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Fall 1999 Table of Contents
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TSBVI Short Courses: A New Service Delivery Model

By Dr. Lauren Newton, Principal of Special Programs, TSBVI

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is developing new ways to serve students in Texas with visual impairments. TSBVI will be offering intensive short courses in special areas related to vision impairment (e.g., technology, independent living skills, O&M). The focus will be on courses that may be difficult to teach with enough intensity in some public school settings. The programs could vary in time from a long weekend to a week, two weeks, a month or a semester, depending on the subject(s) being taught. Similar intensive, short-term programs are being developed throughout the country for children who are generally successful in their local districts but could benefit from a special boost in certain disability-related areas of instruction.

In Spring 2000, TSBVI will pilot two new programs. In addition, I will be talking with schools and parents across Texas to learn more about other programs they would like to see for their children. These programs are offered at no cost to local districts and parents (other than a small family fee for community outings when applicable). At the present time, this offer includes transportation costs. The spring programs will be small so that TSBVI staff can work out problems before expanding. They will be:

In Summer 2000, TSBVI will offer additional short instructional courses. These courses will occur simultaneously with the enrichment programs the school has traditionally provided in the summer. Then beginning Fall 2000, short courses will gradually increase during the regular school year.

Short-term programs will become better defined as they are implemented and evaluated by schools and parents. Students eligible for programs at this time are those who are on grade level, or no more than two years below grade level. These are the students who are most likely to benefit from brief instruction, then continue to progress in their regular classrooms.

All programs will contain supplementary instruction in the areas of Independent Living and Social Skills. Transition services for a student’s transfer to TSBVI and then back to the local school will be an important part of every program. Our goal is that transition services will be jointly implemented by local district staff, parents and TSBVI. A short intervention is likely to have little lasting effect without this help for the student when he or she returns to the district.

The content of future classes is being considered at this time but remains open to input from statewide consumers. Some possibilities are:

TSBVI will continue to publish updated information in SEE/HEAR and on the TSBVI website as the short courses are better developed. Please direct your questions and comments to:

Dr. Lauren Newton
Principal of Special Programs
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Austin, Tx 78756
E-mail: newton_l@tsbvi.edu

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010