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Spring 2004 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

The Three Low Incidence Disabilities Decentralized Function Presents Dr. Lilli Nielsen

By Kate Moss, Education Specialist,
Texas Deafblind Outreach

Abstract: a review of the workshop, Active Assessment and Active Curriculum Planning Leads to Active Learning, and a discussion of the Functional Schemes Assessment developed by Dr. Nielsen.

Key Words: Active Learning, professional training, Functional Schemes Assessment, FIELA curriculum, Multiply Handicapped, Blindness

I was privileged to be a participant at the “Three A’s of Active Learning: Active Assessment and Active Curriculum Planning Leads to Active Learning” which was held in Austin on January 19-21, 2004. This event was sponsored by the Three Low Incidence Disabilities Function (LID), which is facilitated by Region 3 Education Service Center in Victoria, TX, and was designed to provide training to professionals on Active Learning Theory developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen from Denmark.

This three-day workshop included over 286 participants representing 63 educational teams from the twenty education service center regions. Teams were composed of different mixes of people including special education teachers, motor therapists, vision specialists, speech therapists, diagnosticians, special administrators, and parents. Each participant came as a part of a team that focused on from one to three target students.

Each team was required to complete at least the gross and fine motor portions of the Functional Schemes Assessment developed by Dr. Nielsen on the student(s) in the fall and submitted evidence of that to the LID. This assessment is designed for use in conjunction with the FIELA Curriculum on Active Learning. Each team was given a copy of the FIELA Curriculum and will be implementing Active Learning instructional strategies with their student throughout the spring. They will send in evidence of the work they are doing to the LID. Then the team will update the Functional Schemes Assessment in the spring of 2004 to document progress for the student; this data will also be sent to the LID. Additionally each team will participate in two TETN (video conference) meetings. The first of these meetings takes place March 30th from 9 a.m. to noon with the discussion centering on implementation of the activities and the curriculum. On August 30th another meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon via TETN; the focus of this meeting will be on sharing the results of the project and how to continue participation in Active Learning instruction.

Dr. Lilli Nielsen (center) at the training with Mary Scott and
Brian Jones of Region 3 ESC.

Mary Scott and Brian Jones of Region 3 head up the LID network. They have done an exceptional job in pulling this training together and compiling the follow-up data. It is their hope to continue to monitor students who have participated in this process over a period of years to see the long-range impact of utilizing this instructional approach.

Another real treat for me that occurred as a result of my participation in this workshop was having the opportunity to visit with Dr. Nielsen briefly. I shared with her the article, "Five Phases of Educational Treatment Used in Active Learning," (see page 21) in order to get some feedback on the information she includes in her book, Are You Blind? I deeply appreciate the time she took to visit with me about this article and her encouragement to share it with our SEE/HEAR readers.

Dr. Nielsen has made such wonderful contributions to the education of children with visual impairments and deafblindness in Texas and throughout the world. We were sad to hear her say that this might be her last visit to Texas since it is such a long journey from her native home of Denmark. We will miss seeing her, but I don't think we will forget her or her excellent contributions to the field of education of children with visual impairments.

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010