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By Marjie Wood, M.Ed., Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Austin Independent School District, Austin, TX

Abstract: the author describes motor routines, an instructional approach designed to teach motor and movement, orientation and mobility, and other skills.

Keywords: blind, orientation and mobility, early childhood, motor skills.

“Movement is life. It is in all we do on a daily basis…for children, movement is also the natural learning medium. It is the means by which they explore the environment, learn how it functions, and interact with it.” (Rosen, 1997).

“Learning occurs best when the child is a participant and in a manner that initially involves the child’s body.” (Pogrund and Fazzi, 2002).

Movement is essential to every living being. For our infants and toddlers who are visually impaired, I believe that movement should also be fun. Too often our little ones have experienced being touched and moved for procedures which are negative and painful. As an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist working with parents and children, conveying the idea that movement can be fun has truly yielded many unforeseen benefits. I would like to share with you some routines I have been using in O&M lessons with babies and toddlers for the past 12 years. Each routine is tailored to each student’s needs and abilities, so I’ve had the opportunity to introduce families to the excitement and fun of moving, and ultimately purposeful movement through the use of routines. Two of the favorite routines are a motor-music routine and a swinging routine. Before trying either one of these, it is always best to talk with the child’s parents, therapists, and other service providers as well as observing them in various situations before planning specific routines. Initially, it is best to have another adult or therapist help you with the transitional movements and static positions.

Motor-movement Routine

Materials needed

Musical Tape or CD Switch-adapted cassette, CD, or MP3 player Big Mac with battery interrupter Ball Wooden textured musical stick Blanket A voice to sing along with the songs

For music, I particularly like Disney Babies: Playtime. I have used it since it first came out in 1998, and it still can usually be found on CD. Each song starts with an instrumental introduction and follows with singing. The instrumental portion at the beginning of each song allows enough time to transition the child in preparation for the song, and can build anticipatory skills. I prefer to use six songs, with the first song dedicated entirely to preparing and transitioning the child for the routine.

Goals and Benefits

The child will gain skills in the following areas:

  • Cognitive: cause and effect; anticipation; body part awareness and positional concepts; communication.
  • Motor: kinesthetic and proprioceptive, body awareness; transitional movements; grasping; balance; coordination; trunk and head control.
  • Sensory: use of visual skills, tactile skills, and listening skills.

The Routine

  1. The first song is played while the adult prepares the child for the routine. I initially start the music from a distance, and bring the child closer or vice versa. For an object to associate with the activity, I use Winnie the Pooh, which is easy enough for little fingers to grasp. I present the bear saying, “(child’s name), it’s teddy bear time.” We arrange our position and I place the portable recorder in front of the child. We are ready to start our routine before the first song ends. If the child has difficulty in being on his tummy, I often will wait for the second song to begin before attempting that position.
  2. “Hickory Dickory Dock” is great for encouraging tummy time. Sometimes we have to try different positions at first. I introduce the Big Mac switch, encouraging the child help press the switch. This can be used as a way to distract the child’s focus from being on her tummy. Concepts of up and down are involved. As you sing along, having your voice go up when singing the word “up”, and down when singing the word “down”. This song is great for body part awareness, especially by giving gentle pressure to the joints.
  3. During the “Dancing Arms” instrumental the child makes the transition from on the tummy to sitting in my lap. Singing this song can be great for awareness of arms, shoulders and some stretching, as well as concepts such as up/down, high/low, and circles.
  4. The “Ball for Baby” instrumental transition may be auditory, bringing a bell ball toward the child. The child may stay in your lap; transition to the floor either on his side, back, or tummy; over your legs; or even getting onto his knees to work over the ball if it’s large enough to do so. This song is great because you’re not limited in what you can do with a ball. Some of our babies equate balls with therapy. So, I have used them to give input into certain joints or body parts, all the while carefully watching the child’s comfort level.
  5. “Little Cowpoke”, one of the children’s and parents’ favorites, has probably elicited the most smiles! We transition our position to having the child straddle my leg. If the child doesn’t have trunk or head control, you will need to support him with your upper body. Sometimes you may need to recline a bit. This is a great bouncing song. While supporting the child’s head and neck if necessary, also try to support his arms. Yes, you’ll look and feel like an octopus, or wish you had that many legs. However, once you’re able to support the child you can not only provide the bouncing, but when it’s time to “whoa” you can also give some feedback to their shoulders. This takes some practice, so do the best you can.
  6. During “Itsy Bitsy Spider” we begin by transitioning from a sitting position to prone on the tummy. In this position, the child is again able to be supported over your leg, and can access the Big Mac. I emphasize the concepts of up and down. I like to have this last song be very calming.

Adaptations

This routine can be overstimulating for some children. Knowing your child and what he or she can tolerate is of utmost importance. It’s important that the child learns about the world of movement and fun, rather than trying to get through a routine that will eventually be “fun”. The number of songs can be shortened, and the music can even be stopped when necessary. This routine can be adapted to a variety of children, including both those who are non-ambulatory and those who are walking!

Swinging Routine

Materials needed

Strong blanket that’s large enough for 2 adults to hold while swinging child. Two strong backs Voices for singing

Goals and Benefits

The child will gain skills in the following areas:

  • Cognitive: cause and effect; anticipation; movement; communication.
  • Motor: movement; sequencing of purposeful movement to indicate “more”; transitional movements.
  • Sensory: kinesthetic and proprioceptive awareness; use of visual skills.
  • Social/Emotional: bonding with parents/ family.

The Routine

When swinging, two people will hold the blanket. The parent should be in front of the child, so if the child has any vision he or she may have the opportunity to look at the parent. Additionally, the parent can benefit from observing the sheer joy on their child’s face.

When singing I prefer to have two different tunes, one for swinging forward and back, and the second for swinging side-to-side. I usually sing the tune of the direction the child likes to be swung; for example, if Tommy likes to be swung from side to side better, I’ll sing “Side to side, side to side, Tommy’s swinging side to side, side to side, side to side, Tommy’s swinging side to side.” As I sing this, I present him with the blanket we’ll be using. Depending on his ability to move, we’ll either place him or roll him into the center of the blanket. For swinging side-to-side, the adults need to place themselves at the child’s head and feet. Also depending on what the child can tolerate, this is a great time to help the child “transition” from lying to a sitting position before being raised in the blanket. The song is then sung two times, and at the completion of the second round, is gently placed on the floor. I then follow the recommendations for eliciting a response from Every Move Counts.

When the child’s method of communicating is recognized and becomes more consistent, we begin to roll the child off the blanket until he is lying on his back on the floor. We ask if he wants “more”. With the blanket touching his body, any body movement will be recognized as a signal for “more”. With assistance, we slowly and carefully roll him to the center of the blanket and repeat the swinging routine. We usually find that if the child has some vision, he may start to look in the direction of the blanket, or may start to move his body in the direction of the blanket. We make sure to roll the child in and out of the blanket in both directions. Also, we allow the child the opportunity to swing from front to back and side to side. The front-to-back song is also sung with the child’s name being mentioned: “Lila’s swinging forward and back, forward and back, forward and back, Lila’s swinging forward and back.”

As with any activity, whenever we notice discomfort, fatigue, pain, or any adverse reaction, the activity is immediately stopped. But we always try to avoid problems in the first place by initially checking with the parents, therapists, and anyone else who’s involved with the child. Caution also must be taken with children who have g-tubes, shunts, or any medical issues.

Routines can provide predictability, consistency, safety and comfort. Once the child is secure in knowing what’s going to happen, we can also say that routines can be enjoyable, providing children and their families an opportunity to have fun together!

References:

Korsten, J. (1995). Every move counts: A sensory based approach to education. The Psychological Corporation, USA.

Rosen, S. (1997). In Blasch, Weiner & Welch (Eds.) Foundations of orientation and mobility, second edition (p. 170). American Foundation for the Blind Press, New York.

Pogrund, R.L. & Fazzi, D.L. (2002) Early focus: Working with young blind and visually impaired children and their families, second edition. (p. 343). American Foundation for the Blind Press, New York.

Winter 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

 

By Deborah Gleason, Regional Coordinator, Asia/Pacific Programs,
Hilton/Perkins Program, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Introductory remarks and Handout reprinted with permission of Deborah Gleason and The Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments

Abstract: This article discusses the importance of determining the factors that influence how a child learns. A guide to help identify these factors so that they can be addressed to provide more effective programming is included.

Key Words: learning style, assessment, self-regulation, exploration, infants, toddlers

Assessments of infants and toddlers with visual impairments or deafblindness should include information about how children appear to learn, not just what they are able to do. In order for assessments to lead to developmentally appropriate and family-centered intervention, families and interventionists must understand how children learn most effectively. Interventionists can learn about children's learning styles from both observations of the child and interviews with families/caregivers/service providers. Such assessment requires no specialized materials, but rather relies on keen observation skills and thoughtful interview strategies. Thus, these learning style observation guidelines are appropriate for use in various cultures. They have been used as a tool to guide planning of effective intervention strategies for young children in a wide variety of programs, including well-established programs in the U.S., as well as newly developing programs throughout Asia.

Children are observed in a variety of settings/ activities. Observations of learning style are made in the following areas:

  • child's interests, motivation, and preferences
  • child's dislikes
  • processing time
  • self-regulation
  • exploratory strategies
  • attention to activities
  • learning environments
  • response to routines
  • transitions
  • response to learning opportunities
  • generalization of skills
  • positioning and movement
  • challenging behaviors

follows. Electronic copies can be retrieved at http://fpg.unc.edu/resources. Additional related materials are available online. These materials were developed through the Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments - Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. The mission of this five-year project was to develop resources that build the capacity of colleges and universities to prepare personnel to serve infants and toddlers with visual impairments and their families. Five university courses were developed:

  • Family-Centered Practices for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments
  • Visual Conditions and Functional Vision: Early Intervention Issues
  • Developmentally Appropriate Orientation and Mobility
  • Communication and Emergent Literacy: Early Intervention Issues
  • Assessment of Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments

are available online at: http://fpg.unc.edu/resources.

Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments
Module: Assessment of Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments
Session 3: Areas of Assessment

Handout I: Learning-Style Observations: Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments

Gleason, D. (2006). Learning-style observations: Infants and toddlers with visual impairments. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute, Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments.

Assessments of infants and toddlers with visual impairments should include information about how children appear to learn, not just what they are able to do. In order for assessments to lead to developmentally appropriate and family-centered intervention, families and interventionists must understand how children learn most effectively. Interventionists can learn about children's learning styles from observations and interviews.

Observe children

  • in familiar and unfamiliar activities,
  • with familiar and unfamiliar toys and objects,
  • in activities they have mastered,
  • in challenging or new activities
  • in individual and group activities,
  • in indoor and outdoor activities,
  • during adult-facilitated engagement,
  • during independent engagement,
  • in movement activities,
  • in seated activities,
  • in stimulating environments, and
  • in quiet, non-distracting environments.

Consider the following factors and the impact that each may have on specific aspects of children's learning styles:

  • health concerns (e.g., ongoing medical conditions, surgery, illness),
  • medications (e.g., type of medication, timing of medications),
  • seizures,
  • sleeping schedule,
  • nutritional issues (e.g., adequacy of food and liquid intake, gastrointestinal [g]-tube), and
  • physical comfort (e.g., teething, constipation, gas).

Interventionists should talk to families, caregivers, and other professionals about children's learning styles at home and in a variety of settings (e.g., childcare, homes of relatives and friends, community locations). Families are often able to provide unique information about their children. Learning style can be identified by observing children's interests, motivation, and preferences; dislikes; processing time; self-regulation; exploratory strategies; attention to activities; learning environments; response to routines, transitions, and response to learning opportunities; generalization of skills; positioning and movement; and behaviors. The following questions may be used to guide learning-style assessments.

Interests, motivation, and preferences

  • What interests or motivates the child? What does the child like? For example, favorite people, activities, music, objects, and sensory characteristics of objects/activities
  • What types of reinforcements are most effective for the child? For example, social praise, food, preferred toy, music, touch, and movement
  • What are the child's favorite activities? For example, snuggling on parent's lap with a book, singing a song, playing frolic games, and playing with musical toys
  • What are the child's favorite objects?
  • What is the best way to present an object to the child? For example, touch a body part with an object, provide a sound cue, or present an object in the child's left visual quadrant
  • How does the child respond to music, finger plays, and/or poems with a strong rhythm/beat? For example, the child tolerates tactile activities when they are paired with a song or poem with a beat
  • Does the child have favorite songs? If so, what are they?
  • What are the child's favorite foods?
  • What makes the child happy? For example, interactive play with grandfather, playing with shiny Mardi Gras beads with sister, and quiet time on Mom's lap
  • How does the child show that he or she enjoys an activity, interaction, movement, song, or object? For example, kicks feet, vocalizes, smiles or laughs, makes contented cooing sounds, listens or stills to show alertness, or keeps hands in close contact with toy
  • Are there particular people with whom the child is most comfortable?

Dislikes

  • What, if any, are the child's least favorite activities?
  • What activities, if any, does the child avoid?
  • What objects, if any, does the child refuse to touch?
  • What foods, textures, or temperatures, if any, does the child particularly dislike?
  • What objects, activities, people, sounds, etc., if any, does the child fear?

Processing time

  • Describe the child's processing time in various situations. Count in seconds the elapsed time from adult input/cue to the child response. How much time does the child need in order to respond
  • in familiar situations/activities?
  • in unfamiliar situations/activities?
  • given a verbal cue only?
  • given a visual sign and verbal cue?
  • given a tactile sign or physical prompt with a verbal cue?
  • Is the child provided enough time to process and respond to the information?

Self-regulation

  • What strategies does the child use to calm him/herself? For example, brings hand to mouth, pushes feet against side of crib or other firm surface, or closes eyes to reduce environmental stimulation
  • How does the caregiver calm the child or support the child's attempts to self-calm? For example, swaddling baby in a blanket, assisting child in bringing her hands to mouth, providing slow rhythmical rocking, applying firm pressure on shoulders, reducing noise in the room, and limiting handling and movement of the child
  • What communication strategies, sensory strategies, or behavioral support strategies are effective in supporting the child's attempts to self-regulate? Are there any interventions that have been implemented that did not work?
  • What signals and cues does the child give to indicate
  • I need a break or a change from this activity,
  • I can calm myself, or
  • I need help to calm myself?
  • Does the child become upset or get overly stimulated easily?
  • How do you know when the child is overly stimulated? For example, the child becomes irritable, falls asleep, closes eyes, or avoids visual input.
  • In what environments or contexts does the child become overstimulated? For example, in new places, during large family gatherings, at the mall, or in noisy places
  • When the child does become upset, can he or she be calmed easily?

Exploratory strategies

  • Describe how the child explores or recognizes familiar objects, places, and people.
  • Describe how the child explores new objects, places, toys, and materials.
  • What types of objects does the child examine? Consider
  • tactile qualities (e.g., texture, weight, vibration),
  • size and shape (e.g., a toy small enough to fit easily in a child's hand, a shape that is easy to grasp),
  • visual characteristics (e.g., reflective, shiny, brightly colored), and
  • auditory qualities (e.g., musical, toy that makes a continuous sound, low-pitched sound).
  • How is the child most effectively encouraged to explore?
  • Does the child initiate exploration independently?
  • How much and what type of adult assistance does the child need (e.g., providing adequate pause time, providing prompts to encourage the child to explore)?
  • How does the child use various senses to explore (e.g., vision, touch, hearing, movement, mouthing)?
  • Describe the child's sense of curiosity. For example, when a sound is presented somewhere in the room, how does the child respond? If something is presented in a box, how does the child approach it?
  • Does the child use particular compensatory strategies when exploring? For example, does the child look away when exploring with his or her hands; does the child put a hand up to look through the fingers when seeing something new?
  • Describe how the child interacts with new people.

Attention to activities

  • How is the child's attention best gained (e.g., through eye contact, signing/gestures, sound, spoken word, tactile cue, visual cue, a combination)?
  • How is the child's interest in an activity or interaction best maintained?
  • If the child loses interest during an activity, how can attention be regained? How can the child be reengaged in the activity?
  • Describe the child's attention to activities based on
  • type of activity,
  • familiarity of the activity,
  • time of day,
  • environmental conditions (e.g., noise level, lighting),
  • sensory characteristics of the activity,
  • motor components (e.g., movement or stationary activity),
  • adult or peer involvement,
  • seizure activity, and
  • medication (e.g., timing, dosage, type). (Note: Children may be drowsy and less likely to be attentive for the first hour after some medications are administered).

Learning environment

  • Describe environments that facilitate the child's active engagement in activities and interactions with people. For example, a quiet environment, controlled lighting, clearly organized space with a minimum of clutter
  • Does the child become overly stimulated in particular environments? If so, what sensory aspects does the child find overly stimulating (e.g., visual, auditory, tactile, movement)?
  • Is the child is easily distracted in particular environments? If so, what distracts the child (e.g., visual, auditory, tactile, movement)?
  • Which aspects of the physical environment especially appeals to the child?

Response to routines

  • Does the child have consistent routines for daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, sleeping, and play?
  • Does the child anticipate consistent daily routines?
  • How does the child demonstrate anticipation of daily routines?
  • How does the child respond to changes in routines? For example, a child may be comfortable with changes in her routine; she is used to eating while seated in her highchair at home but is also comfortable eating sitting on an adult's lap at the home of a relative. Another child may become upset when her routine is disrupted. She is used to a bedtime routine of reading a story with her parents before falling asleep in her crib. Although her parents keep the routine of reading a bedtime story when they visit grandparents' house for the weekend, the child will not fall asleep in her port-a-crib, recognizing it is different from her crib at home. When the family returns home, it takes a full week for the child to get back to falling asleep on her own in her crib after just one night's disruption in her bedtime routine.

Transitions

  • Are transitions difficult for the child?
  • If so, describe the ways in which transitions are difficult.
  • What strategies help the child transition smoothly from one activity to the next? For example, having a predictable sequence of daily activities, a verbal warning before a change in activity, a finished box in which to put materials from a completed activity, or a transition song

Response to learning opportunities

  • How does the child respond to physical demonstrations, such as hand-under-hand demonstration?
  • How does the child respond to touch cues?
  • How does the child respond to visual cues or to visual demonstration and modeling?
  • How does the child respond to pointing cues?
  • How does the child respond to verbal directions?
  • How does the child respond to gestural cues or sign directions?
  • How does the child respond to object cues?
  • How does the child respond to picture cues?
  • How can adults most effectively communicate with the child?
  • How does the child respond to emergent literacy experiences? For example, does the child have opportunities to share storybooks? How does the child respond? How does the child respond to pictures or tactile illustrations? How does the child respond to shared storybook reading?

Generalization of skills

  • Is the child able to generalize skills to new situations or to new objects? For example, if the child enjoys playing with a favorite drum at home, is he or she able to generalize when playing with a new drum at a neighbor's house? Can he or she generalize the skill to play a xylophone with a stick or mallet?
  • If possible, observe the child doing a familiar activity in a new place. This observation can provide information about generalization of skills, problem-solving strategies, and how the child approaches and learns in a new environment. For example, if the child has learned to wash his or her hands at the bathroom sink at home, how does he or she approach washing hands at a sink in the childcare center or in the bathroom at the local library?

Positioning/movement

  • What positions are most effective for specific activities for the child? For example, seated in adapted chair with tray and support under elbows to facilitate reaching for and manipulating toys on the tray, supported sitting in parent's arms while listening to story and looking at clear pictures and feeling textures on the pages, supine with towel or pillow support under shoulders while reaching for objects hung from a floor mobile, or side-lying on right side to facilitate use of both hands
  • Are there any positions that should be avoided?
  • Does the child learn effectively during movement activities? For example, the child learns movements of interactive movement games or finger plays; or the child most frequently and clearly communicates when involved in swinging or bouncing activities.
  • Does the child learn effectively during stationary activities? For example, the child attends longer to an activity when seated in a chair with a tray.
  • Does the child benefit from clearly defined play spaces? If so, describe. For example, play corner, toys attached to tray/easel/play space, chair and tray/table, or floor play area defined with blanket
  • Are there any positions or movement activities that the child avoids?

Challenging behaviors

  • Does the child have behaviors that interfere with interactions with people, exploration of objects, or participation in daily activities and routines?
  • Describe the behaviors.
  • How often does the behavior occur?
  • How long does the behavior last? (What is the duration?)
  • When does the behavior occur most frequently?
  • When is the behavior unlikely to occur?
  • What purpose does the behavior seem to serve for the child?
  • How do people respond to the behavior?
  • Are there any potential medical issues related to the behavior?

In Summary

  • How does the child most effectively learn?
  • How can adults best support and facilitate the child's learning?
  • What environmental conditions best support and facilitate the child's learning?

Last Revision: June 9, 2008

Winter 2010 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Christina and Pete Suarez, Harlingen, TX

Abstract: Parents describe the emotional process of sending their son to an overnight camp. Their reluctance did not prevent them from leaving him and the experience was positive for everyone. Keywords: blind, retinopathy of prematurity, ROP, camp

 

We have two boys Peter, age ten and Christian, age eight. Christian is blind due to ROP. Last summer we decided to try again and register Christian for summer Life Skills camp at TSBVI. The summer of 200 we signed him up but there was no room for him, which was okay for us because we were not ready for that step yet. In May, we received a letter that Christian was accepted to attend summer camp in July, 2009. Although, still not sure if we were ready I sent in all the forms that were necessary.

Summer came and we still had June to prepare for the trip to Austin. Soon July was here and we were ready for the trip to TSBVI. I had made arrangements for Peter and me to stay at my brother’s house in Austin so we could be close.

The day we arrived in Austin, my husband Pete, who had to go back to work in Harlingen, decided that he didn’t want to send Christian to the school because he had a runny nose. He wanted to turn around and take Christian back home. He still wasn’t ready for this step yet.

Because I spent weeks packing and getting emotionally ready for the trip, I didn’t want to just turn around and go home, so we talked and we decided that this experience was going to be good for Christian and for us. Going through the steps to take Christian to his dorm was easy. The hard part was to leave there without our son. I think it was harder for my husband, but we did it.

The next four days we would call Christian but he did not want to talk to us; I think he was having too much fun. Family and friends would call us to see how we were and we were doing just fine. Peter and I spent a lot of time together and we had a good time in Austin. The day came to pick up Christian and we were excited. We got to his room and gathered all his belongings, which were already washed, and sat down to talked to the staff. They also had pictures to show Christian’s activities which they put in an album for us. Everyone said they enjoyed working and playing with Christian.

On our way home Christian, whose speech is very limited, talked about the pool, rides he went on, the boat, and pizza. That was the first time I could understand he was describing things he did in school.

As first timers at Summer Camp, I think it went very well and I hope Christian can attend next summer. Thank you TSBVI for a great summer camp experience.

Fall 2009 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Chris Montgomery, TSBVI Outreach deafblind educational consultant and summer enrichment instructor, & Holly Cooper, TSBVI Outreach deafblind educational consultant

Abstract: The authors describe a two-week-long summer school session consisting entirely of students with deafblindness. Specially designed instructional opportunities included grocery shopping, going to restaurants, visiting an ice cream making store, and visiting a zoo. These activities were used as opportunities for concept development; learning appropriate vocabulary and symbols; practicing orientation and mobility skills; making lists and creating experience books; and choice making. Opportunities for staff development and parent training were also included. Keywords: deafblind, summer program, expanded core curriculum, communication

In this age of inclusion of students with the environment and people. In some casdisabilities in the least restrictive environ-es this process is facilitated by an interment, is there a need for a special class for vener, in some cases a paraprofessional, students with deafblindness? The unique and in some cases the teacher. All too of-needs of such students lead us to believe ten, individuals with deafblindness do not the answer is yes. The key to quality pro-have access to appropriate intervention, so gramming for individuals with combined we at the Texas Deafblind Project and TS-hearing and vision impairments is the con-BVI Special Programs collaborated to decept of intervention. Intervention is the velop a special summer school program for process which allows an individual who is some select students with deafblindness deafblind to receive non-distorted informa-to provide a time of high quality programtion such that he or she can interact with ming. We also worked to develop a model program in which parents and educational team members could observe and learn.

This is the second year Chris Montgomery has organized and taught this special summer session for students with deaf-blindness. We believe this program has improved every year and provided many opportunities for learning that students would not have otherwise had. This program was developed with the philosophy that all students with deafblindness benefit greatly from experiential learning situations, situations that involve activities in which the student can learn by doing. Many off-campus trips were included in the instructional day to make use of the community as a tool for discovery and experiential learning. These experiences were then used as a way to increase topics for literacy skills, build concept development, and provide opportunities for conversation. The aim was to provide, and further refine, good communication system models (including calendars, routines, and conversational strategies) that might give family members and teachers of deafblind students some tips and new ideas to implement at home.

Each school day began in the dormitory with students participating in cooking their breakfasts. Students then walked a sometimes challenging route to their classroom, following temporary construction fences and avoiding obstacles that sometimes varied from day to day. In the classroom students previewed their schedule for the day using objects, drawings, printed words or tactile symbols. School-based activities included cooking, art, and physical education.

Classroom work infused literacy into the expanded core curriculum, particularly activities of daily living. Students in this small class had a wide range of abilities from a student with functional mastery of reading and use of the internet to a student whose primary goal was to improve his emerging communication and social skills. Students discussed foods they wanted to prepare, searched the internet for recipes, developed a shopping list, planned a budget, and went shopping to purchase the items. Activities were used to facilitate the development of concepts and tie concepts to spoken, signed and written vocabulary. Planning included the creation of lists using print and object symbols. Follow up instruction involved staff and students creating experience books in which they described the activity and their role in it. Books were made with print and pictures as well as with braille, tactile symbols and objects and artifacts gathered during events.

In addition to literacy, the class provided learning opportunities in a variety of other areas. Students learned time concepts through use of calendars, schedules and object shelves to discuss upcoming and previous activities. They had opportunities for choice making and self determination in choosing the foods for their own breakfast, as well as food projects to prepare in the classroom. They learned and practiced appropriate social skills on campus with familiar people, and off campus with strangers and in unfamiliar situations. Students with deafblindness who have limited ability to communicate often experience anxiety when they go with their families or classmates into public settings, and having support from familiar people who can judge when they may be reaching their limit of ability to tolerate noise and confusion can be an effective way for such students to learn to understand situations and gain skills.

Learning opportunities in the classroom and the community also provided experience and practice in a wide variety of additional skills. Learning to organize work space and materials, and cleaning up and putting away materials are important skills for all individuals; but they are especially important for children with visual impairments as they may not be able to observe others practicing these skills, and may spend considerable time searching for needed supplies. Students also had experience following instructions, whether spoken, printed, or presented with pictures, depending on their ability. They also had experience giving directions to others, requesting and providing assistance, and working together as a team. The summer program was also used as a parent and staff training opportunity. A wiki (see photo) was created that was accessed with a password to protect student confidentiality. Photos and links to videos were posted daily, along with some discussion of learning activities which occurred and how students responded to them. One intervener of students with deafblindness who works with one of the summer program students in her home district, also came to work with her during the session at TSBVI. She had many opportunities to observe others working with the student, as well as participate in planning and implementing activities. Parents of the students as well as educational team members of one student came to a training the last two days of the program, observing in the classroom and attending workshop sessions on communication, self-determination, infusing Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) into functional activities, and making learning activities more motivating.

 

The staff members who supported this class, as well as other members of the Texas Deafblind Project, hope to offer a similar program in the future. We believe it is an effective method of enriching the educational experience of students with deaf-blindness, as well as an ideal learning lab for professionals and family members.

Chris Montgomery summed it up:

I think everyone felt that this (experience) gave a lot of depth to understanding how to work with the kids. With endeavors like these it’s usually the things you don’t plan for that turn out to be the best experiences— the things we take away and remember. I was amazed at the connections that were made during this short two week program. Two of our students became very close friends and worked amazingly well together to solve problems and support each other in the new and sometimes emotional experiences they shared. The staff to student bond was really remarkable too; the kids were able to trust their teachers to help them through the new and sometimes emotional experiences they encountered while away from home. Parents connected as well, trading phone numbers and sharing experiences during the BBQ picnic. In all it felt as if some lifelong friends and connections were made.

Summer 2007 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

 

by Barbara J. Madrigal, Assistant Commissioner, Division for Blind Services

Abstract: Assistant Commissioner Madrigal provides a retrospective on Dr. Hatlen's career serving children who are blind and visually impaired.

Key Words: Dr. Phil Hatlen, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, blindness, visual impairment, Division for Blind Services

Almost everyone who lives in Texas knows at least one or two people who have moved to our great state from California. We certainly do, and among them is a man we consider to be a very good friend and a strong ally.

Raised and educated in California, Dr. Phil Hatlen has made a powerful and lasting impression on our state. He decided to become a Texan in 1990 -- and how very glad we are that he made that decision! As superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in Austin, Dr. Hatlen has proven to be a strong and active partner in our efforts to expand and improve quality services to blind Texans.

With Dr. Hatlen's enthusiastic and innovative support, the Division for Blind Services (DBS) and TSBVI were able to successfully partner together to establish a joint program that serves students who have graduated from high school but who still need a little help in learning how to apply their educational skills and daily living skills to real life situations. The Post-Secondary Education Program allows these young adults to live in their own apartment while working to improve the skills they will need to be fully independent adults. In addition to the daily living activities involved in cooking their own meals, cleaning their apartment, and keeping up with the laundry, each of the program participants is responsible for money management tasks such as paying the rent, buying groceries, and balancing a checkbook as well as time management skills such as attending scheduled meetings with their Career Guidance counselor, completing planned activities and/or college-prep coursework, and making decisions about recreational and leisure activities.

Dr. Hatlen has always advocated on behalf of people who are blind, and when the Legislature is in town, you can be sure that he is actively supporting improved educational programs and enhanced rehabilitative services. He has also been instrumental in helping both DBS and TSBVI seize opportunities that opened new avenues of communication with consumer groups and other advocates within the blind community. Over the years, the ensuing discussions and meetings have encouraged the development of mutually cooperative relationships and have ultimately resulted in improved services and higher quality outcomes for many blind Texans.

At the beginning of his distinguished career, Dr. Hatlen worked as one of the first teachers of students with visual impairments who were included in regular classrooms. In Texas, he has worked with equal commitment to bring the very best academic curriculum and educational opportunities to TSBVI students. Regardless of the school setting in which the student learns, however, his ultimate goal has always been to achieve a quality education for each and every student. To achieve that goal, he has employed an extensive and diverse array of exceptional talents including preparation, creativity, innovation, and determination.

Blending a passionate interest in quality education with a strong desire to help students be successful seems to come naturally to Dr. Hatlen. He has served on the Council of Schools for the Blind, actively participated in the development of policies that benefit blind and visually impaired persons, and published works on curriculum and education placement for visually impaired students that have earned him recognition at both the state and national levels.

Dr. Hatlen is indeed an extraordinary man. He has a natural ability to share his dreams and optimistic outlook with others that makes him a perfect mentor for both students and professionals. He sees beyond today and envisions the future, and he motivates others to do the same. He also has an innate ability to bring people with diverse perspectives together to create a unified voice that molds and shapes academic, rehabilitative, and social changes for people who are blind.

He was very active in the formation of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) at the national level and, after he was transplanted to Texas, he worked equally hard to help the state chapter known as the Texas AER or TAER. Today, TAER is a strong organization that benefits many professionals in the field of blindness from across our state, including educational and skills-building conferences that improve services to blind and visually impaired Texans of all ages.

TAER also makes annual awards that recognize Texans who have contributed to improved services for people who are blind. Among these prestigious awards, the annual Phil Hatlen award has been established to recognize a Texas administrator or university professor who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and innovative changes in the field of visual impairment. As the nominating form states, the man for whom the award is named is a visionary of change who has been an inspiration to countless professionals during his career as a teacher, university professor in teacher preparation programs, and in his many leadership roles in national and state organizations and committees.

Dr. Hatlen has dedicated his career to the education of students who are blind. In an interview with the Council for Exceptional Children, he once summarized his career by saying perhaps the most beautiful form of creativity is teaching blind students. We wholeheartedly endorse his sentiments, and we know that Dr. Hatlen's choice of careers has been a great asset to teachers and students alike.

Regardless of where he chooses to live or work, Dr. Hatlen's impact on the field of blindness is impressive, and his ongoing enthusiasm and dedication should serve as an inspiration to us all. We are very proud and thankful that he has chosen Texas as his adopted home!

Winter 2009 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Michele Chauvin, President of TAPVI, Sugar Land, TX

Abstract:  The Texas Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments shares their experience speaking before the State Board of Educator Certification in October and provides an update on their organization’s business.

 

Keywords: Family Wisdom, blind, visually impaired, family organization, CTVI, SBEC, teacher certification

 

In October 2008, the Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (TAPVI) had the opportunity to speak before the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) in Austin. As a mom, I shared my plea that the board should require a Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (CTVI) to receive specialized training, including coursework and a supervised internship, before earning this certification. Currently, Texas law only requires that teachers pass an exam to become certified in any additional subjects, including CTVIs. A student who is the son of a TAPVI member also gave a personal account about the role his CTVI plays in his life. What a proud moment for his family!

These were among the statements for Item 11: Consideration and Opportunity to Approve the Recommendation that A Visually Impaired Teacher Take Visually Impaired Training in Addition to Examination as a Requirement for Visually Impaired Certification.

MICHELE’S TESTIMONY

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. My name is Michele Chauvin, and I live in Sugar Land. I am the President of the Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, and I have a 7-year-old daughter, who is blind. Like most Texas students who are visually impaired, she has attended public school in our community of Fort Bend ISD. Over the years, she has worked with 5 different Certified Teachers of students with visual impairments. We have observed a variety of educational methods based on their training. It is imperative for VI Teachers to have the knowledge and experience provided by a complete training program to work successfully in this specialized field.

Like the conductor of a complex symphony, the VI teacher coordinates lesson plans between numerous teachers. Adapting materials for every assignment on a daily basis is complicated to say the least. A typical lesson plan may include a raised line drawing, a tactile picture, a real-life experience, Braille, large print, complex technology, or all of the above. Everyone in a public school relies heavily on the VI teacher for guidance, from the principal to the volunteers. If the VI teacher lacks expertise, everyone suffers the consequences of an unprepared blind person, who may be missing skills necessary for independence.

VI teachers are also responsible for several assessments. The results often have far reaching impact into a child’s future, possibly adding additional eligibilities, as 70% of VI students also have multiple impairments. Texas Administrative Code §89.1040 requires that schools must include a certified VI teacher when doing evaluations. It would be prudent to have a thoroughly trained VI teacher to conduct or collaborate on such important assessments.

As the President of a statewide parent organization, I have met many VI families across Texas. A common concern for these families is the unique educational needs of our children. Our VI teacher is often our lifeline. A teacher without complete training or experience may steer a community in the wrong direction. These parents may give up on the public school system and decide to educate their child in a private or home school setting, rather than work with someone they view as incapable. Sadly, these families often lose the support they expected from the public school system. They simply want to send their kids to school, confident they are educated appropriately every day.

Proficiency in the vision field cannot be learned by passing an exam. This wealth of knowledge is acquired through specific training, experience working with VI students in a supervised setting, mentoring and continuing education. Please consider requiring teachers to complete their training before receiving their certification as a VI teacher in Texas. This will better equip our VI teachers to instruct a variety of VI students, families, and school systems regarding the specialized needs of this unique population. Thank you for your time.

COOPER’S TESTIMONY

Hello, my name is Cooper Alexander; I’m 13 and an 8th grader at Valley View ISD in Valley View, Texas. I’m here, away from my school to speak to you about how important my teacher of the visually impaired is to me.

When I was born I was too early and didn’t weigh even two pounds. A month later I had bacterial meningitis and almost died. Because of that, I have an eye condition called Cortical Visual Impairment, or CVI, and mild cerebral palsy. I see light and dark, some colors, and sometimes shapes. Sometimes, I see less, sometimes more, it changes depending on my health, surroundings, and stress levels. I can walk pretty well, but I fall a lot if I’m not careful. I use a white cane to navigate my school and when I’m out running around.

My mom found out about ECI when I was 2 months old, because they told her at the hospital I would be blind, have cerebral palsy, and mental retardation. As you can see, I’m pretty smart and this is why: she has told me she and Dad were desperate to find some way to help me. ECI sent out Mary Ann Foster to look me over and decide how best to start. From the time I was 6 months old, Miss Mary Ann has looked out for me. I don’t remember any of the early stuff, but Mom said she did lots of vision stimulation activities with me and tried to help me interact with my surroundings. I know she must have helped because I’m an all A student now.

It’s hard to tell you in this short a time what Miss Mary Ann does for me each day, but I’ll try. She started me on Braille by the time I was 3. Because I am a Braille student, she has to see me at my school a lot. By 1st grade I had a type of Braille note-taker and all my books were brailled. By 3rd grade, she made sure I was reading contracted Braille so I wouldn’t fall behind the other kids. Now, she makes sure I have audio textbooks as well as the Braille, because there is a lot of reading! In 2nd grade she started teaching me Nemeth Code for math. It’s a special Braille code just for advanced math, and it’s hard. She gets me the technology I need to succeed in my classroom. I have a Braille note-taker that I write on and read from, a screen reader for my computer and tons more equipment she had to know how to teach me.

She has teacher worksheets brailled for me, math papers fixed so I can feel the diagrams or shapes so they make sense to me. Once, I needed the elements chart and she made sure I had it early, so I could start memorizing them. If we use maps, she makes sure I have them and in art class she helps the teacher understand what would be a good way to teach me. Miss Mary Ann sits with me in math and science sometimes, because it’s easy for the classroom teacher to forget I need more description, or because there are changes that need to be made at the last minute so I can understand the lesson. That happens all the time, and she always knows how to help me. She takes a lot of classes at Region XI and X so she will know what might help me.

On top of all of that, even when she’s seen me hundreds of times that month, she will take me to an event like Sports Extravaganza or a Mentor night at the American Foundation for the Blind center in Dallas because she wants me to be an independent, regular kid. She say’s that means I have to go to college and get a good job.

If Miss Mary Ann had not learned Braille, or Nemeth code I wouldn’t have gone to Space Camp a couple of years ago, be the president of my 4-H club or be here talking to you, because I couldn’t do the work. All kids deserve a great teacher like her, and we shouldn’t give them anything less. Please make sure all teachers of students with visual impairments get the training they need to help kids like me. Thank you for your time. Do you have any questions?

TAPVI.ORG Website Is Parked!

If you have tried to visit our website lately, you found that the site was not working. Our website is temporarily parked. We own the domain (name), but the company who hosts the space wants us to change our site builder, re-entering all our info, and is increasing the rates. Our Webmaster is looking into this issue. Hopefully, the site will be back up soon. We have had this website for a few years, and we intend to keep it.

 

Informe desde el Sitio Web del Centro Nacional Helen Keller

Resumen: Este artículo trata sobre un estudio de investigación e invita a participar a los consumidores o padres, respondiendo a un cuestionario.

Palabras clave: ceguera, sordoceguera, Síndrome CHARGE, investigación, Dr. Kim Blake, Dra. Nancy Salem-Hartshorne


Si tienes 13 años o más y sufres del síndrome CHARGE, las Dras. Kim Blake y Nancy Salem-Hartshorne desean invitarte a ti o a tus padres o tutor a participar en nuestro actual estudio de investigación.  En general, aún no se sabe mucho sobre los problemas que las personas mayores tienen que enfrentar al crecer con el síndrome CHARGE.   La Dra. Blake y la Dra. Salem-Hartshorne desean obtener información acerca de tu vida pasada y presente con este síndrome.  Toma aproximadamente entre 30 y 45 minutos contestar el cuestionario y algunas de las preguntas tienen relación con las cosas que son positivas en tu vida y las que no lo son tanto. Esto es lo que se describe como “la calidad de vida”.

Este estudio de investigación está siendo dirigido por la doctora en medicina, Kim Blake, y la sicóloga, Dra. Nancy Salem-hartshorne, quien a su vez tiene un hijo adolescente que padece del síndrome CHARGE.

Si usted se ofrece como voluntario para participar, se le enviará un paquete con los formularios de consentimiento y el cuestionario que debe ser devuelto a nosotras.

Se solicita contactar vía email o llamar a la Dra. Blake o la Dra. Salem-Hartshorne en caso que desee formar parte de esta importante investigación.

Nancy Hartshorne: (989)774-6469 (Zona Horaria del Este)

Dra. Kim Blake: (902) 470-6499 (Hora Estándar del Atlántico).


 


 

Escuela para Ciegos e Impedidos Visuales de Texas – Programa de Divulgación Comunitaria

Invitados de Honor

Texas Fellows

Reconocimiento a los Profesionales en Impedimentos Visuales en su Papel de Reclutadores

 

 

 

Trae un Fellow al Baile

 

Recluta un Profesional en Impedimentos Visuales 

Texas Fellow

Karla Cantu

Tashia Garcia

Lani Simonton

Brian Jones

Emma Lee Wilson

Mary Kainer

Cecilia Cox Hayes

Myleah Rhynes

Pat Harper

Barbara Kline

Carol Dancy

Bonnie Rudel 

Candidato

Guadalupe Garza-Brown

Karen Baker

Cathryn King

Trish Duke

Harriet Page

Kathleen McGann

Gayla Brown

Beth Wallace

Shonda Prater

Julia Sohns

David Carabajal

Norma Freimark 

 

Para mayor información sobre como ser un Texas Fellow o trabajar como profesional en Impedimento Visuales comuníquese con KC Dignan a

<>.

Invierno 2008 Tabula de Contenido
English version of this article (Versión Inglesa)

Observación de los Estilos de Aprendizaje de los Lactantes y Niños pequeños Impedidos Visuales o Sordociegos: Uso de la Información sobre Cómo Aprenden los Niños para Planificar una Intervención Eficaz

Por Deborah Gleason, Coordinadora Regional, Programas Asia y Pacífico, Programa Milton/Perkins, Escuela para Ciegos Perkins, Watertown, MA. Observaciones introductorias y Volante reimpreso con autorización de Deborah Gleason y el Centro de Capacitación de Intervención Oportuna para Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos Visuales

Resumen: En este artículo se analiza la importancia de determinar los factores que influyen en el aprendizaje del niño. Se incluye una guía para ayudar a identificar estos factores de modo que puedan ser estudiados para ofrecer un programa más eficaz.

Palabras claves: estilo de aprendizaje, evaluación, autorregulación, exploración, lactantes, niños pequeños

La evaluación de los lactantes y niños pequeños con impedimentos visuales o sordociegos debe incluir información sobre la manera en que los niños aprenden y no tan sólo lo que ellos puedan realizar. A fin de que las evaluaciones conduzcan a una intervención apropiada y centrada en la familia que ayude al desarrollo del niño, tanto las familias como los interventores deben conocer el modo en que los niños aprenden de manera más eficiente. Los interventores pueden instruirse acerca de los estilos de aprendizaje, observando el comportamiento del niño o entrevistando a la familia, a la persona que le brinda cuidados o a la persona que le proporciona servicios. Tal evaluación no requiere materiales especializados, sino que más bien se basa en procedimientos de observación exhaustivos y estrategias de entrevistas planificadas. De esta manera, estas pautas de observación de los estilos de aprendizaje son apropiadas para utilizarlas en diversas culturas. Se han usado como una herramienta para orientar la planificación de estrategias de intervención eficientes para niños pequeños en una amplia gama de programas, incluyendo programas bien establecidos en los Estados Unidos, como en programas recientemente diseñados en Asia.

Los niños son observados dentro de diversos ambientes y actividades. Este tipo de observaciones se realizan en las siguientes áreas:

  • Intereses, motivación y preferencias del niño
  • Cosas que al niño le desagradan
  • Tiempo para procesar
  • Autorregulación
  • Estrategias de exploración
  • Atención prestada a las actividades
  • Ambientes de aprendizaje
  • Reacción a las rutinas de trabajo
  • Transiciones
  • Reacción ante las oportunidades de aprendizaje
  • Generalización de las habilidades
  • Sentido de orientación y movimiento
  • Conductas desafiantes

Luego continúa el texto completo de las Observaciones de los Estilos de Aprendizaje. Las copias electrónicas pueden obtenerse en http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~edin/Resources/modules/AM3.cfm. Se encuentran disponibles en línea otros materiales relacionados a este tema. Estos materiales fueron diseñados a través del Centro de Capacitación de Intervención Oportuna para Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos Visual, el Instituto de Desarrollo para Niños Frank Porter Graham, y la Universidad de Carolina del Norte-Chapel Hill. El objetivo de este proyecto de cinco años fue desarrollar recursos que otorgaran a las universidades la capacidad de preparar al personal que prestará servicios a los lactantes y niños pequeños con impedimento visual y sus familias. Se crearon cinco cursos universitarios:

  • Procedimientos centrados en la familia para Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimento Visual
  • Condiciones Visuales y Capacidad Funcional de la Vista: Temas de Intervención Oportuna
  • Orientación y Movilidad Apropiada que ayude al desarrollo del niño.
  • Comunicación y Alfabetización Emergente: Temas de intervención Oportuna.
  • Evaluación de los Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos visuales

Los cursos también incluyen información relacionada con los menores que padecen de impedimentos visuales y discapacidades múltiples. El material para los cinco cursos se encuentra disponible en: http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~edin/Resources/modules/index.cfm.

Centro de Capacitación de Intervención Oportuna para Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos visuales
Módulo: Evaluación de los Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos visuales
Sesión 3: Áreas de evaluación

Volante I: Observaciones del Estilo de Aprendizaje: Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos visuales

Gleason, D. (2006). Observaciones del estilo de aprendizaje: Lactantes y niños pequeños con impedimentos visuales. Chapel Hill: Universidad de Carolina del Norte, Instituto de Desarrollo para Niños Frank Porter Graham, Centro de Capacitación de Intervención Oportuna para Lactantes y Niños pequeños con Impedimentos visuales

En las evaluaciones de los lactantes y niños pequeños con impedimentos visuales se debería incluir información sobre el modo en que los niños aprenden y no tan sólo lo que ellos puedan realizar. A fin de que las evaluaciones conduzcan a una intervención apropiada y centrada en la familia que ayude al desarrollo del niño, tanto las familias como los interventores deben entender cómo los niños aprenden de manera más eficiente. Los interventores pueden instruirse acerca de los estilos de aprendizaje de los niños mediante observaciones y entrevistas.

SE DEBE OBSERVAR A LOS NIÑOS

  • En actividades conocidas y desconocidas,
  • Con juguetes y objetos conocidos y desconocidos,
  • En actividades que ellos hayan aprendido,
  • En actividades nuevas o que les planteen desafíos,
  • En actividades individuales o grupales,
  • En actividades en lugares cerrados o al aire libre,
  • Durante tareas con la ayuda de adultos,
  • Durante tareas sin la ayuda de nadie,
  • En actividades de movimiento,
  • En actividades en que estén sentados,
  • En ambientes estimulantes, y
  • En ambientes silenciosos, sin distracciones.

CONSIDERE LOS SIGUIENTES FACTORES Y EL EFECTO QUE CADA UNO DE ÉSTOS PUEDE TENER EN ALGÚN ASPECTO ESPECÍFICO DE LOS ESTILOS DE APRENDIZAJE DE LOS NIÑOS:

  • Temas de salud (por ejemplo, condiciones médicas actuales, cirugías, enfermedades),
  • Medicamentos (por ejemplo, tipo de medicamento, hora para suministrarlos),
  • Ataques,
  • Horarios de sueño,
  • Temas nutricionales (por ejemplo, ingesta adecuada de alimentos y líquidos, tubo gastrointestinal), y
  • Asistencia física (por ejemplo, crecimiento de los dientes, gripe, gases).

Los interventores deberían hablar con las familias, las personas que le brindan cuidado al niño u otros profesionales acerca de los estilos de aprendizaje de los niños en el hogar y diversos ambientes (por ejemplo, en las guarderías infantiles, casa de familiares y amigos, localidades comunitarias). Normalmente, las familias pueden proporcionar información exclusiva sobre sus niños. Se puede identificar el estilo de aprendizaje, observando los intereses, la motivación y las preferencias del niño; las cosas que no le agradan; el tiempo para procesar información; la autorregulación; las estrategias exploratorias; la atención a las actividades; los ambientes de aprendizaje; la reacción ante las rutinas de trabajo, transiciones, y reacción ante las oportunidades de aprendizaje; la generalización de las habilidades; sentido de orientación y movimiento; y el comportamiento. Las siguientes preguntas se pueden utilizar para llevar a cabo este tipo de evaluación.

INTERESES, MOTIVACIÓN Y PREFERENCIAS

  • ¿Qué es lo que le interesa o motiva al niño? ¿Qué le gusta? Por ejemplo, personas, actividades, música, objetos favoritos, y las características sensoriales de objetos y actividades de su preferencia.
  • ¿Qué tipo de reafirmación resulta ser más eficiente para el niño? Por ejemplo, la aceptación social, los alimentos, el juguete preferido, la música, las caricias o el movimiento.
  • ¿Cuáles son las actividades favoritas del niño? Por ejemplo, sentarse en las piernas de los padres con un libro en la mano, cantar una canción, jugar juegos muy divertidos, o entretenerse con juguetes musicales.
  • ¿Cuáles son los objetos favoritos del niño?
  • ¿Cuál es la mejor manera de presentarle un objeto al niño? Por ejemplo, tocarle una parte del cuerpo con un objeto, entregarle una indicación sonora, o presentarle un objeto en el cuadrante visual izquierdo.
  • ¿Cómo reacciona el niño ante la música, los juegos con los dedos, o los poemas con un ritmo o sonido intenso? Por ejemplo, el niño tolera las actividades perceptibles cuando van acompañadas de una canción o un poema con ritmo.
  • ¿Tiene el niño algunas canciones favoritas? De ser así, ¿cuáles son?
  • ¿Cuáles son sus alimentos favoritos?
  • ¿Qué lo hace feliz? Por ejemplo, participar de juegos interactivos con su abuelo, jugar con esferitas de Mardi Gras con la hermana, o quedarse quieto en las piernas de mamá.
  • ¿Cómo demuestra el niño que disfruta de una actividad, interacción, movimiento, canción u objeto? Por ejemplo, se da puntapiés, vocaliza, sonríe o da carcajadas, emite sonidos alegres, escucha o se queda quieto para mostrar que está atento, o se aferra a un juguete.
  • ¿Existe alguien en particular con quién se sienta más cómodo?

COSAS QUE LE DESAGRADAN

  • ¿Cuáles, si es que las hay, son las actividades más desagradables para el niño?
  • ¿Qué actividades, si es que las hay, evita realizar?
  • ¿Qué objetos, si es que los hay, rechaza tocar?
  • ¿Qué alimentos, texturas o temperaturas, si es que los hay, especialmente le desagradan?
  • ¿A qué objetos, actividades, personas, sonidos, etc., si es que los hay, le teme?

TIEMPO PARA PROCESAR INFORMACIÓN

  • Describa el tiempo de procesamiento del niño en diferentes situaciones. Cuente los segundos que tarda el niño en reaccionar ante una indicación o una orden de un adulto. ¿Cuánto tiempo necesita para reaccionar en las siguientes situaciones?
    • En situaciones o actividades conocidas
    • En situaciones o actividades desconocidas
    • Cuando sólo recibe una indicación verbal
    • Cuando recibe una indicación verbal y con señales visuales
    • Cuando recibe una señal perceptible al tacto o un estímulo físico con una indicación verbal
  • ¿Se le otorga al niño el tiempo suficiente para procesar y reaccionar ante la información?

AUTORREGULACIÓN

  • ¿Qué estrategias utiliza el niño para calmarse a sí mismo? Por ejemplo, se lleva las manos a la boca, empuja los pies contra los laterales de la cuna u otra superficie firme, o cierra los ojos para disminuir la estimulación ambiental.
  • ¿Cómo calma al niño la persona que le brinda cuidados o apoya los intentos de éste para calmarse a sí mismo? Por ejemplo, envuelve al bebé en una frazada, le ayuda a ponerse la mano en la boca, lo mece con suavidad, lo sujeta con firmeza de los hombros, aminora los ruidos de la habitación, o restringe la manipulación y los movimientos del niño.
  • ¿Qué estrategias de comunicación, estrategias sensoriales o estrategias de apoyo al comportamiento son efectivas para reforzar los intentos del niño para auto-controlarse? ¿Hay intervenciones que se hayan implementado y que no funcionaron?
  • ¿Qué señales y claves entrega el niño para indicar lo siguiente?
    • ¿Necesito un descanso o un cambio de actividad
    • Puedo calmarme
    • ¿Necesito calmarme?"
  • ¿El niño se altera o se sobrestimula fácilmente?
    • ¿Cómo sabe usted que el niño está sobrestimulado? Por ejemplo, el niño se vuelve irritable, se queda dormido, cierra los ojos o evita los estímulos visuales.
    • ¿En qué ambientes o contextos el niño se sobrestimula? Por ejemplo, en lugares nuevos, durante grandes reuniones familiares, en el centro comercial o en lugares bulliciosos
    • Cuando el niño se altera, ¿Puede calmarse fácilmente?

ESTRATEGIAS EXPLORATORIAS

  • Describa la forma en que el niño explora o reconoce objetos, lugares y personas que le son familiares.
  • Describa la forma en que el niño explora nuevos objetos, lugares, juguetes y materiales.
  • ¿Qué tipo de objetos examina el niño? Considere
    • Sus cualidades táctiles (por ejemplo, textura, peso y vibración)
    • Su forma y tamaño (por ejemplo, un juguete lo suficientemente pequeño para caber con facilidad en la mano de un niño, una forma que sea fácil de tomar)
    • Las características visuales (por ejemplo se refleja, es brillante, tiene colores fuertes) y
    • Las cualidades auditivas (por ejemplo un juguete musical, un juguete que emite un sonido continuo, un juguete que emite un sonido de tono bajo).
  • ¿Cómo es el niño más incentivado a explorar?
    • ¿El niño inicia la exploración en forma independiente?
    • ¿Cuánta y qué tipo de ayuda de los adultos necesita el niño (por ejemplo permitir un período de pausa adecuado, entregar estímulos para incentivar al niño a explorar)?
  • ¿ Cómo usa el niño los diversos sentidos para explorar (por ejemplo visión, tacto, audición, movimiento, aproximación oral)?
  • Describa el sentido de curiosidad del niño. Por ejemplo, cuando se le presenta un sonido en alguna parte de la habitación, como responde el niño? Si se le presenta algo en una caja, ¿Cómo se aproxima el niño a ese objeto?
  • ¿El niño usa estrategias compensatorias particulares para explorar? Por ejemplo ¿El niño mira cuando explora con sus manos? ¿Pone una mano sobre sus ojos y mira entre sus dedos cuando observa algo nuevo?
  • Describa la forma en que el niño interactúa con otras personas

ATENCIÓN A LAS ACTIVIDADES

  • ¿Cómo se obtiene de mejor manera la atención del niño? (por ejemplo, a través del contacto visual, cantando/haciendo gestos, sonidos, lenguaje hablado, claves táctiles, claves visuales, una combinación de ellas)?
  • ¿Cómo se mantiene de mejor forma el interés del niño por una actividad o interacción?
  • Si el niño pierde interés durante una actividad, ¿Cómo se puede volver a obtener su atención? ¿Cómo puede volver a involucrarse en la actividad?
  • Describa la atención del niño a actividades basadas en
    • El tipo de actividad,
    • La familiaridad de la actividad
    • La hora del día
    • Las condiciones ambientales (por ejemplo nivel de ruido, iluminación),
    • Características sensoriales de la actividad,
    • Componentes motores (por ejemplo movimiento o actividad estacionaria)
    • Participación de los adultos o pares
    • Medicación (por ejemplo, hora, dosis. (Nota: Los niños pueden estar somnolientos y menos atentos durante la primera hora en que se le administró algún medicamento).

AMBIENTE DE APRENDIZAJE

  • Describa los ambientes que facilitan la participación activa del niño en actividades e interacciones con las personas. Por ejemplo, un ambiente tranquilo, una iluminación controlada, un espacio claramente organizado con un mínimo de desorden.
  • ¿El niño se distrae fácilmente en ambientes particulares? Si es así, qué le causa distracción (por ejemplo estímulos visuales, auditivos, táctiles o de movimiento?
  • ¿Qué aspectos del ambiente físico atrae especialmente al niño?

RESPUESTA A LAS RUTINAS

  • ¿El niño tiene rutinas consistentes para sus actividades diarias como comer, bañarse, vestirse, dormir y jugar?
  • ¿El niño anticipa sus rutinas diarias consistentes?
  • ¿Cómo demuestra el niño anticiparse a las rutinas diarias?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a cambios de rutinas? Por ejemplo, un niño puede estar cómodo con cambios de rutina; acostumbra a comer mientras está sentado en su silla de comer en casa, pero también está acostumbrada a comer en el regazo de un adulto cuando visitan a algún familiar. Otro niño puede alterarse cuando se cambia su rutina. Está acostumbrado a la rutina a la hora de dormir de leer un cuento con sus padres antes de quedarse dormido en su cuna. Aunque sus padres conservan la rutina de leer el cuento cuando visitan la casa de sus abuelos por el fin de semana, el niño no se duerme en su cuna portátil, reconociendo que es diferente a la cuna de su casa. Cuando la familia regresa a su casa, les toma una semana que el niño vuelva a dormirse solo en su cuna después de interrumpir por una noche su rutina de dormir.

TRANSICIONES

  • ¿Las transiciones son difíciles para el niño?
    • Si es así, describa las formas en las que las transiciones son difíciles para él.
  • ¿Qué estrategias ayudan a que el niño tenga una transición tranquila de una actividad a la siguiente? Por ejemplo, tener una secuencia predecible de actividades diarias, una advertencia verbal antes de cambiar de actividad, una caja de terminado donde poner materiales de una actividad ya finalizada o una canción de transición

RESPUESTA A OPORTUNIDADES DE APRENDIZAJE

  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a las demostraciones físicas como poner su mano sobre la de él?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a claves táctiles?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a claves visuales o a la demostración y el modelamiento visual?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a las claves de apuntar?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a las instrucciones verbales?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a las claves gestuales o a las instrucciones con signos?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a las claves con imágenes?
  • ¿Cómo pueden los adultos comunicarse más efectivamente con el niño?
  • ¿Cómo responde el niño a las experiencias de alfabetización emergentes Por ejemplo, ¿Tiene oportunidades de compartir libros de historias? ¿Cómo responde el niño? ¿Cómo responde el niño a imágenes o ilustraciones táctiles?¿Cómo responde el niño a compartir la lectura de historias?

GENERALIZACIÓN DE HABILIDADES

  • ¿El niño es capaz de generalizar habilidades para situaciones nuevas u objetos nuevos? Por ejemplo, si al niño le gusta jugar con su tambor favorito en casa, es capaz de generalizar cuando juega con un nuevo tambor en la casa de un vecino? ¿Puede generalizar la actividad para tocar un xilófono con una varilla o un mazo?
  • Si es posible, observe al niño realizando una actividad familiar en un lugar nuevo. Esta observación puede entregar información sobre la generalización de actividades, estrategias de resolución de problemas y la forma en que el niño se aproxima y aprende en un nuevo ambiente. Por ejemplo, si el niño ha aprendido a lavarse las manos en el sumidero del baño, ¿Cómo acerca sus manos al sumidero en la guardería o en el baño de la biblioteca local?

POSICIÓN/MOVIMIENTO

  • ¿Qué posiciones son más efectivas para actividades específicas del niño? Por ejemplo sentarse en una silla adaptada con una bandeja y apoyo bajo los codos para que sea más fácil para él acercarse y manipular juguetes en la bandeja, sentarse apoyado en los brazos de su padre mientras escucha una historia y mira imágenes claras y siente la textura de las páginas, recostado hacia arriba con el apoyo de una toalla o almohada bajo los hombros mientras se acerca a objetos que cuelgan de un móvil? O recostado sobre su lado derecho para facilitar el uso de ambas manos.
  • ¿Hay posiciones que deberían evitarse?
  • ¿El niño aprende efectivamente durante actividades de movimiento? Por ejemplo, el niño aprende los movimientos de juegos interactivos de movimiento o juegos con los dedos o se comunica en forma más frecuente y clara cuando participa en actividades de balancearse y brincar.
  • ¿El niño aprende efectivamente durante actividades estacionarias? Por ejemplo, ¿El niño pone atención por más rato cuando está sentado en una silla con una bandeja?
  • ¿El niño se beneficia de espacios de juego claramente definidos? Si es así, describa. Por ejemplo, esquina de juegos, juguetes adheridos a una bandeja/atril/espacio de juegos, silla con bandeja/mesa o área de juegos en el piso definida con una manta.
  • ¿Hay posiciones o actividades de movimiento que el niño evite?

COMPORTAMIENTOS DESAFIANTES

  • ¿El niño tiene comportamientos que interfieran con las interacciones con las personas, la exploración de objetos o la participación en actividades y rutinas diarias?
    • Describa los comportamientos
    • ¿Con qué frecuencia ocurre el comportamiento?
    • ¿Cuánto dura el comportamiento? (¿Cuál es la duración?) ¿Cuándo ocurre con más frecuencia el comportamiento?
    • ¿Cuándo es menos probable que ocurra el comportamiento?
    • ¿Qué propósito parece tener el comportamiento para el niño?
    • ¿Cómo responden las personas al comportamiento?
    • ¿Existen posibles problemas médicos relacionados con el comportamiento?

EN RESUMEN

  • ¿Cómo aprende más efectivamente el niño?
  • ¿Cómo pueden los adultos apoyar mejor y facilitar el aprendizaje del niño?
  • ¿Qué condiciones ambientales apoyan mejor y facilitan más el comportamiento del niño?
Primavera 2007 Tabula de Contenido
English version of this article (Versión Inglesa)

Por Amber Bobnar, mamá de Ivan, Kealakekua, Hawai

Resumen: Cada vez hay mayor evidencia que apoya la tendencia de enseñar a los bebés el lenguaje de señas. Vaya a la sección de cuidado infantil de cualquier librería y tendrá la seguridad de encontrar un aparador dedicado a dicho tema. Si bien la mayoría está escrito para bebés cuyo desarrollo es normal, las familias y los profesionales que trabajan con niños impedidos visuales (incluidos los que son sordociegos) también han considerado que el lenguaje de señas es una magnífica forma de dar a un niño otro camino para comunicarse. La autora de este artículo informativo resume la evidencia basada en la investigación para usar el lenguaje de señas con bebés ciegos, comparte consejos sencillos para enseñar el lenguaje de señas, y destaca varios sitios web para apoyar a las familias durante este proceso.

Palabras claves: Familia, ciego, comunicación del bebé, lenguaje de señas, estrategias para criar a los hijos e investigación basada en el terreno

Nota del Editor: El siguiente artículo fue reimpreso con autorización de WonderBaby . Los padres de Ivan iniciaron WonderBaby.org como una forma de compartir con otros lo que ellos han aprendido sobre jugar y enseñarle a un bebé ciego. Su objetivo es crear una base de datos de artículos escritos por padres de niños ciegos. No hay doctores o terapeutas en su maravilloso sitio Web - sólo consejos de la vida real y experiencias de la vida real. Si tiene alguna idea o artículo que compartir, ¡déselos a conocer! Ellos colocarán su artículo junto con una fotografía de usted y su hijo si lo desea. Hemos incluido otro artículo escrito por Amber Bobnar en este boletín informativo, así es que asegúrese de examinar Diez consejos para ayudarlo... a Aprender Braille por Sí Solo.

Bebé en asiento de cocheEs la nueva tendencia en boga en estos días... ¡el lenguaje de señas para bebés que oyen! La idea básica tras este movimiento es que los bebés de muy pocos meses son inteligentes lo suficiente para comunicarse pero no tienen la madurez para controlar la vocalización. Al carecer de un medio de comunicación confiable, los bebés deben recurrir al llanto para lograr hacerse entender.

Sin embargo, si le enseña a su bebé algunas señas básicas, tales como más, come, y pañal, ellos pueden decirle lo que necesitan haciendo gestos con la mano en vez de berrinches. Y los estudios demuestran que los bebés que hacen señas aprenden a hablar más rápido y aprenden los idiomas extranjeros con más facilidad cuando crecen. ¡Sorprendente!

 

No obstante, ¿puede el lenguaje de señas funcionar para los bebés ciegos? Las señas se hacen para que se puedan distinguir fácilmente, ¿pueden los bebés ciegos realmente captarlas? Estamos aquí para decírselo directamente, ¡SI! Nuestro hijo, Ivan, comenzó a aprender señas cuando tenía alrededor de 14 meses y realmente despegó (en la foto superior está haciendo la señal de babero mientras está sentado en su silla de bebé). Aprendió su primera señal, más, en menos de una hora y una vez que la idea de comunicar estuvo en su cabeza, ya no hubo forma de detenerlo.

Bebé en cuna

¿Por Qué las Señas?

La evidencia que apoya al lenguaje de señas es tremenda. A continuación le damos algunas razones de porqué debiera considerar enseñarle señas a su bebé:

  • Las señas le entregan a su bebé una forma de expresarse a sí mismo antes de que pueda hablar.
  • Aprender más de un lenguaje es magnífico para el desarrollo de éstos.
  • Los bebés que hacen señas lograrán comprender en forma más temprana el idioma inglés y puede que aprendan a hablar antes.
  • Tal vez sea posible que los bebés que hacen señas tengan un C. I. más elevado.
  • El hacer señas puede disminuir los niveles de frustración de su bebé ya que él se puede comunicar con usted.
  • Su bebé tal vez confíe más en usted porque él sabe que usted entiende lo que él trata de decirle.

Para el bebé impedido visual, los beneficios son aún mayores:

  • A menudo los niños ciegos tienen problemas para identificar las partes del cuerpo. Debido a que las señas dependen del cuerpo, puede aumentar la conciencia que ellos tienen de su cuerpo.
  • De igual manera, las señas pueden ayudar a los niños ciegos a entender que los gestos y movimientos, también conocidos como lenguaje corporal, pueden ser una forma de comunicación. Ello puede facilitar enseñarle a un niño ciego que otras personas pueden verlo.
  • Muchos niños ciegos también sufren retardos del habla. El enseñarles señas tempranamente puede prevenir cualquier retardo del habla.
  • Otro problema que las señas pueden ayudarle a evitar son los retardos  de la motricidad fina. Las señas pueden mejorar la destreza de los dedos.

 

Bebé que se sienta para arriba en una almohadillaConsejos para Hacer Señas

A continuación damos algunos consejos simples para ayudarle a hacer que su bebé comience a hacer señas...

  • Comience con una seña fácil, como más. Juegue a hacer que le pida su juguete favorito. Cada vez que usted tiene el juguete, pregúntele a su bebé si desea más, ayúdele a hacer la seña con sus manos y luego dele el juguete. Sé que suena increíble, pero ¡Ivan captó, entendió esta primera seña en menos de una hora!
  • Presente una seña a la vez y trate de elegir señas que su bebé deseará usar, tales como comer, pañal, babero o pelota. Elija las que sean significativas para su bebé. En la fotografía de la derecha, Ivan hace la seña pañal justo antes de un cambio de pañales.
  • Acomode las pequeñas manos y dedos de su bebé haciendo más sencillas las señas. No estamos tratando de enseñar a nuestros bebés el Lenguaje de Señas Norteamericano, sino sólo una forma privada de comunicación. Del mismo modo, si su bebé adapta una seña para acomodarla mejor a sus necesidades, ¡déjelo! Ivan, por ejemplo, no levanta su brazo para hacer la seña arriba, él se pone la mano detrás de la cabeza, ¡pero todos sabemos lo que quiere decir!
  • Observe atentamente a su bebé ya que él comenzará a hacer sus propias señas. Nosotros observábamos que cada vez que estábamos por colocar el babero de Ivan en torno a su cuello, él se ponía la mano derecha en el pecho y se daba palmaditas allí con su mano izquierda. Pronto nos dimos cuenta de que ésta era la seña de Ivan para babero.
  • Las señas llevarán a las palabras habladas y cuando lo hagan habrá un período donde su bebé usará ambas al mismo tiempo, pero finalmente la seña desaparecerá en forma gradual para ser reemplazada completamente por la palabra hablada. Es triste ver que las señas desaparecen pero recuerde que es la transición de las señas de bebé a la conversación.

Diviértase con su bebé y no lo presione para que haga señas. ¡Estas no son para todos! Pero si a su bebé sí le gusta hacerlas, aliéntelo con muchos abrazos, besos y elogios. ¡Qué magnífica forma en que su pequeño bebé se puede comunicar con usted!

A continuación presentamos algunos sitios donde se muestra diferentes señas de bebés para que pueda comenzar a hacerlas con el suyo, pero recuerde que siempre puede complementar también con sus propias señas.

<http://signing-baby.com/main/?pp_ album=main&pp_cat=signing-baby-dictionary>

<http://www. mybabycantalk.com/content/dictionary/dictionaryofsigns.aspx?letter=A>

<http://www.bilby.et/Sub/BabySign/ BabySignPrint.asp>

Primavera 2007 Tabula de Contenido
English version of this article (Versión Inglesa)

Por Barbara J. Madrigal, Comisionado Asistente, DBS

Resumen: Comisionado Madrigal, en la celebración de 75 años de servicios, repasa la historia de servicios a los ciegos de Texas y anticipa futuros años de servicio.

Palabras claves: División de Servicios a los Ciegos de DARS, aniversario, Comisionado Barbara Madrigal, rehabilitación vocacional, empleo, ceguera, Novedades y Perspectivas

El 17 de octubre del 2006, la División de Servicios a los Ciegos DARS celebró con orgullo 75 años de servicios de calidad a los ciegos, impedidos visuales y sordociegos de Texas de todas las edades. Celebrando junto a nosotros en este memorable acontecimiento estaban algunos destacados miembros de diversas organizaciones, incluyendo al Superintendente de la TSBVI Phil Hatlen.

Servicios a los Ciegos de Texas comenzaron cuando la Legislatura del Estado autorizó la primera asignación para profesores de ciegos que trabajan a domicilio. En la actualidad, sentimos un merecido orgullo cuando recordamos cómo evolucionamos hasta convertirnos en una organización que provee servicios altamente complejos de rehabilitación vocacional y de vida independiente a los ciegos de Texas de todas las edades y condiciones.

Esperamos sinceramente que los hitos importantes de este año también ayuden a reconocer la dedicación de los muchos y aplicados miembros del personal que trabajan en asociación con nuestros consumidores. Esta dedicación refleja su creencia personal de que los ciegos o impedidos visuales de Texas debieran tener las mismas oportunidades que los demás habitantes del estado para buscar la independencia y el empleo.

PERSPECTIVAH ISTORICA

La historia de nuestra organización refleja la dedicación a largo plazo de nuestro personal, así como también nuestros continuos esfuerzos para mejorar los servicios que ofrecemos.

  • Décadas de 1930 y 1940: La rehabilitación vocacional de los ciegos de Texas se trasladó del Departamento de Educación de Texas a la nueva Comisión para los Ciegos del Estado, y la legislatura asignó fondos para la conservación de la vista y la prevención de la ceguera en los niños.
  • Décadas de 1950 y 1960: Nos concentramos más en las oportunidades de empleo, trabajamos con los empleadores para aumentar los tipos de trabajo disponibles para los ciegos de Texas, recibimos la autorización legislativa para establecer lo que hoy conocemos como el programa de las Empresas Comerciales de Texas, y aumentamos los servicios a los niños ciegos de Texas.
  • Década de 1970: Se abrió el Centro de Rehabilitación Criss Cole en Austin. Estuvimos entre los primeros organismos estatales en instalar una línea sin costo para mejorar el acceso del consumidor, establecimos comités asesores del consumidor en todo el estado para afianzar el compromiso de los consumidores con el desarrollo y mejoramiento de los servicios del programa, y recibimos una de las cinco subvenciones nacionales para demostrar un modelo de servicios mejorados para la Vida Independiente para personas ciegas o impedidas visuales.
  • Décadas de 1980 y 1990: La Comisión para los Ciegos de Texas adoptó la filosofía de considerar al consumidor como socio a institucional para aumentar la entrega de servicios y mejorar los resultados para los ciegos e impedidos visuales de Texas. Se estableció un innovador Programa de Transición para cerrar la brecha existente entre los servicios a los niños y los de los adultos, y recibimos una subvención federal para entregar servicios de Vida Independiente a los ciegos de mayor edad de Texas que tienen impedimentos visuales.

LA DECADA ACTUAL

En la década actual, el cambio ha sido nuestra compañía constante. La consolidación y las consideraciones presupuestarias han sido nuestras preocupaciones básicas, pero nos dirigimos hacia el futuro con total entusiasmo.

Los consejeros de rehabilitación vocacional y los profesores de nuestro Programa de Rehabilitación Vocacional asisten a los ciegos de Texas para que alcancen sus objetivos de llevar una vida independiente y de empleo, y hemos iniciado un estudio general de nuestros servicios laborales para garantizar que la DBS continúe proporcionando el mayor nivel posible de servicios eficaces a los habitantes de Texas que buscan un empleo remunerado y productivo.

Nuestro Programa a los Sordociegos celebró 15 años con éxito de un programa único de asistencia a los consumidores sordociegos para que vivan en forma independiente en sus propios departamentos y, en el 2006, el Centro de Rehabilitación Criss Cole marcó 35 años de servicios a los ciegos de Texas mientras ha continuado recibiendo reconocimiento nacional como programa modelo de servicios integrales.

Empresas Comerciales de Texas (Business Enterprises of Texas - BET) es una empresa reconocida nacionalmente por un próspero desarrollo de las oportunidades laborales de calidad para los ciegos de Texas en las industrias de servicios y venta de alimentos.

Nuestro Programa de Transición cierra la brecha que existe entre el programa para Niños Ciegos y los servicios de Rehabilitación Vocacional para adultos, asegura un sistema de entrega expedita de servicios en cada etapa del desarrollo de los jóvenes y asiste a la juventud ciega o con impedimentos visuales de Texas para lograr una transición efectiva de la escuela secundaria a la vida adulta y al mundo laboral.

El Programa Desarrollo y Descubrimiento Vocacional de Niños Ciegos entrega una amplia gama de servicios de rehabilitación para satisfacer las necesidades y circunstancias únicas de cada niño y para asegurar que los más jóvenes de Texas logren llevar vidas independientes, productivas y satisfactorias.

El Programa de Vida Independiente entrega servicios muy necesarios a los adultos ciegos de mayor edad - un segmento de nuestra población que continúa creciendo a medida que más personas mayores de Texas experimentan pérdida de visión - para ayudarles a adquirir la capacidad de adaptación necesaria para vivir en forma independiente.

Las funciones de apoyo críticas tales como Servicios de Asistencia Laboral, nuestra Unidad de Diagnóstico Vocacional y nuestra Unidad de Braille respaldan a nuestros programas en todo el estado. Y nuestra Unidad de Desarrollo y Capacitación para la Ceguera continúa siendo reconocida por sus destacados programas de capacitación.

El Futuro

Mediante sólidas asociaciones con el consumidor y con los grupos de defensa, al igual que con organizaciones tales como la Escuela para Ciegos e Impedidos Visuales de Texas, la División de Servicios a los Ciegos del DARS mantiene relaciones activas con la comunidad ciega para fomentar las opiniones críticas sobre nuestros servicios y formas en que podemos mejorar, y la filosofía de los Constructores de Confiabilidad de Texas permanece en el corazón de nuestro sistema de entrega de servicios: independencia de los consumidores, idoneidad y confianza en sí mismo. Estas fundaciones nos servirán de buena forma a medida que continuamente aumentar nuestros servicios.

A medida que nos adentramos en el nuevo siglo, mantenemos un fuerte y eficaz sistema de entrega de servicios para los consumidores de todas las edades -- niños, estudiantes y adultos jóvenes, adultos en edad de trabajar y habitantes de Texas de mayor edad - y los miembros del personal en todas las áreas del programa permanecen orientados a lo profesional y comprometidos con entregar los mejores servicios a los clientes. Las encuestas a los consumidores colocan al personal y a los servicios de la DBS en una alta posición y nuestra organización continúa siendo reconocida en el ámbito nacional como el principal organismo de servicios a los ciegos.

Igualmente importante, la DBS está dando pasos dentro de la estructura de nuestra  organización para asegurar la continuación futura de los servicios expeditos y de calidad para los ciegos de Texas estableciendo una nueva iniciativa de FUTUROS que ofrece oportunidades de ascenso profesional al personal idóneo, a la vez que los alienta a pensar en forma progresista e innovadora.

Estamos orgullosos de celebrar 75 años de servicios de calidad entregados a los ciegos e impedidos visuales de Texas y esperamos muchos, muchos más. Estamos a punto de un gran comienzo de año fiscal 2007 - ¡y estamos listos para comenzar a planificar nuestra celebración número 100!