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Fall 1999 Volume 4, No. 4

Kate's Corner

Outreach is pleased to welcome a new VI Outreach member, Eva Lavigne formerly from Lubbock. Eva has spent 10 years as a teacher of the visually impaired with the Lubbock Independent School District. Eva, we are extremely glad you decided to join us. Eva will be working in ESC Regions 5, 6, 9, 14, 16, and 17.

It's a brand new year for Outreach, and we are already as busy as we can be. Deaf-Blind Outreach hosts the Annual Intervener meeting here in Austin that will include a special presentation by Dr. Jan van Dijk of the Netherlands for interveners and their supervising teachers. Joining them for this event and some informal meeting time of their own will be the new Regional Deaf-Blind Specialists from the education service centers, and the new DBMAT Regional Coordinators. This meeting takes place November 7 - 9 following the ESC Region 11 van Dijk workshop on the 3rd and 4th.

One of our primary focuses for both Deaf-Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach is to help develop supports at a regional level. We are working in collaboration with The Three Low Incidence Disabilities Decentralized Project at Region 3 ESC to pilot a process in several regions that will develop stakeholder groups which examine and address the needs of individuals with deafblindness. We are also lending our support to the Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas (DBMAT) to train Regional Coordinators for that organization in all of the education service center areas. VI Outreach is working with NAPVI and other parent support groups on initiatives that include expanding the number of support groups for families regionally and developing a Spanish-speaking Family Network.

Of course, we see 1999 - 2000 as a time of continued training for parents and professionals. Texas Focus 2000, Helen Called Her Teacher, and the Second Annual Usher Syndrome Family Retreat are already being planned. Watch the Classified section or visit the TSBVI website to stay up-to-date on the plans for these and other events. We will also continue to offer workshops such as Through Your Child's Eyes, topical workshops (on braille instruction, communication, etc.), and activities such as the INSITE Curriculum Training and Quality Program for Visually Impaired (QPVI) in collaboration with the education service centers and Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) . Our Technology Specialist, Sharon Nichols has developed a packet of materials to assist local districts in completing technology assessments. In addition, she offers two days of onsite training to assist a teacher and student with the new device or software program borrowed from the TSBVI Technology Loan Program. Onsite consultations remain on the menu as another training option available to families and professionals.

Through the VIP program over 100 vision professionals have been trained in Texas over the past two years, and we continue to collaborate with Universities and ESCs to train more professionals in the area of vision and orientation and mobility through this program. Through the Mentor Program 139 O&M Specialist and VI teachers have been approved as mentors with 36 applicants waiting to be approved. Connecting with these mentors are 115 O&M specialists-in-training and VI teachers-in-training, and an additional 64 individuals waiting to receive a mentor. Of course, APH Quota materials and the TEA VI Registry are still being ably administered by Nick Necaise.

Please keep reading SEE/HEAR to stay informed about the many wonderful activities that are occurring in Texas. As a result of this excellent collaboration of parents and professional, 1999 - 2000 has the makings of a very good year.

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010