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Spring 99 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Jim Gatteys Heads Up NFBT, TCB, TSBVI Collaboration

By Jim Durkel, Statewide Staff Development Coordinator, TSBVI, Outreach

Welcome to the newest member of the Outreach program, Jim Gatteys, Family Workshop Coordinator. Jim was born in Dallas with ROP (though it was called RLF back then) and is blind as a result. Jim has a younger brother who also has ROP, and his parents were part of the group that established Dallas Services for the Blind. Jim went to public schools and remembers wanting to attend TSBVI (though he never did) in order to participate in sports. He is a braille reader who claims that "if there is a piece of technology out there, I have used it!"

Jim graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's in psychology and a minor in horticulture. He has worked for TCB as a rehab teacher, transition counselor, and technology trainer. Jim explained that his mother taught him how to be a rehabilitation teacher. "She was sneaky," he said. First she would call home in the afternoon and say, "I am running late, the meatloaf is in the metal pan in the refrigerator, the oven is set at 350, just put the pan in the oven and turn on the oven." After a while, she would call home and say, "I did not have time to make the meatloaf, but the pan is on the counter, the tomato sauce is in the can next to the pan, the dry ingredients next to that, the ground meat in the refrigerator. Set the oven at 350." Even later she would just call home and say, "Would you fix dinner?"

Jim has also worked as a teaching assistant in a resource room for students with visual impairments, been a braille proofreader, and played piano at a supper club. He is also a registered massage therapist.

Jim's new position as Family Workshop Coordinator was created as the result of a cooperative effort between NFBT, TCB, and TSBVI. Jim will work with the families of children between ages 6 and 16 who are visually impaired and mostly on grade level in their schoolwork. Jim will be supporting opportunities for those students and their families to meet and interact with each other. Jim will also be coordinating the "Through Your Child's Eyes" workshop that is offered in five different locations each year around the state. This workshop gives basic information about visual impairments, programming and resources. It is done in collaboration with other agencies or organizations such as Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) , the regional Education Service Centers, parent support groups, and others.

If you would like to learn more about Jim's program, or request that he bring one of these training opportunities to your part of the state, please call him at (512) 206-9440 or e-mail him at gatteys_j@tsbvi.edu.  

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Last Revision: September 4, 2003