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Winter 2009 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Suzanne Becker, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Classroom Teacher, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Abstract: A TVI and classroom teacher describes how she serves her secondary-level students who are visually and multiply impaired using Lilli Nielson’s Active Learning approach along with other strategies.

 

Keywords: Effective Practices, blind, deafblind, multiple disabilities, active learning, centers, Lilli Nielsen

 

I’ve been a TVI and classroom teacher at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) since the 2001 school year.  My classroom is designed for older students (13-22 years) with severe multiple impairments who are functioning below three years of age across most developmental skills (i.e.: emotional development, fine and gross motor skills, object perception, communication, etc.).  My teaching has been guided primarily by the educational approaches of Lilli Nielsen (using “Active Learning” and evaluating skills with the Functional Schemes Assessment), Barbara Miles (engaging in conversations with students based on their topics, and being extremely sensitive to the communication of our hands), and Jan van Dijk (interacting with students using meaningful calendars, resonance activities and consistency).

This type of programming existed at TSBVI for students with severe impairments of elementary school age, and I advocated expanding it to include at risk students at the secondary level.  I did so by writing a proposal to TSBVI administration in 2006, and received a grant in 2007 from the A+ Federal Credit Union to support the program.

I was led to develop this approach by a student who came to the school in 2003 at 17 years of age with many challenges to his learning.  He had a neurological disorder resulting in cortical visual impairment (CVI) and central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), which means his brain had difficulty making sense of visual and auditory information; cerebral palsy impacting mobility on his right side causing fatigue so he’d sit down often and use a wheelchair for long distances; autism; a speech impairment; and a seizure disorder monitored by high doses of medication administered during meals.  He also came with well-established behaviors, including self-abuse (dropping to the floor and head banging) and aggression (throwing, biting, head-butting and pinching).

The medical conditions this student had, and those of other students I have since taught, create a tremendous amount of confusion, pain, frustration and disruption in their lives, leaving the students in little control of their bodies and the events that happen to them.  I’ve worked hard to empower the students and let them be in control of their learning experience as much as possible. To do this, I’ve structured the classroom into distinct learning environments or centers differentiated from one another by themes, the materials stored there, the seating arrangements (tables/chairs, couches, beanbags, rugs), and the physical landmarks dividing them. This organization has helped my students make associations between the centers and the interactions, activities, materials and sensory experiences that occur in each.

The centers derive from natural occurring themes in the student’s lives.  These include:

 Image 1: A calendar center that includes an area with each student’s communication system located nearest to the door, where we communicate about past, present and/or future events.

CalendarCenter

A hygiene center with soaps and lotions of various smells and different sized containers, toothpastes and toothbrushes, hairbrushes, sponges, foot baths and hand dryers.

Image 2: a kitchen or cooking center which includes utensils such as measuring cups, stirring spoons, mixing bowls, cups, placemats, appliances such as a microwave and refrigerator,  as well as supplies such as food, spices.

Kitchen Center

A clothing center with a standing closet rack upon which clothing of various textures hang, as well as hats, jewelry, shoes and fabrics.

Image 3: sensory centers including a tactile vibration area with vibrating pillows of various sizes, and acoustic musical instruments; and an electronic visual/auditory center which contains the beloved keyboards, CDs and cassette players, light boxes and computer.

VibrationCenter

Image 4: a vocational center that includes a can crusher, cans, trash receptacle on wheels, plastic bags, a broom, watering cans, smooth stones, planters, shovels, scoops, water hoses, paint rollers, dusters, mop heads and containers with lids.

Vocational Center

A gross motor center with a swing, mats, scooter boards, roller skates, and rocking chair.

Image 5: a throwing center with balls of various shapes, sizes, colors and weights, plastic bottles with different materials on the inside and textures glued to the outside.

ThrowingCenter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In my earlier teaching days, I was in a smaller classroom equipped with one table where activities of very different topics took place: cooking, hygiene, vocational.  Some activities were in a one-on-one setting and some a group setting.  While each activity was differentiated by its own object symbol, the students taught me that conducting many activities in one place caused them confusion, stress and distrust, resulting in behaviors like shutting down, body or hand tension, hitting, leaving the area, or dropping to the floor.  In my attempts to be efficient in a small space, I was also controlling access to materials by keeping them in storage bins and determining when they would make an appearance based on the schedule I created.

When I moved to a larger classroom, I released control of the materials and the time frame in which to use them and gave the students more freedom to explore.  I scheduled students’ time in the various centers based on their interests, preferences, and sensory needs. I observed the actions they performed with their hands and bodies, with various materials, and with other adults, keeping a pen and paper (and at times a video camera) handy to document and make changes as needed.  I noticed students initiating more actions by reaching out and moving their bodies with greater independence, increasing their motor skills in the ways they handled objects, and increasing their social and emotional skills as the time spent in the various centers expanded.  I created a matrix for each student that outlined the IEP goals each center addressed, and hung these documents in the centers so all adults interacting with or observing the students would have a reference of what skills to target.  I also advocated for a more flexible schedule to allow the students time to continue to grow at their own pace.

Based on my observations, I purchased objects for the centers that contained properties I noticed held the students interest. One student fixated on tickling himself—using his apron strings at meals, paper towels in the bathroom, and his pillow when he woke up in the morning.  I made sure to have familiar items for tickling in all centers, and used his attraction to soft materials as a way to get him interested in the less desirable vocational center where I showed him the tickling potential in dusters, a car wash mitt, paint rollers, and a mop head.  Another student, who refused most materials, paid attention to jewelry worn by staff providing sighted guide while walking together.  He was scheduled to visit the clothing center.  We increased our jewelry collection and had interactions with him where we would put on different types of jewelry for him to notice (various beaded bracelets, a springy phone cord on my wrist, metal rings).

A different student with total blindness, a severe hearing impairment, and severe sensory integration deficits was particularly withdrawn. Touch and interaction stressed him out, causing him to drop to the floor and at times try to remove his clothing.  He primarily stood in one place twisting his upper body rapidly from side to side, or sat in a rocking chair with his legs crossed close to his body, tucking his head and arms onto his legs.  He could tolerate being in a center if it meant he had room to sway, but he was fearful of touching anything.  Presenting an object to him was too demanding, so we hung objects where he could accidentally bump into them in the process of swaying.  He felt extremely threatened by interaction, so my goal was for him to allow my presence near him.  I stood and imitated his swaying, near enough so when he chose to reach out he felt me resonating the same body movement as his. Over the entire school year, this non-demanding interaction built trust between us, and that trust helped him remain in contact with me as I invited him to follow me as I then reached out to experience objects in the centers.

When I look back at videotape from 2003, my first teaching year with the student who inspired me, I notice ways I had made learning more challenging for him than it should have been.  I limited his access to objects because I wanted to prevent his mouthing, throwing and banging them. I had an expectation about how he should manipulate objects based on their function. I placed him in group activities with multi-step sequencing and tried to have him share materials with peers.  When he attempted to leave the activity, I responded by trying to keep him in the area, but he was skilled at getting away.  When he dropped to the floor, I focused on getting him to sit back up to keep him from banging his head.

Our second school year together, I realized that group activities were too fast paced and over-stimulating to his senses, causing him to leave the area to regulate sensory input. Also, when he was on the floor, he felt stable and could bend his legs into a certain position to ease stiffness from his CP; it helped when he had stomach pain; and it also communicated that he needed to take a break. I struggled less with him when he was on the floor and instead brought materials to him. I surprised both of us by changing this conversation and it strengthened our relationship.

Our third year together, I was guided to look at Lilli Nielsen’s Functional Schemes Assessment by staff experienced in her approach from working in TSBVI’s specialized elementary level classroom. Sure enough, the assessment confirmed that my secondary level student wasn’t ready to take turns with peers nor was he at the level of multi-step sequencing.  He needed lots more time handling materials of many different properties and lots more practice having positive interactions with trusted adults who would offer him objects, imitate his actions, model object exploration, and accept him for who he was.  His competence and confidence grew!

In our fourth year together we were in the larger classroom and there was now a balance of learning centers where certain activities occurred in chairs and others occurred on the floor.  He learned to travel around the classroom and retrieve materials from consistently stored locations. His self-abuse decreased and he learned to express when he felt challenged using language and actions that we modeled. After having extended time to explore objects, he expanded his actions beyond mouthing, throwing, and banging to also include shaking, rotating, twisting, waving, scratching, and sniffing. His functional use of objects increased. He gained significantly more ability to use both hands, even the one impacted by CP, and increased his visual skills as well.

This student had a huge, positive impact on my understanding of how to teach older students with severe impairments. He taught me to listen to him and his peers with greater sensitivity, and to develop an organized environment with motivating materials, in which students can experience decreased stress and increased learning despite the many challenges of their multiple impairments.

 

A Quarterly Newsletter For Families And Professionals On Visual Impairments And Deafblindness.  A collaborative effort of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Division for Blind Services.

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News and Views Editor: Gay Speake (512) 533-7103,

 

The audio version of TX SenseAbilities is provided by Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Austin, Texas

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.  The Outreach Programs are funded in part by IDEA-B Formula, and IDEA-D Deaf-Blind Federal grants.  Federal funds are administered through the Texas Education Agency, Division of Special Education, to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.

Spring/ Summer 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Excerpt from ReadThisToMe.org

Abstract: This article describes a free service that allows blind and visually impaired people to have printed documents read to them over the telephone.

Key Words: blindness, visual impairment, free reading service

ReadThisToMe is a free reading service for blind and low-vision people, powered by volunteers and Internet collaboration.

ReadThisToMe allows blind and low-vision people (clients) to have printed documents read to them over the phone. All a person needs is a phone line and a fax machine (no computer is required.) Here’s how it works:

  1. The client faxes the document to be read to the ReadThisToMe toll-free fax number: 1-877-333-8848. The first page of the fax needs to be a cover page that includes the client’s first name and callback (voice) phone number. The document itself can be just about anything: a handwritten letter, a bill, a can of food, a multi-page magazine article -- just about anything that can be faxed.
  2. One of ReadThisToMe’s volunteer readers will call the client back—usually within an hour—and read the document.
  3. That’s it!

The service is available throughout the U.S. and Canada and is absolutely free (though donations are gladly accepted).

Because the reading is done by people, this service can handle documents that electronic reading hardware and software cannot, such as handwritten documents, documents with complex graphics, etc. The cost of entry is just a phone line and a fax machine. A flatbed fax machine is slightly more expensive but can be more versatile, allowing clients to fax pages from books, food containers, and other thicker items.)

ReadThisToMe needs more volunteer readers: all volunteers need are a few minutes a day and willingness to make a long-distance phone call. More info about volunteering.

The service was created and is maintained by Savetz Publishing. Businesses that wish to help sponsor ReadThisToMe can send e-mail to info @ readthistome.org . Sponsors and other friends of Read This To Me are listed here.

Spring/ Summer 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Press Release, American Foundation for the Blind, April 29, 2008

Abstract: This article describes the new FamilyConnect resource that provides support and information for parents with children who have a visual impairment.

Key Words: News & Views, blindness, visual impairment, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), FamilyConnect,

When parents learn their child has a visual impairment, it can be overwhelming. Parents wonder, Will my child fall behind at school? or Will my child make friends? or Will my child have a successful career? With only 93,600 visually impaired school-aged children in the U.S., over half of whom have additional disabilities, it's easy for families facing vision loss to feel alone.

To help these families connect with each other and give busy parents, grandparents and other caretakers a place to find comprehensive resources and support 24 hours a day, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) today launched FamilyConnect", an online, multimedia community for parents and guardians of children with visual impairments.

Located at www.familyconnect.org, FamilyConnect gives parents access to message boards where they can talk to other parents, compelling videos featuring real-life families, parenting articles, a mom-authored blog, a glossary of more than 30 eye conditions, and links to local resources. The site also features sections dedicated to multiple disabilities, technology, education, and every age group from infants to teens.

We created FamilyConnect to give parents the support and information they need to ensure their children can achieve their dreams - whether that is playing sports or music, learning to read braille, getting a first job, surfing the web, making the cheerleading squad, traveling the world, or going to graduate school, said Carl R. Augusto, President & CEO of AFB.

A recent NAPVI/AFB survey of parents of children with visual impairments showed that parents/guardians turn most commonly to physicians (82%), educators (76%), and web sites (65%) for information and support regarding their children's vision problems. This is consistent with national statistics from the 2006 Pew Internet & American Life Project that show 80 percent of American adult Internet users have searched for health information online. For parents living in rural areas with fewer resources, the web is particularly important to finding relevant, trustworthy information and the right services.

When I talk to parents of visually impaired children, they almost always ask about three things: they want to talk to other parents who have children with the same eye condition as their child, they want access to the latest health and education information, and they want to know what the future holds, said Susan LaVenture, Executive Director of NAPVI. FamilyConnect offers parents all these things - and more - in one place.

In addition to joining a community of parents, visitors to www.familyconnect.org can create a personal profile and receive information on news and events based on their child's age, eye condition, and location. Families can also find articles written by parents and professionals on topics such as:

  • Finding the Right Eye Care Professionals for Your Child
  • Developmental Milestones: What Do They Mean?
  • Your Child's Individualized Educational Program
  • Friendship in the Teen Years
  • College Life Begins

In designing this web site, AFB and NAPVI partnered with leading national organizations and hundreds of local agencies that serve children who are visually impaired to keep FamilyConnect content complete and up to date. AFB and NAPVI also solicited input from families across the country.

The goal of www.familyconnect.org is to provide connections and support. By providing accurate information and creating a forum for meaningful discussion, families and their visually impaired children will feel empowered to reach their full potential.

FamilyConnect is generously supported by grants from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc. and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Morgan Stanley.

Spring/ Summer 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Excerpt from National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities website:

Abstract: This article describes a popup guide available on the web to help parents of visually- or hearing-impaired children advocate for their child's educational needs in ARD meetings.

Key Words: blindness, visual impairment, deafness, hearing impairment, National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities, special education, IEP, ARD, NCSSD

With the help of parent organizations across the country, the National Center on Severe and Sensory Disabilities (NCSSD) has developed a series of disability specific help guides for parents, teachers, and administrators. Each one includes a series of commonly heard objections followed by some possible responses and the law that justifies those responses.

The Pop-Up IEP is intended to help parents respond to school administrators who can sometimes have priorities that are not clear to parents. As such, these tools provide administrators with the information they need to petition local school boards for the funding necessary to help each child reach his or her full potential.

The Blindness and Visual Impairment version provides information specifically intended to help parents, teachers, and administrators deal with the issues specific to students who are blind or have a visual impairment.

The Deafness and Hard-of-Hearing version provides information specifically intended to help parents, teachers, and administrators deal with the issues specific to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Significant Support Need version provides information specifically intended to help parents, teachers, and administrators deal with the issues specific to students who have some highly debilitating disability.

Spring/ Summer 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Kathy Geiger, TVI and VI Specialist, Region 5 Educational Service Center

Abstract: This article provides information about the National Braille Association.

Key Words: blindness, visual impairment, braille, National Braille Association, NLS certification

National Braille Association (NBA) is the national organization for Braillists in North America. It was originally composed of volunteers who provided Braille material for blind people. The changes in NBA have been varied and not only benefit those who have NLS certification, but all teachers of the visually impaired. Over the years, NBA has realized that Transcriber and Educator Services have become a big issue. Therefore, there is an additional committee for this group. I enjoy attending the meetings not only to learn all the new rules, but to also learn better ways of presenting materials for my students. Even if you were not able to attend the NBA conference in Dallas in April, be sure to check out the NBA website at . One especially helpful feature is the Ask an Expert section, which is divided into topics and moderated by experts in tactile graphics, mathematics notation, computer assisted transcription, foreign language, and many more. This is a great way to get very specific and current information.

Winter 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Preparing Young Texans for a Successful Future

By Barbara J. Madrigal, Assistant Commissioner, DARS-Division for Blind Services

Abstract: This article describes Division for Blind Services activities to promote self-confidence and self-empowerment in young Texans who are blind or visually impaired.

Key words: blind, visually impaired, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-empowerment, self-advocacy, Texas Confidence Builders, American Council of the Blind (ACB)

Over a number of years, the DARS-Division for Blind Services (DBS) has developed a philosophy known as Texas Confidence Builders. This philosophy is the backbone of planned activities designed to help our consumers acquire the skills necessary to develop positive self-confidence and self-empowerment, and it represents an especially critical component for younger consumers as they explore the world around them and begin making personal decisions that will have a lasting impact on their future.

The principles incorporated into the philosophy include the development of strong independent living skills such as personal communication and self-advocacy skills, orientation and mobility skills that allow the individual to travel safely in different environments, and the daily skills we all use in everyday life to prepare nutritious meals, select and take care of our clothes, make new friends, and develop a healthy lifestyle through a balance of work and recreation.

At the core of all these skills is the development of positive self-esteem and self-confidence, traits every young person needs to cultivate to be a truly independent adult. If you are a parent, you are keenly aware that these can be very difficult traits for teenagers to acquire. For that reason, DBS services for youth and young adults include workshops, conferences, and other functions to help young consumers participate in the kinds of experiences that create a solid foundation for their future goals.

One such activity, the Carolyn Garrett Legislative Leadership Conference, is an ongoing collaboration between the DBS Transition Program and the Texas Chapter of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Fourteen young consumers from across the state independently traveled to Austin to attend the 2007 conference, based on the theme Advocacy Builds Leaders. Events included a keynote address by Secretary of State Roger Williams on the importance of exercising the right to vote as well as a discussion about the responsibilities and tasks involved in his duties as an elected official; a presentation by Vince Morvillo, based on his many successful accomplishments as a blind sailor, encouraging the youngsters to always work toward making their individual dreams a reality; and several breakout sessions that focused on self-advocacy skills in different situations such as ARD meetings, workplaces, and local communities. The conference participants also enjoyed a tour of the state capitol building and a visit with Representative Sylvester Turners legislative aide, who discussed a range of current legislation and provided an overview of the duties performed by legislative aides.

Another very successful conference, the Fourth Annual Texas Confidence Builders Foundation for Life Conference, was held in Corpus Christi and attended by over 50 consumers from across the state along with their parents and siblings. The core theme at this years conference was that families should have the same high expectations for a child who is blind or visually impaired as for any of the childs siblings. A variety of presentations covered diverse topics like the importance of acquiring solid independent living skills, developing a resume for college or work, and the value of community volunteer work to gain experience and promote self-confidence. The consumers and their families were also offered numerous hands-on activities and opportunities to hear from gifted speakers who shared their personal perspectives about blindness. As one parent observed, The entire program was important to my family. It gave us a shot of confidence that will help us focus on what is important for a successful life.

These types of activities help our young consumers internalize the belief that success is an achievable goal. Being a young adult is never easy, but developing a sense of self-confidence and self-empowerment through positive experiences helps open doors, creates a solid foundation for each youngsters dreams and goals, and begins preparing our young Texans for the very successful futures they deserve.

Winter 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Spoken Text Website Launched&And Its Free

By Christine Sweeton, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
Reprinted with permission from The Charlatan, Carleton University Independent Newspaper, September 14, 2007.

Abstract: A Carleton Univ. graduate launches a free website, , that allows members to convert text files into speech recordings.

Key words: blindness, visual impairment, print-disabled, The Charlatan, Carleton University, spokentext, screen reader, Mark McKay, Carleton School of Psychology Human-Oriented Technology Laboratory.

A bright, young student at an American university eagerly awaited the start of the school year. She started attending her classes and enjoyed all her lectures. It was not until she went to purchase textbooks for her courses that her university career slammed to a devastating halt.

This student was blind, and her textbooks were not available as audio books.

The university rushed to acquire the information in another format. Reluctantly, publishers released the texts as digital files on CD. The written words on the computer screen were no easier to see than those on a page. As she fell behind in her courses, she wondered if this signaled the end of her university career.

While searching the Internet, one of her professors stumbled upon spokentext.net. Created through a partnership between Carleton graduate Mark McKay and the Carleton School of Psychology Human-Oriented Technology Laboratory (HOT Lab) the website is designed to assist visually-impaired people around the globe. The website, spokentext.net, is free for all users and allows members to easily convert text files into speech recordings. The recordings can then be listened to directly or transferred to iTunes or an iPod.

Being able to quickly and easily turn digital textbooks into recordings helped save that American students education. Thankful for the solution, the student wrote to McKay, the websites creator.

McKay graduated from Carleton in 2000 with a commerce degree, specializing in information systems. He is also visually-impaired and worked with the government on web accessibility prior to starting the website. Focused on helping other people, his goal was to create an easier way for the people to access text in spoken form.

I had the idea for years, says McKay. When his government contract ended and he met Robert Biddle, a HOT Lab professor, the website began to take form. McKay wrote all the computer code and designed the interface himself.

Spokentext.net went live in December 2006 and now includes members from more than 80 countries.

After its launch, McKay and Biddle began researching user reaction to the site. They aim to keep spokentext.net as simple as possible, but many features were added at the request of users.

I believe that technology should bend to the user, not the user bending to technology. The sites design is user-driven, says McKay. I wanted to remove the pain from converting text. The site is empowering. There is no need to wait for the files.

The site was originally designed for the print-disabled, but now includes many non-disabled members. Print-disabled is a broad category, which includes the blind, visually-impaired, those who are illiterate or who have learning disabilities, and anyone learning English as a second language. Unable to easily read the written word, the print-disabled look for other ways of receiving the information.

McKay says he hopes the website will reach even further. Students have started using the site to convert their study notes into recordings that they can listen to while doing things like exercising.

McKay is currently focused on promoting the site, emphasizing to those in need of this service that it is available, and free and simple to use. He has already had meetings with Carletons Paul Menton Centre to share information about the site.

Without an official sponsor, the site is funded by McKay, Biddle and a Paypal donation feature on the home page. I want the people who use it to support it, says McKay. They are currently raising money to add a female voice option, which will cost $260. It is not a huge sum, says McKay, who notes that he would love to add other voices and languages though the funding is not available yet. Both the interface and speech files are available only in English, but McKay says he eventually wants to provide multilingual speech conversions

After six months online, Spokentext.net is still growing and changing. McKay says he hopes that spokentext.net membership will continue to grow and the site will gain popularity. We know it isnt perfect, we know it doesnt have all these features, but its usable and it helps.

Winter 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Bookshare.Org News Update

Excerpt from Bookshare.org Website

Abstract: Bookshare.org announces a five-year award that allows them to supply high quality textbooks and educational materials to students with special needs.

Key words: Blindness, visual impairment, Bookshare.org, Benetech, literacy, IDEA, print disability.

Created in 2002 by the nonprofit organization Benetech, Bookshare.org is a subscription-based service used by nearly 6,000 U.S. residents. Bookshare.org gives print disabled people in the United States legal access to over 35,000 books and 150 periodicals that are converted to Braille, large print or text to speech audio files. Bookshare.org announces:

Were happy to share incredible news, which will transform Bookshare.org. On Friday, the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. federal Department of Education made a major five-year award of $32 million to Bookshare.org. This will further the objectives of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), by supplying high quality textbooks and educational materials to students with special needs.

This funding is to fully support all schools and students with qualifying print disabilities in the United States. It applies to all students, of any age, in K-12 or beyond. We will provide these students with access to the entire Bookshare.org collection of accessible electronic books and to software for reading those books. As of October 1, 2007, we have ceased charging these schools and students anything to join Bookshare.org. We also expect to add over 100,000 new educational titles in high quality DAISY and Braille formats over the next five years, getting students the high quality textbooks they need for academic success.

Bookshare.org is delighted to announce the opening of Bookshare.org to international users with qualifying print disabilities. We have an expanding number of books where we have received generous permission from publishers and authors to make their works available globally. We suggest you check out the books we have available globally, as explained on our International Searching page.

If you are someone who cant read a printed book, or know a person who has difficulty reading printed text, the Bookshare.org community is here to serve you.

Winter 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Book Announcement: A Parents Guide to Special Education for Children with Visual Impairments Edited by Susan LaVenture

Excerpt from American Foundation for the Blind website

Key Words: blindness, visual impairment, American Foundation for the Blind, special education, National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments.

This handbook for parents, family members, and caregivers of children with visual impairments explains special education services that these children are likely to need and to which they are entitledand how to make sure that they receive them.

Edited by the Executive Director of the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments and written by experienced professionals and parents, this helpful resource addresses the effect of visual impairment on a childs ability to learn and the services and educational programming that are essential for optimal learning. It is an invaluable manual, intended to help parents ensure that their children receive the best education possible.