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If there is an associated fee for your registration, you have the option of paying by check, purchase order, or credit card. Cash will not be accepted; unless stated otherwise. Credit card payments will only be accepted online at the time of registration. All invoices/confirmations will be sent to the primary email address listed in your user account immediately upon completing a registration. If your fee is being paid for by your school district or supporting agency, then please be sure to forward your invoice/confirmation to the appropriate person as soon as possible so that payment may be processed.  Payment should be received within 30 days after the training.  Please be aware that failure to pay registration fees in a timely manner may be grounds for account suspension or deactivation; which will bar access to your certificates and will prevent registration for future training.

For a complete listing of our live webinars, please visit our Webinar Listings page.  Most of our live webinars are recorded and are posted for delayed viewing on our Online Learning site.  Instructions on how to apply for CEU credit for archived webinars are provided here.


Quick Links

Instructions:  Click on a conference/workshop link and go immediately to the section concerning that training.

AUG 6-9, 2019:  Braille Boot Camp: Braille Document, Tactile Graphic, and Music Production (August)

SEP 27-29, 2019:  DBMAT 46th Annual Family Conference

OCT 10-11, 2019:  2019 Introduction to the Intervener Team Model

OCT 20-22, 2019:  October Mentor Center

NOV 1-3, 2019:  2019 Southwest Orientation and Mobility Association Conference

NOV 13, 2019:  Advanced Practitioner Series: Studies in DeafBlindness

DEC 6-7, 2019:  Mentor Training

DEC 12-15, 2019:  Game of Life! Middle School Transition

JAN 7-10, 2020:  Braille Boot Camp: Braille Document, Tactile Graphic, and Music Production (January)

FEB 9-11, 2020  February Mentor Center

FEB 27-29, 2020:  2020 Texas Focus

MAR 6-8, 2020:  In the Driver's Seat:  Introduction to Safe Driving with Low Vision

APR 17-19, 2020:  Discovering the Future

APR 23-26, 2020:  City Travel for COMS and Their Students

APR 26-28, 2020:  April Mentor Center

MAY 1, 2020:  Low Vision Conference:  21st Century Tech


Braille Boot Camp:  Braille Document, Tactile Graphic, and Music Production

August 6 - 9, 2019

Braille Boot Camp is a four day, hands-on, experiential training focused on the development of the knowledge and skills needed to produce braille documents, tactile graphics, and music braille for their students with blindness and visual impairments.  Learning objectives include...

Braille Document and Tactile Graphic Production:

  • Setting up your computer and software for braille and tactile graphic production.
  • Understanding file formats and conversion to editable text.
  • Developing a workflow that ensures accuracy of translation and formats.
  • Translation of literary, foreign language, and math worksheets for different grade levels.
  • The tactile graphic workflow and methods of production.
  • Drawing skills, element placement and document formatting.
  • Development of templates for commonly used diagram.
  • How to use available resources for guidance.

An introduction to music braille will include:

  • Pitches and time value of notes.
  • Other “basic” symbols such as time signatures, measures, and ending a piece of music.
  • The octave symbols.
  • placement of accidentals.
  • Headings, page numbers, and overall format.

Registration Fee:  $100 per person

REGISTER HERE!

 

DBMAT 46th Annual Family Conference

September 27-29, 2019

The mission of DBMAT (Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas) is to promote and improve the quality of life for all Texans who are DeafBlind multihandicapped.  DBMAT supports the establishment of educational, rehabilitative, vocational and independent living opportunities of these individuals for all ages.

The annual family conference will be held at Camp Young Judea in Wimberly, TX. For more information concerning this conference, please visit the DBMAT official website

DBMAT OFFICIAL WEBSITE!

 

2019 Introduction to the Intervener Team Model

October 10 - 11, 2019

Interveners need specialized skills related to DeafBlindness in order to provide one-on-one instructional support to students who are DeafBlind. They need appropriate supervision and support from the IEP team. To help meet the needs of interveners in Texas, the Texas DeafBlind Project at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is pleased to announce the 2018 Introduction to the Intervener Team Model.

This workshop is for those individuals who are newly assigned in the role as an Intervener, or for current interveners who have not yet had the opportunity to attend this introductory training.

Each intervener should attend this training with a professional member of the educational team (ideally the classroom teacher, but this could also be a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing or teacher for students with visual impairments or another professional regularly involved with the deafblind student). Family members (parents or guardians) of the student are welcomed to attend, as well.

This workshop provides information for the intervener and the team on:

  • Experiencing the World of DeafBlindness
  • DeafBlindness: Impact & Implications
  • Intervener Competencies & Training Updates
  • Intervener and Team Roles & Responsibilities
  • The Five Components of Quality Intervention
  • Intervention Issues & Considerations
  • Identification of Tools and Strategies to Support the Student Profile.

Registration Fee:

  • Early Registration - $40 per person
  • Late Registration - $50 per person

For more information on this workshop, please visit the Introduction to the Intervener Team Model web page.

REGISTER HERE!

 

October Mentor Center 

October 20 - 22, 2019

Mentor Centers provide participants an opportunity to observe experienced TVIs and COMS as they use a variety of strategies and materials with their students on the TSBVI and Austin ISD campuses. Each participant will have the opportunity to observe between 4-6 individual VI professionals a day.

Learning Objectives:

  • Observe visually impaired students in a variety of learning environments.
  • Keep a record of materials and strategies observed
  • Apply strategies and materials to their own students.
  • Connect theory learned in coursework to actual situations in the field.

Registration Fee:  $25 per person

For more information regarding Mentor Center, please visit the Mentor Program web page.

REGISTER HERE!

 

2019 Southwest Orientation and Mobility Association Conference

November 1 - 3, 2019

The 2019 Southwest Orientation and Mobility (SWOMA) Conference will feature both a Pre-Conference event and Conference event for one low price!  This year SWOMA will be held at the Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches, TX.  Location Address:  200 N. Fredonia St. Nacogdoches, TX 75961

More information regarding SWOMA will posted in the near future.  Please stay tuned

Registration Fees:

  • Professionals - Early:  $175.00  Late:  $225.00
  • University O&M Students - Early:  $125.00  Late:  $175.00

NOTE:  Late registration begins after October 21st.

For more information regarding SWOMA, please visit the SWOMA Conference Home Page.

REGISTER HERE!

 

Advanced Practitioner Series: Studies in DeafBlindness

November 13, 2019

Advanced Practitioner Training is an annual training in which practitioners working with students who are DeafBlind come together and learn from one of the leading experts in the field. This year we have Paul Hart coming to us from Scotland to share his expertise about communication, communication partnerships and tactile interaction. 

Paul has worked for Sense Scotland since 1987, starting as a support worker two years after completing a Bachelor of Music degree. In the past twenty five years, he has held a number of posts with Sense, including supportworker, manager of residential services, manager of day services, Principal Officer (Practice Development) and now as Head of Research and Practice he spends much of his time developing resources around assessment, communication, activity design and support planning. He is a member of Sense Scotland’s Leadership Team.

Paul speaks regularly at conferences and seminars, including Deafblind International (DbI) World and European conferences, on the themes of assessment, communication, staff development and sex education. In 1994, Paul gained his teaching qualification (PGCE - Primary) and in 2002, he completed a Masters Degree in Education, where much of the focus was on communication with people who are deafblind and implications for staff development.  In 2010 he completed his PhD at Dundee University, with a research focus on communication and language development for congenitally deafblind people.

Paul is currently a member of the DbI Communication Network and also the Tactile Communication Network and in these capacities, he lectures at a number of universities, including the Masters in Communication and Congenital Deafblindness course at Groningen University in The Netherlands. He has written some influential articles and books in the field such as "Using Imitation with Congenitally DeafBlind Adults; establishing meaningful communication partners", "Dialogicalilty in Culture: response from the perspective of congenital DeafBlindness, and "Moving beyond the common touchpoint - discovering language with congenitally deafblind people". He will be sharing his expertise with us on these topics, and more!

Registration Fees - $100 per person

REGISTER HERE!

 

Mentor Training

December 6 - 7, 2019

Individuals who have completed the mentor application process will be required to attend an initial face-to-face training on the TSBVI campus in Austin. This training lasts for one and a half days, and covers such topics as common problems of novice teachers, mentor/protégé communication, record keeping for mentors, and promising practice standards for TVIs and COMS.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe stages of concern for the beginning professional.
  • Describe techniques which facilitate open interaction between mentor and protégé.
  • Use legal framework documents to support programming for students with visual impairments.
  • Standardize assessment requirements for determining eligibility in Texas.
  • Complete required documentation for mentoring in Texas.

Registration Fee:  $12 per person

NOTE:  Registration is by invite only.  Please contact Chrissy Cowan if you would like to learn more.

 

Game of Life! Middle School Transition

December 12 - 15, 2019

TSBVI Short-Term Programs and Outreach Programs offers a special opportunity for students and parents. Is the game of life a game of chance or choice? Throughout life, we all make choices and navigate roadblocks daily. Students heading into high school are faced with a number of challenges as they transition to adult life. Students with visual impairments have an added layer of learning, related to concepts such as money handling, career exploration, and socializing with peers. Together, we will develop skills in these areas while encouraging students to be leaders in their own lives.

In this weekend course, students and their parents must attend together. Students will be taught by teaching staff in Short-Term Programs while parents will attend a conference portion hosted by the Outreach department. Limited on-campus hotel lodging may be available for adults. Families are encouraged to contact their Texas Workforce Commission counselor to request financial assistance with travel and lodging. Students will reside in the Short-Term Programs dorm. The goal is for students to understand ways that they can “step up” as they transition to adult life, while parents will learn ways to “step back,” as they support their child with this transition.

The parent participation program includes information about:

  • Transition planning
  • Graduation plans
  • Supporting your child in the expanded core areas at home and in the community.
  • Exploring post secondary options.
  • Experiences shared by other parents and students who have made this transition.
  • Opportunities at Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center and the Post Secondary Programs on the TSBVI campus - Parents will be able to tour both programs.

For more information, please visit the Game of Life web page..

Braille Boot Camp:  Braille Document, Tactile Graphic, and Music Production

January 7 - 10, 2020

Braille Boot Camp is a four day, hands-on, experiential training focused on the development of the knowledge and skills needed to produce braille documents, tactile graphics, and music braille for their students with blindness and visual impairments.  Learning objectives include...

Braille Document and Tactile Graphic Production:

  • Setting up your computer and software for braille and tactile graphic production.
  • Understanding file formats and conversion to editable text.
  • Developing a workflow that ensures accuracy of translation and formats.
  • Translation of literary, foreign language, and math worksheets for different grade levels.
  • The tactile graphic workflow and methods of production.
  • Drawing skills, element placement and document formatting.
  • Development of templates for commonly used diagram.
  • How to use available resources for guidance.

An introduction to music braille will include:

  • Pitches and time value of notes.
  • Other “basic” symbols such as time signatures, measures, and ending a piece of music.
  • The octave symbols.
  • placement of accidentals.
  • Headings, page numbers, and overall format.

Registration Fee:  $100 per person

REGISTER HERE!

 

February Mentor Center

February 9 - 11, 2020

Mentor Centers provide participants an opportunity to observe experienced TVIs and COMS as they use a variety of strategies and materials with their students on the TSBVI and Austin ISD campuses. Each participant will have the opportunity to observe between 4-6 individual VI professionals a day.

Learning Objectives:

  • Observe visually impaired students in a variety of learning environments.
  • Keep a record of materials and strategies observed
  • Apply strategies and materials to their own students.
  • Connect theory learned in coursework to actual situations in the field.

Registration Fee:  $25 per person

For more information regarding Mentor Center, please visit the Mentor Program web page.

REGISTER HERE!

 

Texas Focus 2020 Self-Determination:  Building Positive Futures for Every Child 

February 27 - 29, 2020

Join us for Texas Focus 2020 as we explore tools and strategies to empower all children with visual impairments. Sessions will focus on ways to provide children with greater voice, meaningful options, and increased participation in their lives.Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will develop strategies that will assist their students in advocating for their unique needs.
  • Participants will increase their knowledge of effective strategies for students with complex communication needs.
  • Participants will explore ways to enrich students' lives through involvement in creative arts.

For more information regarding Texas Focus, please visit the Texas Focus web page.

REGISTER HERE!

 

In the Driver's Seat: Introduction to Safe Driving with Low Vision

March 6 - 8, 2020

Driving is a teenager's dream. Finding an answer to the question, "Will I be able to drive?" is a complex process of gathering facts, making decisions, and facing emotional issues for students with visual impairments and their families. This workshop will help you look at the issue of driving with low vision.

Questions like these will be addressed: Can I use a bioptic (a mounted telescopic lens system) to drive? What are the visual qualifications to drive in Texas? What additional skills do I need to be a safe driver? If I can't drive, how will I get around? Can my child possibly be safe to drive?

Learning Objectives Include

  • Steps to develop pre-driver awareness skills
  • Awareness of Texas driving qualifications for individuals with visual impairments
  • Cost and time commitments related to getting a driver's license
  • Identification of tools helpful for managing safe travel (e.g., GPS, auxiliary mirrors)
  • Access to alternate forms of transportation as a non-driver

Who is eligible for Participation in this event?

  • Academic students in grades 9-12, functioning on or close to grade level, who meet the visual acuity (20/200 or better) and visual field (uninterrupted field of 140°) requirements to drive in Texas. Older students who meet eligibility criteria will be given preference.
  • Students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if they are under the age of 18. We will not have childcare for siblings.
  • Students and their parent(s) must attend the full program, starting at 7:00 PM on Friday and ending at 1:00 PM on Sunday.

For more information, please visit the In the Driver's Seat web page..

 

Discovering the Future:  Transition for School to Adult Life for Students with Visual and Multiple Disabilties, Including Deafblindness

April 17 - 19, 2020

Due to uncertainties associated with recent public health concerns, we are sorry to report that “Discovering the Future” is postponed until further notice.  We appreciate your understanding, and look forward to rescheduling this event as soon as possible.

This weekend workshop will help families of students with visual and multiple impairment, including those with deafblindness, learn to make plans for their family member’s adult life after graduation. The targeted audience is families of middle school and high school students who will need services and supports in the community for plans other than traditional graduation to college and career.

Registration Fee:

  • Early Registration - $40 per person
  • Late Registration - $50 per person

REGISTER HERE!

 

City Travel for COMS and Their Students

April 23 - 26, 2020

City Travel for COMS and their Students is a class where the student and his or her O&M Specialist (COMS) come to Austin together to learn and practice a variety of skills needed in a busy metropolitan area. Many students with visual impairments throughout Texas are ready to learn about traveling in a metropolitan area—but it's nearly impossible for their COMS to find either time or a location to address these skills. Here is the solution! 

Would you like to have the time and opportunity to teach skills like these: 

  • Bus travel
  • Commuter train travel
  • Busy downtown one-way and two-way streets
  • Complex lighted intersections
  • Large indoor and outdoor malls with escalators
  • Large buildings with banks of elevators and revolving doors
  • A large university campus (University of Texas-Austin)
  • Much more!

Each COMS will design their own three-day schedule based on their student’s needs. Chris Tabb, the O&M Consultant for TSBVI Outreach Services, will facilitate your individual program and be available as a resource to you. 

For more information, please visit the City Travel web page.

 

April Mentor Center 

April 26 - 28, 2020

Mentor Centers provide participants an opportunity to observe experienced TVIs and COMS as they use a variety of strategies and materials with their students on the TSBVI and Austin ISD campuses. Each participant will have the opportunity to observe between 4-6 individual VI professionals a day.

Learning Objectives:

  • Observe visually impaired students in a variety of learning environments.
  • Keep a record of materials and strategies observed
  • Apply strategies and materials to their own students.
  • Connect theory learned in coursework to actual situations in the field.

Registration Fee:  $25 per person

For more information regarding Mentor Center, please visit the Mentor Program web page.

REGISTER HERE!

 

Low Vision Conference:  21st Century Tech 

May 1, 2020

Keeping up on the ever present impact of technology in regards to vision has become a critical part of the VI professional role. This extends beyond task completion in the classroom and workplace. This conference will present a range of topics related to current and evolving technologies.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify resources to help VI professionals stay up-to-date on technology changes
  • Demonstrate range of digital learning options for presenting information to students

Registration Fee:  $50 per person

REGISTRATION COMING SOON!

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2020 Texas Focus Handouts

Below are the handouts that have been provided by the 2020 Texas Focus Speakers. If you do not find a handout for a particular session it is because we have not received one from the speaker.  You may check back closer to the actual date of the conference to see if additional handouts have been received. Please download and/or print out any of the handouts you want to have during the 2020 Texas Focus conference. 

NOTE: The 2020 Texas Focus Session Guide will be provided to you in a print format when you arrive at the conference. Braille users will receive an abbreviated version of the agenda in braille. All participants may want to download an electronic version of this document to review it in advance of arriving at the Hyatt Regency Houston Intercontinental Airport.

2020 Texas Focus Session Guide

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

 

1:15 – 2:15 PM

 

Music for Self-Expression and Self-Advocacy - Session ID# 39827

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2:30 – 3:30 PM
   

Creating with Blind Abandon: Creating an Accessible Art Program for Visually Impaired Students - Session ID# 39827
 

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3:30 – 4:30 PM
         

Accessing the Arts: Teaching Self-Determination through Advocacy Session ID# 39827

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Friday, February 28, 2020

9:15 – 10:15 AM
       

SEE Differently Session ID# 39828

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10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
   

Finding Wheels: Strategies to Build Independent Travel Skills for Those with Visual Impairments  Session ID# 39829

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1:30 – 3:00 PM Breakout Sessions

The Foundations of Self-Determination for Young Learners with Significant Disabilities (Session 1 of 2)  Session ID# 39830

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Utilizing the Technology Tool Box to Complement Traditional O&M Skills - Session ID# 39831

(No handout provided)

Thriving Blind: A Parent’s Secret Sauce to Guide Blind Children to Their Greatness Session ID# 39832

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Disclosing a Can-Do List Session ID# 39833

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Self-Determination: Relationship-Based Programming from Theory to Practice Session ID# 39834

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3:30 – 5:00 PM Breakout Sessions

The Foundations of Self-Determination for Young Learners with Significant Disabilities (Session 2 of 2) Session ID# 39839

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 Interactive Activities to Strengthen Brain Pathways in the First Eight Years of Life Session ID# 39838
 

(No handout provided)

 My Reflection Matters Session ID# 39836

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Health and Sexuality Panel – Let’s Talk about Sex… in the 21st Century Session ID# 39837

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From Picasso to Einstein: Making Accessible Experiences Session ID# 39835

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

8:30-10:00 AM Breakout Sessions

Interactive Educational Strategies to Enhance Stress Resilience in Children from 0 to 25 Years Old Session ID# 39863

(No handout provided)

Writing and Implementing Self-Determination Goals: Give it a Try, Don’t Just “Get By” Session ID# 39861

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 Facilitating Self-Determination through Active Learning Session ID# 39844

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Health and Sexuality Panel – Let’s Talk about Sex… in the 21st Century Session ID# 39862

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Using Yoga and Movement Activities to Increase Self-Determination Skills in Students with Visual Impairments Session ID# 39842
 

(No handout provided)

10:15 – 11:45 AM Breakout Sessions

Who Are My Child’s REAL Advocates?? Evaluating motives and skills of IEP team members and outside professionals – & your own! Session ID# 39864

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Self-Determination: Building Confidence in Our Babies / Starting Out the Right Way! Session ID# 39845

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Facilitating Self-Determination through Active Learning Session ID# 39866

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 Why O&M? Session ID# 39843
 

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Using Yoga and Movement Activities to Increase Self-Determination Skills in Students with Visual Impairments Session ID# 39865
 

(No handout provided)
 

12:30 PM - Working Lunch

1:00 – 2:15 PM - Closing Keynote Session

Building a Healthy Brain! The Foundation of Lifetime Health & Well-Being Session ID# 39868

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The campus address for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is 1100 West 45th Street Austin, TX 78756. Visitors can check in to the main office in building 600.

Google Street map of TSBVI

Driving Directions to TSBVI

From Loop 1 (Mo-Pac) exit 45th Street and travel east until you cross Burnet Road. Turn left onto Miller Drive; the first TSBVI driveway after the Burnet Road intersection.

From IH-35 exit 45th Street and head west, crossing over Guadalupe Street and Lamar Boulevard. TSBVI's main entrance can be accessed via the first turn on your right.

TSBVI Street Map

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2020 Texas Focus Conference: 
Self-Determination

February 27 - 29, 2020
Hyatt Regency North Houston
Houston, Texas 

Join us for Texas Focus 2020 as we explore tools and strategies to empower all children with visual impairments. Sessions will focus on ways to provide children with greater voice, meaningful options, and increased participation in their lives.


Pre-conference Day - February 27, 2020

We begin with a special half-day pre-conference.  Our speakers will present on various topics regarding fine arts. Sessions will include: Music for Self-Expression and Self-Advocacy, Creating with Blind Abandon: Creating an Accessible Art Program for Visually Impaired Students, and Accessing the Arts: Teaching Self-Determination through Advocacy 

Session Descriptions for the Pre-conference can be found at our Texas Focus Agenda Page.

Main Conference - February 28-29, 2020

The main conference event takes place beginning the morning of February 28th and continues through February 29th at the Hyatt Regency North Houston.  Our list of presenters includes:

  • Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Training Coordinator with Texas Workforce Commission
  • Anne L. Corn, Ed.D.
  • Kate Borg, TSBVI Outreach Director
  • Dan Butler, TSBVI Music Teacher
  • Dr. Judy Cameron, Ph.D., University of Pitssburgh
  • Perkie Cannon, M.Ed., Educational Consultat ESC Region 11
  • Dana Frankland, M.Ed., Educational Consultant ESC Region 20
  • Laura Hampton, M.Ed.., TVI Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Health and Sexuality Panel:  Michael Clinkscales, Social Worker; Christi Fleming, Health Teacher; Dori Senatori, EXIT Instructor; John Rose, Short-Term Programs Teacher TSBVI
  • Claire Heins, M.Ed. Program Specialist with San Antonio ISD
  • Katy ISD Panel:  Elaine Robertson, Instructional Officer; Irene Conlan, TVI; Carolyn Samson, TVI
  • Kassy Maloney, COMS, Allied Independence , LLC.
  • Caroline Nelson
  • Sandy B. Olphie, M.Ed., COMS, Pflugerville ISD
  • Parent Panel Session:  Barbara Knighton, Emily DeSantis, & Johanna Uek
  • Deanna Peterson, DB Specialist and Consultant with TSBVI Outreach
  • Jane Rundquist, Music Teacher
  • Phillip D. Schweigert, M.Ed
  • Kristin Smedley, Author of "Thriving Blind"
  • Greg Stilson
  • Naia Subedar, B.S. Art and Entertainment Technologies
  • Tomball ISD Panel:  Samantha Hoffman, CTVI and  Wendy Lewis CTVI
  • Creating with Blind Abandon:  Katherine Trimm, CTVI & Linda Brown, Braillist

A more detailed agenda can be found at https://www.tsbvi.edu/tx-focus-agenda.


Registration

Registration opens November 1, 2019 and ends February 21, 2020.  Late registration will begin February 17, 2020.  Registration fees are as follows and includes the cost of the optional pre-conference events:

  • Family and Professionals:  Early - $275.00  Late: $325
  • Paraprofessionals and University Students:  Early - $100.00  Late:  $150
  • Out-of-State Registration:  Early - $295  Late:  $345

REGISTER NOW!!

You may register online and pay with a credit card at the time of registration or send a check or purchase order at a later date.  If you do not know the number of your check or purchase order enter "0000". We encourage you to register right away to get the Early Bird Rate.  You may cancel up to February 21st and pay no cancellation fee.  After February 21st you may be subject to a $25 cancellation fee.

Family members from Texas may request assistance to cover the cost of registration, child care arranged at home, travel and lodging. Please contact your HHSC or TWC caseworker to determine which costs they can cover before making a request from Outreach Programs.  If you cannot receive assistance from them, you may request assistance from TSBVI Outreach when you register. Someone from our staff will contact you about your request.

Limited assistance may also be available to cover the cost of registration for professionals and paraprofessionals.  Please contact your regional ESC VI Consultant if you are interested in these funds. The Mentor Voucher payment option may only be used by individuals  employed by eligible Education Service Centers.  If you have questions about Mentor vouchers, please contact Chrissy Cowan at .

Questions?

Contact Toni Ericson at 512-206-9314.

TXFocusLogoThe 2020 Texas Focus Conference welcomes vendors, exhibitors and poster sessions, especially those related to this year's focus on movement. Here are some of the things you should know.

Step 1: Submit the 2020 Texas Focus Request to Exhibit exhibit online: Vendor Registration Link

Step 2: Register for the Conference and pay a registration fee if you plan to attend any sessions. 

Step 3: Send advertisement information and images to Cecilia Robinson.

Payments should be made by check or purchase order to TSBVI Outreach Programs - TX Focus and mailed or emailed to TSBVI Outreach Programs, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, TX 78756

 

When You Contract to Provide a Presentation

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach Programs has contracted with you to provide a presentation for the Texas Focus conference. As a state agency we are subject to specific policies related to the development of these contracts.  The information below is meant to help you understand what each piece of paperwork you are asked to complete is about and also to serve as a checklist to you.

Please be sure you have submitted this information to your TSBVI Outreach Progams contact:

W-9

Speakers need to submit a W-9 form.  They can go to www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf to download the W-9 form, complete it and send it to the business office at the address noted on the contract.  If they are from a country outside the USA or have other issues related to the W-9, please speak with Miriam first.

Submit a Session Information and Media Release Forms

You will be sent a Session Information and Media Release form. It is extremely important that you complete these forms and return them as soon as possible (but no later than the designated date). Please share your travel itinerary so we can track your flight in case of delays or cancellations. This form should be sent to your Outreach contact so your contract and other paperwork can be generated and you can be paid. 

Travel Arrangements

Each speaker is responsible for making their own travel arrangements and paying for them upfront. This includes your hotel reservations.  Please visit the event website for information about the hotel(s) associated with this event or ask your Outreach staff contact about appropriate lodging.  We typically have a block of rooms at a special conference rate which we would prefer you use.

If you need assistance in making your hotel arrangements, please check with your Outreach contact who should be able to help you.

Your Contract

After we receive your Session Information and Media Release forms, we will generate your contract, so please return these forms as quickly as possible so we can get your contract to you in a timely fashion.  The contract will be made for a "flat fee" that includes the cost of services, travel costs, meals, parking, rental vehicle, gas, taxi/shuttle fares and any other miscellaneous costs such as baggage fees.  Before you sign your contract please make sure you are in agreement with the fee we propose to pay.  If you have questions please direct them to your Outreach staff contact.

If wish for the contract to be made with your agency rather than you as an individual, you will need to provide an EIN number for your agency. If you are not a United States citizen, there may be some special paperwork that you need to share with us.  Please discuss your special situation with the Outreach staff person who contacts you so we can make sure you are submitting the correct forms for payment. 

Curriculum Vitae or Resume

A speaker must submit a current Curriculum Vitae (CV).  If you have a CV or Resume online you may send the link to us.

Please Register for the Event

You will need to register for the event at our online registration site even if you do not plan to attend all sessions.  If you have not registered for an event previously you will need to create an account. Speakers should use the special promotional code SPEAKER so that the system will not charge you a registration fee.  If you have any problems registering for an event or have any questions related to registering for an event contact Brian Sobeck at 512-206-9225 and he can help you.

Handouts

You are not required to have a powerpoint presentation or handouts.  However, if you are using either of these you must follow these guidelines:

We provide handouts that include the content of any powerpoint you show plus any additional content (e.g., bibliographies, articles) into a single screenreader accessible handout. This handout is posted on our conference website for participants to download.  We only provide paper handouts on request.  This takes some time on our end to prepare.  You MUST submit any handout and powerpoint content to us by DECEMBER 1, 2020 in editable electronic files. Please do not send "Read Only" files or other files where the content cannot be copied for inclusion in a Word document.  

If you are sending multiple filesplease specify the order for each piece of content. 

If you are including any images or graphs in either your power point or handout material, please be sure to caption them or include an alt text tag we may use for each image. This includes simply decorative images in your powerpoint so consider eliminating unnecessary images.

Here is a sample of how the handout will look after we process it for posting on the web.  

Here are some of the things that need will make your handout easier to process:

  • Send content (powerpoints and other material) in editable formats.
  • Limit images in your powerpoint to those that are essential and be sure to provide captions for each image.
  • Consider sharing a bibliography with links rather than a full article.
  • Include information about the order of the various files you send when they are compiled into a single handout (we always put the powerpoint first).
  • If you have special instructions such as not including your photos or images or powerpoint in your handout, please let us know.  You will need to plan to provide a description of each slide during your presentation if your powerpoint is not included.
  • Try not to make changes to your powerpoint after you submit it to us.
  • Forms will need to be accessible as well and may need to be re-sized to fit on an 8"x11" paper format. Consider whether these forms need to be included.

Your handout will be posted approximately 1 week prior to the event and will be removed from the web approximately 1 week after the event is over.

Special Needs

We want your experience at this TSBVI event to be as pleasant as possible.  Don't hesitate to ask us if you have any special needs that we should be aware of or simply have questions.  Our Outreach staff will do every thing we can to make sure you have what you need.  This can include particular room set up, equipment, or other things that might be out of the ordinary requests.

After Services are Provide

Invoice Us

A speaker must submit an invoice no later than the 15th of the following month after the work is completed (e.g., work done in March should be submitted by the 15th of April).  Send the invoice to our business office at the address noted on the contract. If you have any questions about this please contact the Outreach staff member who contacted you about your presentation.

You may want to download a sample invoice or make sure the invoice you send includes a purchase order number which we will supply when you attend the event.

Hyatt Regency North Houston

425 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Houston | Texas, 77060

Hyatt Regency North Houston

This year Texas Focus will be held at the Hyatt Regency North Houston.  The hotel is located off of North Sam Houston Parkway East.  We have secured a block of rooms at a special rate of $139 plus tax for double (maximum 4 people) rooms.. 

All room reservations must be made by February 11, 2020 in order to receive this rate.

To make your reservations, please click here: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/HOUNH/G-SBVI

If you need additional assistance, please contact us at 877-803-7534 or click here to find contact information by Region.  If the group rate is no longer available, prevailing rates may be offered for some or all of your dates.

2020 Texas Focus Conference: Self-Determination

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.


PRE-CONFERENCE: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2020

TIME

ACTIVITY

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Sign-in

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Family Luncheon

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Housekeeping & Welcome

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Music for Self-Expression and Self-Advocacy
Jane Rundquist & Dan Butler

Visual impairment can be an isolating factor in regards to participation in school and community activities.  Music can be an equalizing factor because there are numerous opportunities for student self-expression and ways to participate, regardless of skill level.  This session will share collaborative approaches between the student, the VI professional, and music program in and outside of school.

Objectives include:

  • Explore steps in forming a student band from funding through performance.
  • Learn how to use music to increase self-awareness and self-expression in students with visual impairments.
  • Learn how to collaborate with music programs/classes/teachers to include children with visual impairment.

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Break

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Creating with Blind Abandon: Creating an Accessible Art Program for Visually Impaired Students
Katherine Trimm, CTVI & Linda Brown, Braillist

As a CTVI and a braillist, over the years, we have many students who love art, but do not usually have the opportunity to express themselves creatively.  In general education art classes, our students are often found sitting at tables manipulating Playdoh while the rest of the class creates art projects.  We researched extra-curricular artistic opportunities for our students to no avail!  We visited various museums to find opportunities for our students to tactually explore art, but found that touching is not allowed!  We resolved that our students could become tactile artists.  Our session will explore ways to create an accessible art program for students who are visually impaired.

Objectives include:

  • Explore ways to collaborate with fellow CTVIs and community members on how to reach students who would benefit from an accessible art program.
  • Learn about possible resources available to help with obtaining materials for projects.
  • Share ideas for accessible art projects.
  • Explore areas of the ECC covered by our art program.

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Accessing the Arts: Teaching Self-Determination through Advocacy
Kate Borg, TSBVI Outreach Director

A short-term program in Utah gave students tools to advocate for accessibility to the arts. Each student was required to visit an exhibit, production, concert, etc. and then write a letter to the organization telling them what was and wasn't accessible. Come learn about the amazing outcomes and learn how to implement this fantastic activity with your students!

Objectives Include:

  • Understand how advocating for arts access supports the ECC.
  • Learn how to easily involve students in community advocacy.


MAIN CONFERENCE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

TIME

ACTIVITY

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Sign-in and Continental Breakfast

 

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM

Housekeeping and Welcome

 

9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

General Session

SEE Differently
Kristin Smedley

Kristin will take the audience on her journey that began with her crying on the couch, crushed by the weight of not one but two blindness diagnoses, to cheering as her blind sons are thriving and achieving their dreams.  She’ll discuss the key parts of her journey that allowed her family to move out of a victim story and soar on a hero’s journey.  Participants will laugh and cry right along with Kristin as she reveals her biggest fears, greatest challenges, and most extraordinary (and often hilarious!) stories that have made her boys and their sighted sister who they are today: high achieving social butterflies with more smiles and success than Kristin ever dreamed.

Objectives Include:

  • Understand that perceptions drive our expectations which directly cause our outcomes.
  • Be inspired to look at a current life challenge differently to create a different outcome.
  • Be ignited to look for ways to collaborate with others to move forward together.
  • Be excited for their own extraordinary journey based on the SEE formula!

10:15 AM - 10: 45 AM

Break

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

General Session

Finding Wheels:  Strategies to Build Independent Travel Skills for Those with Visual Impairments 
Anne L. Corn, Ed.D.

As students move from adolescence into adulthood, one of the biggest challenges is to take control of one’s travel needs. Finding Wheels is a new TSBVI publication and it covers such topics as using transportation technologies, learning to hire and fire drivers, dealing with frustrations of not being able to drive, how to budget for transportation, how to choose personal, public, hired, or volunteer wheels. This publication includes new scenarios, objectives, challenges, content, vignettes, and activities. Included are also first hand accounts by parents and individuals with visual impairments and a piece by Christopher Tabb about new technologies used by travelers. Finding Wheels may be taught by a COMS as an adjunct to orientation and mobility services and/or taught by a TVI as a part of the Expanded Core Curriculum.  There is also one chapter on driving with low vision.

Objectives Include:

  • Participants will identify ways in which adolescents and young adults begin to take charge of their transportation needs.
  • Participants will discuss challenges that are presented in Finding Wheels that enable travelers to become problem solvers before or during travel.
  • Participants will learn how to integrate the Finding Wheels Curriculum into their orientation and mobility or ECC lessons.
  • Participants will learn elements of pre-driver awareness for those who meet the state’s visual requirements for driving with bioptic telescopic lenses.

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch on Your own

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Session 1

The Foundations of Self-Determination for Young Learners with Significant Disabilities Pt. 1
Philip Schweigert, M.Ed.

The role of communication is fundamental to self-determination. It is the means by which one can exercise their ability and desire to control their own life and participate most fully in society. This two-part session will describe the early stages of expressive communication, and how they relate to the development of self determination. It will then describe intervention strategies at these early levels designed to build this capacity for our learners with sensory and multiple disabilities.

Objectives Include:

  • Participants will be able to describe essential elements of communication.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least three fundamental communication rights. 
  • Participants will be able to describe the difference between intentional and intentionally communicative pre-symbolic levels.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two objectives for a learner at any of the pre-symbolic levels of expressive communication development.

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Session 1

Utilizing the Technology Tool Box to Complement Traditional O&M Skills
Greg Stilson

Gain knowledge of technology that facilitates the learning of orientation and mobility (O&M) skills, self-determination and other areas of the ECC. Receive an introduction to various pieces of technology, from apps to stand-alone devices, which, when used to complement established O&M skills, will enable students to travel more confidently, step outside of their comfort zone and have access to information they previously may not have had. Attendees will learn about visual interpretation services such as Aira and BeMyEyes, GPS devices and navigation apps.

Objectives Include:

  • Learn about technology that supports O&M, self-determination, and other skills addressed in the ECC.
  • Identify technology options for navigation, including apps, visual interpretation services and devices.

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Session 1

Thriving Blind:  A Parent's Secret Sauce to Guide Blind Children to Their Greatness
Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley was initially crushed by the fact that her two blind sons would never achieve the massive dreams she had for them including play baseball, be the class valedictorian, or achieve Dean’s List in college.  Blindness, as she says, scared her to death. Little did she realize that when her dreams for her sons were extinguished, her boys would be free to chase their own dreams as opposed to being held back by hers. Kristin will vividly describe the miraculous moment that would change her perception of blindness and the trajectory of her family’s journey.  Participants will leave inspired by the many achievements of Kristin’s children and will be armed with resources to create a path for their own blind children to soar!

Objectives Include:

  • Explore their current perception of blindness and how it is impacting their child’s journey.
  • Deep dive into Kristin’s key areas of focus for her blind sons: Education, Social (Including sports and extra-curricular), Vocational, Independence, and Technology.
  • Be inspired and equipped to guide their blind children to thrive.

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Session 1

Disclosing a Can-Do List
Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Training Coordinator

This presentation is designed to give students, families and professionals who work with BVI students ideas and strategies on how to attack the world after he/she finishes high school. During our time together, we will redefine disclosure as being the act of disclosing a person’s Can-Do List before disclosing the disability. This new and different methodology can assist the student in obtaining employment, establishing meaningful relationships and becoming as independent within his/her capacity. Finally, the presentation will be filled with interactive activities to help the participants get a full understanding of the content.

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Session 1

Self-Determination: Relationship-Based Programming from Theory to Practice
Deanna Peterson, TVI, TDHH, TDB with TSBVI Outreach

Using a case study, this session will focus on how, through a process of collaboration, an educational team increased resilience and self-determination for Kersten, a young lady who is DeafBlind.  Kersten’s team addressed three critical areas, targeted toward decreasing her moments of distress and increasing her moments of joy and success.

Objectives Include:

  • Participants will gain knowledge about the implications of DeafBlindness and how those implications relate to student distress levels.
  • Participants will gain knowledge of how to provide programming for learners who are DeafBlind with a focus on building the student's feelings of success, independence, and connectedness. This session will focus on strategies for increasing self determination for students who are DeafBlind.

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Break / Visit Exhibits

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Breakout Session 2

From Picasso to Einstein: Making Accessible Experiences
Kate Borg, TSBVI Outreach Director

The typical museum experience is a no-touch, no-interaction zone where everything is hidden behind glass and not accessible to students with vision impairments. Come learn some strategies for bringing these experiences to our students in a fun and accessible way.

Objectives Include:

  • Learn about the importance of advocating for and creating accessible arts and STEM experiences for students.
  • Identify exhibits or experiences in their local communities that can be made accessible.
  • Learn how to involve students in the advocacy process.

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Breakout Session 2

My Reflection Matters
Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Training Coordinator

This presentation will be an interactive session that will give participants ideas on how to provide VI students techniques on hygiene and social norms. It will allow the participants to hear from a working professional who is blind give suggestions on topics such as: ideas for putting on makeup, tips on hygiene areas for both females/males, how to establish personal and professional relationships and general self-advocacy strategies. At the end of the presentation there will be a Q&A with the presenter to allow for an open discussion about social issues facing both youth and adults who are blind.

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Breakout Session 2

Health and Sexuality Panel - Let's Talk about Sex... in the 21st Century
TSBVI Panel Members:  Michael Clinkscales, Social Worker; Cristi Fleming, Health Teacher; Dori Senatori, EXIT Instructor; John Rose, STP Programs Teacher

Finding an entry into this critical and private topic can be a challenge with students, families and administrators.  Panelists will share their experiences in planning and providing lessons whether individually or in small groups for students of different ages and functioning levels. Presentation content will be tailored to role of attendees.

Objectives Include:

  • Identify factors that prevent or compromise students' exposure to and learning about health and sexuality in comparison to typically developing peers. 
  • Describe strategies to help team members, including parents and administrators, understand the critical need for instruction in this area and support student learning.
  • Define components of effective lessons (e.g., ways to integrate technology) for this student population and list helpful resources for VI professionals
  • Provide examples about how lessons on social media can increase. students’ media literacy skills and their capacity to make wise judgments about social media use.

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Breakout Session 2

Interactive Activities to Strengthen Brain Pathways in the First Eight Years of Life
Judy Lee Cameron, PH.D.

Dr. Cameron will use interactive educational materials designed to teach parents and other adults working with children how adults can do activities with children to strengthen brain pathways. She will introduce the First Pathways Game (www.firstpathwaysgame.com), a free set of 250 activities that help strengthen children's brain development and talk about how to adapt the activities for children with special needs.

Objectives Include:

  • The value of adult-child interactions in strengthening brain development.
  • Specific activities to strengthen problem-solving skills, language development, motor functions and early creative play.

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Breakout Session 2

The Foundations of Self-Determination for Young Learners with Significant Disabilities Pt. 2
Philip Schweigert, M.Ed.

The role of communication is fundamental to self-determination. It is the means by which one can exercise their ability and desire to control their own life and participate most fully in society. This two-part session will describe the early stages of expressive communication, and how they relate to the development of self determination. It will then describe intervention strategies at these early levels designed to build this capacity for our learners with sensory and multiple disabilities.

Objectives Include:

  • Participants will be able to describe essential elements of communication.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least three fundamental communication rights. 
  • Participants will be able to describe the difference between intentional and intentionally communicative pre-symbolic levels.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two objectives for a learner at any of the pre-symbolic levels of expressive communication development.

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

After Hour Activities

Family Social

Appy Hour


MAIN CONFERENCE: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2020

TIME

ACTIVITY

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Sign-in and Continental Breakfast

 

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Breakout Session 3

Using Yoga and Movement Activities to Increase Self-Determination Skills in Students with Visual Impairments
Kassandra Maloney, COMS

Yoga and movement activities can have a profound effect on one's self-determination and self-efficacy abilities. In this session, you will discover how you can use fun activities like yoga and movement to increase your student's self-determination skills. Participants will be asked to participate in the movement section of the class. Please come dressed in comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely.

Objectives Include:

  •  Discover how yoga and movement can help their student with visual impairments become a better leader, demonstrate better self-efficacy skills, and increase their self-determination skills.
  • Experience a movement class that they can share with their students.
  • Learn typical modifications and adaptations to use in order to keep their students safe while having fun.

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Breakout Session 3

Writing and Implementing Self-Determination Goals: Give it a Try, Don't Just "Get By."
Samantha Hoffman and Wenona Lewis, Tomball ISD

Attend this session to learn how a vision team write collaborative self-determination goals with their students to increase their problem-solving skills and independence while limiting the times they settle for just "getting by." Gain skills on teaching your students to address challenges related to their vision even when they appear to be successful in school, at home and in the community. Acquire tips on addressing challenges that may not be easily noticed so that “getting by” can be avoided and students can continue to achieve. Working collaboratively as a team to support a student’s self-determination goals will be discussed.

Objectives Include:

  • Learn about including students in creating self-determination goals.
  • Gain skills on helping students to increase their independence by teaching them to work on challenges instead of settling for just “getting by.”
  • Acquire tips on working collaboratively as a team to support students’ learning of self-determination.

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Breakout Session 3

Facilitating Self-Determination Through Active Learning
Perkie Cannon, Claire Heins, Dana Frankland, and Laura Hampton

Active Learning, based on the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen, focuses upon the importance of play and the development of opportunities for students who have severe multiple disabilities to be active participants in their own learning rather than passive recipients. Utilizing Active Learning concepts and environmental designs provides these students with tools to engage in their environment. In this session, two teams, consisting of an Education Service Center Consultant, a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment and/or a Special Educational Teacher, will discuss how their collaborative teams successfully facilitated Active Learning to build self-determination in a classroom setting. The challenges of implementation and the myriad of supports for school personnel as well as the student will be explored. Through videos of student progress and other documentation, the audience will gain an awareness of the crucial value of the Active Learning approach to empower a student’s ability to advocate for themselves and the resources necessary to support implementation.

Objectives Include:

  • Provide brief overview of Active Learning Concepts, including Active Learning Planning Sheet.'
  • Developing and supporting the collaborative team.
  • Identify potential environmental challenges.
  • How to encourage buy-in with other team participants.
  • Explore challenges and successful supports within a district setting.
  • Resources

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Breakout Session 3

Health and Sexuality Panel - Let's Talk About Sex... in the 21st Century
TSBVI Panel Members:  Michael Clinkscales, Social Worker; Cristi Fleming, Health Teacher; Dori Senatori, EXIT Instructor; John Rose, STP Teacher

Finding an entry into this critical and private topic can be a challenge with students, families and administrators.  Panelists will share their experiences in planning and providing lessons whether individually or in small groups for students of different ages and functioning levels. Presentation content will be tailored to role of attendees.

Objectives Include:

  • Identify factors that prevent or compromise students' exposure to and learning about health and sexuality in comparison to typically developing peers 
  • Describe strategies to help team members, including parents and administrators, understand the critical need for instruction in this area and support student learning 
  • Define components of effective lessons (e.g., ways to integrate technology) for this student population and list helpful resources for VI professionals
  • Provide examples about how lessons on social media can increase students’ media literacy skills and their capacity to make wise judgments about social media use.

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Breakout Session 3

Interactive Educational Strategies to Enhance Stress Resilience in Children from 0 to 25 Years Old
Judy Lee Cameron, PH.D.

Dr. Cameron will use interactive educational materials to teach how activities adults and children can do together will improve executive function skills and how these improve children's stress resilience. This workshop will focus on problem-solving skills, emotion regulation and decision-making skills. How to adapt these activities for children with special needs will be discussed.

Objectives Include:

  • How strengthening brain pathways for executive function skills improves stress resilience.
  • Specific activities that improve executive function skills.
  • How to adapt these activities for children with special needs.

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Break

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 4

Parents and Advocacy Collaboration
Caroline Nelson

Awaiting Description

Objectives Include:

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 4

Using Yoga and Movement Activities to Increase Self-Determination Skills in Students with Visual Impairments
Kassandra Maloney, COMS

Yoga and movement activities can have a profound effect on one's self-determination and self-efficacy abilities. In this session, you will discover how you can use fun activities like yoga and movement to increase your student's self-determination skills. Participants will be asked to participate in the movement section of the class. Please come dressed in comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely.

Objectives Include:

  •  Discover how yoga and movement can help their student with visual impairments become a better leader, demonstrate better self-efficacy skills, and increase their self-determination skills.
  • Experience a movement class that they can share with their students.
  • Learn typical modifications and adaptations to use in order to keep their students safe while having fun.

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 4

Why O&M?
Sandy Baker Olphie, M.Ed., COMS and Naia Subedar, B.S.

Sandy and Naia will share their O&M journey and experience from the perspectives of the instructor and the student. They will show a video they made of young adults using their O&M skills and discussing the impact of O&M instruction during elementary through high school upon their college lives. Naia will discuss how she has applied her O&M skills to everyday life now as a career woman. The audience will participate in discussing challenges and solutions in convincing stakeholders the value of O&M instruction to students' future lives.

Objectives Include:

  • Learners will understand the importance of providing O&M services to elementary, middle school and high school students who have visual impairments.
  • Learners will also gain new methods to explain to students and families the importance of O&M services and the impact it has on self determination and life after high school.

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 4

Facilitating Self-Determination Through Active Learning
Perkie Cannon, Claire Heins, Dana Frankland, and Laura Hampton

Active Learning, based on the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen, focuses upon the importance of play and the development of opportunities for students who have severe multiple disabilities to be active participants in their own learning rather than passive recipients. Utilizing Active Learning concepts and environmental designs provides these students with tools to engage in their environment. In this session, two teams, consisting of an Education Service Center Consultant, a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment and/or a Special Educational Teacher, will discuss how their collaborative teams successfully facilitated Active Learning to build self-determination in a classroom setting. The challenges of implementation and the myriad of supports for school personnel as well as the student will be explored. Through videos of student progress and other documentation, the audience will gain an awareness of the crucial value of the Active Learning approach to empower a student’s ability to advocate for themselves and the resources necessary to support implementation.

Objectives Include:

  • Provide brief overview of Active Learning Concepts, including Active Learning Planning Sheet.'
  • Developing and supporting the collaborative team.
  • Identify potential environmental challenges.
  • How to encourage buy-in with other team participants.
  • Explore challenges and successful supports within a district setting.
  • Resources

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 4

Self-Determination: Building Confidence in Our Babies / Starting Out the Right Way!
Katy ISD Panel:  Elaine Robertson, Instructional Officer; Irene Conlan, TVI; Carolyn Samson, TVI

Did you know you can start building self-determination starting at birth? Participants will learn strategies on how to start building self-determination by educating families of babies, birth to 3 years of age. Participants will also learn the importance of collaboration between family, teacher of students with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialist, ECI agency and administration to ensure smooth transition from IDEA-C (ECI) to IDEA-B (school).

Objectives Include:

  • Increase knowledge of what self-determination means as part of the Expanded Core Curriculum.
  • Learn strategies on how to build self-determination at a young age in order to ensure a smooth transition from home to school.

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Break

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

General Session

Building A Healthy Brain! The Foundation of Lifetime Health & Well-Being
Judy Lee Cameron, PH.D.

Dr. Cameron will provide an overview of how neural circuits in the brain a built over the course of development and how important experiences are in shaping brain architecture that helps children adapt to their environments and individual needs. She will cover the basics of brain development, adaptations to disabilities, the impact of life stresses and how to strengthen resilience to stress. She will utilize interactive educational materials to enhance traditional educational materials such as slides and videos.

Objectives Include:

  • How life experiences build brain pathways over development.
  • The impact of life stresses on brain development.
  • How to help children build resilience.

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Valarie Alvarez, Blindness Training Coordinator, Cris Cole Vocational Rehabilitation Center for the Blind

After receiving her degree from UTEP Valerie started her career at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She worked in many different capacities such as teacher’s assistant, technology support TA, track coach and vocational rehabilitation instructor. Valerie has experience working with a variety of students whose ages range from 8 to 22 years old as well as working with students whose academic abilities ranged from on-grade level to practical academics for students with cognitive impairments. Valerie began working at TWC/CCRC in 2013 as a Career Guidance instructor however in 2016 she obtained the Blindness Training Coordinator position. She has written curriculum for the CG department,has taught the College Prep program and presented at several conferences around the state. In 2015 Valerie obtained her Supportive Employment and Job Placement Specialist certification from UNT. 

Valerie was nominated and selected to record a TED Talk at Texas State University. Her talk is called Learning to say the B word. You can find her talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYXmkeIQAE8&t=33s

Valerie also leads a busy personal life. She is married and has four beautiful children. Valerie enjoys dancing, reading and lately has discovered the fun in traveling. 

Anne L. Corn, Ed.D. 

Research Professor (Volunteer), University of Cincinnati, Department of Ophthalmology

Professor Emerita, Vanderbilt University,

  • Primary Appointment:  Dept. of Special Education
  • Secondary Appointment: Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Other appointments:

  • Investigator, Kennedy Center for Research and Education on Human Development
  • Investigator, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center
  • Investigator, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

Education:

1980 Ed.D. Teachers College, Columbia University, Special Education: Visual Handicaps

1978 M.Ed. Teachers College, Columbia University, Special Education: Visual Handicaps

1973 M.A, California State University at San Francisco (currently San Francisco State University), Special Education: Visual Handicaps

1972 B.S. Syracuse University Special Education: Mental Retardation (cognitive disabilities), Elementary Education, Nursery Education (early childhood education)

Kate Borg, TSBVI Outreach Director

Kate Borg is the director of Outreach here at TSBVI. Kate joins us in 2019 after working at the Utah School for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) for many years. Kate has been an administrator, instructional coach, classroom teacher, and itinerant TVI. In addition to leading TSBVI's Outreach mission, Kate has leadership roles within the Principals of Schools for the Blind (POSB) and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI).

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

Kassandra is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Yoga Teacher at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired where she has worked for the past 10 years. She  became a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and then a Radiant Child Yoga Teacher in 2010 and never looked back! Since then, she has been teaching yoga and movement to students at TSBVI where she combines her passions for orientation and mobility and yoga as she works with students with visual impairments! Last year her first book, Yoga for Children with Visual Impairments was published by TSBVI.  Kassandra is also an avid blogger and shares her thoughts and tips on orientation and mobility, yoga, and other topics.



GameOfLifeTSBVI Short-Term Programs and Outreach Programs offers a special opportunity for middle school students and their parents!

December 12- 15, 2019

 

Is the game of life a game of chance or choice? Throughout life, we all make choices and navigate roadblocks daily. Students heading into high school are faced with a number of challenges as they transition to adult life. Students with visual impairments have an added layer of learning, related to concepts such as money handling, career exploration, and socializing with peers. Together, we will develop skills in these areas while encouraging students to be leaders in their own lives.

In this weekend course, students and their parents must attend together. Students will be taught by teaching staff in Short-Term Programs while parents will attend a conference portion hosted by the Outreach department. Limited hotel lodging may be available for adults. Families are encouraged to contact their TWC and HHSC counselors for financial assistance with travel and lodging. Students will reside in the Short-Term Programs dorm free of charge. The goal is for students to understand ways that they can “step up” as they transition to adult life, while parents will learn ways to “step back,” as they support their child with this transition.

The parent program includes information about:

  • Transition planning
  • Graduation plans
  • Supporting your child in the expanded core areas at home and in the community
  • Exploring post secondary options
  • Experiences shared by other parents and students who have made this transition
  • Opportunities at Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center and the Post Secondary Programs on the TSBVI campus - Parents will be able to tour both programs.

Logistical details:

  • Students and their parents must attend together.
  • Activities for parents and for students will be in separate locations.
  • Students will be taught by staff in Short-Term Programs while parents work with Outreach Programs staff.
  • Parents are welcome beginning Thursday night, or may join in Friday.
  • Program runs through Sunday noon.
  • Limited hotel lodging may be available for adults. Families are encouraged to contact their TWC and HHSC counselors for financial assistance with travel and lodging. Students stay in the Short-Term Programs dorm at no cost to families.

Lodging and Travel Arrangements:

Parents will be contacted by Randall McAlister from our Outreach Programs to find out about your specific travel needs and to make travel arrangements for you.  

Parents will be staying at the Holiday Inn Midtown, located at 6000 Middle Fiskville Road in AustinRandall will make your hotel reservations for you after finding out what type of room you will need.  Please do not make hotel reservations on your own.

424039 140 bOther individual travel needs related to rental cars, flights, or transportation in Austin will be planned during Randall's contact with you.  If you have questions about any of your travel plans, please contact Randall at  or phone him at 512-206-9344.

 

Holiday Inn Midtown Austin

All meals will be provided for the students. Luncheon will be provided on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the parents, along with morning and afternoon breaks. On Friday evening a dinner will be provided at the hotel. Complementary breakfasts for two is included with each room reservation for parents staying at the hotel.

Parent registration:

Students apply through Short-term Programs, and parents will be registered by the TSBVI Outreach staff for this workshop, once their student has been accepted.  Your student must be accepted for the weekend in order for you to attend.

Parent agenda:

Thursday, December 12th: Arrival and check-in at the hotel and TSBVI

3:00 PM Parents check students in at TSBVI Health Center 
6:00-7:00 PM Hospitality at the Holiday Inn- Midtown - meet and greet.

 

Friday, December 13th: TSBVI- James C. Durkel Confernece Center 

8:30 AM Welcome/ Ice Breaker Activity
9:45-10:30 AM Big Picture What is a Full Life?
10:30-10:45 AM Break
10:45-11:45 AM

Assistive Technology- What Parents Need to Know

11:45 AM -12:45 PM Lunch
12:45-1:00 PM Break (getting ready for tours)
1:00-2:15 PM Tour EXIT/Post-Secondary Programs
2:30-4:30 PM Tour Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center
6:00-8:00 PM
Dinner at the Hotel  


Saturday, December 14th: TSBVI- James C. Durkel Conference Center 

9:00-10:30 AM Big Picture What is a Full Life? Revisited
Graduation plans and transition elements
Building work-skills now
10:30-10:45 AM Break
10:45-11:45 AM Panel
11:45-12:45 PM Lunch 
12:45-1:45 PM ECC Guidelines and Standards
1:45-2:00 PM Break
2:00-3:30 PM How Do You Feel?
3:30-4:00 PM 19 ways to Step Back
5:00-6:00 PM Optional Happy Hour

 

Sunday, December 15th: TSBVI- James C. Durkel Conference Center

9:00- 10:00 AM Stepping back so your child can step up
10:00-12:00 PM Presentations of student ability statements and parent’s support statement

 

Return to Game of Life: Student Class