching communication skills in natural contexts and by OT's and PT's teaching motor skills in natural contexts. Consult is usually provided in conjunction with direct service. Sometimes consult is the only service provided.

What type of consultation tends to be most effective?

Most consultation is general. Specialists write recommendations in their assessment reports. When specialists consult with teachers, they talk to them about their recommendations. Information is shared at a general level. For example: "This student has CVI. Most CVI students like the color red. If you want the student to look at something, try using red. Moving the object slightly in the peripheral field might also help."

Many teachers will remember the student might like red and they will probably make an attempt to select red materials when they can. When the VI teacher checks back with the teacher after this kind of consult, she may hear something like, "Well, I don't notice that red really makes that much difference."

Specific consultation tends to be more effective. In this type of consultation the specialist assesses, recommends, demonstrates in a natural context, and evaluates results. For example: "This student has CVI. CVI students tend to like red. Let's use a red scoop dish at mealtime instead of the cream colored cafeteria tray. If he can see the bowl, it may be easier to get him to scoop. We may need to position the bowl slightly to the left and move it a little at first. When he looks at the bowl, we'll give him a touch prompt to move his hand to the bowl. I'd like to come in at lunch time and try this a few times. Let's keep data on this for two weeks and see if there are more independent attempts to scoop. We may need to do something with the spoon as well."

Traditional consult by itself puts a very heavy burden on classroom teachers and family members to come up with activities and specific modifications for students with extremely intense needs. Transdisciplinary teams use a more dynamic kind of consultation. When consultation is specific and collaborative, it is a highly effective type of service. It also requires more time than traditional consultation. Students with severe multiple impairments tend to be chronically underserved. The average amount of service in Texas for traditional consult appears to me to be about thirty minutes a month. In many places it is less. A more reasonable average for collaborative consultation would be between two and four hours a month. Time demands are more intense when a team is starting a new program. Once the program is established, less time is needed for monitoring and maintenance.

What are the components of transdisciplinary teaming?

Collaborative Assessment

Collaborative assessment occurs when team members identify strengths and needs through shared observations and discussion. One type of collaborative assessment is an arena assessment. Team members meet together to observe a child as one team member (frequently the parent) interacts with the child. Collaborative assessment can also occur during team meetings designed to share and interpret information gathered by individual team members in one-on-one assessments with the child.

Integrated IEP

A team IEP is a document containing goals and objectives developed collaboratively by all team members. Based on family priorities, the group establishes an integrated set of goals (four to six) and two to three objectives per goal (eight to twelve objectives total for the IEP). If an objective relates to a particular related service, that related service provider is identified as responsible for insuring that instruction addressing the objective is implemented and that documentation is collected.

Natural and Frequent Instruction

IEP goals and objectives are taught in activities which occur naturally and frequently at home, in school, and in the community. A team member, usually a classroom teacher, parent, or teaching assistant, is identified as the direct implementor of instruction for a specified activity which may have several IEP objectives imbedded in it. The related service team member responsible for developing a given IEP objective either integrates direct service or consults with the direct implementor of instruction.

Role Release

Team members share knowledge and skills in their particular areas of expertise by role releasing. This is a systematic process whereby one team member trains another to use specific procedures and techniques. The team member who has received this training may then implement a procedure or technique in a given activity when the trainer is not present. The person with specific knowledge is responsible for ensuring that these procedures and techniques are used effectively and appropriately with a given child.  

Documentation

Information is gathered for the purpose of evaluating and refining instruction, reporting student progress on objectives, and sharing information with families and team members.

What assessments are important and how does the team use them?

Students with severe impairments are sensory-motor learners. Assessments of sensory and motor skills are extremely important. Cognition and communication are also important areas. Information about skills in each of these areas may be obtained by specialists in their individual assessments done as part of the Comprehensive Individualized Assessment. Assessment of biobehavioral states of arousal may be very helpful for students with the most profound impairments.

In transdisciplinary teams, specialists collaborate to plan their assessments, to carry out their assessments, and to interpret their assessments. Sometimes arena assessments are done. In this type assessment, one person interacts with the student while other team members observe and ask questions guided by the use of protocols specific to their disciplines. The advantage to this assessment approach is that the student interacts with the persons most familiar with him or her. Performance is likely to be more typical under these conditions. The disadvantage to this approach is that, although total assessment time tends to be less overall, assembling all team members in the same place at the same time can be difficult.

After teams assess, they must share information and come up with program priorities. Instruction is sometimes ineffective for students with severe impairments because too many needs are addressed. Instruction is much more effective if instruction is very focused on four or five priorities. These priorities become goals. Specific needs in each goal area are then identified. These become objectives.

What should a good transdisciplinary IEP contain?

Goal

The team uses assessments to select four to six priorities for the school year. Each of these becomes an annual goal. Some teams write very broad goals; some write more specific goals. Each annual goal should be a statement of what the team believes the child can accomplish within a school year. A broad goal would be: "Student will improve his expressive and receptive communication skills." A more specific annual goal would be: "Student will use ten expressive signs in appropriate contexts." Specific goals work best for students with severe impairments.

Objectives

Objectives are the steps between the child's current level of performance and the annual goal. They state one specific task the child will do, at what level, by when, and what criteria will be used to measure progress. For a broad goal, the team might write: "Student will use five expressive signs during meal time and snacks, independently, eighty percent of the time, measured by teacher observation." For a more specific goal, the team might write: "Student will use name sign to greet nurse when he gets meds, independently, eighty percent of the time, measured by teacher observation." Specific objectives work best for students with severe impairments.

Skill

A skill is the behavior to be learned. The phrase following the word "will" in the objective is usually the skill. In a transdisciplinary IEP, specific discipline skills are imbedded in objectives. An objective might be that a student will assist during meals by opening his mouth for bites. The VI teacher might add that the student will open his mouth for bites when a brightly colored spoon is moved slightly in the right peripheral field of the right eye from a distance of six inches.

Activity

An activity is the context in which the skill will be used. The phrase following the word "during" in the objective is usually an activity. Teams include information about context in objectives to make measurement more meaningful.

Modifications

These are the techniques, technology, and strategies which are necessary to ensure the highest level of participation for the student in the activities of his school day. Federal law requires that these be specified in the IEP. Most school districts include a generic modification page in the ARD papers. Some of these may be useful, but teams have to come up with more specific modifications in order for progress on objectives to occur. A general modification for a special education student might be "shorten assignments." A specific modification for a student with severe impairments might be "use adapted spoon."

Some teams continue to write traditional IEP's in which each team member comes up with his or her own set of goals and objectives. Students with severe impairments can't usually learn as many things as team members can come up with to try to teach them. Also, when team members are trying to teach too many things, they tend to scatter their energy and not teach any one thing very intensely. Teams tend to be more accountable when they focus their attention by writing one collaborative IEP. In this approach special skills are integrated into short-term objectives.

Student: Catherine 
Date Accepted by ARD Committee: 5/1/95 
Annual Goal: Will improve functional use of objects*

Short-Term ObjectivesEval. Method
Observation Formal testing
Criteria 
(Accuracy Level)
TargetedPresent  CompetenciesMet  Y/N
1. Will visually locate a desired object in an adapted environment during rec/leisure time. 
Direct Implementor(s): Classroom Teacher/TA 
Support Staff Responsible: VI Teacher 
Begin Date: 8/95 End Date: 5/96
Observation Independent Frequent physicalmanipulation  
2. Will look at an object presented by a caregiver to request continuation of an activity during grooming activities. 
Direct Implementor(s): Teaching Asst./Mother 
Support Staff Responsible: VI Teacher 
Begin Date: 8/95 End Date: 5/96
Observation 90% 20%  

* Sensory skills are integrated in short-term objects.

Sometimes a column for modifications is added. The example given in objective number one might include: Modifications: Den/Little Room

How is instruction provided in natural contexts by the whole team?

routine is a teaching strategy that focuses the team's efforts on specific activities that occur with high frequency in the student's schedule. Routines are designed to teach specific special skills to students who require consistency and repetition in order to learn. As skills are learned, the student's level of participation in activities increases. Any activity can be developed into a routine when team members plan what they will teach and adapt for a given student. An activity is not a routine unless it meets the following criteria:

  • There is a clear signal to the student that the activity is starting.
  • The steps of the activity occur in the same sequence every time.
  • Each step is done in the same way each time (same materials, same person, same place).
  • Modifications and techniques provided by specialists are implemented exactly as directed.
  • The minimum amount of assistance is provided in order to allow students to do as much as they possibly can.
  • The pacing of instruction is precisely maintained until the activity is finished (no side conversations, going off to get something you forgot, or adding new or different steps that won't happen the next time the activity is done).
  • There is a clear signal to the student that the activity is finished.

Why are routines worth the trouble?

The power of a routine is the precise planning of what the student will do and how he will do it on each step of the routine. Many students are able to learn new skills and participate at higher levels when this strategy is used because they need the following things that routines provide:

  • Predictability: "I know what is going to happen from start to finish."
  • Consistency: "I know what I am supposed to do."
  • Anticipation: "When you do that, I know what to get ready for."
  • Practice: "I remember what I did last time and I can try to do more this time."

Students with severe impairments rarely do every step of a routine independently, but they are afforded the dignity of doing everything that they are cognitively and physically capable of doing.

What do routines look like?

Mealtime is a good activity to develop into a routine because it usually happens three times a day. Practice opportunities are frequent. The team's plan might look something like this:

  1. Get spoon from calendar box to begin activity. 
    Target skill: Tactual exploration of objects in calendar to recognize spoon. 
    Person responsible: VI teacher. 
    Strategy: VI teacher demonstrates shadowing technique to TA to decrease student's aversion to hand over hand manipulation.
  2. Take spoon to eating area. 
    Target skill: Maintain grasp, intentional release. 
    Person responsible: OT 
    Strategy: OT demonstrates use of "buncher" for grasp and pressure point technique for release to T.A. who will implement instruction.
  3. Give spoon to adult to request meal. 
    Target skill: Use object to request. 
    Person responsible: Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) 
    Strategy: SLP demonstrates touch cueing technique to TA who will implement instruction.
  4. Eat. 
    Target skill: Manipulate spoon for scooping. 
    Person responsible: OT 
    Strategy: OT provides adaptive equipment and demonstrates technique to TA who will implement instruction.
  5. Put spoon in washtub at dish window to end activity. 
    Target skill: Maintain grasp, intentional placement. 
    Person responsible: OT and VI teacher. 
    Strategy: OT demonstrates arm support technique to TA who will implement instruction. VI teacher provides visual enhancement of target.

How do specialists help other team members address needs in their areas?

Transdisciplinary teams use a procedure called role release. Any team member having special skills may train any other team member needing those skills. The need for a team member to have certain skills is usually dictated by scheduling. Specialists cannot always be present when a skill needs to be taught in a natural context. Specialists have certain responsibilities. They cannot release their role to another until that person demonstrates that she can perform without prompts. The specialist must then monitor the activity to ensure that the released procedure is performed as taught.

The role release process usually consists of the following steps:

  • The specialist and other team members share information related to the need.
  • The specialist teaches the designated person(s) a specific procedure to address the need.
  • The specialist supervises the implementation of the procedure and makes adjustments as needed.

Communication among team members is essential in the role release process. Members must be able to ask questions, seek help, and respond quickly. Here are some tips for increasing and maintaining contact:

  • Schedule time to observe activities.
  • Review videotapes of activities between observations.
  • Attend team meetings.
  • Post notes to team members on a special bulletin board.
  • Keep documentation in an area where all team members can access it.
  • Keep a school/home notebook.

How do teams document student progress?

There are two things to remember about documentation:

  • It is important because team members have to know what's working and what isn't working
    Students with severe impairments don't fail to make progress, but teams may fail to provide the necessary level of support in order for progress to occur.
  • It must be easy to gather so that it does not take time away from teaching and attention away from the student.

Different kinds of documentation are appropriate in different situations. Here are some common types:

  • Frequency Tally Method: A mark is entered each time the designated behavior occurs. The event may be a student behavior (signed "more") or the event may be a teacher behavior (touch prompt given).
  • Annotation: The teacher may write a comment describing the student's performance on a given trial.
  • Plus/Minus: The target skill occurred or did not occur.
  • Level of Prompt: A letter is entered to indicate the highest level of prompting given during the trial (hand-over-hand, touch prompt, verbal prompt, independent).

Be consistent. Decide which method fits best for a given situation and stick with that method. The whole team must use the same methods in the same situations.

Routine and data sheet sample.

An example of a routine with annotative documentation is included on page thirteen (Routine and Data Sheet). Notice that documentation is kept only if the step is one in which an IEP objective is addressed. If there is no number in the IEP column, no documentation is kept.

How do specialists document service time?

Parents typically do not demonstrate a high degree of confidence in consultative services. Some demand direct service because they fear that their children's needs will not be addressed adequately in a consultative model. This can be counterproductive for students with severe impairments who need frequent intervention in natural contexts. One way to assure parents and other team members that real help is being provided is to share documentation.

Most specialists are used to keeping records of some sort for their supervisors. These may consist of student contact logs or observation summary forms. An example of a contact sheet which emphasizes the team approach is shown on page fourteen (Sample of a Collaborative Service Delivery Contact Sheet).

Routine and Data Sheet 
Student: 
Catherine 
Routine: Hair Care Time 
Implementor: Classroom Teacher, TA 
Time: 9:00 a.m. 
Location: Classroom

Routine StepsAdaptation/ModificationIEPComments/Data
1. Travel to hair drying area. Chair pushed to hair drying area. Looks at caregiver to signal readiness.    
2. Visually locate hair dryer. Caregiver wears dark-colored smock against which bright yellow hair dryer is held. Use object lighting, if necessary. #1 Looked at hair dryer on third  of three presentations after light enhancement provided.
3. Turn desired part of head/ face to airflow as caregiver holds dryer.      
4. Visually locate hair dryer each time care-giver turns it off to request continuation of activity. See #2 #1 Looked at hair dryer on second and fourth - presentations no light.
5. Visually locate hair-brush held by teacher. Caregiver holds bright red  hairbrush against smock. Use object lighting, if necessary. #1 Did not respond, four presenta tions with light (contrast may not be adequate, try different  colored brush.)
6. Cooperate while hair is brushed by caregiver.      
7. Travel to area of next activity. Looks at caregiver to signal  readiness for lift. Chair is pushed to next area.    

Documentation Date: 10/7/95 Documentor's Signature: (VI Teacher)

Sample of a Collaborative Service Delivery Contact Sheet

Student: Catherine 
Service Provider: M. Smith, VI Teacher

DateTime InTime OutStaff PresentService Delivered
2/7 9:30  10:00 T. Johnson, Linda Evaluated visual responses (JVE)
2/11 2:00 2:30 Linda Evaluated visual responses (JVE)
2/18 3:00 3:30 T. Johnson, Linda & Parent Wrote activity routine
2/22 9:30 10:00 Linda Role release hair dryer procedure
3/12 9:30 10:00 Linda Observed & modified hair routine

Administrator's Signature: _______________________

Conclusion

Remember Joseph's coat. It was made a piece at a time. It might be a good idea to remember that Joseph probably wore some other garments as well. If your team ends up with a vest or a really good pair of socks, success is just as sweet. Good luck!

What a Concept!

(First Published in Spring 2000 SEE/HERE Newsletter)

Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Jim Durkel, CCC-SPL/A and Statewide Staff Development Coordinator (with help from Kate Moss (Hurst), Stacy Shafer and Debra Sewell) Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach


Communication has three parts. The most noticeable part is the "form." Form is how the communication happens. It is the behavior used to communicate. Speech is one communication form. Sign language is another. Crying, using objects, using pictures, even falling asleep - all of these are behaviors we do, forms we use, to communicate.

"Use" is another part of communication. What is the purpose? Is it to share information, direct attention, request something, ask or answer a question? All of these are reasons why we communicate.

The third part of communication is called "content." Content is the part of communication that deals with meaning. It is noon. I am hungry. I walk up to you, look at you and say, "Lunch?" My voice rises at the end of the word, and I raise my eyebrows when I say it. Those are the ways I communicate, my forms (we usually use several at once). I am using these forms to ask you if you want to have lunch with me. That is why I say that word to you in that way. It is the reason I am doing this. But what does "lunch" mean? What is the content? Am I asking if you want to go eat and drink somewhere for 2 hours, or am I asking you if you want to go to McDonald's and be finished in 30 minutes? Am I asking you to cook this noon meal for me as you have for the last 20 years, or am I offering to cook it for you? You and I probably have a shared idea of what "lunch" in this context means. We understand that other people may or may not use it as we do. The shared idea is the "content" part of communication.

This content develops as a result of several things. First, you and I have decided what the word means to each of us. This was not taught to us. We "figured out" the meaning. We heard it used at the same time everyday. We did something the same way as we heard it (or very shortly after we heard it). More than likely, there were actions, smells, tastes, sights, sounds, objects and maybe other people involved in what we did when we heard the word.

We developed our own meaning or concept for "lunch" based on our personal experiences. Even if we did not hear the word "lunch" used, we still developed an understanding of what happens at a noon meal. We discovered how it was the same as other meals (we sat at a table, we ate food) and how it was different. (We did not eat cereal like at the morning meal, and we usually did not eat as much as at the evening meal.) We developed a concept of lunch.

Once we had the concept, we paid attention to the form ("lunch"). We heard the word "lunch" every time we had our noon meal. Next, we figured out if that form referred to the same concept for all people. Some folks eat "dinner" at noon! Last, we figured out how to use that form in certain ways to get people to fix us lunch or eat lunch with us.

Children with visual impairments, including deafblindness and children with multiple impairments, have difficulty developing concepts. They have difficulty understanding how the world works, how parts of the world relate to other parts, how these parts are the same and how they are different. What makes the communication of children with a loss of vision really different from the communication of other children, is that many of these children often use communication forms without having the content or meaning or concept firmly in mind. Often, children with a vision loss are good at hearing, remembering, and using words without having a real "gut" sense of what they are saying. I do the same thing whenever I try to talk about football. I know the talk, but I can't walk the walk. I know labels ("tight end," "Hail Mary Pass"), but I did not have the experience of playing football. I do not really have concepts for these words.

Many people think of concepts as things like "right," "left," "top," and "bottom." These are a particular type of concept having to do with positions in space. But "tree" is a concept, as is "dog," "house," "push," and "work." There is the concept of "book" and of "reading." Concepts can also be about events, such as "going shopping" or "visiting Grandma." The story of "Snow White" is a concept. And so on. All the words we know, all the language we speak and read, have underlying concepts. Some concepts are expressed in one word, like "lunch." Other concepts are expressed only by using several words in a specific way, "After I run some errands, I will eat lunch."

Impaired concept development will impact learning later in life. For example, most teaching after second grade is not "hands on." Students are expected to read about and/or listen to the teacher talk about something. For students who have good experience-based concepts, this kind of learning is OK. So what if you have never been in an igloo. You understand houses, and you understand how various kinds of houses are different and how they are the same. You understand that not everyone lives in Central Texas, where ice outside is a rare thing. You understand ice and how it can look like a brick. You can read about an igloo and relate what you read to what you know. If those basic concepts are shaky, your understanding of what you read will be shaky too. Even if you can say all the words, read all the print, or read all the Braille.

When I say concepts, many people think, "label." They think we should always be talking to children with visual impairments. They think the underlying problem is that children "just need the words." But this is not really true. Concept development is delayed because vision is what drives the typically developing infant to move and interact with objects. When vision is impaired, often this drive is also impaired. Babies with visual impairments do not handle objects in the same way that babies with no vision loss do. They do not explore the environment the same way. They also do not see the actions of others well or at all. They cannot rely on vision to give them information to the same extent that babies with no visual impairment can. Vision also allows one to see how one piece of the world relates to several other pieces of the world. Children with visual impairments have to view their world piece by piece; then put it all together into the big picture. Children with no visual impairment can see the big picture first; then look at the pieces; then go back to the big picture. For example, a child with no vision loss will see that I am holding a rattle. She will look at the rattle and at me, and she gets the picture that the rattle is "attached" to me. A child with a visual impairment will hear the rattle, maybe see it, but may not understand that the rattle is "attached" to me. For that child, objects appear to float in space, unless we help her get the big picture. All of these things happen during an early time of learning called the sensorimotor period.

The sensorimotor period was named by Jean Piaget, a French psychologist. He studied how children developed concepts and made sense out of the world. He believed that children "constructed" these concepts through active exploration and interaction with the environment. Most of this exploration and interaction took place during play. Piaget said that the sensorimotor period in most children lasted from birth to the age of 2 years. During this time, children learn about their bodies, their own actions and the actions of others. Children also learn about the properties of objects and how objects are used. Children begin this learning by accident, then through their own deliberate movement, then by watching others. This is a time of developing concepts about how the world works through the use of sensory and motor (sensorimotor) skills.

Jan van Dijk, a Dutch psychologist who works with children with deafblindness, says that all we know can be traced back to our actions. He gives the example of asking us to define a castle. We say, "It is where the queen lives." He responds, "Yes, tell me more." We say, "It has towers and big gates." If he keeps asking questions, eventually we say it is where people eat and sleep and play. And, that eating, sleeping, and playing means using certain objects in certain ways. We have used these objects and performed these actions. These are concepts that we usually develop during the sensorimotor period.

Our experiences can give us concepts that are very unique to us. You probably heard the story of the woman who called her mother to ask about how to make a roast. Mother told her to get the roast, cut off the end, rub it with oil and pepper, put it in a pan, and bake it in the oven for a period of time. The roast was great, and later Daughter asked Mother why she had to cut off the end of the roast. Mother said she did not know but that was how her mother did it. When they asked Grandmother why they had to cut off the end of the roast, Grandmother said she did that because otherwise a roast would not fit into her pan.

We all have our unique ideas about the world around us. If you use chairs as something to hold on to and push around the room to help you walk, your concept of "chairness" may be different than mine (I think they are to put my legs on when I sit on the table). Children with visual impairments are not incapable of learning the concept of "tree." But their concept may be very different than mine because we rely upon different senses and have different experiences of "treeness." A 2-year-old with a visual impairment may know all about rustling leaves, a piece of treeness I did not learn until much later in life!

Kurt Fisher, an American psychologist, says that we put together basic concepts into bigger and bigger "chunks." For example, we learn about how one object can be stood up on top of one another. Another time, we learn that if we push a ball, it will roll. Another time, we learn that a rolling ball can knock over things. We put all these things together when we set bowling pins upright on the floor and aim a bowling ball at them in order to knock them down. Sensorimotor concepts that we can use as adults!

Some people call these bigger chunks of basic concepts, "scripts." A script usually involves a series of actions. We have a script for going to the grocery store. We get our cart, walk up and down the aisles, put food in the cart, and then pay for that food. Some of us may have parts in our scripts where we eat the free samples, some of us don't! We learn how a script for buying food at a Walmart superstore is different from buying food at a convenience store.

We also develop more abstract and more complex concepts, as we grow older. We learn about the physical world in science classes. We start by dividing the world into things that move and eat and things that don't. We don't stop categorizing until well after we are discussing bacteria and plankton and chemical compounds. We learn about our own bodies and our lives; then learn about our friends' lives; and then we are discussing Arab-Jewish relations in Israel. We learn about in and out and on and off; and then we are booting up computers, putting in our floppies and typing away. But all these concepts start with what we learn in the sensorimotor period. They start with our own experiences, not what we have been told about another person's experiences.

How do we help a child with visual impairments develop a solid base of concept development? The key is not to so much tell the child about the world around them, as it is to provide the child with experiences that allow them create these concepts for themselves. For example, telling a child who has no vision about you washing dishes is not as good as having the child right there with you. She needs to learn about dish washing as she feels the suds, experiences the dirty dish going into the water, notices the difference between the wash water and the rinse water, and touches the dishes in the dish rack. You can use words to describe what the child is experiencing, but don't use words without the experience.

Another way to help the child develop these concepts is to give them opportunities for exploration and play. The OT, PT, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, and Teacher for Students with Visual Impairments all need to work with families to help children develop motor skills they can use to explore the world. Sometimes this means that children need "help" to move independently. Sometimes it means that children need toys that sound interesting to encourage exploration or toys that feel interesting, or toys that we know the child can see and will enjoy examining.

A child with visual impairments needs to have routines in order to learn how pieces of the world are connected. We need to provide an environment that is predictable. How is eating different than bathing? Each happens in a predictable place, with distinct objects and actions, and at certain times during the day.

A predictable environment is also one where I can find things easily. During the first part of the sensorimotor period, children without a vision loss "forget" about things they can't see. Gradually the child learns that objects do continue to exist, even when they are out of sight. This is a harder concept for children with visual impairments to learn. Anything these children can't touch or hear is gone. We can help these children learn about the permanence of objects by creating a situation where objects are easy to find and where objects don't get lost quite so easily. We can do this by attaching toys to a frame with string or by putting the baby in a play pen with her toys velcroed to the same place on the floor or to the slats every time. We can make sure a toddler's toys are always in the same place, and that the toddler has lots of landmarks to use to find those toys. We can look for toys that make sounds, so the child can hear them even if he can't see or touch them (We need to remember that reaching to a sound happens later in the infant's life than reaching for an object he can see).

Children need toys that help them make comparisons. If we give a child blocks to play with, we should give her all types of blocks. She needs LEGOs and wooden blocks and big blocks and small blocks; so that she can compare and discover for herself what makes a block a block. Some important comparisons are materials (wooden spoons vs. metal spoons), size (big spoons vs. small spoons), shape (a plain spoon vs. a spoon with Bugs Bunny for the handle), number (one spoon vs. many spoons) or the objects themselves (spoons vs. forks).

Toys and objects should respond to the child's actions. The child needs to have things that she can squeeze, rattle, open, close, stack, turn, pull apart, and put together. The child also needs things that get warm when she holds them, things that move when she pushes, and things that make sounds when she blows through them.

Provide the child with real, every day objects. Pots and pans, cups, plates, forks, blankets, brooms, TV remotes, toilet paper, towels, and sponges.

We need to provide experiences. We need to take the child with us to the store, post office, and dry cleaners. We need to explore parks and malls. We need to have the child with us while we wash dishes, make beds, prepare meals, put gas in the car, shine shoes, fold clothes, and plant flowers.

Hooking new learning on to old concepts is one way to help the child learn more about her world in a meaningful way. It allows the child to try new things and change her ideas about the things she already knows. New things should not be totally new. We need to introduce new things to our children in a way that does not scare them. Some part of the new thing should be familiar to the child. If we are introducing a new object, is there some way the new object is like something the child already enjoys? Is it the same size, the same color, the same shape? Can the child try familiar actions such as banging or opening or rolling on the new object? Does the new object make the same noise a familiar object makes?

Children need lots of time to try something over and over in order to make sense of it. Let your child play. Let your child direct the play. You can join in and play with your child, but do what she is doing before you try to show the child something new. Let the child know that she can have interests of her own, and then that you can show her new ways of doing things.

Concept learning and teaching should be fun for both adult and child. It is exciting to see children discover the world. It is thrilling to see children having new ideas. It is a joy to be part of that discovery and learning.