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2016-2017 Calendar

To register for any of these events, follow the links for each separate event or go to (our secure partner website) and view the Calendar of Sessions.

For Credit All of our workshops and conferences have been approved for continuing education credit (ACVREP and SBEC). In order to be eligible for continuing education credit for participation in any of our events, you must register for this event, sign the roster for the session(s) you attend, and complete an evaluation using a code following the event.  You will need to create an account the first time you enter the site. If there is a fee for the registration, you will be asked for a PO or check number during registration, unless you are paying by credit card. If you do not have the number at the time of registration, simply enter 0000 in that box. You can send in payment or bring it with you to the event.  


April 2-5, 2017

The 4th Biennial POSB Math & Science Institute for Instruction

Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired James C. Durkel Conference Center, Austin, TX

This event will take place just prior to the NCTM Annual Meeting set for April 5-8, 2017 in San Antonio, TX (about 100 miles south of Austin).

What to Expect

  • This is your chance to connect with other professionals around the country about teaching math and science to the blind or visually impaired.  
  • We have tentatively scheduled a social gathering Sunday night, morning and afternoon sessions on both Monday and Tuesday, a tour of TSBVI late Monday afternoon (4:15-5:15 PM) and networking time on Wednesday morning. 
  • The NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition will be taking place starting the evening of April 5th in San Antonio if you would like to attend that also.  Registration for NCTM will need to be made separately at
  • TSBVI will be providing transportation from Austin to San Antonio on the 5th for participants registered for the POSB Math and Science Institute who would like this assistance.


  • To build community and a support system among teachers of the visually impaired. Often, teachers feel isolated and don’t have easy access to other teachers for guidance and support. 
  • To provide professional development opportunities. The “POSB Institutes for Instruction” would include a training component, focusing on a particular area of instruction to inspire teachers and provide them with tools to improve their instructional practices.  
  • To establish online communities for individual disciplines in order to provide ease in communication and to share documents and other materials related to instruction.

View the agenda!


Registration begins on November 1, 2016 and is free to all individuals who register before March 4, 2017 thanks to the generous contributions from our sponsors.  If you register March 4, 2017 or later, you will be charged $50.

Register now for the POSB Math and Science Institute!


A block of rooms has been reserved at the CROWNE PLAZA AUSTIN located at 612 North IH-35 Austin, Texas at a special rate of $135 for either a single or double room.  

To make your reservation call (800) 227-6963. Individuals must identify themselves as an attendee at the POSB Math and Science Institute to recieve this special rate.  This rate is only good for rooms reserved by March 15, 2017.

The Crowne Plaza is approximately 4 1/2 miles from Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired campus.

Included in your hotel reservation is a full breakfast.

A free shuttle will be provided by TSBVI to transport participants to and from the hotel to TSBVI.

April 23-25, 2017

Mentor Center For Credit

Location: TSBVI James C. Durkel Conference Center, Austin, TX

Mentor Centers provide participants an opportunity to observe experienced TVIs and COMS as they use a variety of strategies and materials with their students on the TSBVI and Austin ISD campuses.  Each participant will have the opportunity to observe between 4-6 individual VI professionals a day.  Participants also have the option to tour the Criss Cole state Rehabilitation Center for adults with visual impairments, located near the TSBVI campus.

May 11, 2017

Low Vision Conference For Credit

Location: TSBVI James C. Durkel Conference Center, Austin, TX

Register Now!

This conference is the 3rd in a series of conferences focusing on low vision.  This year’s event will address children with progressive vision loss.  Progressive vision losses occur for a variety of reasons, but are often associated with specific syndromes or occur as a result of medical conditions.

A visual impairment that is a progressive condition brings an unpredictable factor to picturing the days and years ahead and planning to address what the loss of vision will mean.  Questions related to literacy, orientation and mobility, social and emotional issues are among the many challenges faced by the student, family and the professionals supporting them. This conference will provide information about various causes of progressive vision loss, new treatment and research, support for families and strategies and solutions for TVIs and COMS. The sessions outlined below are developed for factual content as well as recognizing the very poignant nature of discussing progressive conditions, including those with additional health concerns.





One Family’s Story

One family will share their story of receiving a progressive vision loss diagnosis and reflect on the path they have traveled in both personal and educational needs.


An Overview of Progressive Eye Conditions

Dr. David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO

Dr. Lewerenz specializes in low vision rehabilitation, which provides assistance for patients who have lost vision from an eye or brain condition or injury. In this session he provides an overview of progressive eye conditions, including explanation of changes in the eye, anticipated pattern of progression considering stage of development, and examples of optometric treatment.


An Overview of Treatment and Current Research

Dr. Saradha Chexal, MD, Retina Consultants of Austin, Austin, TX

Dr. Chexal specializes in the medical management of all vitreoretinal diseases. She received additional specialized training in ocular genetics and hereditary eye conditions. An ophthalmologist provides an overview of treatment and current research, including examples of ongoing clinical trials, direction of scientific and technological investigation, and outcomes of published work.


Working Lunch

A box lunch will be provided followed by a virtual tour of internet resources focusing on conditions or progressive vision loss. These resources include medical information, support networks for the person with the visual impairment and their family, and strategies for adjusting to continuing changes in vision.


1st breakout session

The afternoon program provides parent or educator focused sessions.


Q & A with Dr. Lewerenz and Dr. Chexal

During this time parents will have the opportunity to speak with Dr. Lewerenz and Dr. Chexal in this informal question and answer session.

VI Professionals:

Making Decisions about VI Services

VI Professionals will join Emily Calvert, TVI and Mary Shore, COMS, for a discussion about VI services for students with progressive vision loss to include decisions on learning media, moving to braille or initiating instruction, and use of the cane for travel.


2nd breakout session

Parents will choose one session: 

Session A - Participating in Decision-making with your IEP Team

Parents will participate in a discussion, led by Cyral Miller, Outreach Programs Director and Edgenie Bellah, Family Engagement Specialist, about VI services. This will include such issues as decisions about using print, moving to braille, and using the travel cane or other mobility devices.

Session B - Progressive Vision Loss with Degenerative Medical Conditions

This session will focus on issues for students who have progressive vision loss with additional degenerative medical conditions. This session will be led by Marnee Loftin, LSSP, and Rachel Simpson, Family Engagement Specialist. Parents will discuss issues related to programming when the child's condition degenerates over time.  

VI Professionals:  

Special Considerations in Servicing Students with Degenerative Medical Conditions

Emily Calvert, TVI, and Mary Shore, COMS will lead a discussion about special considerations in serving the student with visual impairments in the face of progressive vision loss with a degenerative medical condition.


Registration fee: $50 if registered before April 1, 2017 and $75 beginning April 1, 2017.

Assistance is available to help adult family members with registration and travel costs including transportation, lodging and meals upon request.

Register now!


For more information, please contact Dr. Cindy Bachofer at 512-206-9434 or email  .

May 15, 2017

Learning Media Assessment & Assistive Technology Assessments for Students with Multiple Impairments: An Overview  

3:00-4:00 PM (Central Standard Time) Eastern 4-5 PM, Mountain 2-3 PM, Pacific 1-2 PM

Assessment of students with multiple impairments in the areas of learning media and assistive technology can be problematic. Typical approaches may not afford information that is useful in designing effective learning strategies.  In this webinar series, we will review existing instruments that are designed for the child with visual and multiple impairments.  Included is information about the design of each instrument, the skill areas it considers and a step-by-step explanation of the assessment process it employs.  Assessment tools that will be reviewed may include: Sensory Learning Kit, Functional Schemes, Every Move Counts, Communication Matrix, Infused Skills / Basic Skills Assessment, Robbie Blaha's Calendar Assessment, and Philip Schweigert's Tangible Symbols assessment.   

Register for this event.


June 12-13, 2017

Active Learning Conference For Credit

Presented by Patty Obrzut, Penrickton Center for Blind Children

Co-sponsored by TSBVI Outreach and Region 10 Education Service Center

Given the opportunity, any child can learn!  Active learning, an innovative approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen has reshaped educational programming.  Motivating and empowering those with multiple special needs to be engaged by their environment, instead of being controlled by it.      

Join Ms. Patricia Obrzut, M.S., O.T.R/L., as she provides you with this fresh and pioneering approach.  Learn how to increase functional independence and developmental skills while reducing stereotypical, self-injurious or aggressive behaviors.  This exciting conference will feature lecture, video and demonstrations.  Active Learning equipment and materials will be on display throughout this conference.

Individuals with multiple disabilities (cerebral palsy, visual impairment, cognitive impairment, autism, hearing impairment, etc.) are at great risk from developing reliance on others to interact with the world around them.  Active Learning recognizes that every child/adult with special needs is unique.  The programming and intervention for facilitating learning must reflect this individuality. Active Learning emphasizes creating a developmentally appropriate and enriched environment so that children and adults with multiple special needs become active learners. 

This conference will help professionals and parents understand the theories of Active Learning, to facilitate simple ways to change the environment, and to create a daily curriculum that fosters independent and appropriate developmental learning.  

Learning Objectives for this Conference

Participants will be able to:

  • Establish rich environments to encourage active learning vs. passive learning
  • Identify the role of play as a developmental tool in learning
  • Understanding the dynamic learning circle and the role a disability plays in disrupting this process
  • Identify strategies to encourage developmental learning
  • Identify how to use Active learning as an instrument for decreasing self-injurious behavior, self-stimulatory behaviors or aggressive behaviors
  • Understand the purpose and use of equipment that facilitates an Active Learning environment including:  the Little Room, Resonance Board, HOPSA-dress, Support Bench, Multi-functional table and others.
  • Understand and identify the emotional and intellectual levels of the special needs child. 
  • Identifying the role of the adult in promoting skill development
  • Assess a child’s developmental level with the use of the Functional Scheme
  • Establish a rich and appropriate Active Learning curriculum by developing appropriate IEP goals.  

Our Speaker

Patricia Obrzut is the Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children, a private, non-profit organization serving blind, special needs children ages 1-12 years.  Located in Taylor, Michigan, Penrickton Center offers residential, daycare, and consultative programs at no charge to families.  Ms. Obrzut has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and received the permission of Dr. Lilli Nielsen in 2002 to provide Active Learning educational trainings. She is considered an expert in the use Active Learning strategies, equipment, techniques, assessment tool and curriculum, implementing programming for special needs children since 1992.

Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College

This year's Active Learning Conference will take place in the Conference Center at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College. The campus is located at 9700 Wade Blvd., Frisco, TX near Preston Road and Wade Boulevard, in Frisco, TX.  

Hotels in the Area

The following hotels are listed as offering the state rate on rooms.  Please make your own reservations at one of these hotels or a hotel of your choice.

COMFORT SUITES | 972-668-9700 MAP & Directions 

9700 Dallas Pkwy, Frisco, TX 75033-4258


HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS | 972-668-5959 / 972-668-5959 MAP & Directions 

3400 Parkwood Blvd, Frisco, TX 75034

Website: www.hiexpress/friscotx 

HYATT HOUSE | 972-668-4500 MAP & Directions 

2875 Parkwood Blvd, Frisco, TX 75034


Registration Fee

You may register now and pay later if you are using a purchase order or check.  You may also register using a credit card.

  • $100 for Professionals and Family Members thru May 15th; $125 beginning May 16, 2017.
  • $75 for Paraprofessionals and University Students thru May 15th; $100 beginning May 16, 2017.

Register now!

Family Members of School-aged Children with Visual Impairments

Limited assistance is available for Texas family members of students with visual impairments or deafblindness.  Please contact your HHSC caseworker if you have an active case open about their ability to help with the cost of registration and travel before requesting assistance from TSBVI Outreach.  When registering you may request assistance with registration costs and other financial needs to attend and one of our staff will contact you about your request.

If you are not sure if this conference is for you, you may want to visit the Active Learning Space Website prior to attending this event.  There you will learn some of the basics 


Kate Hurst, TSBVI Outreach Programs

 or 512-206-9224


Deattia MacDonald, Region 10 Education Service Center

 or (972) 348-1700

August 8-11, 2017

Braille Boot Camp: Braille and Tactile Graphic Production: A  workshop for paraprofessionals and other beginners to braille and tactile graphics productions

James C. Durkel Conference Center

Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired 

Austin, Texas

August 11-14, 2017

 Register Now!

 Braille Boot Camp is four days of hands-on experiential learning focused on braille and tactile graphic production.  Susan Mattson and Sharon Nichols will lead participants through both small group and individual activities to create braille and tactile graphic documents. 

Activities include:

  • Braille Document Production for Literary, Foreign Language, Mathematics and Technical materials
  • Tactile Graphic Production of one-page and multiple-page tactile graphics
  • Creation of Templates for basic shapes and Cartesian coordinate planes
  • Applying braille format and tactile graphic placement decision-making
  • Document conversion into editable text
  • Opportunity to work with graphic embossers and software programs used in producing tactile graphics

All sessions start at 8:30 am and end at 4:00 pm.


This is an ideal training for paraprofessionals and others who are beginners to braille and tactile graphics productions. Braille transcribers and TVIs who produce at least 40% of the braille for their students.

Enrollment is limited to 20 participants.

Registration Fee:

$75 Early Registration Discount and $85 after August 1, 2017.

Note:  You may cancel up thru August 3rd  at 5 PM and not incur a cancellation fee.  Cancelling after that time may result in a $25 cancellation fee. Contact Carrie Keith at 512-206-9224 or email to  to cancel.

Register now!


Day 1

Morning: Literary Braille Production – Foundational Skills
Afternoon: Tactile Graphic Production – Foundational Skills
  • Two breaks (Morning and Afternoon)
  • Lunch is from 12-1pm

Day 2

Morning: Braille Production Foreign Language
Afternoon: Tactile Graphic Production – Social Studies
  • Two breaks (Morning and Afternoon)
  • Lunch is from 12-1pm

Day 3

Morning: Braille and Nemeth Production:  Math and Science Worksheets in the U.E.B. Context
Afternoon: Tactile Graphics – Diagrams for Mathematics
  • Two breaks (Morning and Afternoon)
  • Lunch is from 12-1pm

Day 4

Graphic Embossers and Software Programs – Work with Equipment Before Purchasing
  • Two breaks (Morning and Afternoon)
  • Lunch is from 12-1pm

Continuing Education Credits:

All CEU credits have been approved by both ACVREP and SBEC.  CEUs available: 24 - all participants must be able to attend all 4-days.  No partial credit will be given.

For Additional Information visit the Braille Boot Camp webpage.


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