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Hosted by Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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Kathleen M. Huebner, Ph. D.
Pennsylvania College of Optometry

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A Quick Review of What is Included in the Expanded Core Curriculum

  • Compensatory Skills (Braille; listening skills; handwriting skills; abacus)
  • O&M
  • Social Skills
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Recreation and Leisure Skills
  • Career Education
  • Assistive Technology
  • Visual Efficiency Skills (NA-1995)

What Itinerant Teachers Report as Most Time Spent on Expanded Core (CO)

  • Braille Reading and Writing (listed on survey)
  • Nemeth Instruction
  • Braille Preparation
  • Independent Living Skills
  • O&M
  • Vision Utilization (not listed on survey)
  • Technology Training
  • Materials Adaptation
  • Large Print Production (Suvak 1999)

What Itinerant Teachers Report as Most Time Spent Teaching NON-Expanded Core (CO)

  • Math
  • Language Arts (Suvak 1999)

Additional Responsibilities and Time Consuming Activities

  • Communication-Teachers-Parents-Administrators
  • Travel
  • Report preparation/paperwork
  • Assessment
  • Reinforce students' other needs--MH
  • Other Expanded Core areas-social skills, career education, recreation/leisure
  • Materials ordering
  • Professional development

Current Concerns of 70 Experienced Teachers (TX)

  • Keeping up with required paperwork
  • Arranging a balanced schedule
  • Keeping up on morale and confidence

Another Suspected but Unreported Time Eater


How to Make the Best of the Time We Have - Strategies to Make Best Use of Limited Time

  • Teach Only Expanded Core
  • Do Not Tutor
  • Examine Your Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Develop Appropriate and Shared Responsibilities-- Other Teachers/ Aides/Parents
  • Increase Team Effectiveness

Teach Only Expanded Core

  • Be convinced
  • Be determined
  • Be resourceful--in other words YOU have to make it happen
  • Be firm

Avoid Tutoring

  • Ask the question-- Does student need help because the visual impairment is impeding learning?
  • If yes--teach
  • If no--defer to other teacher, personnel, peer tutor, parents

Examine Your Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Be honest with yourself--Identify your weaknesses--its between you and yourself--not the world
  • Weaknesses result in lack of confidence, slowness to accomplish tasks, and defensiveness
  • Weaknesses result in inefficiency and ineffectiveness

Change Weaknesses into Strengths

  • Develop strategies and a plan to change weaknesses into strengths
  • Seek out constructive ways to strengthen your skills and professionalism
  • Work independently and seek out support where needed

Weaknesses Changed into Strengths

  • Recognize your improvements
  • Note that tasks now take less time
  • Note that you now have more confidence in your decisions and the quality of your work
  • Note that you no longer procrastinate or resist doing what used to be weaknesses

Reauthorization of IDEA (1997)

  • Parents as members of the team
  • Participation of regular educator

Develop Appropriate and Shared Responsibilities-- Other Teachers/ Aides/Parents

  • Model--teach in the regular classroom
  • Provide positive reinforcement
  • Observe students in their regular classes.even snippets of time can tell you a lot
  • Provide formal and informal training
  • Teach your students to direct others for meaningful information-self advocate

Appreciate Other's Diversity

  • Culture
  • Education
  • Socio/Economic Status
  • Response to having a child with a disability
  • Confidence
  • Trust
  • Lifestyle
  • Responsibilities


  • Don't bring old baggage into the relationship
  • Approach each new relationship with parents with a positive approach
  • Find out parents' perspectives, beliefs, strengths, realities of lifestyles
  • Have high--yet realistic--expectations for not only your students but their families as well

Facilitate Parent Participation

  • Keep an OPEN MIND and HEART
  • Consider parents' individuality/diversity
  • See parents as child's mentors/teachers
  • Consider parent's perspective
  • Give information to the parents through various means and modes

Parents as Teachers/Mentors

  • "When my son was born blind, I didn't get enlightened as to how to teach him everything, but he is my fourth child, I know some things about raising children. Respect me but help me."

Parent's Perspective

  • "Teachers are not always hearing what I'm saying. I see my child at home and I know what he can do and can't do. Why don't the teachers believe me when I tell them I see things they don't?"

Give Parent's Information

  • "Don't just tell me to do it, explain how."
  • "Taking classes made me feel better, like I know something."
  • "Parents need resources too!"
  • "You have no idea how good it made me feel when you asked me to help teach the mom of the new VI child at the school."

Increase Team Effectiveness

  • Build & maintain positive relationships
  • Maintain close contact
  • Communicate a sense of teamwork
  • Don't complain
  • Be a good listener
  • Neither intimidate nor be intimidated
  • See others' perspectives
  • Ask questions

Team Goals

  • Group move toward common goal
  • Each member needs a clear purpose
  • Team members directed toward a goal that may not be clear to others

Support Comes From Many

  • Within yourself (UP TO YOU)
  • Family and friends (90%)
  • Students (80%)
  • Special education teachers (61%)
  • Other Vision Teachers (53%)
  • Parents (52%)
  • Administrators (46%)
  • Regular Classroom teachers (40%)
  • Community (26%) (Seitz, 1999)