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2018 Texas Focus Conference:

On the Move

Conference Agenda

This year's conference includes an optional half-day preconference and two full days of training during the main conference. 

There are also a number of related events including a Family Social Hour on Friday evening, vendor displays, and a luncheon on Saturday.

Please review this information to determine which sessions you would like to attend prior to registering online through our secure online registration partner, ESC Works.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ready, Set, Go! Orientation and Mobility Workshop for adult family members 

Heather Withrow, Parent, and Outreach Staff

James C. Durkel Conference Center, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

1:00-4:30 PM

This highly interactive event will help family members gain a better understanding of skills related to movement for an individual with a visual impairment or blindness.  This event will be held on the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired campus. Participants will learn strategies for incorporating more movement into typical activities at home and in the community.  They will also learn how to support their child to "get a move on" and do it safely and successfully.

1:00-1:15 PM

Welcome and Housekeeping

1:15-1:45 PM

What is O&M and Why should I Care?

1:45-2:00 PM

Break

1:45-3:15 PM

Movement Round Robin

3:15-3:30 PM

Break

3:30-4:15 PM

Heather Withrow: Family on the Move

4:15-4:30 PM

Wrap-up / Dismiss


Meeting the Unique Needs of Students in Phase III CVI for professionals

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, Director of Pediatric VIEW Program, Pennsylvania

Crowne Plaza Austin North Central Hotel

1:00-4:30 PM

Dr. Roman-Lantzy will be focusing on characteristics, scoring, and supports and interventions for Phase III CVI.  Some of the points she will be covering include:

  • Movement, orientation in space and the need for independent travel are often overlooked with students in Phase III.
  • Students in Phase III often face significant challenges in social experiences and will most likely need instruction in social skills.
  • Most CVI characteristics do not ever fully “resolve”, even in Phase III.
  • The most common CVI Range scoring errors occur in Phase III.

This session will be packed with information and Dr. Roman will have a special Q&A session to answer your questions during a separate session on March 2nd at 3:30pm.  Please write down any questions and bring them to the Q&A!


 

On Friday the Main Conference begins and runs through Saturday afternoon at the Crowne Plaza Austin North Central.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

Time

Event

7:30 AM -5:00 PM

Registration desk opens and sign-in occurs for Day 1

Participants must sign-in at the start of each day.

7:30 AM-5:00 PM

Vendors and exhibitors in the foyer area

Various vendors and exhibitors will be in the foyer area throughout the conference. Please take time to visit with them between sessions and on Saturday before the luncheon.

8:45-9:00 AM

Housekeeping and Welcome

9:00 AM-12:00 PM

NeuroMovement®: Transcending our vision of what is possible for the visually impaired child.

Anat Baniel, Founder of Anat Baniel Method© and author of Kids Beyond Limits, San Rafael, California and

Dr. Neil Sharp, Practioner and Research Coordinator at Anat Baniel Method©, San Rafael, California

Movement is the most basic and most concrete way of communicating with the brain. Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method®NeuroMovement® (ABMNM) states that “movement is the language of the brain; movement is the fundamental source for the information the brain needs to grow and organize itself.” Movement creates and fosters neuroplasticity (brain change), i.e. learning. Focusing on the visually impaired child, Ms. Baniel will demonstrate how NeuroMovement uses an informational, dynamic systems approach at the neurological level. She will also introduce the Method’s concrete, ground breaking, practical applications - the “Nine Essentials”. These Essentials are fully supported by recent neuroplasticity research.

NeuroMovement wakes up the brain to resume a potent process of differentiation and integration, taking advantage of the remarkable potentials of the brain. This generates a trajectory of learning and recovery that often transcends the expected limits of accomplishments for the visually impaired child (and all other children and adults). Videos, lectures, short experiential NeuroMovement lessons, demonstrations and Q&A will be used to discuss and clarify how ABMNM opens up new possibilities for the visually impaired child, or adult. Attendees will learn core principles of applied neuroplasticity, the “Nine Essentials,” that they can use in their everyday life and practice.

We will explore:

  • Ways for the visually impaired child to experience safe and increasingly free and more complex movement. And lots of it.
  • How movement applied with the Nine Essentials can facilitate the creation of neural networks that normally rely on vision, for the visually impaired child.
  • Ideas and possible ways for a child to interact with objects and scenery around her/him and learn to “know” and understand what they are, without the advantage of sight.

 12:00-1:30 PM

Lunch on your own

 1:30-3:00 PM

     

First Breakout Session

Participants will select one session.

Introducing Two Publications from AFB Press - Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles and Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, Director of Pediatric VIEW Program, Pennsylvania

Dr. Roman’s new publication, Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles, includes information on her continued work and experience in providing assessment and intervention for students with CVI, particularly those functioning in Phase III.  The revised book is an update of her landmark 2007 publication, Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, by AFB Press.

I Want to Play, Too!

Dr. Elina Mullen, Physical Education Teacher, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Individuals with visual impairments, especially those who also have additional disabilities, are often left out of games and physical activities, but it doesn't have to be that way! In this presentation, Dr. Mullen will examine why this occurs so often and share with participants ways adapt games and physical activities for ALL individuals at their ability level.

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking! Using Assistive Technology To Optimize One’s Mind, Body, and Spirit

Larry L. Lewis, Jr., Founder of Flying Blind, LLC, Cleveland Heights, OH 

This session focuses on the use of assistive technology to create an environment where persons with disabilities may participate in activities that improve their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Participants will learn about strategies for using a variety of assistive technologies to identify, travel to, and participate in a variety of activities conducive for personal wellness. Also, participants will be presented with individual and group participation options as a balanced approach to community-based wellness.

Movement for Life: Panel discussion on the benefits of being active

Facilitated by Scott Baltisberger, Education Consultant, TSBVI Outreach Programs, Austin, TX

It is well-known that being active can lead to developments in physical fitness. However, a commitment to moving one's body can also have positive outcomes in other areas as well. Come listen in on a panel of students and young adults as they discuss the ways in which their engagement in a variety of sports and recreation activities has enhanced their lives.

3:00-3:30 PM

Afternoon Break

Join us for a stretch break and light snacks in the foyer area.

3:30-5:00 PM

      

Second Breakout Session

Participants will select one session.

CVI Q&A with Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, Director of Pediatric VIEW Program, Pennsylvania

This session is for parents and teachers who attended previous conference sessions and had questions about the material covered.

Accessing Information Anywhere/Anytime! Shedding Light on Accessible Cloud Computing

Larry L. Lewis, Jr., Founder of Flying Blind, LLC, Cleveland Heights, OH 

This session illustrates the need for today’s student and aspiring professional to be able to access specific types of information from any location using a variety of technology tools. The presenter will identify these types of information, define Cloud computing, provide a blueprint for accessing cloud-based services, and offer guidance on how to access and interact with these types of information on a variety of mainstream technology devices. Participants should have a basic understanding of desktop and mobile screen readers.

Know Your Rights and Advocacy Strategies for Physical Education and Transition

Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Professor of Kinesthesiology, SUNY, Brockport, NY

In this presentation participants will learn exactly what the law says about physical education and transition planning. They will also learn advocacy strategies to get what their child needs and deserves related to placement and content in physical education, after school sports and transition services. Lastly, extensive resources will be shared such as books, web sites, videos and programs.

It Is All Connected: Early Learning and Movement

Patty Obrzut, Occupational Therapist and Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Taylor, Michigan

 All humans learn through their own movement in the earliest stages of learning.  Patty Obrzut, expert in the use of the Active Learning approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen from Denmark, will share with participants how cognition, self-identity, and emotional development are all tied to movement.

 5:00-7:00 PM 

Family Social hosted by TAPVI

If you are a family member of a child with visual impairments or DeafBlindness please join the members of TAPVI in this informal networking event.  You will have an opportunity to meet many of the speakers and connect with other family members from all across Texas!  Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided as well as a cash bar that will see you through until you head out for dinner.

Professional App-y Hour

Before heading out for the evening, stop by for an appetizer and an app!  This networking social will give you plenty of opportunities to meet with other professionals and learn about new apps and other resources that can help you do your job, whether you are a TVI, COMS, paraprofessional or other educator.  Of course, there is always new information to share with rehabilitation professionals and university students as well. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided as well as a cash bar 

Saturday, March 2, 2018

Time

Event

7:30 AM

Registration desk opens and sign-in occurs for Day 2

Participants must sign-in at the start of each day.

7:30 AM-12:30 PM

Vendors and exhibitors in the foyer area

Various vendors and exhibitors will be in the foyer area throughout the conference. Please take time to visit with them between sessions and on Saturday before the luncheon.

8:30-10:00 AM

     

Third Breakout Session 

Participants will select one session.

Anat Baniel Method© Q & A

Dr. Neil Sharp, Practioner and Research Coordinator at Anat Baniel Method©, San Rafael, California

Want to delve a little deeper into the Anat Baniel Method? Neil Sharp will answer questions generated by parents, teachers, and other adults who work with children with special needs and help connect parents to Anat Baniel Method© practioners in their areas in Texas.

No Wheels – Not a Problem!  Ideas for Getting Your Teens Moving into the World of Nondriving

Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

What does it take to get around if you don't drive? It can be quite challenging. In this session participants will develop knowledge of the challenges facing nondrivers and become aware of skills teens who are nondrivers need to develop in 2018. They will also develop a list of activities to use with teenagers to prepare them to be nondrivers who are on the move!

Mental Health Education Program for School Personnel: Parents and Teachers As Allies

Representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin, TX

Just because a student has a visual impairment or blindness it does not mean he or she is immune to mental health challenges. Mental health education program for school personnel from NAMI covers issues frequently faced by school personnel, parents and other caregivers to give them a better understanding of early warning signs of mental health conditions and challenges that youth who experience symptoms of a mental health condition may face in school. During this presentation participants will learn more about what it is like to love and raise a child with a mental health condition and about accommodations to create a more supportive learning environment for students living with a mental health condition.

Developing Comprehending Hands

Patty Obrzut, Occupational Therapist and Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Taylor, Michigan

Patty Obrzut is the leading expert in the United States on the Active Learning approach which is used exclusively at the Penrickton Center for Blind Children. She is also an Occupational Therapist with almost thirty years of experience working with young children who are visually impaired with other disabilities. In this session Patty will explore the importance of developing good hand or haptic skills and share strategies for fostering this development through Active Learning.

Advocating for your Students in Physical Education and Transition Services

Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Professor of Kinesthesiology, SUNY, Brockport, NY

In this presentation participants will learn what the law says about eligibility and placement for physical education. They will also learn about current evidence based practices to include their children into physical education and after school sports and transition services.  Proven strategies will be shared along with resources such as products from The American Printing House for the Blind, equipment, training videos, curricula, books, websites, and programs.

 10:00-10:15 AM

Coffee Break

 10:15-11:45 AM

     

Fourth Breakout Session

Participants will select one session.

What Do Sensorimotor Theories Have to Do with Visual Impairments?

Athena Oden, Physical Therapist and author of Ready Bodies, Learning Minds

Are your students constantly self-stimulating, fidgeting, or rocking? Is it difficult to encourage them to be upright or move into new environments? Is there something we are not considering?  Current theories of development place sensorimotor learning as a foundational piece to cognition.  Learn how sensorimotor systems can drive behaviors and cognition, and what activities will stimulate those systems for the child with visual impairments.

Using Yoga to Increase Motor Skills for Children with Visual and Multiple Impairments

Kassandra Maloney, Yoga Instructor and author of Yoga for Children with Visual and Multiple Impairments, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Yoga is a fun, safe, and effective technique to increase motor skills for our students with visual and multiple impairments. In this session, you will learn how to facilitate your students’ motor planning, spatial awareness, and sensory integration patterns through yoga. We will discuss the details needed for you to start your own yoga sessions.

Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat (if you have one)! This session includes a simple yoga practice for you to share with your student. Some yoga mats will be available to borrow.

 

Parent’s Talk: How to Start the Mental Health Conversation with your Teen

Karen Ranus, Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin, TX

This session is just for family members of teens and pre-teens with visual impairments. The teenage years are challenging for all individuals, but when you are visually impaired they can be even more difficult.  It is not uncommon for mental health issues to arise during this critical period.  Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get helpful ideas for having important conversations about mental health with their teens.

Going Places with APH 

Monica Turner, Field Services Representative, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

This presentation will highlight products available through APH quota funds that support fitness and recreational activities for individuals who have visual impairments, blindness, or DeafBlindness.  Physical movement is often neglected for children who are blind or visually impaired even though physical education is a part of the core curriculum and recreation and leisure is part of the expanded core curriculum.  Modifications and accommodations for some common fitness activities, such as running and tennis, will be discussed.  

Learning to Access through Touch: Promoting the haptic development of learners with vision impairments through progressive and mutual accommodation

Dr. Michael McLinden,  author of Learning Through Touch : Supporting Children with Visual Impairments and Additional Difficulties and Professor in Education, University of Birmingham, UK

In this session Dr. McLinden will examine differences in the human senses providing us with information about the world which is ‘close’ and the world which is ‘distant’ to us. This session provides an introduction to the role of haptic perception (sometimes referred to as ‘active’ touch) in the learning experiences of children with vision impairments with a particular focus on curriculum access. He will also discuss the ‘interrelatedness’ between the learner and his or her learning environment with the need for accommodations to support increasing independent haptic perception to be ‘progressive’ and ‘mutual’ over a given timeframe to reflect changing developmental needs. Finally, he will touch on intervention approaches that can be promoted to support such accommodation through structuring environments to promote access (i.e. access to learning through touch) as well as supporting the student to learn distinctive skills in order to afford independent learning (i.e. learning to access through touch).

11:45 AM-12:30 PM

Vendor, Exhibitor, and Poster Sessions

Please take this opportunity to spend some time visiting with our vendors and exhibitors and learn from short poster sessions prior to the start of the Texas Focus Luncheon.

12:30-1:00 PM

Luncheon

1:00-2:45 PM

Closing General Session

 

Moving Forward…… Empowering Learners with Visual Impairments to Shape their Own Future

Dr. Michael McLinden,  author of Learning Through Touch : Supporting Children with Visual Impairments and Additional Difficulties and Professor in Education, University of Birmingham, UK

In our closing general session, Dr. McLinden highlights recent research on the unique challenges to learning and participation in education associated with visual impairment and the potential implications for longer term outcomes. He will illustrate how specialist input can be designed to address these challenges through seeking to ensure that the student’s environment is structured to promote learning (i.e. access to learning) as well as to support the student to learn distinctive skills in order to afford independent learning (i.e. learning to access). Using a bioecological systems framework as a lens, he will help us see how we can navigate the issues practitioners face in facilitating an appropriate curriculum balance to allow learners to acquire key independence skills throughout their educational careers. He will also examine the implications of the framework for planning longer term outcomes in order to promote achievement and ensure learners with visual impairment can be suitably empowered to help shape their own future. 

 2:45-3:00 PM

 Closing