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Let’s Talk About:  TSBVI Outreach Programs school consultations

 

What is an onsite school/ECl consultation?

An on-site school consultation is a personal visit to your program.  On-site consultation can help you design more successful programming for an individual student.  We follow a collaborative process by working with the student’s entire team.

At district/ECI program request, and in collaboration with the regional Education Service Center (ESC) consultants, Outreach staff come visit classrooms, ECI programs, job/community placements, and homes to offer our assistance in developing appropriate programs for your VI and DB students. 

Why do you offer school consultations?

Students with visual impairment or deafblindness are unique. It is not possible for any one professional to know everything about all the many possible ways in which vision (or vision and hearing) loss impact a particular child’s learning.  We pair our expertise with your team’s deep knowledge of your student to help figure out and implement effective educational practices. 

How can I request a school consultation?

Go to the TSBVI website, under Outreach, and on the left hand side you’ll see the Request a Service tab.  School consultation requests are found there.  We do suggest that you connect with the VI and/or DB specialist at your regional Education Service Center prior to inviting us for a consultation as they are much closer and often can offer assistance in a timely manner.   We will also contact them prior to finalizing our visit planning so they can help during our visit and help provide follow through afterward.

What preparations will occur prior to the visit?

The Outreach team reviews requests for training and consultation on a weekly basis. We will assign an Outreach staff member to your referral. This person will get in touch with you as soon as possible to discuss your request, answer any questions and determine a date for the visit. We will request specific documentation (which will be indicated in the “Onsite Preparation Checklist”) and may also ask the educational team and/or parents to gather additional data using specific tools. This will help the OTR staff to make better use of time during the consult. We will also call the family and talk with team members before we come so we can come prepared. 

What do you do during the visit?

A consultation visit typically includes a visit at the family home, and an observation period at school of as much of a typical day as possible given travel constraints.  At some point, usually at the end of the observation day, a gathering is held. The family, principal, classroom teacher, teaching assistants, support staff, VI/O&M professionals and all other interested parties are invited to attend this informal exit meeting.  This is a time for asking questions, sharing ideas, and developing plans. 

What can we expect after a school consultation?

After our visit, and depending upon the request, you will receive a written report outlining our observations and making recommendations for program change.   Ideas from the informal exit meeting are incorporated into this report. The report can offer a guideline for developing IEPs or suggest program modifications, alternate curricula or assessment, or respond to specific questions about this child’s unique needs.  At times we will arrange a return visit and/or web-based meetings to help the team implement these recommendations and/or to tweak the plan.

What does it cost?

The Outreach Programs cover salary costs for TSBVI staff.  We ask for district help with paying all OR ANY PART of our travel costs so the Outreach Program will be able to maintain its commitment to local programs statewide.  In many regions, the Education Service Center consultants have been able to help support these costs.  Even if a local district or an ESC is unable to contribute funding for travel, as long as the TSBVI Outreach Programs has available funds, we will be able to come.

Questions? 

If you have any questions, please contact Cyral Miller, Outreach Director.  She can be reached by email at or by phone at 512-206-9242.