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The following goals and objectives were prepared to be placed in a commercially available IEP preparation program. There are a few numbering errors. The codes required in the program mean the labeling of each objective will not be repeated.

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by Linda Hagood, Education Specialist, TSBVI Outreach Department
with help from Kate Moss (Hurst), Family Training Coordinator

Editor’s Note: In April of this year Region 20 Education Service Center and TSBVI Deaf-Blind Outreach Project sponsored a workshop presented by Dr. Jan van Dijk of the Netherlands. Dr. van Dijk has long been known for his work in developing educational programming for individuals with deaf-blindness. His work is the basis for much of the programming that occurs in this country for children with deaf-blindness. Linda Hagood, who has recently joined the staff of the Deaf-Blind Project in the Outreach department of TSBVI, has put together the following article as a result of the information she received during this workshop and her years of experience in working with children who have deaf-blindness. I think you will find this article helpful in thinking about communication for your child with deaf-blindness. If you have questions about the information presented you may contact Linda at (512) 454-8631, ext. 188. (Update 4/2015 Linda no longer works for TSBVI, but you may contact Kate Hurst with any questions you may have at )

In his recent presentation in San Antonio, Dr. Jan van Dijk stated that the goal in programming for individuals who are deaf-blind is "bringing the person to conversation." In my work as a communication specialist with children who are deaf-blind or visually impaired, I have become increasingly interested in this concept of "conversation" as it applies to children with limited language skills.

WHAT IS CONVERSATION FOR THE CHILD WITH LIMITED LANGUAGE SKILLS?

Conversation is often what we really want when we say that we’d like to improve "communication" or "language" skills of children with disabilities. Conversation can be defined as a dialogue between two partners consisting of multiple turns which are balanced between partners around a topic of shared interest. Most often we think of using words to fill our turns in a conversation, but we also can use actions, objects, facial expressions, and movements as our response during a conversation. Think of the times you shrug your shoulders, hand someone an object, or wave your arms in response to a comment or a question. Conversation differs from other types of communicative interactions because the focus is on interaction around a shared topic, rather than communicating concrete needs or wants, instructing, or following instructions.

Conversational interactions with children who have limited language skills should involve:

  • a short turn-taking format in which the adult and child alternately engage in actions with or without objects;
  • following the child’s lead in terms of interest or joint attention to objects;
  • a playful atmosphere, in which both adult and child are enjoying the time spent together;
  • modeling communication for the purpose of "commenting," "describing," or "requesting information."

While watching Dr. van Dijk evaluate a little boy named Tabor, I was struck by the undemanding, conversational nature of his interactions. We have often unintentionally taught our children to expect that all interactions consist of "adult prompts" followed by "child requests" or "child responses." I feel this occurs in part because we are not sure what "a conversation" looks like when the child has limited language. Let’s look at a "conversation" Dr. van Dijk had with Tabor.

Dr. van Dijk began by having Tabor and his mother sit beside him on the floor. Working through his mother initially, Dr. van Dijk instructed her to give Tabor a favorite object, "his" sock. After having some time to play with it, a second sock made of a different material was introduced by offering it to him or laying it on part of his body. Tabor would place "his" sock to his right, explore the second sock in the same way as the favored sock, then dropped it to search for "his" sock. This sequence of introducing other socks, letting Tabor examine the new sock, drop it and return to his sock was continued. Sometimes Tabor would be offered several socks at once and he would choose the one he wanted to explore. Dr. van Dijk gradually increased his involvement in this interaction until he was the person primarily interacting with Tabor. As Tabor caught on to this game, Dr. van Dijk began to alter the socks by tying a knot in the middle of it, tying two different socks together or placing an object inside it.

Before this interaction Dr. van Dijk had visited with Tabor and his parents and had learned several things about Tabor:

  1. Tabor had been diagnosed as having cerebral palsy and retinopathy of prematurity with retinal detachment in the left eye. He may have some light perception. Tabor had a moderate hearing loss resulting from complications of a shunt malfunction at the age of about four. He wears two ear-level hearing aids. He responds to voices and seems to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar voices. However, he does not consistently search for sound sources or associate sounds with meaning.
  2. Tabor’s favorite toy was one of his socks. He would put the sock in his mouth, slip his hand down inside the sock, or stretch the sock with his hand while he held it between his teeth. He would also move through the house on his own and search through the clothes pile to find his sock.
  3. Tabor enjoyed playing movement games with his mother. In these games Tabor’s mom would co-actively clap his hands, or touch parts of his body, or rock him while singing songs.

Dr. van Dijk drew on this basic knowledge of Tabor to offer "topics" around which he and Tabor could have a conversation. He also used Tabor’s mom to "make an introduction" in order to enhance Tabor’s comfort level in interacting with him. All the elements of conversation were present in their interaction.

Turn-taking: Dr. van Dijk presented the sock, Tabor manipulated it. Dr. van Dijk presented another sock, etc.

Following the child’s lead: Dr. van Dijk focus on the object Tabor was most interested in and didn’t push him to explore the object in ways that were different from the ways he typically interacted with the object.

Playful atmosphere: The pace was slow and relaxed, no demands were made on Tabor to perform. His mother with whom he was most comfortable was involved in the interaction.

Commenting, describing, requesting information: Tabor’s actions said "I like this sock best. It is my sock. This sock is like my sock, I can do some of the same things with it, but it is also different. I like the way this one stretches. I don’t like the way this one feels." Dr. van Dijk’s action’s said: "I know you like that sock best, but I can put these two socks together for you. Your sock and the other sock will both hold this ball inside them. Some socks stretch more than others, you like to make them stretch, etc."

WHY IS CONVERSATION IMPORTANT FOR THE CHILD WITH LIMITED LANGUAGE?

I feel we should consider conversation as an essential component of communication and include it as an important aspect of programming for all of our students. As Dr. van Dijk noted, conversation "can occur at all levels" even with individuals who have little or no formal signed or spoken language.

Parents and teachers often tell me that they’d like to be able to have "conversations" with children who do not use or understand sign language or spoken words. I have unintentionally discounted this priority at times. I felt that it was more "functional" to focus first on teaching children ways to communicate their immediate, concrete needs and wants and to make choices between activities. I have made the mistake of suggesting that we save "conversation" for later, when the child has established a larger vocabulary or more formal communication system.

I found, however, that even after a child learned to ask for seconds at lunch, to choose between bowling and restaurant trips, or to follow teacher’s instructions he may continue to interact very infrequently with others. When I attempted to teach social interactive skills the focus was often isolated greetings or other social rituals. These did not necessarily make sense to the child, but they helped him to "fit in" to more normalized settings.

Focusing our communication teaching exclusively on "functional skills," such as requesting, choice-making and social rituals does not necessarily lead the child to engage in longer interactions or improve the quality of relationships with peers or adults. Children need to learn that sometimes we interact for the purpose of having fun together which is the "reward" for communicative behavior. These conversation interactions may naturally lead the child to more "functional" communication such as requesting, choosing or commenting.

FOUR PROBLEMS IN TEACHING CONVERSATIONAL SKILLS AND SOME SOLUTIONS

Some of the specific problems and solutions we’ve encountered at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in teaching conversation skills to people who are deaf-blind or blind multihandicapped are discussed in the remainder of this article. The emphasis will be on having conversations with children who have little or no formal language.

Problem 1: The child has limited exposure to conversational situations.

Idea: Set aside special times for having conversations.

Having a conversation with anyone takes a willingness to make time for that interaction to occur. We have conversations by phone, over a cup of coffee, around the dinner table, while riding in the car, etc. We take time to focus on the other individual(s) and devote ourselves to that interaction regardless of the environment in which the conversation occurs. Target some specific times of day or specific activities to have a conversation with your child. It might be just before bedtime, before you fix lunch, or before you begin a special activity together. Consciously targeting some special times to "chat" with your child makes these interactions more likely to happen.

Idea: Modify "functional" activities to focus on conversation skills development such as learning to select a topic, participate in turn-taking, and initiate, maintain, or end an interaction.

Conversations which occur during an ongoing activity frequently involve shared focus or playful interaction. Often these familiar activities help a child learn the art of conversation better than the situations which we set up to elicit requesting or choice-making.

An example of ways to incorporate both functional skills and conversation into a typical bath time are shown below. These are appropriate for a child who does not use formal signed or spoken language.

"Functional" skills that are worked on:

  • scrubbing body parts when touched
  • removing clothing
  • choosing favorite bath toys

"Conversational" skills that are worked on:

  • maintaining interaction by filling five (5) consecutive turns
  • initiating familiar play activity
  • choosing and/or changing the focus of the interaction

"Conversation" Activities (determined by the interest of the child):

  • Tickle games: "This Little Piggy" or "Gotcha" At first, the child may fill his turn by smiling during pauses, later by extending foot, or by ducking when adult says "I gotcha;"
  • Blowing bubbles through a straw on various body parts in predictable sequence.
  • Scrubbing each others' arms (take turns with adult or sibling);
  • Using squirt guns to squirt water in the same place on the child’s body using consistent vocal and touch cue to build anticipation;
  • Playing with water balloons. The adult fills balloons, some with air and some with water then ties them. Take turns playing with them by squashing them comparing full and empty or air-filled and water-filled balloons .

Idea: Use routines or familiar repetitive activities to develop patterns of expectancy and anticipation which can be built upon to provide the child a way to talk about the present, past, and future.

Children without formal language may have trouble understanding conversations about something which has happened in the past or will happen in the future. In order to develop this time sense it is important to begin with conversations which are closely tied in time to the actual experience. As the child learns to converse about familiar, repeating events in his "present" you can provide ways to help him begin to converse about activities in the past or future using calendars, memory boxes, and reference books. Dr. van Dijk discussed the importance of "announcing the event, discussing it." He stated that it is "essential for human beings" to have a past, a present and a future.

Dr. van Dijk stressed the importance of developing patterns of expectancy and anticipation through the use of routines or familiar repeated activities such as the "sock game." When an activity is announced or begun, it is important to watch the child for signs of anticipation and recognition. Some signals of anticipation may include:

  • a change in affect (become excited or nervous);
  • appropriate use of objects (e.g. begins to try to push the shopping cart, brings toothbrush to mouth);
  • moving toward the area where activity usually occurs (going to door when mother removes keys from purse).

The moment in which a child anticipates or expects something to happen is often the time they will communicate and our conversations will be most effective and meaningful. At the point of anticipation, pause for a brief conversation with the child before continuing with the routine.

For example, a child may initially anticipate a trip to the grocery store when her hands are placed on the grocery cart outside of the door to the grocery cart. For this child, the "conversation" could involve exploring the cart together; choosing whether to sit in the front or the back; buckling the belt and unbuckling it; showing the child a wrapper for candy they will buy later in the store. Another child may anticipate this trip to the store earlier in the routine. When his mother makes a list in the kitchen or collects bottles to be returned to the store the child may anticipate where they are going. For this child, the "conversation" about going to the store could involve helping to make a shopping list by drawing or placing pictures or labels on a list. He might help collect the return bottles or be given money for the merry-go-round or gum machine outside the store.

A "discussion box" provides a way to announce and discuss an event that is about to take place. The discussion box (usually a plastic basket or other container) contains a number of objects that a child may use during an activity. A breakfast discussion box might include a toaster, plate, cup, napkin and knife. When the child sits at the breakfast table, she can remove the items one at a time exploring the objects on her own. (She may show some anticipation of the sequence or function of the objects by the way she explores them.) Dad or mom can help her "pantomime" the use of the objects as they are removed, e.g. pushing button down on a toaster or drinking from a cup. In this way, the child can be exposed to a "conversation" which is only slightly removed from the activity, at a time in which she is anticipating a familiar routine.

When a child demonstrates anticipation of a variety of activities with cues presented just before beginning activities, he or she is ready to use a concrete calendar system. Calendar systems provide a concrete way of scheduling events that are important for a child. The events can be represented in a number of ways using objects, pictures, tactile symbols, or written or Brailled words depending on the child's preferred communication form and abilities. These symbols can be placed in a cubby box or on a more traditional wall calendar. Time frames reflected on the calendar may range from two activities occurring within a short period of time to activities or events encompassing an entire month or a year.

Having a conversation about the event which will occur can take place naturally during calendar time. However, even though it is important to talk about an activity after it is completed, I’ve found that children and adults are most interested in talking about novel aspects of past events. For example, instead of drinking the coke at the restaurant, it spilled. We filled balloons with water today instead of popping them. The conversation might incorporate pantomime or drawing pictures of these new and interesting aspects of the activity.

Problem 2: Children do not understand roles and rituals involved in conversation which allow them to: maintain, initiate, and end interactions, or change the topic.

The child with sensory impairments may not receive the visual or spoken cues which typically occur in conversations. Learning to take turns, initiating, maintaining, and stopping interactions or changing topics of conversation are skills that often need to be taught. They may need explicit instruction and concrete cues to learn the expected behaviors in both nonverbal and verbal conversations.

Maintaining Interactions Through Turn-Taking

Idea: Use social games to teach a child how to sustain an interaction.

Ritualized social games, such as "Peek-a-Boo, " "This Little Piggy," and "Pat-a-Cake" play an important role in teaching all children, even those without disabilities, how to sustain an interaction for multiple turns. These games have features which make them good for teaching children to take turns in conversations:

  1. Simple repetitive structure
  2. Playful atmosphere
  3. Clearly marked cues for child response
  4. Multiple opportunities for child response
  5. Reversible roles

When adapting these games for your child, think about how deafness or blindness might impact these features. For instance, the child without vision will need tactile and auditory "surprises," rather than visual ones to understand "Peek-a-Boo." The typical visual cues (hiding the face) are not available.

The social game features should also be considered when inventing new games for your child. Songs which involve "whole body" contact with the parent and incorporate movement provide a good structure for learning to keep an interaction going by signaling for continuation of movement during pauses, maintaining joint attention, laughing or other affective responses. Dr. van Dijk suggested movement activities with a predictable, consistent pattern provide an important basis for learning conversation.

Dr. van Dijk developed a social game with Tabor around sound play, which had been previously identified as a "self-stimulating behavior." He began by singing a brief melody in Tabor's ear, then paused to allow his mother to sing another melody. They continued to take turns singing the song until Tabor began to understand the structure of the interaction, then modified the tune, the loudness, and the rates of their singing to help maintain his interest. Tabor showed them that he understood and enjoyed the game by leaning toward the next "singer" during pauses in the interaction, and by smiling or laughing when the songs changed. In these subtle ways, he filled his turn and was able to maintain the interaction for about 15 minutes.

Idea: Multiple step functional activities with clearly defined, predictable roles can also provide children with a way to maintain an interaction.

Most activities can be broken down to multiple steps which can provide an opportunity for maintaining turns. For example, in washing the dishes the sequence might occur as follows:

  • Adult: turns on hot water
  • Child: turns on cold water
  • Adult: hands child dish soap
  • Child: squeezes soap into the sink
  • Adult: puts the dishes into sink
  • Child: rubs the dishes with a rag and hands them to the adult one at a time
  • Adult: helps the child pull the plug out

While the child may need some help initially to perform his parts of this activity, it is important that the turn-taking format is presented, so that the child learns that this activity is structured with consistent roles. A second adult may be needed to help the child fill his turn so as not to confuse this turn-taking structure. However, it is important not to structure all of the child’s activities this way or you will run the risk making the child too reliant on the adult’s prompts.

Dr. van Dijk also stressed the importance of consistency in the way that activities are structured for a child who is deaf-blind. Greatly altering the structure of the activity (e.g. asking child to "wash dishes by himself" with support provided by an adult as needed) may cause the child to conceive of the activity in a very different way, and may cause confusion about what we want from him.

Idea: Your main priority should be a focus on keeping the interaction going for more turns.

Children who begin to develop some language skills will inevitably be asked questions by adults. It is important to avoid overloading the child with questions, since these are usually not the best way to keep an interaction going. Even when children are successful in answering questions, we have found that questions often lead to "dead end " interactions consisting of a single adult initiation and a single child response. More helpful ways of keeping a conversation going include:

  • following the child’s lead by acting on an object mentioned by the child or providing language to describe what the child is doing or attending to at the time.
  • expanding what the child says (imitating his action and adding an action of your own)
  • responding to the child in some fashion even if you do not understand the intent of his communication.

Initiating Interactions

Children with deaf-blindness are often passive in their interactions, always waiting for an adult to initiate the interaction. Dr. van Dijk emphasized the difference between the child who will "wait and see," and the child who is in a more ready state of "anticipation," in which he is ready to learn. Some helpful strategies for stimulating the child to initiate might include:

Idea: Interpret non-communicative behaviors as "conversation starters".

When the child moves to an area and begins to search for a familiar object or toy, the adult can respond as if this is an attempt to interact and converse. For example, a child always goes to sit in his favorite rocking chair when he gets home from school. The adult always follows him, helps to remove his shoes and socks, and then rocks him gently. Periodically the adult pauses to allow him opportunities to continue the "conversation" by signaling for continuation.

The child learns that his actions can impact other people, and that people in his environment respond to his intentional behavior. He can start conversations as well as responding to others’ input. It is important to be sensitive to the level of intrusiveness which is acceptable to the child during this type of interaction. For example, if the child clearly does not want to share an interaction (i.e., turns away from the adult or clutches his chair more tightly when approached by the adult) this should be interpreted as "no" to the adults question "Do you want to rock with me?" It is important to respect this communication and his need for time alone.

Idea: Make slight changes in familiar routines.

When the child shows through anticipatory behavior that he knows what is to happen next, you may be able to stimulate him to initiate a "conversation" by throwing him a curve. Adding novelty to a routine, may cause him to try to initiate the predicted action or ask for an object needed to begin the activity. For example, instead of providing the wooden spoon to stir the juice at snack time, substitute a plastic spoon. Wait for the child to respond; he may search for the "correct" spoon or ask for the adult to help. This lets you know he is aware of what usually happens and allows you to have a conversation about the different utensils which can stir, the similarities and differences between the spoons, etc.

Idea: Help the child locate a partner for conversation.

It is important for the child with vision and hearing problems to know where to locate a familiar person if they want to initiate or maintain an interaction. For example, parents should try to sit in the same seat, close to the child at dinner. While playing at the sandbox, let him know where you are positioned. It is helpful to "touch base" with your child frequently when he is playing outside or in his room, by using physical contact and voice and by positioning yourself within his visual field. These momentary interactions may provide the child with important reminders that you are available if he would like to start a conversation.

Ending Interactions and Shifting Topics

We all employ "conversation ending" tactics ("I need to talk to someone over there.") and topic shifts ("That reminds me something I’ve been wanting to ask you.") to control our interactions with another person. When the child who is deaf-blind gives you a cue that he is not enjoying the interaction it is critical that you either change the topic or end the interaction.

Idea: Observe the child’s attention and interest level to determine when to shift topics or end the interaction.

It is important to respond to changes in attention and interest level as a child’s way to end a "conversation." Dr. van Dijk noticed after a period of time that Tabor was taking all of the socks and putting them to his right. Dr. van Dijk seemed to interpret this as meaning, "Give me something new." He moved to a new topic, the "singing game", to keep Tabor engaged. A child may fuss, turn his head, disengage, or demonstrate some other behavior to indicate his need to change the topic or end the conversation. Being a good observer of the child’s responses is key to having a conversation.

 Idea: Teach more conventional ways to end an interaction.

Some children may not have good strategies for ending an interaction. It may be helpful to teach the child to reject or end an activity by pushing objects away gently or by using a calendar "finished" basket. Both of these strategies can be taught in non-stressful situations. For example, the child pushes away the non-preferred item in choice-making activities; or he pushes his plate away gently as the final step in a dinner activity. One child we know threw away balloon pieces as a way to end the balloon activity. He was able to generalize this final step in the routine as a way to tell us, "I don’t want to play this game now." It was very important for us to respect his request to end an activity. We generally gave him some time alone before attempting another interaction.

Problem 3: Children may not have enough to talk about (limited topics).

Topics are the "subjects" of conversations; a conversation with a friend might include topics such as marriage, work, children. Our selection of topics reflects what we know about the world and where our interests lie. The child with sensory impairments needs us to bring the world to him, to find the things that are valuable and interesting. He will also need help to be able to share them with us. Help him expand topics for conversation by considering these guide lines:

Idea: Build topics for conversation by developing and expanding activities that the child engages in every day.

First look at the things that the child does already, such as brushing teeth, bathing, eating. Look for parts of those activities which could be turned into "conversations." For example, a "conversation box or bag" with a toothbrush, cup, and comb previews the activity with the child just before brushing teeth in the morning. Items can be added to the bag to expand on the topic, including hand lotion, lip balm, hair clips. During eating, a "conversation" can be set up by taking turns tasting juice or food items as they are added to the child’s plate. Try to develop a list of activities in which these brief conversational encounters can be incorporated without changing the child’s schedule. Think of these as "topics" for conversation .

Idea: Expand the variety of topics by looking at what is interesting to the child about favorite objects or activities.

Children often have favorite objects which they hold and manipulate. Instead of always considering these as "self-stimulating" objects which should be discouraged or worked around, it is sometimes helpful to look at the features of the object which make it interesting for the child and to try to build on these.

For example, one child we knew loved playing with a vibrator. He could remember the location of a vibrator wherever it was placed in the building. He liked to place the vibrator on his ear or neck, and tended to withdraw from interactions while engaged in play with his vibrator. We decided to introduce other objects that vibrated, to try to build interactive turn-taking activities around them. We were careful to introduce the new objects in interactive, not solitary, situations. We did this because we knew that if he began to play alone with them, he may not be as willing to share them with conversational partners.

Conversational topics which were developed around his preference included:

  • Foot massage with a foot bath, in which he and a partner took turns activating the foot bath with a switch, drying each others' feet, and rubbing each others' feet.
  • Making juice with an electric juicer. He and a partner took turns pushing the orange halves down on the top of the juice machine. They cued each other by passing the bowl of oranges when their orange was squeezed.
  • Play with a vibrating pillow and a switch with a timer. One partner holding the pillow while the other one turned it on with a switch.

The original vibrator never became a "conversational topic" because he used it only for solitary play and would not willingly share it with others. However, by looking at this child’s interest in vibration, we were able to build four interactive topics for "conversation." It was important to distinguish between interactive and solitary activities for him, because any of these activities could have easily become solitary activities rather than conversational activities.

Idea: Provide a format for displaying or making vocabulary concrete and accessible.

For children who understand object symbols, display objects on boards or hang them on the child’s door in shoe bags or boxes so that the child can access them. Children who understand pictures or tactile symbols can use storage books or boards which the children and adults can use to develop conversation. Organize these displays by categories (people, places, objects, actions), or by activity.

Idea: Associate specific people, places, actions, times, and objects with familiar routines to help him enrich his concept of a specific topic and to develop building blocks for more formal language usage.

Language grows out of children’s non-verbal knowledge of objects, people, places, actions, times, and feelings. All children have to develop organizational systems to take the chaos of random "experiences" and find meaning in it. Without some way to label an experience, it is impossible to share that experience with someone else. We organize these experiences in different ways making categories of a sort: things, actions, people, etc. which helps us retain and retrieve these experiences. These categories help us to interpret new experiences and expand our knowledge. For example, we associate the actions of pushing a cart, walking down aisles filled with food supplies, and selecting food with a grocery store. We do not associate petting a dog or riding a motorcycle with this place. The actions associated with the grocery store experience define the concept for us even though there are many types of grocery stores that we experience.

It is important to highlight specific aspects of an activity even if we aren’t using words or signs to describe them yet. This will help the child to develop these "categories" where his experiences can be stored. Later, when the language is introduced, the child will have the conceptual underpinnings needed to make sense of the sign or spoken word. The example in Chart 1 shows concepts or early vocabulary that could be highlighted in two different conversational topics that were the focus of the interaction between Tabor and Dr. van Dijk.

Problem 4: The child has limited partners for conversation.

Children with deaf-blindness often communicate to only a limited number of partners. Often, we see that the child bonds and develops trusting relationships slowly. Their conversations are often very context-dependent--only a few people know how to keep an interaction going with them, and only a few people can understand the child's signals or "home-made signs."

Idea: Expose the child to a greater variety of people by providing guided interactions with peers and others unfamiliar with the child’s specific conversational style.

Because of their unique communication systems, children with deaf-blindness are most often involved in one-to-one interactions with parents or other adults, and may not have many opportunities to engage in interactions with peers. It is important to provide guided interactions with others in order to support them in becoming friends with the person who is deaf-blind.

It may be helpful to observe the natural interactions which occur with peers, brothers and sisters, and use these interactions as conversational forms, instead of trying to train peers to use forms selected by a teacher. Children may come up with their own personal ways of communicating and interacting if we do not interfere with the process. However, we should be available to guide the interactions when needed and to demonstrate nonverbal ways to communicate.

When communicating within activities, peers and co-workers may need help learning to use touch cues, to play physical non-verbal games ("high-5," "cats in the cradle", etc.), and to respond to the child's signals. When communicating about non-present events, we have sometimes found that new people feel most comfortable in communicating if they have a communication book with concrete pictures or symbols to represent important activities (bathroom, car, eating).

CONCLUSION

Although Dr. van Dijk described conversation as "the goal" for the deaf-blind child, I think he would also agree that the types of non-verbal conversations we’ve been describing are also the foundation for learning language and a variety of other skills. As children spend more time interacting with other people, they naturally have more opportunities to learn from them. If conversation and interaction are priorities, the child will have many opportunities to learn new words, signs, symbols and / or functional living skills.

I hope that I have given you some ideas about how to improve conversations with children who are deaf-blind. To summarize:

  1. set up opportunities and situations in which conversations can occur;
  2. teach conversational structure (starting conversations, keeping them going, ending or shifting topics);
  3. expand topics by making the world more interesting and accessible;
  4. provide more varied partners; and
  5. follow the child’s lead and interests in order to engage him in conversation.

Better conversational skills can lead to better overall communication skills which are critical to leading a quality life for individuals with deaf-blindness.

READINGS AND RESOURCES:

MacDonald, J. and Gillette. Y (1986) Communicating with persons with severe handicaps: roles of parents and professionals, JASH, Vol. 11, 255-265.

MacDonald, J. and Gillette. Y (1985) Taking turns: teaching communication to your child, Exceptional Parent, September, 49-51.

Manolson, A. (1984) It Takes Two to Talk: A Hanen Early Language Guide Book. Toronto, Canada: Hanen Early Language Resource Center.

Stillman, R. and Battle, C. (1984) Developing prelanguage communication in the severely handicapped: an interpretation of the van Dijk method, Seminars in Speech and Language, Vol. 5, No. 3, 159-169.

van Dijk, J. (1985) An educational curriculum for deaf-blind multi-handicapped persons, Sensory Impairments in Mentally Handicapped People, D. Ellis (ed.) San Diego: College Hill Press.

van Dijk, J. (1965) The first steps of the deaf-blind child towards language, Proceeding of the Conference on the Deaf-Blind, Refsnes, Denmark. Boston: Perkins School for the Blind.

Watkins, Susan, Ed.D, Editor (1989) Communication program, INSITE Model: A Model of Home Intervention for Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Aged Multihandicapped Sensory Impaired Children (117-298). Hyrum, Utah: HOPE, Inc. Downs Printing.

Writer, J. (1987) A movement-based activity approach to the education of students who are sensory impaired/multihandicapped, Innovative Program Design for Individuals with Dual Sensory Impairments, L. Goetz, D. Guess, K. Stremel-Campbell (eds.) (191-224) Baltimore: Paul Brookes.


Chart 1 - Topic expansion for a child with limited language based on two sample conversational interactions between Tabor and Dr. van Dijk as discussed in "Conversations without Language: Building Quality Interactions with Children Who are Deaf-Blind" by Linda Hagood, TSBVI Outreach.

TOPIC & ACTIVITY: SOCKS

Tabor’s mother and Dr. van Dijk began by offering Tabor his favorite sock, letting him explore it in familiar ways, then offering other types of socks. As the game progressed the socks might be presented together so he could choose, with an object placed inside, or tied together. Tabor anticipated what would come next in the activity and would place "his" sock on the floor to his right so he could explore the sock that was being offered next. When he tired of the exploration of the new sock he would drop it and search for "his" sock.

VOCABULARY CATEGORY

  • Objects - (foundation for nouns)
  • Actions - (foundation for verbs)
  • Places - (foundation for names of locations, prepositions, adverbs)
  • People - (foundation for the names of specific people)

NON-VERBAL WAYS TO HIGHLIGHT SPECIFIC CONCEPTS AND VOCABULARY

During the interaction Dr. van Dijk exposed Tabor to various types of socks (footlets, baby socks, sweat socks, nylon socks, slipper-socks). This type of experience can help Tabor understand that the category of "socks" includes a variety of different objects which share common features--they are stretchy and have an opening in the top.

Tabor currently likes to find socks, stretch socks,hold them in hands, and hold them in his mouth. The number of actions he does with socks can be expanded by gradually showing him to put on socks, put things into socks, tie and untie socks. Performing these new actions with socks will help him again to develop a richer concept of "sock" and will provide a foundation for learning verbs.

Tabor first discovered that he could find socks in a specific place, the laundry pile. Expand his understanding of sock locations by helping him to find socks in the dryer, in different dresser drawers, in his bedroom, etc. He also showed he has specific places where he puts socks based on whether he wants to play with it (in front of him), or he wants to store it (discards it by placing it in a pile beside him).

Although Tabor’s sock game is currently a solitary activity if he is not resistant to "letting people in", it might be nice to build some associations between specific sock games and specific people. Mama always plays put-the-sock-on-the -hand games, Daddy always plays hides-the-block-in-the-sock.

TOPIC & ACTIVITY: SONGS

Tabor’s mother and Dr. van Dijk took turns singing in Tabor's ears. Dr. van Dijk was positioned to his left and Tabor's mother was positioned to his right. Tabor showed he anticipated the next turns by smiling and orienting toward the next person during pauses. He also showed a preference for his mother's voice by generally shifting his body orientation toward her during the activity.

VOCABULARY CATEGORY

  • Objects - (foundation for nouns)
  • Quality - (foundation for adjectives)
  • People - (foundation for the names of specific people)
  • Time - (foundation for time concepts, adverbs)

NON-VERBAL WAYS TO HIGHLIGHT SPECIFIC CONCEPTS AND VOCABULARY

Dr. van Dijk expanded the sound play by blowing up balloons and singing into them to change the sound of his voice. Other objects could also be incorporated into the sound play activity, such as kazoo, tubes, microphone.

Dr. van Dijk and Tabor's mother changed the rate, loudness, pitch, and tune of the singing presented to Tabor. This seemed to maintain interest for both Tabor and the adults involved. It also provides a basis for Tabor's later development of preferences and vocabulary related to sound quality.

Tabor demonstrated an acceptance of a new partner (Dr. van Dijk) and a preference for his mother's voice. This might be an activity which Tabor could later learn to share with peers or other adults and make associations. Ed sings the Popeye song, Mommy sings the Barbra Ann song.

The activity could be presented at a consistent time each day, e.g. always right before bed or just after breakfast. Later, when trying to teach concept words like morning or night, he may be able to associate this concrete activity with those more abstract time concepts as represented in a concrete calendar system.

updated August 2019

Download this directory in Word or PDF versions.


Education Service Centers (ESC)

Texas Educational Service Center Map

Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5 Region 6 Region 7 Region 8 Region 9 Region 10 Region 11 Region 12 Region 13 Region 14 Region 15 Region 16 Region 17 Region 18 Region 19 Region 20


Region 1 Education Service Center

1900 West Schunior
Edinburg, Texas 78539
PHONE: (956) 984-6165
FAX: (956) 984-7632

  • TWINKLE MORGAN, VI Consultant and Deafblind Specialist: (956) 984-6165
  • NORA GARZA, COMS:  (956) 984-6181
  • MARTHA BUSTOS GUZMAN, TVI:  (956) 984-6213

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Region 2 Education Service Center

209 North Water Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401
PHONE: (361) 561-8525
FAX: (361) 883-3442

  • MARICELA GARZA, VI Specialist:  (361) 561-8539

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Region 3 Education Service Center

1905 Leary Lane
Victoria, Texas 77901
PHONE: (361) 573-0731
FAX: (361) 576-4804

  • MARY KATHRYN EVANS:  

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Region 4 Education Service Center

7145 West Tidwell
Houston, Texas 77092
PHONE: (713) 744-6368
FAX: (713) 744-6811

  • SHERYL SOKOLOSKI, Education Specialist VI/DB Specialist  (713) 744-6315
  • KRISTIN PFEIFFER, Deaf/HH Specialist (713) 744-6342 

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Region 5 Education Service Center

350 Pine Street, Suite 500
Edison Plaza
Beaumont, Texas 77701
PHONE: (409) 951-1700
FAX: (409) 951-1801

  • PEGGY ARABIE, Program Coordinator/VI Consultant:  (409) 951-1746  
  • DION POTTER, COMS:  (409) 951-1747 

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Region 6 Education Service Center

3332 Montgomery Road
Huntsville, Texas 77340
PHONE: (936) 435-8400
FAX: (936) 435-8469

  • MICHAEL MUNRO, PhD, VI Specialist:  

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Region 7 Education Service Center

1909 N Longview
Kilgore, Texas 75662
PHONE: (903) 988-6700
FAX: (903) 988-6877

  • CHERYL SCHULIK, VI Specialist: (903) 988-6700

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Region 8 Education Service Center

P.O. Box 1894
Mount Pleasant, Texas 75455
Physical Address:
4845 US Hwy 271 N.
Pittsburg, Texas 75686
PHONE: (903) 572-8551
FAX: (866) 929-4405

  • DAWN ADAMS, VI/DB/DHH Specialist:  (903) 575-2766  

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Region 9 Education Service Center

301 Loop 11
Wichita Falls, Texas 76306
PHONE: (940) 322-6928
FAX: (940) 767-3836

  • TRICIA LEE MARSH, VI/DB Specialist
  • TAMMY HENDERSON, COMS: 
  • CARRIE CANADA, COMS:

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Region 10 Education Service Center

400 East Spring Valley Road
Richardson, TX 75083
PHONE: (972) 348-1700
FAX: (972) 348-1569

  • KELY BEVIS, Program Coordinator-Vision: (972) 348-1634 
  • DONNA CLEMENS, VI/AT Consultant: (972) 348-1606 
  • SCOTT TURNER, VI Consultant: (972) 348-1658

 

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Region 11 Education Service Center

3001 North Freeway
Fort Worth, Texas 76106
PHONE: (817) 740-3600
FAX: (817) 740-7647

  • STEPHANIE WALKER, State Leadership Services for The Blind and Visually Impaired: (817) 740-7594
     

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Region 12 Education Service Center

2101 W. Loop 340
P. O. Box 23409
Waco, Texas 76702-3409
PHONE: (254) 297-1145
FAX: (254) 666-0823

  • MICHELE CRAIG, VI Specialist:  (254) 297-1145 

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Region 13 Education Service Center

5701 Springdale
Austin, Texas 78723
PHONE: (512) 919-5313
FAX: (512) 919-5215

  • DEBRA LEFF, VI Consultant, Project Coordinator/VI/DB Specialist:  (512) 919-5354 
  • BEVERLY JACKSON, COMS:  (512) 919-5331

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Region 14 Education Service Center

1850 State Highway 351
Abilene, Texas 79601
PHONE: (325) 675-8632
FAX: (325) 675-8659

  • BRENDA LEE, VI/DB Specialist:  (325) 675-8632  
  • DENISE BROWN, COMS: (325) 675-8671

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Region 15 Education Service Center

612 South Irene Street
P.O. Box 5199
San Angelo, Texas 76902
PHONE: (325) 658-6571
FAX: (325) 658-6571

  • PAM YARBROUGH, VI/DB Specialist:  (325) 481-4056 
  • VANCE LANKFORD, COMS: (325) 481-4049

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Region 16 Education Service Center

5800 Bell Street
Amarillo, Texas 79109
PHONE: (806) 677-5192
FAX: (806) 677-5205

  • WINSTON SMITH, COMS:  (806) 677-5197 
  • CARLA PARKER, VI Specialist:  (806) 677-5192 

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Region 17 Education Service Center

1111 W. Loop 289
Lubbock, Texas 79416
PHONE: (806) 792-4000
FAX: (806) 792-4545

  • DEANNE GOEN, VI Specialist (806) 281-5712

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Region 18 Education Service Center

2811 LaForce Boulevard
P.O. Box 60580
Midland, Texas 79711
PHONE: (432) 563-2380
FAX: (432) 567-3290

  • FRED MARTINEZ, VI Specialist:  (432) 567-3254

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Region 19 Education Service Center

6611 Boeing Drive
El Paso, Texas 79925
PHONE: (915) 780-1919
FAX: 915-780-5058

  • RICHARD L. TORRES, M. ed., COMS, Project ManageR VI Program: (915) 780-5344

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Region 20 Education Service Center

1314 Hines Avenue
San Antonio, Texas 78208
PHONE: (210) 370-5433
FAX: (210) 370-5754

  • EVELYN VILLARREAL, M.S.,LSSP:  (210) 370-5479  

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Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
PHONE: 512-454-8631
FAX: 512-206-9320

  • EMILY COLEMAN, Superintendent  (512) 206-9133
  • KATE BORG, Director of Outreach Programs  (512) 206-9242
  • MILES FAIN, Principal of Comprehensive Programs  (512) 206-9251 f
  • SARA MERRITT, Principal of Short Term Programs  (512) 206-9176
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Texas Instructional Material Center for the Visually Impaired & Annual VI Registration and DeafBlind Child Count

1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756

  • RANDALL MCALISTER, Coordinator APH Materials (512) 206-9344
  • BRIAN SOBECK, VI Registration and DeafBlind Child Count Coordinator (512) 206-9225

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Health and Human Services Commission - Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development Program

Children between the ages of birth and 22 years who live in Texas and have vision impairment may be eligible for services. 

BCVDDP offers a wide range of services that are tailored to each child and family's needs and circumstances. We can:

  • Assist your child in developing the confidence and competence needed to be an active part of their community.
  • Provide support and training to you in understanding your rights and responsibilities throughout the educational process.
  • Assist you and your child in the vocational discovery and development process.
  • Provide training to increase your child’s independence and ability to participate in vocational related activities.
  • Supply information to families about additional resources.

By working directly with your entire family, this program can help your child develop the concepts and skills needed to realize their full potential.

Website: https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/blind-visually-impaired/blind-childrens-vocational-discovery-development-program

Office Locations

Abilene
325-795-5840
4601 South First, Suite M
Abilene, TX 79605-1463
P.O. Box 521
Abilene, TX 79604-0521 MC: 6846

Amarillo
817-792-3482
28 Western Plaza Drive
Amarillo, TX 79109 MC: 6878

Austin
512-416-0022
7701 Metropolis Dr, Blg 12, Ste 100
Austin TX 78744 MC: 0172

Beaumont
409-730-1098
3105 Executive Blvd
Beaumont, TX 77708 MC: 0291

Bryan College Station
979-776-7492
3000 East Villa Maria Rd
Bryan, TX 77803 MC: 7331

Corpus Christi
361-857-4758
4410 Dillon Lane
Corpus Christi, TX 78415 MC: 0734

Dallas
214-638-7575
1545 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75235 MC: 0889

Irving
972-721-6580
440 S Nursery Rd
Irving, TX 75060 MC: 1469

El Paso
915-834-7047
401 E. Franklin #240
El Paso, TX 79901 MC: 6900

Fort Worth
817-536-3353
4733 E. Lancaster Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76103 MC: 1469

Harlingen
956-428-8201
3525 W. Business 83
Harlingen, TX 78552 MC: 1606

Houston
713-696-3669
1459 E 45th Street
Houston, TX 77022 MC: 1737

Laredo
956-725-5195
1500 N. Arkansas
Laredo, TX 78043 MC: 2031

Lubbock
806-797-8870
6302 Iola Street
Lubbock, TX 79424 MC:

Lufkin
936-632-1108
1210 S. Chestnut St.
Lufkin, TX 75901 MC: 2201

McAllen
956-630-9441
4501 West Business 83
McAllen, TX 78501 MC: 2222

Odessa
432-334-5654
3016 Kermit Highway, Suite A
Odessa, TX 79764-7307 MC: 6934

San Angelo
325-655-0576
622 South Oakes, Suite D
San Angelo, TX 76903-7013 MC: 6979

San Antonio
210-655-8760
11307 Roszell
San Antonio, TX 78217 MC: 9057

Southeast Houston
713-948-7965
10060 Fuqua
Houston, TX 77089-1337 MC: 6925

Texarkana
903-791-6400
3316 S. Lake Drive
Texarkana, TX 75501 MC: 3111

Tyler
903-595-4841
3303 Mineola Highway
Tyler, TX 75702

Victoria
361-574-7341
2306 Leary Lane
Victoria, TX 77901 MC: 3192

Waco
254-750-9623
801 Austin Avenue #710
Waco, TX 76701-1937 MC: 6820

Wichita Falls
940-767-1720
1328 Oakhurst Drive
Wichita Falls, TX 76302 MC:3323

 

Al’an Kesler (325)829-7257
Western Area Manager
Fax (325) 795-5523

Gay Speake (512)917-1526
Southern Area Manager

Lauren Cox (214)378-2622
Eastern Area Manager

 

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STEPHEN F. AUSTIN UNIVERSITY

Department of School Services
Box 13019 SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962
PHONE: (936) 468-2906
FAX: (936)468-1342

  • MICHAEL MUNRO, PhD, VI (936) 468-1036
  • DJ DEAN, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-1142
  • DEBBIE CADY, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-2034
  • SHANNON DARST, PhD, VI (512) 206-9463 
  • HEATHER MUNRO, VI/Orientation & Mobility (936) 468-5348
  • JENNIFER PERRY, Orientation & Mobility/VRT
  • DONNA WOOD, Administrative Assistant  (936) 468-1145

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TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

Virginia Murray Sowell Center
P. O. Box 41071
Lubbock, Texas 79409
PHONE: (806) 834-2320
FAX: (806) 742-2326

  • NORA GRIFFIN-SHIRLEY (O&M, Professor) (806) 834-0225
  • RONA POGRUND (TVI/Interim DB, Professor) Austin (512) 206-9213
  • ROBIN REKIETA, Administrative Business Assistant  (806) 834-1322
  • ANITA PAGE, Research Associate (806) 834-1515

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Texas Education Agency

1701 North Congress
Austin, Texas 78701
PHONE: (512) 463-9414
FAX: (512) 463-9560

  • VICKI , BVI Program Administrator / Director of the Texas DeafBlind Project

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Texas Workforce Commission - Blind Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Website: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/vocational-rehabilitation-services

Youth & Student Services

Get help preparing for post-secondary education and employment opportunities through the following individualized services.  Services are based on eligibility and your individual need, and are provided in collaboration with the family, high school, community college, or Educational Service Center. 

Pre-Employment Transition Services

Receive core services, as needed, to help prepare for post-secondary education and employment opportunities:

  • Vocational counseling, including counseling in job exploration and post-secondary training opportunities
  • Counseling on opportunities for post-secondary education such as college, vocational schools, etc.
  • Work-based learning experiences, including internships and on-the-job training
  • Training in workplace and employer expectations
  • Training in self-advocacy and social skills

Other Services

Services may be provided to help you achieve your education, training or employment goals, including (as needed):

  • Referrals for hearing, visual and other examinations
  • Assistance with medical appointments and treatment
  • Rehabilitation devices, including hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial limbs and braces
  • Therapy to address a disability, including occupational or speech therapy and applied behavioral analysis
  • Physical restoration
  • Medical, psychological and vocational assessments
  • Assistive technologies, including screen reader software, computer equipment and other items
  • Job matching and placement services
  • Transportation assistance to and from your job, college or certification program, Referral to other state, federal and community agencies and organizations
  • Rehabilitation Teachers Services to help you learn Braille, orientation & mobility, and home and health management skills if you have a vision-related disability
  • Vocational adjustment training
  • Supported employment services

Kevin Markel (817) 759-3514
Transition Program Field Specialist
(Fax) 817-759-3532

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Milestone Sequence May Have Areas Of Unique Development.

Visual impairment may effect the specific sequence of gross motor milestone development. This is currently "under investigation" with Project PRISM.

As with all areas of development, the child with vision impairment should be regarded as an individual learner.

"On Schedule" Static Postures, Delayed Movement Postures

The rate of gross motor milestone development may be influenced by a visual impairment.

Milestone Comparison Chart **
SKILLSIGHTED CHILDBLIND CHILD
 Number Of Months For Each Skill
Head lifted in prone 1 4
Elevates self on elbows in prone 4 8.75
Prone: forearm reaching for an object 3 - 5 9 - 12
Supine: rolls to prone 3 - 5 5 -9
Sits alone steadily 6 - 8 6 - 9
Raises from floor to sitting 8 11
Stands holding furniture 6 - 8 10 -16
Achieves four point crawling 9 - 11 13
Stands alone 11 13
Walks with one hand held 9 -11 16
Walks alone 12 -15 19
** - taken from literature, but should not be regarded as hard and fast data - most of this research has been done on children not receiving early intervention services that specifically target motor development from an NDT perspective.

Influence of low postural tone (hypotonia)

It has been theorized that the reason many babies who are visually impaired have low postural tone because of a lack of experience in the prone position which then denies them the needed proprioceptive stimulation for neuro-motor development. Another theory is that due to the lack of vision, the ability to utilize optical righting (righting head in alignment with visual horizon) is impaired. Without optical righting, . there is reduced motivation to move and turn the head. This dominos into a reduction of practice with head control which influences the muscles control development throughout the neck, shoulder girdle, and spine/trunk.

Reduced motivation to move out in space

  • vision is thought to be the primary incentive for movement
  • sound is not a pure substitute for the lure to move out in space
  • object permanency as it relates to the child who is visually impaired
  • child must have a concept of "the world out there" before s/he will know to move out into space
  • influence of the sequence of sound localization development – beginning at ear level, above ear level, below, and finally in front (use of stereo localization)
  • the process of sound localization is typically tutored by vision - which is not possible with the child who is blind
  • a poor base of support may reduce incentive to fight gravity and move out in space

Quality Of Posture And Movement Factors

Examples of poor quality of posture and movement include:

  • prone: head down (poor extension of the neck)
  • supine: poor flexion against gravity - legs abducted (frog leg appearance)
  • sitting: tipped pelvis (forward or backward), rounded back, elevated shoulders, lack of erect head position
  • standing: knees locked, elevated shoulders, wide base of support.
  • walking: wide base of support, flatfeet, shuffled walk, high guard arm position.

Influence of low postural tone

  • use of postural fixing due to lack of proximal support
  • this is especially evident in milestones involving trunk rotation

Reduced ability to monitor vertical postural adjustment

  • ear infections can contribute to balance problems

Reduced Ability To Learn By Visual Imitation - (depending on level of sight)

Need for deliberate teaching of activities within a purposeful context.

  • teaching should be done with real objects/furniture/situations
  • the child should be allowed to feel the movements of other people

Possible Fear Of Movement

  • Lack of postural stability - may reinforce insecurity of movement
  • Reduced ability to visually monitor the environment
    • sudden noises/movements/touches without warning or possible meaning
  • Overprotection - lack of varied (and praised) experience

Strategies to promote with families:

  • early experience with safe-but-fun rough and tumble floor play
  • exposure to new environments (with success)
  • confidence reinforcement - minimizing bumps and maximizing self challenges.
  • meeting with adults who are visually impaired to learn from their experiences

Compiled by Tanni L. Anthony, U.S.. June 1992

This document is a Resource for the Expanded Core Curriculum. Please visit the RECC.

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Great for Young Children

General

Created by Scott Baltisberger, TVI / Outreach Education Consultant and Chrissy Cowan, TVI and Outreach Mentor Coordinator

These are a series of lesson plans for teaching self-determination skills to students with visual impairments. You may also download a printable file in PDF or Word format.


Unit 1:  The Eye and Sight

Topics 

  • What is an Eye?  (Lesson 1)
  • How Does an Eye Work?  (Lesson 2)
  • Everyone Has Different Eyes – Animals  (Lesson 3)
  • Everyone Has Different Eyes – People  (Lesson 4)
  • How is My Eye Special?  (Lesson 5)

Unit 2:  Student Toolbox

Topics

  • How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information?
    • K-2nd Grade  (Lesson 6)
    • 3rd-12th Grade  (Lesson 7)
    • My Personal Goals (Lesson 8 -all grades)
  • Strategies for Increasing Access
    • Strategies for Braille Readers (Lesson 9)
    • Strategies for Print Readers (Lesson 10)
    • Strategies for Using Audible Materials (Lesson 11)
  • Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access
    • Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media (Lesson 12)
    • Creating a Product to Communicate Visual Strategies/Tools with Teachers (Lesson 13)

Unit 1 Lesson 1:  The Eye and Sight

Topic:  What is an eye?

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify all major structures of the eye.

Rationale:  When a student has specific knowledge about the structure of the eye, he or she can discuss the nature of vision in general, and his or her own specific visual condition with more confidence and ownership.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory Ask student to think about how they get information from the environment.Guide toward naming body parts that take in sensory information - ears, tongue, fingers, nose, eyes. The five senses: hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, seeing
Introduction "Today we will talk about one of those body parts: The Eye.""Can you name any of the parts of the eye?"Allow student to name any parts he/she can."   
Stating the Goal "After our lesson, you will be able to show me all the parts of the eye, both inside and outside, and also tell what each part is called."  
Instruction Using an eye poster or an eye model, point out the different structures of the eye and provide their names. Make sure student repeats the names, pronouncing them correctly.First present exterior structures. Next present interior structures, moving from surface to inside. * Note: Depending on age and abilities of the student, it may be helpful to omit some structures from the discussion in order to reduce the amount of information and complexity of the task. Eye brow, eye lash, eye lid, eye ball, sclera, cornea, iris, pupil, lens, anterior chamber, posterior chamber, retina, macula, optic nerve
Variation 1 Draw a picture of the eye together, labeling each part as they are drawn.Provide a black line drawing of the eye, color each part as you discuss.Provide a raised line, tactile diagram of the eye.  

 Resources and materials:

Eye poster

Eye model:


Unit 1 Lesson 2:  The Eye and Sight

Topic:  How does an eye work?

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will describe the function of all major structures of the eye and the sequence of events that occur to result in seeing.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Previously we talked about the five different senses, how we get information about our environment and the parts of the body that make use of that sense. We talked about the eye in more detail and learned that it has many different parts, both inside and outside."

The five senses:

hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, seeing

Introduction

"Each of the parts of the eye has a special job. Do you know what are the special jobs of any of the parts?All these parts working together create the sense that we call 'seeing'."

 

Stating the Goal "When we finish our lesson today, you we be able to tell me what each part does and how."

 

Instruction 1

"People use different words to talk about using the eye to get information. Three words that you will hear are: seeing, sight and vision. They all mean the same thing."

Seeing, Sight, Vision

Instruction 2

"The first thing that is needed in order for seeing to happen is a light source. It can be the sun, the moon, a light bulb or a candle.The light source sends out light rays and the rays bounce off something."

Light source, Light rays

Instruction 3

Use model, picture, drawing or tactile diagram of the eye to demonstrate pathway of light:

Light rays bounce off object and go toward the eye

Through cornea - like window that lets light in but protects inside of the eye

Iris and pupil - controls amount of light that goes inside the eye. Too much light can hurt the eye

Lens - Focuses light

Interior chamber - like a big room, lets light go through

Retina - receives light; is covered with cells (rods and cones) that transfer the light to electrical impulses and sends them to the optic nerve

Optic nerve - carries information to the brain

Visual Cortex - part of the brain that processes electronic information into information that shows us what we see

(It may be fun to practice this several times with the student picking different objects to "see". You could draw a picture of the object together or make up a story about why you need are looking at that particular object.)

Cornea, Iris, Pupil, Lens, Interior chamber, Retina (rods and cones), Optic nerve, Visual cortex

Check for Understanding

"Show me how we would see ________."

Using model, picture, drawing or tactile diagram, have student demonstrate the pathway that an image takes along the visual pathway, from the observed object to the visual cortex.

 

Closure

"Now we've learned about each part of the eye and the special job each of those parts have to help us see things. Next time we will talk about different kinds of eyes and how each one is special and unique from one another."

 

Rationale: An understanding of the mechanics of visual perception will allow the student to better understand the nature of his or her own visual condition.

Note: Amount of detail presented to the student may vary according to age and/or level of comprehension. For some students, a more simplified version of the visual pathway may be more appropriate. Other students may benefit and enjoy learning about additional structures.

Resources and materials:

Eye poster:

Eye model:

Websites to explore:


Unit 1 Lesson 3: The Eye and Sight

Topic:  Everyone Has Different Eyes - Animals

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify how the eyes of at least four different animals function, how they are similar to one another and how they are different.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Today we're going to learn more about eyes. Can you show me the parts of the eye and tell me what they do?"

(Student uses materials to name parts and describe visual pathway)

 

Introduction

"What are some things that have eyes?" (Student names animals or bugs that have eyes.)

"Have you noticed anything that is different about different animals' eyes?" (Student names differences. May include size, color, position, etc.)

"Let's look at a few different animals and learn about some other ways that each animal's eyes are unique."

 

Stating the Goal

"After our lesson today, you will be able to tell how the eyes of animals are different and why they are different."

 

Instruction 1

Collect pictures of several animals and also (if possible) of that animal’s eye. You can present these in a booklet form or as separate sheets of paper. Look at the pictures and let the child identify the animal. Talk about the animal’s environment and behavior. Talk about how each animal's eyes are different because they are used in different ways.

Environment, Behavior

Instruction 2

Obtain one of the books about animal eyes (see "Resources" below). Read book together and discuss the information.

 

Instruction 3

Explore websites that provide information about animal eyes (see "Resources"). Discuss each animal, its behavior, environment and eyes in more detail.

 

Some examples of animal eyes

Box jellyfish has 24 eyes.

Camels have three eyelids.

Squid have eyes 27 centimeters across.

Dogs can't distinguish between red and green.

Goats have square pupils.

Owls can't move their eyes, that is why they swivel their head at almost 360 degrees.

Worms don't have any eyes.

Chameleons can move each eye in different directions at the same time.

Rattlesnakes can see infrared heat signatures of other animals.

 

Check for Understanding

Child writes the names of four different animals and what is special about the eyes of each one.

Child draws pictures of four animals and also a picture of their eyes, showing what is special about each.

Play game with cards: Name or picture of animal on one set of cards, picture of or description of eyes on other set of cards. Child matches.

 

Closure

"There are all different kinds of eyes in the world. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors and they do different things. It is natural that the eyes of different animals are different. One eye is not better than the other; each is good for its purpose. Next time, we'll talk about how people's eyes can be different too."

 

Rationale: By studying the eyes of animals, which show great variation, the student will understand that diversity in eyes is common and normal. This understanding will enable the student to approach the concept of differences among human eyes as completely natural phenomena. This, in turn, will reduce feelings of being "different" from others due to having a visual impairment.

Note: Amount of detail presented to the student may vary according to age and/or level of comprehension. For some students, a more simplified version of the visual pathway may be more appropriate. Other students may benefit and enjoy learning about additional structures.

Resources:

Books

  • Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins
  • Animal Eyes by Mary Howland
  • Animal Eyes by Daisy Griffen

Web


Unit 1 Lesson 4: The Eye and Sight

Topic: Everyone Has Different Eyes - People

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify at least four ways in which human eyes differ from one another.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Review the parts of the eye and the visual pathway. Use a model or diagram or draw a picture.

Discuss some of the interesting things learned about the eyes of animals. How are the different and why are they different?

 

Introduction 

Discuss some of the interesting things learned about the eyes of animals. "How are they the same and how are they different? Why are they different?"

"Just like there are differences between the eyes of different animals, the eyes of different people can also be different."

 

Stating the Goal

"We will learn about some of the ways that the eyes of people can be different. You will be able to tell me five different ways that our eyes are unique."

 

Instruction

You may want to read together one of the books (see "Resources" below) that address visual differences in people and use this as an introduction to the concept. Ask student to think about the eyes of peers and adults. What do they notice are some things that are different?

Some things that a student might notice:

  • Color (iris)- brown, blue, green, black, yellow, hazel, etc.
  • Size - big, small, tiny, etc.
  • Shape - round, oval
  • Glasses - some have them, some don’t. Different kinds of glasses.
  • Blinking - Blinking, rubbing, other behaviors associated with eyes.
  • Droopy - eyelids
  • Eye contact - don't like to look at you
  • Other things you might bring up:
  • Acuity - Some students are able to see things that are far away. Some kids can see things that are near.
  • Field - Some students might tend to trip or not see things that are on the floor or off to one side.

Iris, Pupil, Epicanthic fold - affects shape of eye, Acuity, Fields, Eye contact

Check for Understanding

Student draws a picture of people, including their eyes, including information that illustrates what makes each one both unique and similar.

Student makes a list or chart, such as a Venn diagram, of types of eyes and how they are the same and how they are different.

Teacher and student discuss the student's product.

 

Closure

"Now we know how eyes can be different, not only between different types of creatures but also between different people. We see that these differences are very common and very natural."

 

Rationale: When a student understands that it is natural for there to be variation in the structure and function and behavior of the eyes of different individuals, it will allow them to view his or her own visual condition as natural and no more or less than that of their peers.

Resources:

Books

  • Arthur's Eyes by Marc Brown
  • Does and Owl Wear Eyeglasses by Harriet Ziefert
  • Jacob's Eye Patch by Beth and Jacob Shaw

Unit 1 Lesson 5: The Eye and Sight

Topic:  How is MY Eye Special?

Unit Goal: Student will describe how the visual system functions and also the nature of his/her individual visual system (cause of specific visual impairment).

Lesson objective(s): Student will describe the nature of his or her visual impairment, including the specific structures that are affected and how this impacts how he/she sees.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Review parts of the eye.

Discuss differences and similarities that can be found among eyes in both the animal and human worlds.

 

Introduction 

"We've learned that eyes are similar in many ways but also that eyes can have many differences and that this is a natural thing. Today, let's talk about our own eyes and what might be special about them."

 

Stating the Goal "Once we are finished with today's lesson, you will be able to tell people all about your own eyes and your own vision."  

Instruction

The content of this lesson will, of course, be very individualized according to the nature of the student's visual impairment.

Using an eye model, chart or drawing, point out structures that are affected by the student's etiology.

Demonstrate the path that light takes through the visual system, noting how the affected structures in turn affect what the student sees.

Vocabulary will be specific to the student's visual impairment.

Instruction

You may want to introduce a term, such as "visual impairment" at this time, explaining that it is used to indicate when an individual’s vision is different from that of most other persons.

Alternatively, you might want to wait and present this concept as a separate lesson during the "History" or "Rights" Units.

visual impairment, extraordinary vision, atypical vision, different vision

Instruction

Locate a website with information specific to the student's visual impairment and explore it together.Obtain a book that addresses the visual impairment and read together.Create your own booklet using information from a website to explore together.

 

Check for Understanding

Using a model or chart of the eye, student independently demonstrates part of the eye affected by visual impairment and how this, in turn affects vision.

Student draws a picture of her eye and writes a short paper or paragraph that describes their visual impairment.

 

Closure

"Sometimes our friends or our teachers might not understand why you are not able to see certain things in the same way that they see them. Knowing how your vision is special can help you explain it to them. In the future, we will talk about some more ways that we can help other people better understand your special vision (visual impairment)."

 

 Rationale: Having the knowledge of how his or her own eyes function, and the vocabulary to talk about it, will enable the student to better advocate for him- or herself with peers and adults.

Note: The amount and type of information presented in this lesson will vary to a great degree based not only on the student's visual impairment but also his/her age and grade level.

Resources:

Websites

Albinism - http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/genetic/albinism.html

Books

  • My Fair Child by Maureen Ryan (albinism)
  • Albino Animals by Kelly Milner Halls

Unit 2 Lesson 6:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? K-2nd Grade

Unit Goal:   Student will develop a set (toolbox) of strategies to optimize visual functioning in a variety of settings.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to express vision strengths and limitations in relation to school, community, and home activities.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to think about things he likes to do or need to do at home, at school, and in community settings (like the grocery store, at a park, etc.). As the student names activities and/or objects, ask how easy or difficult it is to see clearly.

community

Introduction 

“Your vision may affect how you do things.  There are probably many things you can do on your own, like brush your teeth or eat a meal; then there are things you might need a little help with seeing or doing, like using a microwave or crossing a street; or maybe there are things that are just too difficult for you to see, like words written on a board or menus in a restaurant.  We are going to figure out the things you can see/do on your own, things you ask others to help you with, and things you just can see/do at all.  Once we fill in this list, we are going to work at finding out ways to help you become more independent—or do things without too much help from others.”  

 

Stating the Goal

“After our lesson, you will have a list of the activities and things you can see on your own or with an optical device, and things you could work on to see without the help of others with a little more instruction.

 

Instruction

Introduce the worksheet How I View the World.  Using the worksheet as a guide, create a list of activities and things the student can see without help or with an optical device, things he asks others to help with, and things he cannot see at all.  

Optical device

Instruction

 Ask the student to select some items on the worksheet that (s)he would like to see better or be able to access. 

Discuss the possibility of increasing independence and participation once (s)he can improve access skills.  Note:  for the functionally blind student, “see” may mean “figure out” or “do” through tactile strategies. 

AccessIndependence

Check for Understanding

“Let’s look back over your list. (read list to the student)  Is there more you would like to add?”

 

Closure

“Today you listed activities and things you can see on your own or with an optical device.  There are also some things/activities you need someone else to help you with.  We are going to be working on ways in which you can access as many things on your own (independently) as possible, without depending on others.” 

 

 Rationale:  This lesson is designed to begin a conversation with the student about building independence.  There will be some items the student mentions that you feel could be topics for future lessons.  For example, “I can’t see the teacher when she writes on the board”, may lead to a future lesson on the devices needed to read the board, and how to politely advocate for yourself when you can’t see something.  Make sure home, school, and community settings are addressed.  Student may need prompting on typical activities for all three settings.  Avoid questions such as, “Can you see_________?”  Rather, say “Tell me how you see____________.”  

Materials


Unit 2 Lesson 7:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? Grades 3-12

Unit Goal: Student will develop a set (toolbox) of strategies to optimize visual functioning in a variety of settings.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to express vision strengths and limitations in relation to school, community, and home activities.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to think about things he needs to do in his home, at school, and in community settings (like the grocery store, at a park, etc.) that typically require vision.  As the student names activities and/or objects, ask how easy or difficult it is to see or perform these tasks.

 

Introduction 

“Your vision may affect how you do things. We are going to complete a survey of visual tasks to figure out just how hard or easy visual tasks can be for you.  Once we fill in this survey, we are going to work at finding out ways to help you become more independent—or do things without too much help from others."

 

Stating the Goal

“After our lesson, you will have an idea of visual tasks you need to be able to access in home, school, and community settings.  When you are finished with the Visual Tasks Survey, your score will help us determine which skills we can begin to work on to increase your self-confidence and independence in these settings.” 

access

Instruction Introduce the “Visual Tasks Survey”.  Review the instructions, including the scoring rubric.
  1. Allow student to complete this survey.
  2. Total the score and find the range at the bottom of the survey.
  3. If the score is between 22 and 88, discuss some tools and strategies that could be used with individual items to increase independence and participation.  Make a list of these tools/strategies specific to each task.  Future lessons will involve training for specific tools/strategies to increase access, independence, and self-confidence.
  4. Review Tools for Accessing Different Environments and Increasing Self-Sufficiency to see which might apply to the student.

assistive technology

Instruction

If the score is between 22 and 88, discuss some tools and strategies that could be used with individual items to increase independence and participation. Make a list of these tools/strategies specific to each task.  Future lessons will involve training for specific tools/strategies to increase access, independence, and self-confidence. 

 

Check for Understanding

“Let’s look back over your survey. What areas (of access) do you feel are your strengths?  What areas do you feel you need to work on to increase your access/independence?”

 

Closure

“Today you took a close look at typical visual tasks that occur in school, at home, and in the community.   In future lessons, we are going to be working on skills to help you access as many things on your own (independently) as possible, without depending on others.” 

 

 Rationale: This lesson is designed to begin a conversation with the student about building access to visual tasks and independence.  Future lessons will build upon how the student answered each individual task rating, and might include instruction on the tools/strategies that would help the student gain independence on specific tasks. Access skill instruction will differ, depending on many factors, such as the student’s visual acuity, stamina, availability of assistive technology, etc.  It is important to note that, as a student’s ability to access tasks increases, his self-confidence and ability to represent himself as a person with a visual impairment who can compete with his peers increases as well. 

Materials:

Resources for Skill Instruction:

Looking to Learn (AFB Press) for teaching optical devices

TSBVI website (www.tsbvi.edu) for teaching specific assistive technology skills

ESC 10 website (http://www.region10.org/supplementary-services/programs/vi-assistive-technology/) for teaching specific assistive technology skills

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.


Unit 2 Lesson 8:  Student Toolbox

Topic 1:  How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? -  My Personal Goals

Unit Goal: Student will develop a set (toolbox) of strategies to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to express vision strengths and limitations in relation to school, community, and home activities.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to think about what his special interests are.  What skills might be needed within these special interests? 

Personal goal

Introduction 

"Sometimes it helps to clarify your personal goals in order to figure out the tools and strategies you will need to accomplish these goals.  A personal goal can be short-term, like walking to a friend’s house independently; or, longer-term, like finding a part-time job.  In this lesson we will explore these goals and figure out the steps you would need to take, tools and strategies you would need to use, and supports and resources that will help you reach your goals." 

Tools, Strategies

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you clarify your personal goals related to leisure activities, recreation, school, independent living skills, and/or career pursuits." 

 

Instruction

Ask the student to complete #1 on the My Goals worksheet.

Discuss #2 on the worksheet together.

Create a document for #3, listing the steps the student would need to take to achieve one or each of the three goals.

Create a document for #4, listing supports and resources to complete the steps listed in #3.  Supports and resources may be technology, people, or agencies. 

Supports

Check for Understanding

Check to make sure the student’s goals are realistic and achievable in a relatively short amount of time. 

 

Closure

“Today we’ve selected 3 goals you would like to work on (restate the goals).  You have identified supports and resources to help you reach these 3 goals.  For our next few lessons we will start taking the steps necessary to help you achieve your goals.”

 

Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to get the student to think about setting goals and learning the visual strategies and/or accommodations he might need to achieve these goals.  The assumption is that learning the skills needed to accomplish one’s goals contributes to self-determination.  Goals may be short term, such as walking unassisted to a friend’s house or preparing a meal; goals may be longer term, such as something related to work, or going to college.  A standard interest inventory may help the process of figuring out the students interests, which could then be followed by a conversation about goal setting. 

Materials:

Resources for Skill Instruction:

Look for interest inventories on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/explore/student-interest-inventory/)

Look for student goal setting worksheets on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/wileyteaching/goal-setting/ )


Unit 2 Lesson 9:  Student Toolbox

Topic 2:  Strategies for Increasing Access -  Strategies for Braille Readers

Unit Goal: Student who are using braille will develop a set of strategies (toolbox) to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to efficiently use strategies and assistive technology to increase independent access to visual tasks.  Strategies might include using a braille device, audible materials, tactile materials, assistive technology, and/or working with a partner

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to describe the kinds of learning activities he needs to complete in any given class.  (e.g., copy/read near and distance materials, give a speech, read from a textbook/work sheet, complete a written assignment, read charts/ maps/ graphs). 

Tell the student you will be working together to develop ways to complete these typical classroom activities using a variety of tools and strategies. 

Tools, Strategies

Introduction 

“We are going to be looking at the tools, such as assistive technology devices you have that help you participate in classroom activities, and the strategies (ways of getting things done).  We’ll see how well these are working for you, and look at ways to increase your proficiency with these tools and strategies.  We’ll also try to determine if there are additional tools/strategies that might work better for you.”  

 

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you learn strategies to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings."

 

Instruction

Begin by writing down the learning activities the student named (see Anticipatory).  Add to this as needed.

Ask the student to show you the equipment he uses for braille, as well as any AT he uses for access to auditory materials.  Determine student’s proficiency on each piece of equipment, including telling you the kinds of activities he is able to do with each piece.

Complete the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet

Make a list of each class the student attends.  Using the results of the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet, ask which of these tools/strategies he uses for each individual class.  Are there any problem areas?  Are there things he is currently not able to access at all?

Ask him to select a visual task (from the left column) to begin to “fine tune”, given the AT equipment issued.

Begin to work on strategies for using technology to access individual visual tasks.  Some of these strategies will involve braille AT, and some will involve auditory AT.  Each strategy will require initial assessment (what does the student already know) and instruction (how can the student use this equipment to access this particular activity). A great resource for braille-access skills can be found on pp. 193-195 and pp. 197-201 in ECC Essentials.  A resource for auditory access skills and technology can be found in chapters 4-5 in Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn.

Create a document or other product (i.e., PowerPoint) that can be shared with others and gives access details across the curriculum.

Begin to explore access outside the school, and how the same tools could be used to access recreational and career-related activities.

MP3 Player

Check for Understanding

Check to make sure the student understands the connection between using a device and accessing specific tasks.  The device is a tool to help them participate with their peers on classroom assignments/activities. 

Check to see if the student can complete this statement, “With this ______ (tool), I am able to participate with my peers on these activities/tasks________________.”

 

Closure

“Today we have learned how to use a tool or strategy to complete a specific task or tasks in a specific subject area class.  Our next several lessons will continue to build the tools/strategies and the settings in which you can use these in your classes.”

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to come up with a plan for accessing all the typical classroom tasks.  There will be different student-specific tools for this, including assistive technology, auditory strategies, and even the use of educational partners.  Since classrooms/subject areas are so varied, ultimately you will want to cover each class, completing a summary of access strategies called “My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School”.  Along the way you will be assessing the student’s competency in using technology, and teaching the student how to use a device to access to classroom activities. Once the student has a record of the strategies and tools he uses for access, as well as the necessary skills in using the technology, he will use this record to advocate for his skills and needs with individual classroom teachers. 

Note: This unit is not intended to cover skill instruction for specific devices, and relies on the teacher’s ability to access additional instructional materials for teaching skills related to assistive technology within the context of classroom tasks.

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

SETT Framework (acronym for Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools), by Joy Zabala.  http://www.joyzabala.com/

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess    

“Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation” – Overview of Assistive Technology: http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx


Unit 2 Lesson 10:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  Strategies for Increasing Access - Strategies for Print Readers

Unit Goal: Student who are using print will develop a set of strategies (toolbox) to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to efficiently use strategies and assistive technology to increase independent access to visual tasks.  Strategies might include using an optical device, audible materials, assistive technology, and/or working with a partner.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Ask the student to describe the kinds of learning activities he needs to complete in any given class.  (e.g., copy/read near and distance materials, give a speech, read from a textbook/work sheet, complete a written assignment, read charts/maps/graphs). 

Tell the student you will be working together to develop ways to complete these typical classroom activities using a variety of tools and strategies. 

Tools, Strategies

Introduction 

"We are going to be looking at the tools, such as assistive technology devices you have that help you participate in classroom activities, and the strategies (ways of getting things done).  We’ll see how well these are working for you, and look at ways to increase your proficiency with these tools and strategies.  We’ll also try to determine if there are additional tools/strategies that might work better for you."  

 

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you learn strategies and tools to optimize functioning on visual tasks in a variety of settings."

 

Instruction

Begin by writing down the learning activities the student named (see Anticipatory).  Add to this as needed.

Ask the student to show you the equipment he uses for accessing print, as well as any AT he uses for access to auditory materials.  Determine student’s proficiency on each piece of equipment, including telling you the kinds of activities he is able to do with each piece.

Complete the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet

Make a list of each class the student attends.  Using the results of the My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School worksheet, ask which of these tools/strategies he uses for each individual class.  Are there any problem areas?  Are there things he is currently not able to access at all?

Ask him to select a visual task (from the left column) to begin to “fine tune”, given the AT equipment issued.

Begin to work on strategies for using technology to access individual visual tasks.  Some of these strategies will involve AT to access print, and some will involve auditory AT.  Each strategy will require initial assessment (what does the student already know) and instruction (how can the student use this equipment to access this particular activity). A great resource for information access skills can be found on pp. 190-191 and pp. 197-201 in ECC Essentials.  A resource for auditory access skills and technology can be found in chapters 4-5 in Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn.

Create a document or other product (i.e., PowerPoint) that can be shared with others and gives access details across the curriculum.

Begin to explore access outside the school, and how the same tools could be used to access recreational and career-related activities.

MP3 Player, Screen enlargement software, Electronic tablet, Optical device

Check for Understanding

Check to make sure the student understands the connection between using a device and accessing specific tasks.  The device is a tool to help them participate with their peers on classroom assignments/activities.  Check to see if the student can complete this statement, “With this ______ (tool), I am able to participate with my peers on these activities/tasks________________.”

 

Closure

“Today we have learned how to use a tool or strategy to complete a specific task or tasks in a specific subject area class.  Our next several lessons will continue to build the tools/strategies and the settings in which you can use these in your classes.”

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson is to come up with a plan for accessing all the typical classroom tasks.  There will be different student-specific tools for this, including assistive technology, auditory strategies, and even the use of educational partners.  Since classrooms/subject areas are so varied, ultimately you will want to cover each class, completing a summary of access strategies called “My Strategies for Completing Visual Tasks in School”.  Along the way you will be assessing the student’s competency in using technology, and teaching the student how to use a device to access to classroom activities. Once the student has a record of the strategies and tools he uses for access, as well as the necessary skills in using the technology, he will use this record to advocate for his skills and needs with individual classroom teachers. 

Note: This unit is not intended to cover skill instruction for specific devices, and relies on the teacher’s ability to access additional instructional materials for teaching skills related to assistive technology within the context of classroom tasks.

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

SETT Framework (acronym for Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools), by Joy Zabala.  http://www.joyzabala.com/

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess   

Reading, “Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation – Overview of Assistive Technology:

http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx

Three videos on the topic of teaching students to use optical devices, found at http://www.tsbvi.edu/selected-topics/optical-devices :

  1. Instruction in the Use of Optical Devices
  2. Optical Device Use, Part 2: Visual Access In a Range of Environments
  3. Optical Device Use, Part 3: Selling Optical Device Use to the Tough Customer

Unit 2 Lesson 11:  Student Toolbox

Topic:  Strategies for Increasing Access - Strategies for Using Audible Materials

Unit Goal: Student will develop skills to benefit from audible materials.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to efficiently use audible information and technology as a back-up strategy for print. 

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Sometimes reading assignments may be lengthy, and there may be reading assignments that are difficult to get in a print/braille format.  In these instances, it’s a good idea to supplement with audible materials." 

Auditory, Audible

Introduction 

"We are going to be learning how to use the auditory equipment efficiently as a way to deal with visual fatigue and as an auditory way to access print materials. By the end of this unit you should feel comfortable with using audible materials efficiently."

 

Stating the Goal

"These lessons will help you learn strategies and tools to optimize functioning with audible materials, including audio books, audible output on computers/tablets, live readers, and lectures." 

Audio books

Instruction:Critical Listening Skills

Read aloud, starting with short sentences and moving to longer paragraph/stories.  For each, as the student to recall as many details as he can.

Work with the student on taking simple notes as he listens.

Read aloud a paragraph or passage and ask the student to restate the order in which events happened. Have the student write out events as he listens, then place these events in chronological order.

Read a paragraph to the student and ask him to state the main idea.

  

Instruction:Technology for Listening 

Begin by listening to recorded books for pleasure and discussing these.

Use auditory games on the computer/tablet to enhance listening skills.

Listen to a screen reader while using the computer.

Listen to audible literature on digital players (such as an MP3 player) and retell story.

Teach the student how to set up a tablet for auditory output (Voice Over or Google Voice) and practice using this on materials the student is interested in.

Visit the Learning Ally website together to review how to access/use this service.

Teach the student how to use the Learning Ally Audio app.

 

MP3 Player, Voiceover/Google Voice, Learning Ally, Learning Ally Audio App 

Instruction:Using Digital Books

Teach student how to access e-books via synthesized speech or read with a refreshable braille display.

Teach student how to use an MP3 player, CD player, e-book reader, PDA, smart phone, or computer to access digital talking books.  This skill includes navigating through the audible text:  examine the book by page, section, chapter, table of contents, and an index; setting bookmarks

Teach student how to take written notes of critical information as they listen and how to use these notes to study for exams.

E-Books/Digital Text, Digital Talking Books, Audio Books

Instruction:Audio-Assisted Reading

It is important that students are able to listen to gain information.  Audio-assisted reading is a method for students to use recorded books along with the corresponding print/braille book.  For steps in this lesson, refer to handout, Audio Assisted Reading, by Ike Presley. These steps can also be found in Learning to Listen/Listening to Learn, pp. 138-140. 

Audio-Assisted Reading

Check for Understanding

Your final check for understanding will be a student who can function efficiently with audible materials, and can express his preferences for using audible materials to teachers.

 

Closure

Once the student can use audible materials, develop a grid or listing of classes and make note of where or on which materials could be paired with auditory content. 

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson series is to teach the student the necessary listening skills as a tool to access learning materials.  Within the context of the expanded core curriculum (ECC), this lesson covers the categories of Sensory Efficiency, Assistive Technology, Compensatory Skills, and Self-Advocacy.  The student will need to have efficient listening skills and advocate for audible materials as a tool for learning.  Audible materials are varied—from lectures to voice output devices—and will require targeted instruction.  Listening, within the context of learning, is not a passive activity, but rather one in which the student must have methods for listening with discrimination, make notes, and be able to retrieve information efficiently.

Note: Make sure your student has a current hearing assessment.

Materials:

  • Computer system with screen-reading software
  • MP3 Player
  • Learning Ally Audio App and Reading Ally Membership
  • E-reader with voice output
  • Bookshare Membership
  • Read2Go App

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012.  Chapters 4 and 5.

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess

“Reading, Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation” – Overview of Assistive Technology:http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx

Texas Talking Book Program https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html and BARD mobile App.

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 6, “Assistive Technology”.

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn, Barclay, L.A., Editor. AFB Press, 2012.  Chapters 4 and 5.

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, A Guide to Assessment. Presley, I., and D’Andrea, F.M., AFB Press, 2009. 

Auditory Strategies:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/auditory-strategies

Assistive Technology and Listening:  http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/assistive-technology-and-listening

Overview of Technology:  http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1074-overview-of-technology-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-students#BrailleAccess

“Reading, Riting, ‘Rithmetic & Recreation” – Overview of Assistive Technology:http://www.tsbvi.edu/67-early-childhood/1077-reading-riting-rithmetic-a-recreation-overview-of-assistive-technology

Learning Ally (auditory materials and equipment) https://www.learningally.org/Educators/Resources/GetStartedNow.aspx

Texas Talking Book Program https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html and BARD mobile App.


Unit 2 Lesson 12:  Student Toolbox 

Topic:  Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access - Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media

Unit Goal: Student will develop skills to communicate preferred accommodations to compensate for vision loss.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to create and share a product that notes strategies for increasing participation in visual activities across the school curriculum.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

"Most of your teachers have never experienced having a student with a visual impairment in their class.  There will be some assignments and materials that will be difficult for you to access (use) in the format presented by your teachers.  It will be important for you to learn how to let your teachers know, in advance as well as in the moment, what your preferred adaptations/accommodations are."   

Self-Advocacy, Access, Adaptations, Accommodations

Introduction 

"We are going to be learning how to document and communicate your preferred adaptations and accommodations for school work.  Being able to communicate with teachers will also help you advocate for your visual preferences as an adult when you are at college and/or in the work force." 

 

Stating the Goal

"This lesson will help you learn strategies and tools to communicate your need for adapted materials, and/or adaptations to the presentation of learning materials."  

 

Instruction:Collecting and Documenting Information on Vision and Access 

Work with the student to complete the worksheet, Access to Visual Media, which will help the student clarify his personal preferred methods of access across a range of visual tasks. Using information from the Access to Visual Media, the student should begin to complete the worksheet, Personal Preferences for Access. Have the student look online to research some basic (non-technical) information on his etiology to complete the first part of the Personal Preferences for Access worksheet.  He should include any additional health concerns associated with the visual impairment (e.g., sensitivity to sunlight, activities to avoid due to retinal concerns)Continue to discuss and write information in all of the categories on the Personal Preferences for Access worksheet. 

Visual Media 

Check for Understanding

At the end of this lesson the student should be able to explain his vision etiology to you and tell you how he best functions on typical classroom activities/materials.  He should also be able to state strategies he uses to access classroom activities/materials, as well as the tools he uses to increase personal access. 

 

Closure

“Can you tell some things you learned about your vision and how you complete visual tasks in your classes as a result of this lesson?  Are there some things you think we should learn more about or cover in the future related to access to visual tasks?”

 

 Rationale: This lesson is a critical component of self-advocacy and empowerment for a student with a visual impairment.  The intent is to teach the student how to clarify the ways in which he accesses an array of visual tasks, and to communicate his needs to others.  By the end of this lesson he should have a clear idea of both tools (such as assistive technology) and strategies (such as requesting downloadable copies of assignments in advance to be read on a tablet) so that he can help teachers understand specific accommodations to the school curriculum.

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 12, “Self-Determination”.


Unit 2 Lesson 13:  Student Toolbox 

Topic:  Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access - Creating a Product to Communicate Visual Strategies/Tools with Teachers

Unit Goal: Student will develop skills to communicate preferred accommodations to compensate for vision loss.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to create and share a product that notes tools and strategies for increasing participation in visual activities across the school curriculum.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

We have spent some time studying your visual impairment, as well as the tools and strategies you need to participate with your peers in class.  In this lesson, we will create something (product) that can help them understand how you best function on visual tasks in their class.  

Difference between a  “tool” (AT) and a “strategy” Product

Introduction 

We are going to be learning how to document and communicate your preferred adaptations and accommodations for school work.  Being able to communicate with teachers will also help you advocate for your visual preferences as an adult when you are at college and/or in the work force. 

 

Stating the Goal

This lesson will help you create a product to communicate your preferred strategies and tools that compensate for your vision loss.

 

Instruction: Creating a Product 

Using the Personal Preferences for Access worksheet, allow the student to select a product through which he will communicate visual preferences to teachers.  Products could include one or any combination of these:  PowerPoint, notebook with dividers, brochure, portfolio, one-page document, and/or short video, photograph slideshow of tools/strategies.

Product should include:

  • Student’s etiology and any health concerns
  • How eye condition affects visual performance
  • Strategies used to complete visual tasks in school
  • Tools (assistive technology) used
  • Personal preferences for the presentation of school-related materials

Power Point Portfolio

Instruction:Presenting Product to Teachers

Student should practice having a discussion with his TVI first, using his product as prompt.

Select one general education teacher to listen to the student’s presentation of the product.  Gain feedback from the teacher and adjust as necessary.

Select additional teachers individually, or in a group meeting, for the student to present his product

 

Check for Understanding

The student should be able to (a) explain his visual condition (etiology), and (b) use his product as a conversational tool with others. 

 

Closure

By the end of this lesson, the student should have a product that captures the key discussion points to be shared with teachers.  He should first practice his presentation with the TVI, then with at least one general education teacher. 

 

 Rationale: The intent of this lesson series is to teach the student how to clarify how he accesses an array of visual tasks, and to communicate his needs to others. 

Materials:

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014.  See chapter 12, “Self-Advocacy”.


 Unit and Lessons Overview

This unit is the third in a series of lesson plans developed by Chrissy Cowan and Scott Baltisberger to help teachers of students with visual impairments teach students how to understand their rights as a student with a visual impairment.  The lessons in this unit are divided into six distinct topics that range from prejudice and stereotyping to the legal rights available to students in secondary and postsecondary settings.  These lesson topics contribute to self-determination and self-advocacy skills within the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Following the lessons are materials that are referenced in the individual lesson plans.

  • Unit 3:  Your Rights as a Student with a Visual Impairment

Lessons 

  • Prejudice and Stereotyping (Lesson 14)
  • Discrimination (Lesson 15)
  • Civil Rights (Lesson 16)
  • Civil Rights Movements (Lesson 17)
  • Participating in the Education Process-IEP and ARD (Lesson 18)
  • Differences in Legal Rights between Secondary & Postsecondary Settings (Lesson 19)

Unit 3 - Lesson 14:   Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic:  Prejudice and Stereotyping

Unit Goal: Students will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): Student will define the terms “prejudice” and “stereotyping” and give specific examples of this from his or her life.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory

Inform student that you want him/her explore some objects together and share his/her thoughts.

Present object that has some tactile or auditory feature, especially something that is striking/startling (heat or cold, loud noise such as a buzzer, vibration – like from a novelty store, some type of small snack food that is bitter or weird-tasting, jelly beans of a single flavor). Perhaps present a series of objects that have this feature.

Talk about the object and the feature. Elicit the child’s descriptions and his/her feelings about the object: What is the physical appearance? Do they feel positive/negative/neutral? Do they feel anxious or excited when handling the object?

Present the same object but with the feature removed. When button on the buzzer is pushed, it does not buzz.

Note the child’s reaction: Are they surprised or confused? Have a discussion about their feelings.

 

Introduction

 

Guide the student toward understanding that previous experience with the object caused them to view all objects the same way, to “judge” all the objects. This “Pre-judging” is known is often not true and is known as “prejudice”. Prejudice - preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience; harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment.
Stating the Goal Student will be able to define the term “prejudice” and describe how and why it occurs.  
Instruction 1

Discussion: Why do people prejudge things? In what way might pre-judging be helpful? Learn protective behaviors. Examples:

  • Fire - We touch a flame and it is hot. We prejudge all fire to be hot so we no longer try to touch it, avoiding injury.
  • Knives - We see a knife can cut things. We prejudge all knives are sharp so we are careful when we handle them so we don’t get cut.
  • Reading - We learn that this letter “B” makes a certain sound. When we are reading and we see the letter, we pronounce it with the sound because we prejudge the letter to make that sound. It is easier to read this way.

What can we conclude? Prejudging can help us. It can be useful to apply prior experience to a current situation. We don’t have to relearn things. It can make tasks easier or safer.

Another term to describe applying prior experiences to subsequent situations is Generalization.
Instruction 2 Is prejudging always right? Can you think of some situations in which you prejudged something but it turned out to not be accurate? Examples:
  • Water - Expected water from faucet to be hot or cold and it was the opposite.
  • Travel - Walking in a familiar area that was always clear of obstructions in the past. Suddenly there is an object or piece of furniture in the way.
  • Party – Were invited to an event and thought it would be fun (or boring) and it turned out to be the opposite.
 
Instruction 3 Sometimes prejudice occurs not from our own experience but from what we hear from others. Examples:
  • Food - Person tells you it’s not very good so you are ready to not like it… But then you do like it! (Or the opposite!)
  • Music – Some people say that they hate a type of music but you find that you enjoy this style.
  • People – A friend says that another person is really nice but then that person teases you or says something unkind.
 
Instruction 4

How does this apply to people? What are some expectations that we have about certain kinds of people? Are the expectations always true?

  • Gender roles - How are boys/girls expected to be? What kinds of games do they play? What kinds of interests do they have? How do they act? How do they dress?
  • People from different backgrounds (Texans, “Yankees”, Asians, Latinos, African-Americans)
  • People with disabilities – physically challenged, speech difficulties, cognitive challenges
  • People with visual impairment -

This is called “Stereotyping”.

Stereotyping - belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic

 

Independent Practice Student fills out “Prejudice and Stereotyping” worksheets 1.a and 1.b, using personal experiences to give specific examples.  
Check for Understanding Discuss student’s responses on worksheets 14.a and 14.b. Have them tell how and why the examples they gave constitute prejudice and stereotyping.  
Closure We often engage in stereotyping and prejudice without even being aware about it. It is important to recognize when we are doing this as well as when other people are doing this to us.  

 Rationale: With a clear understanding of what constitutes prejudice and stereotyping, a student will be better able to identify when they are the target of this behavior and should take steps to address the situation through self-advocacy.

  • Resources and materials:
  • Worksheet 14.a Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Worksheet 14.b Prejudice and Stereotyping

Websites:

 

Worksheet 1.a - Prejudice and Stereotyping

Think of three different times that you prejudged a person, a thing or a situation. Fill out the table using your experiences.

What I judged What I thought Why I thought that. What was the stereotype? What I really found
1.      
2.      
3.      

 

Worksheet 1.b - Prejudice

Think of three different times when someone prejudged you. Fill out the table using your experiences.

What they thought about me What did they think that about me? Was what they though true? What was actually true about me?
       

 


Unit 3 - Lesson 15: Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic:  Discrimination

Unit goal: Student will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within and society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): Student will define discrimination and describe how it can negatively impact expectations.

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Review information from previous lesson: “Prejudice and Stereotyping”.
  • Ask student to define terms prejudice and stereotyping.
  • Discuss the examples the student provided on worksheets 14.a and 14.b.

Prejudice

Stereotyping

Introduction

 

People have a natural tendency to prejudge things, including other people. We also tend to put things, including other people, into categories and assign them all the same attributes (stereotyping). Sometimes we treat people differently when we stereotype them. This is called “discrimination”. Discrimination: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people
Stating the Goal We will see how prejudice and stereotyping can lead to discrimination.  
Instruction 1
  • Card game: Make a set of cards. Each card should represent an individual child. On one side, provide a physical description of the child. For children who are visual learners, photos or pictures could be used. The following “types” are suggested:
    • Boy with dirty face, mean look.
    • Girl wearing nice dress, hair done up.
    • Overweight child.
    • Skinny boy wearing glasses
    • Girl in a wheelchair
    • Black child
 
  • Ask the student to share their feelings and impressions about each child, writing this information down on index cards and then pair each with its descriptive card. The observations can be short sentences or single words (nice, mean, friendly, sad, funny, shy, etc.). Prompt them to think about whether they would enjoy playing with the child, would want to be friends; what they think they know about the child’s personality and life just from the description.
 
Instruction 2
  • On the reverse side of each card, provide a description of the child’s background and/or behavior. When the student has completed their responses, look over the descriptions together.
    • Note discrepancies between the student’s impressions and the actual descriptions.
    • Discuss whether the stereotyping the student applied to the children was fair.
 
Instruction 3
  • Use information from Worksheet 14.b to prompt observations about how others may be stereotyping the student him or herself.
  • Upon what might the stereotyping be based? Is it accurate?
  • Is it fair?
  • Think about what happens if not only you, but a larger group of people discriminate against the child.
 
Check for Understanding Student completes worksheet 15.a “Discrimination” using information from the activity. It may be most helpful to do these together. Discuss the responses.  
Closure Prejudice and stereotyping can have a negative impact on the way we treat one another. When groups of people engage in this practice against other groups it can result in discrimination. It is important to identify discrimination when it occurs so one can advocate for one’s self. Next lesson we will learn how groups of people engage in advocacy when they suffer discrimination.  

 Rationale: With a clear understanding of what constitutes discrimination, a student will be better able to identify when they are the target of this behavior and should take steps to address the situation through self-advocacy.

Resources and materials: Worksheet 15.a - Discrimination

Worksheet 15. a. Discrimination

Think about how you reacted to the different students in today’s activity and answer the following questions:

1. Was there a child for whom you had a false stereotype?

 

 

2.  Which child was this and why did you have the stereotype?

 

 

 3. Do you think other people might have the same stereotype?

 

 

 4. How could this stereotyping have a negative impact on the child?

 

 

 5. What are some things you can do to counteract this discrimination?

 

 

 6. Have you ever felt discriminated by other people?

 

 

 


Unit 3 - Lesson 16: Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic: Civil Rights

Unit Goal: Student will define and give examples of “civil rights” and describe examples of civil rights movements.

Lesson objective(s): Student will define and give examples of civil rights

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Review information from prior lesson on prejudice and discrimination. Student learned that sometimes we pre-judge people unfairly. This prejudging can be based on many different traits such as: gender, skin color, language, ethnic group or disability.

Prejudice

Discrimination

Introduction

 

What are your feelings about prejudice and discrimination? Do you feel this is true or false? Kind or unkind? Fair or unfair?

Some people may practice prejudice and discrimination even if it is unfair. However this is not only unfair or unkind… it is against the law.

 
Stating the Goal The government has laws in place that guarantee us certain freedoms and rights regardless of individual differences. These freedoms and rights are called Civil Rights. In this lesson we will learn what civil rights are and also give some examples of these rights. Civil Rights
Instruction
  • The United States government guarantees our civil rights. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights tell us what are our civil rights and what are the rules for them. Civil rights ensure that everyone is treated equally. They help us live together in a peaceful and positive manner.
  • Everyone is required to follow the rules for civil rights.
Note: You may or may not need to explore info about the Constitution and Bill or Rights, depending on your student’s age/grade level or level of knowledge.

Constitution

Bill of Rights

 

Instruction Discussion about specific civil rights. Civil rights include the freedoms to thought, speech, privacy, religion, press, assembly and association, due process, voting and movement.
  • Younger children – use Civil Rights Cards to lead discussion (see “Resources”).
  • Older children – may do guided on-line exploration of civil rights (see “Websites”). Student can pick a right and do an online search.
Thought, Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, Due Process, Voting, Movement
Check for Understanding
  • Younger children – Play a game with the Civil Rights Cards. Matching: Each player receives five cards. Calls, “I want your …… card. Player must accurately describe the right in order to receive the card. Memory: All cards on table with description facing up. Player reads description and tries to name the right. Turns card over to check.
 
Closure Now you know a bit about what are your civil rights and why you have them. This is important because not everybody always follows the rules. Even the government doesn’t always follow the rules. In these cases, people need to advocate for their civil rights. Knowing your rights will help you know when you need to advocate. Advocate

 Rationale: When a student understands their rights as an individual, they are better able to identify when these rights have been infringed upon and advocate effectively for themselves. Having a broader perspective of the civil rights afforded to the public at large allows the student a more in-depth, contextualized understanding of the concept.

Resources and materials: 16.a - Civil Rights Cards

 

16. a. – Civil Rights Cards

 Thought

The freedom of an individual to

hold or consider a fact, viewpoint,

or thought, independent of others'

viewpoints

Speech

The right to articulate one's

opinions and ideas without fear

of government retaliation

or censorship, or societal

sanction. 

Religion

The freedom of an individual or

community, in public or private, to

manifest religion or belief in teaching,

practice, worship, and observance 

Press

The right to publish newspapers, 

magazines, and other printed  

matter without governmental 

restriction  

Assembly

The individual right or ability of

people to come together and

collectively express, promote,

pursue, and defend their ideas

Due Process

The legal requirement that the

state must respect all legal

rights that are owed to a person 

Voting

Voting rights cannot be abridged

on account of race, color,

previous condition of servitude,

sex, or age for those above 18 

Movement

The right of individuals to travel

from place to place within

the territory of a country, and to

leave the country and return to it 

 

Unit 3 - Lesson 17: Your Rights as a Student with Visual Impairment

Topic: Civil Rights Movements

Unit Goal: Student will define “civil rights” and describe the movement for the civil rights of persons who are blind or visually impaired

Lesson objective(s): Student will define what is a civil rights movements and describe the movement for civil rights by people with blindness and visual impairments

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Review information presented in prior lessons on prejudice, discrimination and “Civil Rights”:
  • Prejudice is our tendency to assign value to others without first having information about them.
  • Discrimination results from prejudice; treat people with a certain trait differently from others. Result can be that these people are treated unfairly.
  • Civil Rights are laws to prevent discrimination and ensure that all people are treated fairly.

Prejudice

Discrimination

Civil Rights

Introduction

 

  • Discuss some of the prejudices explored in Lesson One - Prejudice and Discrimination: Gender, Race, Language, Disability. If many people feel prejudice for a group, they might deny that group their civil rights. In those situations, the group will need to advocate for themselves.
  • When a person publicly supports a certain idea that is called “advocacy” and that person is an “advocate”. One can be an “advocate” for civil rights. If an individual supports his/her personal rights, they are a “self-advocate”. If they join with others to support right for their group, this is sometimes called a “civil rights movement”.
  • There have been many civil rights movements in the history of our country and they have helped us grow by ensuring that we can live in a peaceful and fair manner.

Advocate

Self-advocate

Civil Rights Movement

Stating the Goal After this lesson, we will be able to describe some civil rights movements, how they came to be, what they sought to change and how they went about doing this.  

Instruction

Part 1

Different groups have felt the need to advocate for their rights due to discrimination. The discrimination has been based on race, ethnicity, gender and national origin, among other things. When members of the group see that their civil rights are not being granted, they form a civil rights movements.  

Instruction

Part 2

Examples of Civil Rights Movements: Provide an overview of two or three prominent civil rights movements in the United States. There are many materials available to address these movements (see “Resources”) and your student may already be familiar with them. If he/she is not familiar with this history or demonstrates high interest, you might explore them further using the additional resources and materials listed. Possible movements include:
  • African Americans
  • Women
  • Latin Americans
  • Native Americans
 

Instruction

Part 3

  • Note information gathered in worksheets from lessons 14, 15 and 16. We can see that VI persons can be affected by prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. Historically persons who are VI were denied certain rights. As a group, VI persons have struggled for their rights.
  • Use the information in “Resources” under “Movement for Disability and VI Rights” to have discussion on this topic.
 
Check for Understanding Student completes Worksheet 17a – “Civil Rights Movements”  
Closure Advocating for rights occurs on both the individual and the group level. It is important to know the history of your own group, how you can contribute to the group through your own individual advocating and how the group can support you.  

 Rationale: Knowledge of the origins, goals and history of civil rights movements, including that promoting right of the visually impaired, will allow a student to better understand the historical context of their personal situation in regards to self-advocacy.

Resources and materials:

Websites:

Movement for Disability and VI Rights:

 


Worksheet 17a: Civil Rights Movements

Use what you learned from your discussions to answer the following questions about groups who struggled for their civil rights.

 1. Why are some groups denied their civil rights?

 

 

 

 2. Name three groups who started movements to advocate for their civil rights.

 

 

 

 

 3. What are three rights for which persons with visual impairment have advocated as a group.

 

 

 

 

 4. List three important events in the history of the struggle for civil rights of the visually impaired..

 

 

 

 

 5. Name one group that has advocated for the rights of persons who are visually impaired.

 


Unit 3 - Lesson 18:  Your Rights as a Student with a Visual Impairment

Topic: Participating in the Education Process - Individual Education Program (IEP) Document and the Admissions, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Meeting

 Unit Goal:

Students will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s):

 Student is able to describe the components of an ARD meeting and participate in writing their own IEP

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory The ARD and IEP are tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Act.  The student should be familiar with these and be able to be an active participant in the planning process.     

Introduction

As a student with a visual impairment, you are entitled to certain rights in school.  These rights are outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which includes an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  We are going to spend a few lessons on learning how to contribute to the creation of your own IEP, and the skills you would need to be able to comfortably participate in your ARD meeting.

(Review “What are my Rights As a Student With a Disability?”) Spanish version

IDEA

ARD

IEP

Stating the Goal These lessons will teach you how to participate in the writing of your personal education plan, and give you some pointers on how to represent yourself at your ARD (IEP) meetings.   
Instruction Related to the IEP Explain that, according to IDEA, the IEP must focus on the student’s preferences, interests, needs and strengths. Every ARD meeting (called IEP meeting in other states) will discuss and write an IEP.  We will be working on how you can participate in writing and presenting your own IEP.
  1. Begin with the IEP Participation Student Rubric to get some idea on what your student knows.
  2. Show the student their own IEP.  Use “It’s All About Me! Understanding My IEP” for this activity.
  3. Begin one of the two student worksheets on understanding the parts of an IEP.  For elementary age: Complete “I’m Determined! I.D. Understanding and Preparing for My IEP”. This step may take more than one session. 
  4. Revisit the district’s IEP form.  Work with the student to fill in a blank IEP with their own information.  This could be used as a draft for their ARD meeting. 

Present Level of Performance

Accommodations

Annual Goals

Postsecondary Goals

Services

Transition

Participation in Statewide Testing

Instruction Related to the ARD Meeting

Explain that an ARD meeting is held to discuss the student’s educational programming, and each ARD meeting follows a format as per special education law (IDEA).  Restate your goal that the student participate in, and possibly lead, portions of the next ARD meeting, and that these activities will prepare him for this. 

  1. Briefly review the components of any ARD (IEP) meeting. See Simple ARD/IEP Agenda
  2. Print out IEP Participation Brochure (“Suggestions for Your Participation in the IEP Process”).  Use this to keep track of tasks that need to be done before, during, and after an ARD.
  3. One way a student can lead their ARD meeting is to introduce the meeting by sharing a presentation that reflects their preference, interests, needs and strengths. Samples of these can be found under “Student-led IEPs” (Sample Student PowerPoints)”. “Student Involvement in the IEP Secondary & Elementary Templates”. Watch one of these with your student, then complete the “One Pager Implementation Guide” (blank template here) to give your student some ideas for creating his own PowerPoint.
  4. Create a PowerPoint with your student that can be presented at his next ARD.  Keep it short!  There is a blank IEP PowerPoint template that can be used for this.
  5. Use the IEP Participation Brochure (column called “During the Meeting”) to review the ARD meeting structure, and determine when might be the best time for your student to show his PowerPoint.
  6. Prior to the ARD meeting, check to see that the components of the first column (“Before the Meeting”) on the  IEP Participation Brochure have been completed or are in process.
  7. Practice (role play) student participation during an ARD meeting.  You both may decide that there are some parts of the meeting you (the teacher) will take, and parts the student will take.
  8. After the ARD meeting, complete the third column (“After the Meeting”) of the IEP Participation Brochure.
  9. Finish this segment on ARD meetings by completing the Student Exit Survey.  Discuss changes that could be made before the next ARD meeting

Evaluation data

Eligibility

PLAAFP

Assistive Technology

Annual Goals/Objectives

Related Services

Placement-LRE

 

Check for Understanding Use the I’m Determined website’s “Student Exit Survey” to check for understanding.  
Closure The information covered in these two activities helps you (the student) become a more self-determined individual.  It will be important for you to be able to represent yourself as the school team (including you!) discusses your future.   

 Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to educate the student about the required components of the IEP so that they can partner with their TVI in developing their own education plans.  In addition, students will learn how to represent their choices and opinions about their own education plans at the IEP/ARD meeting. 

Materials:

  • Computer or tablet to create a PowerPoint
  • Print or braille copies of the materials mentioned
  • Optical devices as needed to read print materials
  • Student’s IEP and ARD paperwork from previous ARD meeting

 Resources and Materials:

I’m Determined module on Student-Led IEPs https://www.imdetermined.org/quick-links/modules/module-four/ Also includes a PowerPoint (“Student-Led IEP PowerPoint) that teachers and parents should watch before beginning these lessons

Texas Project First:  Components of an ARD meeting in Texas:  ARD agenda with definitions

Important Words to Know About Me and My IEP

https://www.imdetermined.org/?s=important+words+lesson+plan

Me!  Lessons for Teaching Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy

http://www.ou.edu/education/centers-and-partnerships/zarrow/transition-education-materials/me-lessons-for-teaching-self-awareness-and-self-advocacy.html

Videos from I’m Determined Website

It’s All About You! Get to Know Your IEP https://www.imdetermined.org/?s=get+to+know+your+iep

Determined Student Involvement in IEP (example of an elementary student leading his ARD/IEP meeting)  https://www.imdetermined.org/?s=student+led+iep


Unit 3 - Lesson 19:  Your Rights as a Student with a Visual Impairment

Topic: Understanding the Differences in Legal Rights Between Secondary and Post-secondary Educational Settings

Unit Goal: Students will recognize their rights as a person with a visual impairment and advocate for these rights within society and educational systems.

Lesson objective(s): The student will be able to discriminate between their legal rights in both secondary and postsecondary educational settings. 

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory Did you realize there are laws that function as guidelines and safe guards for you within educational systems?  As a consumer in an educational system, it would be empowering for you to be aware of these laws and know how to find information on them.  Empower
Introduction All through your public school life you have been educated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires schools to provide a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment designed to meet your unique needs.   When you graduate, another law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will ensure that you will not be a subject of discrimination based on your visual impairment

IDEA

ADA

FAPE

 

Stating the Goal We are going to learn about the difference between these 2 laws, and how they will affect you in secondary and postsecondary settings.  
Instruction Review the 6 principles of IDEA with the student. Discuss how these principles relate to the student’s program.  Reinforce this concept/vocabulary using the IDEA matching cards.  Rights-Something that is due a person by law (voting, getting an education, etc.)
Instruction

An anti-discrimination law that protects you after high school:

ADA is a civil rights law that protects people with disabilities by requiring places to be accessible to people with disabilities. ADA is different than Section 504 because it applies to more places, such as transportation (public buses), telecommunication, as well as schools

Provide a print or braille copy of a document titled “American with Disabilities Act (ADA)” found at https://ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq9805.html Take turns reading through this document together.  Ask the student which of these regulations might apply to him now, or possibly in the near future. Take the ADA True/False Quiz.

Discrimination

Anti-Discrimination

 

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Discuss the fact that, after high school, the student will bear the responsibility of communicating with others about his adaptations and modifications in educational settings and on the job. 

Colorado State University has outlined the legal mandates that uphold the rights and responsibilities of qualified students with disabilities and faculty as they relate to a student’s participation in higher education and to making accommodations. Open this page, and review these with your student:  http://accessproject.colostate.edu/sa/modules/sec3/tut_sec3.php?display=pg_6

 

Relationship between your “rights” and your personal responsibility
  For students who will be transitioning to a college, trade school, or university, review this document: “College Preparation for Students with Disabilities Handbook”.  Play the “Roll the Dice IDEA vs. ADA Game” (instructions provided as a handout)  
Checking for Understanding

Use the document “ADA and IDEA Scenarios for Role Play” to review and reinforce what the student has learned. 

As you and the student prepare for IEP meetings, review the components that constitute a “right”, or the legally required components of IDEA that are reflected in the IEP and the IEP meeting. 

 

 Rationale: Students should understand that there are laws that protect them from discrimination as an individual with a visual impairment.  One law (IDEA) is monitored by adults (parents, teachers, administrators, disability agency caseworkers) while they are in a public school system.  When they graduate, another law (ADA) will provide them with the protection they might need to avoid discrimination due to their impairment in educational settings, on the job, and in the community.  Teachers can start to educate students about their protected rights under the law by explaining the IEP, for example, and by discussing the student’s responsibility to communicate their preferences/adaptations/modifications with others. 

Resources and materials:

 

19. a. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Matching Cards

Use with Lesson 19

Instructions:  Cut these cards apart, mix them up, and match them back together. 

 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Students with a disability are entitled to this.  There should be services designed to meet a student’s unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. 

Appropriate Evaluation

Schools are required to conduct appropriate evaluations of students that are administered on a non-discriminator basis.  Evaluations must determine and make recommendations regarding a student’s eligibility for special educations services. 

 Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

A written document which uses existing evaluation information in order to meet a student’s unique educational needs.  Must include:  present levels of educational performance, goals, objectives, services & supplementary aids. 

 Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

States that students with disabilities receive their education, to the maximum extent appropriate, with nondisabled peers and that special education students are not removed from regular classes unless, even with supplemental aids and services, education in regular classes cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

 Parent Participation

Parents are notified of evaluations, and involved in all meetings regarding their child’s placement.

 Procedural Safeguards

These protect parental access to information pertaining to placement/transition planning, and evaluations.  Procedures are put in place to resolve disagreements between parents and schools regarding student placement.

19. b. ADA Quiz

Select true or false for each question.

  1. Public buildings are required to provide braille labels on doors and elevators.  T    F
  2. Dog guides are not allowed on public transportation and in public buildings.  T   F
  3. An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability.  T   F
  4. I will be expected to pay for reasonable accommodations on the job.  T   F
  5. I have to tell people about my visual impairment in postsecondary education settings order to receive specialized services from disability support services staff. T   F
  6. Accommodations are automatically provided for me in postsecondary education.  T   F
  7. There will be a “special teacher” assigned to me in postsecondary settings that can advocate for my special needs.  T    F
  8. “Self-Identify” to a potential employer means providing my name, address, and social security number.  T     F
  9. Documentation of my visual impairment can be my glasses prescription.  T     F
  10. When in postsecondary education, you are considered an adult in the eyes of the law. T   F

Answers: 1. T, 2. F, 3. T, 4. F, 5. T, 6. F, 7. F, 8. F, 9. F, 10. T

19. c. Roll the Dice IDEA vs. ADA Game

Materials

  • Dice (braille or regular)
  • 3 small baskets or boxes
  • Use the chart titled What Are the Differences Between High School and College? from the document “College Preparation for Students with Disabilities Handbook” (found on pp. 19-22).

Game Instructions

  1. Cut the squares out, mix them up, and place them in one container (box).  Have two empty baskets/boxes:  one labeled “IN HIGH SCHOOL”, and another labeled “IN COLLEGE”. 
  2. (In most situations, the teacher and student will be competing with one another)
  3. Player 1 rolls the dice, then draws a card out of the master pile.  Read the card, and place it in one of the other two baskets.  Check the master document to see if you are right.  If you placed it in the correct basket, you get to add the points on the dice.  Player 2 gets a turn. 

 

19. d. ADA and IDEA Scenarios for Role Play

 Tell how you would handle these situations:

  1. Juan is in the 6th grade.  His class goes to the computer lab every Thursday to work on a research project.  None of the computers in the lab have software he needs to be able to enlarge the print or read the screen.  Which law supports Juan?  What should Juan say or do to let his teacher know that this adaptation is necessary for him to complete the assignments? 
  2. Jessica goes to a community college and is studying to be an occupational therapy assistant.  Much of the reading she has to do involves medical diagrams and charts with print that is way too small for her to see. Is there a law that supports Jessica?  What should Jessica do?  (refer to Rights to Assistive Technology in Higher Education http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/557401.pdf )
  3. When Julia was in her senior year of high school, a TVI contacted all of her teachers to notify them of Julia’s visual diagnosis and how they (the teachers) could accommodate for Julia’s reduced acuity.  Now Julia has enrolled in a university, and she’s not sure who will do this on her behalf.  What does ADA law say about Julia’s rights? What should Julia do?  (refer to Differences between Secondary Education and Post-secondary Education….  See “Who is responsible for initiating service delivery?”)
  4. Jaxson, who is blind, is getting ready to go talk to his university disability office and then professors about some accommodations that would help him in school.  What are some things he should mention?  (refer to http://accessproject.colostate.edu/disability/index.php for these possible answers: Priority registration; Alternative testing arrangements such as extra time; a less distracting environment; provision of a reader/scribe; and use of a computer, including adaptive software and hardware; Course materials in an alternative format such as braille or digital; Braille labels: Adaptive lab equipment (talking thermometers, calculators, probes, timers).
  5. Kate is starting her first year at her local community college.  On the first day of school she could not find the women’s restroom so she just started opening doors.  Kate was desperate!  The first door opened to a broom closet, so she ran into some mops and brooms.  She opened a second door and a man yelled, “Hey!  This is the men’s restroom!” Which law mentions labeling in public buildings, and what does it say? What can Kate do? (see ADA Signage Requirements, 703.2 http://www.ada-compliance.com/ada-compliance/703-signs)
  6. Brock is in the 5th grade and has very low vision.  His IEP has goals and objectives listed for using an iPad to make classwork and teacher lectures accessible.  His TVI is working with him on these goals, and they want Brock to be able to upload homework files and connect to the interactive board via the internet.  However, his school is saying that no students can have internet access, which means Brock won’t be able to receive and send files with his teachers.  Is there are law that is being violated here?  What can Brock and his TVI do?  (refer to http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/atech.index.htm)

Unit 4 and Lessons Overview

This unit is the fourth in a series of lesson plans developed by Chrissy Cowan and Scott Baltisberger to help TVIs teach students how to represent themselves to others.  

The lessons in this unit are divided into 7 topics that range from self-identity and values to disability disclosure. These lesson topics contribute to self-determination and self-advocacy skills within the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Following the lessons are materials that are referenced in the individual lesson plans.

Unit 4:  Representing Yourself to Others

Lessons

  • Traits (Lesson 1)
  • Values (Lesson 2)
  • Expectations (Lesson 3)
  • Character (Lesson 4)
  • Disability Disclosure (Lesson 5)
  • Disclosure Strategies for Doctors, Peers, and Family Members (Lesson 6)
  • Handling Awkward Situations (Lesson 7)

Unit 4: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 1.1: Traits

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries. The student will create a list in which they identify their own values. The student will graphic in which they identify their boundaries. The student will identify how maintaining or not maintaining boundaries can impact self-esteem and self-identify.

Topic: Traits

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify and describe the physical and personality traits or both themselves and another person..

Teaching procedures/steps:

Step  Actions Vocabulary
Anticipatory  
  • Bring in some kind of object that can has a number of various attributes, preferably an object or some kind of gadget with which the child may not be very familiar. Some possibilities might include: a piece of driftwood, an odd piece of machinery, an unfamiliar kitchen tool, a small sculpture or other knick-knack.
  • Ask them to describe the object, starting with an overall impression (shape, color, size, etc.). Next, have them describe smaller components of the object.
  • Note on accommodations: Using an object will work for both sighted and non-sighted students. With sighted students, it may also be possible to use a photograph, diagram or picture for this exercise. With non-sighted students, a raised-line drawing or other tactile graphic could serve the purpose.
 
Introductory  
  • Discuss the process the student used explore the object - going from most general to most detailed.
    • Explain that another word for the parts of the object is traits.
    • Another way to say” finding all the different parts” is to identify the traits.
  • Discuss other things that have traits that can be identified. This could be literally anything, such as a dog, cloud, bicycle, glass of water, tree, river, house, goldfish, etc. Use the vocabulary words trait and identify to talk about the things.

Trait - a distinguishing quality or characteristic

Identify - establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is

Stating the Goal
  •  People also have traits that we can identify. We will explore and identify some of our own attributes.
 
Instruction 1  
  • Physical Traits
    • The traits that we can hear, see, touch, taste and smell are called physical traits.
    • Pick an individual. This could be an individual the student knows personally or a public figure.
    • Describe the physical traits of the individual and write it on the worksheet.
 Physical Traits
Instruction 2  
  • Personality Traits
    • A person also has traits that you cannot experience through seeing, hearing or touching but through how they act or how they make us feel These are their personality traits.
    • How would you describe the way this person acts, the way they make you feel? Nice, funny, sad, happy, reliable, angry, etc.
Personality Traits 
Instruction 3  
  • Now ask the student to complete another chart for themselves.
    • Identify their own physical traits. This could be an opportunity to incorporate information about the student’s visual impairment. However, this should be instigated by the student himself/herself rather than prompted by the teacher. The student should have ownership and agency in building their own self-identity. Some students may see this as a critical aspect of their identify, others may view other traits as more defining of who they are.
    • Identify their own personality traits.
 
Check for Understanding  
  • Review the two charts that the student created. Ask the student to point out the similarities and differences in both physical and personality traits.
  • Ask the student to circle those traits they feel are most important. Discuss why they chose these traits.
 
Closure  
  • Put completed worksheets in folder.
  • Now we’ve learned about traits and how to identify them.
  • Next, we will identify traits that everyone shares.
 

Notes:  Development of self-identify is a process that occurs throughout one’s life. However it is during childhood and young adulthood that strong foundations can best be laid. A strong self-identity will originate from an inward orientation regarding values and worldview. That is, strength of conviction will come from thinking deeply about one’s own experiences and relationships as contrasted with simply following the status quo as presented by outside influences. Due to the pervasive influence of social media, advertising and peer pressure, young people are at high risk to develop a low sense of self-identity and self-esteem. This can have negative consequences for choice-making and judgement.

Materials:

  • Traits Worksheet
  • Crayon, pencil or marker
  • Accomodations for blind students:
    • Brailler and braille paper
    • Braille copy of the worksheet
  • Notebook or folder to collect completed worksheets for this unit.

Resources:

It may be helpful for the teacher to look over some of these websites which provide information about teaching values as well as much additional exercises for students:


Unit 4: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 1.2: Traits

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries. The student will create a list in which they identify their own values. The student will graphic in which they identify their boundaries. The student will identify how maintaining or not maintaining boundaries can impact self-esteem and self-identify.

Topic: Shared Traits - Individuals and Groups

Lesson objective(s): Student will describe his or her individual traits relative to group traits.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Present a map of the student’s school. Locate different areas, including the student’s classroom. Pick a color and shade in the classroom. Locate other classrooms of the same grade and shade the same color. Locate other grades, shading each its own different color.
 
Introductory
  • There are many groups within groups. Point out how the map has many colors, many groups, yet all of these are part of the same group: “ school name”.
  • We can belong to many different groups at once.
 
Stating the Goal
  • Will identify some of the many groups within groups to which we belong.
 
Instruction
  • Present the student with a map of the city, town or community. Discuss the traits of the people who live in the community. Locate where the student’s school is located on the map and discuss the traits of people who are part of the school. Compare and contrast the two groups. Emphasize that all members of the school are also members of the community.
  • Continue this progression, using maps in an expanding order, to talk about, the groups to which the student belongs. In general, the progression will be:
    • classroom
    • school
    • city
    • state
    • country
    • continent
    • earth
    • solar system
  • Each time, have the student color their own group within the larger group.
  • As each group location is discovered and colored, write it down, using the worksheet provided. Prompt student to write down the traits for that group. This can be as simple as “all boys and girls in Ms. Sanchez’s class” or “all the people who live in North America”.
 
Instruction  
  • Discussion:
  • Does being a part of one group make you less a part of the larger group?
  • Expansion: The student may want to identify further subgroups based on gender, ethnicity, language, etc. These can also be written down.
 
Check for Understanding 
  • Using the maps, student will name each group to which he/she belongs and identify the traits for that group.
  • Refer back to the “Traits” worksheet and compare this with the current worksheet. Note that the student has traits that are specific only to the student. This might be another situation where the trait of “visual impairment” could arise. Again, this should be at the student’s suggestion rather than dictated by the teacher.
 
Closure
  • Put completed worksheets in the folder.
  • We see that we share traits with some groups and not with others. We also see that there are some traits that everyone shares.
  • Next lesson will learn about another trait that all of us have. This trait is called “values”.
 

Notes

  • Beginning with the school map has the advantage of beginning with a concept with that is more concrete and with which the student is most familiar and moving to less familiar, less concrete ideas.

Materials

 

Unit 4: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 2: Values

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries.

Topic: Values

Lesson objective(s): The student will create a list in which they identify their own values. The student will create a graphic in which they identify their boundaries. The student will identify how maintaining or not maintaining boundaries can impact self-esteem and self-identify.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Using the picture/chart created for the lesson “Personal Traits”, review the meaning of physical traits and personality traits.
 
Introduction
  • Discuss how some traits are those we admire and some are those which we do not admire.
  • The opinions we hold about admirable/non-admirable traits represent our values.
  • Values are what we feel is important about the way we live our lives.
  • Knowing what our values are helps us to make better decisions.
Values - a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life
Stating the Goal
  • The next exercise will help us to explore and identify our values.
 
Instruction
  • Ask the student to think of someone whom they admire. This should be someone whom they know personally rather than a “celebrity” such as a musician or sports figure. This will ensure the information that follows is based on a real personality rather than one that is fabricated.
  • Alternatively, you can have the student name their favorite animal and write down all those things that they admire about the animal. This has the benefit of the target being even further removed from influences of media or peer pressure.
  • Have student list those personality traits that they admire about this this person. Discuss what the trait is. Ask the student to give examples.
  • As the student identifies a trait, have them write its name on the values worksheet. For the purposes of this exercise, the list does not need to be exhaustive. Four or five words will be plenty..
 
Instruction
  • When the list is complete, review it with the student.
  • Discuss what they admire about the traits.
  • Inform that the traits we admire in others are the things that we think are important.
  • They represent our own values; they are traits we wish to build in ourselves.
 
Check for Understanding
  • Review the list again, looking at it from the perspective of the student’s own values.
  • Have student provide an example from their own life that represents this value.
  • Add this to the worksheet.
 
Closure
  • Put completed worksheet in folder or notebook.
  • Knowing one’s own values helps us to make better decisions.
  • This exercise has helped the student to better know his/her values.
  • Next we will look at making decisions that reflect our values.
 

Notes:   It is important that the adult avoid leading the student’s responses too much. The goal of this activity is for the student to engage in deep reflection on his or her own experiences and beliefs; it is not meant to inculcate in the student a predetermined set of values that are held by the adult. The results of this exercise will be much more meaningful if the student connects with them in a more personal and independent manner.

Materials:

  • Pencil, pen or marker
  • Values worksheet
  • Folder or notebook

Unit: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 3: Expectations and Boundaries

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries.

Topic: Expectations, Boundaries and Self-Esteem

Lesson objective(s): The student will identify those values for which they have high expectations. The student will identify how not maintaining boundaries for expectations can have negative impact on one’s self-esteem.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Continue discussion about “Values” from previous lesson. Use diagram from that lesson to review the student’s values.
  • What are the benefits of knowing one’s own values?
 
Introduction
  • Look at the “Examples” column of the Values Worksheet
  • Have there been situations in which you felt your one of your values was challenged?
  • Did you hold your value or did you compromise?
  • Sometimes we can have a value but not always maintain it during real-life situations.
Compromise: accept standards that are lower than is desirable
Stating the Goal
  • In today’s lesson, we will talk about how compromising your standards can affect your self-esteem.
  • Some effects of low self-esteem include:
    • Lack of confidence - don’t try new things, don’t put best effort.
    • Feeling sad or angry - isolation from friends and family
    • Passive - go along with other people’s ideas, even if it’s not what you want to do. Can even make decisions that are harmful to yourself.
Self-esteem: confidence in one's own worth or abilities
Instruction
  • Cut modelling clay into equally-sized pieces that correspond with the number of values on the chart. Press a different sized and shaped bead into each piece to mark it and give it the name of a value.
  • Mold the pieces together to create a bowl with all of the markers facing outward.
  • This container, formed of our values, represents our boundaries.
Boundaries: a line that marks the limits of an area
Instruction
  • Using a container or a faucet, fill the container with water.
  • The water represents your self-esteem. The level of our self-esteem is determined by how strong our boundaries are.
  • Strong boundaries are maintained by keeping strong expectations about our values.
  • Give examples of strong and weak expectations.
 Expectations: a strong belief that something should be a certain way
Instruction
  • Ask the student to choose one of his/her values.
  • Discuss a situation in which the expectation might be tested.
    • For example: Student has a value for “being fair”. Student sees another student being bullied. If the student helps or intervenes, the boundary stays strong. Point out how the self-esteem (water) maintains its level.
    •  If the student does nothing or joins in the bullying, the boundary is weak. Poke a hole in the piece that represents the value. Note how the self-esteem (water) is lowered.
 
Check for Understanding
  • Repair hole in the bowl.
  • Prompt student for examples of maintaining strong expectations about specific values, using the bowl as a guide.
  • Allow student to poke hole, or not, according to the scenario.
  • Ask student to provide examples of the effects of low self-esteem.
 
Closure
  • We’ve learned the importance of maintaining strong expectations about our values so that our boundaries are intact and we have high self-esteem. It can help to think and plan for situations that could arise in which our values are challenged.
  • Next lesson, we’ll identify some of these situations and how we might deal with them.
 

Notes:

Materials:

  • Modelling clay
  • Beads or small stones
  • Small container of water
  • Basin or sink

Resources:

It may be helpful to read these articles on self-esteem and discuss some of the concepts in more detail with your student.


Unit: Representing Yourself to Others

Topic: Self-Identity and Character

Lesson 4 Character

Unit Goal: The student will identify the components of self-identity, the factors that influence development of self-identity and will list their own values and boundaries.

Topic: Maintaining one’s values: Character

Lesson objective(s): Student will identify examples of situations in which his or her boundaries might be challenged and describe how he or she might address things so as to maintain high expectations for him or herself.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory
  • Using the Boundaries bowl created in the prior lesson, review concepts with the student:
    • Values, Boundaries, Expectations
    • Have student describe process by which self-esteem can be raised or lowered according to the actions one takes in response to situations that challenge values.
 
Introduction
  • During our last lesson, we discussed some situations that might come up in which your expectations about different values are challenged.
  • Sometimes you can find it difficult to know how to respond during a situation. You might experience a lot of emotions or thoughts that are difficult to sort out in the moment.
  • Rather than waiting for something to happen, it can be helpful to be proactive, to plan for possible situations before they occur, to think them through before the moment happens.
Proactive: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened
Stating the Goal
  • In this lesson, we’ll talk about some situations that could occur and problem solve some ways to respond that will help maintain your boundaries.
  • Maintaining your boundaries about your values is sometimes called having strong character.
Character: the ethical qualities distinctive to an individual
Instruction
  • Ask student to think of something that happened, either to themselves or to another student, that were troubling.
  • Write a brief description of the situation on the “What’s Your Value” worksheet.
  • Identify the value that is at question and write that on the worksheet as well. The student may want to refer to the “Values” worksheet filled out in Lesson 2.
  • Identify the expectation that the student has regarding this value and write this on the worksheet as well.
  • Problem-solve some possible actions the student might take in this situation and write them on the worksheet.
  • Repeat this process for 2 or 3 more situations.
 
Check for Understanding
  • Review the completed worksheet.
  • Ask student to describe the benefits of maintaining one’s character,
  • Ask student to describe how being proactive can help when dealing with situations.
  • It may be helpful to role-play some of these scenarios with the student.
 
Closure
  • We’ve learned a lot about how to explore and identify our values and what to do to maintain character and self-esteem.
  • This should not be a one-time exercise. If you want to maintain a strong character, you should continue to think about your values and apply them whenever a difficult situation arises.
  • These situations can be big or small but they all contribute to our character.
 

Notes: This lesson might be an opportunity to suggest a scenario in which the student’s visual impairment is involved. For example: Another student teases him or her about having wearing thick glasses or needing to use a cane to travel.

Materials:

  • Pen, pencil or marker
  • Worksheet: What’s My Value?
  • Accommodations for students who are blind:
    • Brailler and braille paper
    • Braille copy of the worksheet

Resources for Skill Instruction:


Unit 4:  Representing Myself to Others

Topic:  Disability Disclosure

Lesson 5

Unit Goal:    Student will develop skills to explain their vision and its effect on personal functioning, as well as identify disability-related rights and responsibilities under the law. 

Topic:  Disability disclosure

Lesson objective(s): The student will explain the benefits of disclosing their disability to others, including which information is appropriate/necessary, and how much information to disclose. 

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsTerminology
Anticipatory You will find yourself in situations in which telling people about your disability and its effect on your functioning will be necessary.  You might also experience disability-related discrimination in certain settings.  This unit helps structure how you might explain your disability in ways that are informative, and informs you of the laws related to disability rights.    Disability (student-specific)
Introduction Effective disclosure occurs when you are knowledgeable about your disability and are able to describe both your disability-related needs and your skills and abilities clearly.  We will be learning how to explain your disability, match the amount of information to specific situations/settings, and how much information you want to share in these different settings. Disability Disclosure
Stating the Goal This lesson will allow you to practice explaining your disability and inform others about the strategies you use to compensate for your visual impairment.  
Instruction: Definition of Disclosure

Refer to Unit 2 in The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities “Disclosure…What Is It and Why Is It So Important”

Introduce the concept of disclosure:  disclosure occurs when you intentionally release personal information about yourself for a specific purpose (e.g., financial information for a bank loan or credit card; medical history for any doctor)

The importance of keeping some information confidential (e.g., social security number, banking records, medical records) and when it might be necessary to release this information.

Complete activity #1 on examples of disclosure (Unit 2, pages 2-5)

Disclosure

Confidential

Sensitive Information

Accommodation

Instruction:  Advantages and Disadvantages of Disclosure

Refer to Unit 3 in The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

“Weighing the Advantages & Disadvantages of Disclosure”

Before you disclose your disability, you will need to determine the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, considering all the options to help you make an informed decision. 

Discuss terminology related to this section. 

Complete activity #2 on advantages/disadvantages of disclosure for a variety of scenarios (Unit 3, pages 5-6)

Review a few famous people who have surpassed the expectations of others to become leaders in their fields:  https://brailleworks.com/braille-resources/famous-people-with-visual-impairments/

Advantages

Disadvantages

Self-image

Impact

Self-advocacy

Instruction: Rights and Responsibilities Under the Law

Refer to Unit 4 in The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

“Rights and Responsibilities Under the Law”

We will be reviewing how systems and protective laws change when you leave high school, as well as a basic overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how this law pertains to your life as a person with a disability. 

Discuss terminology related to this section.  (Unit 4, pages 1-2)

Complete the activity on p. 4-7, “Defining Your Disability”.  Then review “Basic Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act” on p. 4-14 & 4-15.  How is this different from IDEA?

Introduce the concept of “discrimination”, and how and where this might occur.  Complete the activity on p. 4-9, “Recognizing Discrimination”.  Ask the student to write out or relate an incidence in which they have either experienced or witnessed disability-specific discrimination. 

Accessible

Adult services

Compensatory Strategies

Disability (under the ADA)

Discrimination

Eligibility

Entitlement

Free appropriate public education (FAPE)

Hidden disabilities

Visible disabilities

Check for Understanding Review by asking the student to define “disclosure” and relate situations in which disclosure would be an advantage.   
Closure Ask the student to think of situations in which disclosure would be useful and/or necessary in school and community settings.   

Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to teach the student the concept of “disclosure”; when it is appropriate to disclose information about one’s visual impairment, and how much information to share for different situations. Students should also have a working knowledge of disability-specific laws so that they can develop strategies for dealing with discrimination related to their visual impairment.

Materials:

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities (print and audio version) is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure. Helps young people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives. http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure

Credit: 

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. (2005)
The 411 on Disability Disclosure Workbook. Washington, DC:  Institute for Educational Leadership.

Workbook for youth on cyber disclosure 

http://www.ncwd-youth.info/cyber-disclosure

FAQs About Disability Disclosure Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):  http://disabilityrightsiowa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/FAQ-About-Disability-Disclosure-under-the-ADA.pdf

Resources for Skill Instruction:

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability NCWD for Youth  http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure


Unit:  Representing Myself to Others

Topic:  Disclosure Strategies for Doctors, Peers, and Family

Lesson 6

Unit Goal:    Student will develop skills to represent himself as an individual with a visual impairment to specific categories of people.

Topic:  Communicating with eye doctors, parents, and peers

Lesson objective(s): The student will develop the language and strategies to communicate with peers, doctors, and family members about their visual condition and necessary accommodations.

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsTerminology
Anticipatory This unit helps structure how you might explain your disability to peers, doctors, and family members. Disability (student-specific)
Introduction There are people in your life who will need to know some information about your vision and how it affects your abilities.  Some of these individuals may make assumptions about how you function unless you provide some information.  How do you decide what each needs to know?  This unit will help you think through these situations.  Disability Disclosure
Stating the Goal This lesson will allow you to practice explaining your disability and inform peers, family members, and eye doctors.  
Instruction:  Representing Yourself to Your Eye Doctor

Start by sending a letter or email home to parent/guardian to inform them of this lesson so that your lesson can be reinforced in the doctor’s office by the parent if necessary.

Ask the student to relate an experience with an eye exam.  Some questions you might ask the student include:  What do you and your doctor talk about?  Do you feel comfortable with asking questions?  Who does most of the talking—you or your parent?

Review a website on “What to Expect in an Eye Exam”.  A good website for this with links to definitions for tests the eye doctor will perform.  https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/child-eye-exam

Review the parts of the eye, using a chart or model, to clarify the parts of the eye affected by the student’s etiology. 

Complete the worksheet “Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam” together.  Give a completed copy to the student, and keep one for yourself. 

Role play a visit to the eye doctor, using the questions noted by the student on the “Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam” worksheet.  Practice having the student explain problems (s)he is having with visual tasks.

Optometrist

Ophthalmologist

Parts of the Eye

Instruction:  Representing Yourself to Family Members

Discuss the connection between life skills and independence. To earn independence, a student will need to demonstrate independence living skills to adults.

For 5+ graders, use the worksheet “Essential Skills for Teens” to rate the student’s life skills.  Then ask the student to prioritize skills (s)he would like to work on. 

Complete the worksheet “Can You Feed Yourself” as a precursor to independence in the kitchen.  Prioritize and work on skills the student lacks.

For younger students, consider contacting parent/guardian to review the document, “Age-by-Age Guide” to rate the student’s skills. Target specific skill instruction for your student that both the parents and you can address.

Life skills

Independent living skills

Independence vs. dependent

Instruction:  Representing Yourself to Your Peers

Ask the student to list some of the questions other kids ask them about their eyes and eyesight

Complete the worksheet, “Sharing Your Vision Information with Peers”

Use the worksheet as a guide for a role play situation where a peer asks about their eyesight

Discuss respectful ways to deflect questions about the eyes/sight.  Use the worksheet “Enough About Me” as a conversation starter.  Ask the student which of these suggestions (s)he might use. 

Peers

Disclose

Modification

Check for Understanding Review by drawing the connection between acting independently/responsibly and the likelihood of gaining more autonomy and respect. The student should be able to relate actions that reflect responsible behaviors in situations involving medical professionals, peers, family members, and others.  Autonomy
Closure Ask the student to think of a situation in which (s)he can practice one or more of the strategies covered in this lesson plan, and to report back to the teacher if/when a strategy was applied.  

Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to teach the student how to make the connection between acting independently/responsibly and the likelihood of gaining more autonomy and respect.  Students will need to feel comfortable with providing information about their vision strengths, needs, and accommodations in a variety of settings, with an array of people.  Students will also learn how to appropriately control situations in which questions about the eyes/sight are unwelcome. 

Materials:

Parent Letter

Worksheets:

  1. Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam
  2. Essential Skills for Teens
  3. Can You Feed Yourself
  4. Age-by-Age Guide
  5. Sharing Your Vision Information with Peers
  6. Enough About Me

Resources for Skill Instruction:

How to Change the Subject:  https://www.wikihow.com/Change-the-Subject-in-a-Conversation; https://www.liveabout.com/how-to-gracefully-change-the-subject-when-talking-to-your-friend-1385319

How to Deal with Rude People:  https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Rude-People

Life Skills Your Teen Should Learn
http://www.momjunction.com/articles/everyday-life-skills-your-teen-should-learn_0081859/#gref 

Things Teens Should Know How to Do
http://www.womansday.com/relationships/family-friends/g2936/things-teens-should-know-how-to-do/

8 Things Kids Need to Do by Themselves Before They’re 13
http://redtri.com/stop-doing-these-8-things-for-your-teen-this-school-year/

I Did it All By Myself! An age-by-age guide to teaching your child life skills
https://www.familyeducation.com/life/i-did-it-all-myself-age-age-guide-teaching-your-child-life-skills

Concept Development for Independent Living Skills
http://www.perkinselearning.org/transition/blog/concept-development-independent-living-skills

Budgeting and Money Management Skills
http://www.perkinselearning.org/transition/blog/concept-development-independent-living-skills

Meal Preparation
http://www.perkinselearning.org/transition/blog/concept-development-independent-living-skills

Kids in the Kitchen  (from Albinism InSight, Spring 2017)
https://indd.adobe.com/view/47f78bfa-e021-45a5-b7a7-88d3024cb3bf

Allman, Carol and Lewis, S., eds.  ECC Essentials-Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments. New York, NY: AFB Press, 2014. pp. 313-323.

There are many more websites, downloadable activities, and ideas on Pinterest for life skills.  Enter “Life Skills Activities for Kids (or Teens)” in the Pinterest search field.  This site has tons of information:  https://www.edhelper.com/life_skills.htm


Materials to Accompany Lesson 6: Disclosure Strategies for Doctors, Peers, and Family

  • Essential Life Skills for Teens
  • Age-by-Age Guide for Teaching Life Skills
  • Enough About Me….
  • Parent Letter
  • Can You Feed Yourself?
  • Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam
  • Sharing Your Vision Information with Peer

Essential Life Skills for Teens

Sometimes family members are not sure about your vision and what you can do for yourself.  They might be concerned about your safety or your ability to do certain tasks.  They might try to do things for you, or keep you from doing things for yourself.  If you would like to show people just how capable you are, you will need to work on skills that lead to self-sufficiency in many areas. 

How would you rate yourself on the following skills?  Remember that learning these skills leads to independence and prepares you for life on your own. 

Money or Budgeting Skills

  • Make a budget—know when to spend and when to save
  • How to open a bank account, use the ATM, transfer money online and write a check
  • Know how credit works and how quickly you can get sucked into a whirlpool of debt if you are not careful
  • Save money for emergencies
  • Give money to charity without going overboard

Cooking and Food Skills

  • Using kitchen appliances like microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher and toaster
  • Knowledge about utensils, cutlery and how to use them
  • Being able to prepare a healthy meal or snack
  • Storing fresh produce, packaged food, and liquids safely
  • Reading food labels for nutrition and ingredient information
  • Knowing how to clean dishes by hand or in a dishwasher

Dressing Sense or Clothing Skills

  • Choosing the right kind of clothes for the right occasion
  • Iron a shirt and pants
  • Doing laundry
  • Fold clothes and put them away
  • Read and understand fabric labels

Cleanliness and Hygiene

  • Dusting, vacuuming, and mopping
  • Keeping bathrooms and toilets clean
  • Keeping the kitchen clean.
  • Clearing garbage regularly
  • How to wash/fix your own hair
  • How to shave

Personal Healthcare and Basic First Aid

  • Knowing when to go to the doctor
  • Read dosage instructions on medicine
  • Handle medical emergencies, like calling 911
  • Basic first aid skills like how to clean a wound, use bandage, and other first aid in case of medical emergencies

Navigational Skills

  • Being able to read bus, train or flight schedules, and timetables
  • Use a map/mapping program to go from point A to point B
  • Understand directions – north, south, east, and west; left, right
  • Be aware of information about the different transport options to reach different places
  • Mobility and orientation skills

Skills to Stay Safe

  • Exercise caution with strangers
  • Keeping someone posted about your whereabouts
  • Replacing batteries in a flashlight

To stay safe online:

  • Use passwords that aren’t easy to guess.
  • When browsing online, it is safe to use a VPN to protect personal information.
  • Avoid accessing banking accounts using public networks.
  • Avoid talking to strangers, or sharing personal information and photos with them.
  • Alert you if someone makes sexual overtures online

Age-by-Age Guide for Teaching Life Skills

Ages 2-3: Small Chores and Basic Grooming

This is the age when your child will start to learn basic life skills. By the age of three, your child should be able to:

  • Help put his toys away.
  • Dress himself (with some help).
  • Put his clothes in the hamper when he undresses.
  • Clear his plate after meals.
  • Assist in setting the table.
  • Brush his teeth and wash his face with assistance.

Ages 4-5: Important Names and Numbers

When your child reaches this age, safety skills are high on the list. She should know:

  • Her full name, address, and phone number.
  • How to make an emergency call.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Perform simple cleaning chores such as dusting in easy-to-reach places and clearing the table after meals.
  • Feed pets.
  • Identify monetary denominations, and understand the very basic concept of how money is used.
  • Brush her teeth, comb her hair, and wash her face without assistance.
  • Help with basic laundry chores, such as putting her clothes away, and bringing her dirty clothes to the laundry area.
  • Choose her own clothes to wear.

Ages 6-7: Basic Cooking Techniques

Kids at this age can start to help with cooking meals, and can learn to:

  • Mix, stir, and cut with a dull knife.
  • Make a basic meal, such as a sandwich.
  • Help put the groceries away.
  • Wash the dishes.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Use basic household cleaners safely.
  • Straighten up the bathroom after using it.
  • Make his bed without assistance.
  • Bathe unsupervised.

Ages 8-9: Pride in Personal Belongings

By this time, your child should take pride in her personal belongings and take care of them properly. This includes being able to:

  • Fold her clothes.
  • Care for outdoor toys such as a bike.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Take care of personal hygiene without being told to do so.
  • Use a broom and dustpan properly.
  • Read a recipe and prepare a simple meal.
  • Help create a grocery list.
  • Count and make change.
  • Take written phone messages.
  • Help with simple yard duties such as watering and weeding flower beds.
  • Take out the trash.

Ages 10-13: Gaining Independence

Ten is about the age when your child can begin to perform many skills independently. He should know how to:

  • Stay home alone.
  • Go to the store and make purchases by himself.
  • Change his own bed sheets.
  • Use the washing machine and dryer.
  • Plan and prepare a meal with several ingredients.
  • Use the oven to broil or bake foods.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Read labels.
  • Iron his clothes.
  • Learn to use basic hand tools.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Look after younger siblings or neighbors.

Enough About Me….

Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking about your vision when people ask questions.  That’s perfectly fine!  Let’s talk about some things you can say or do that are respectful to others.

Which of these statements can you use when someone asks you about your eyes and/or vision? 

I have a condition called____________, but I’d really rather not talk about that right now.

I might do things a little differently from you, but I get the job done.

One way to get people off of the topic of YOUR vision is to change the subject. Here are some ideas for that:

  • “Oh, I have a condition called_______.  Did you watch the game last night?”  (substitute a question about anything else)
  • "You know what? I'd rather than not talk about it. But I do want to talk about..." and then change the subject by doing things like asking about their life, a news item, or just a topic yourself you would like to talk about.
  • You can bring up a new topic without using a bridge like small talk. Just say something like, "I've been meaning to tell you…" and launch an entirely new subject.  It doesn't matter if you were done with the old subject or if the new subject is related.
  • If you can’t think of how to change the subject, take a look at your surroundings for inspiration. For example, at the mall, comment on the people you see walking through the stores. Or at someone's house, ask about an object, pet, or picture. This change is more abrupt than other methods but still allows someone to transition to a new topic without awkwardness.
  • You might not be the only one that wants the conversation to change. If someone else is standing with you, ask them about a new topic in front of everyone. Pick something positive that they'll be happy to talk about.
  • When you've tried to change the subject gracefully without success, it's time to be more direct. This happens when a peer is stuck on one particular subject (or even an old argument) and can't seem to move beyond it no matter what you do. In this case, you've tried to be as graceful as you can, and now you need to be polite but direct. Say, "You know what? I'd rather not talk about it. But I do want to talk about..." and then change the subject by doing things like asking about their life, a news item, or just a topic yourself you would like to talk about.

If someone is rude or persistent, you can always walk away or walk up to another person to start a conversation.  Visit this site and decide what works for you:  https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Rude-People


Parent Letter

From:_________________ TVI

To: ___________________ (parent/guardian)

Date:__________________

Your son/daughter and I have been working on lessons related to self-advocacy.  There are situations in which a student with a visual impairment should be encouraged to inform others of any specialized materials, lesson accommodations, and/or information (s)he might need. 

One area of self-advocacy we will be working on involves communicating with the eye doctor.  This is a professional your child will be communicating with for the long term, and it would be a good idea for him/her to be comfortable with sharing visual information and asking for clarification.

The lessons we will be working on cover the following:

  • Parts of the eye affected by your etiology
  • How to prepare for your eye exam
  • Questions to ask your eye doctor
  • Visual information to share with your eye doctor

Please talk with your child about this lesson and the process of visiting the eye doctor.  Also, you might practice some of the above issues prior to the visit to the eye doctor.  Until your child becomes comfortable communicating with this particular medical professional, (s)he might benefit from prompts from you in the exam room.  Please do allow your child the opportunity to do as much of the talking as possible.

Thank you,

_______________________________


Can You Feed Yourself?

After watching reruns of "The Walking Dead", I realized that in the Zombie Apocalypse that cooking skills may actually be quite valuable.  So, given this, I wondered how my own cooking skills would rate.  

As a guide, here's an approximate scale:

0 - Will die of starvation without other humans to provide food.

2 - Could open canned goods after reading directions on can opener package.

4 - Uses packaged goods plus a few fresh items to make a simple dish.

6 - Uses primarily fresh items with some small supplements of packaged items.

8 - Whips up fresh and tasty meals from scratch.

What level would you rate your cooking skills?  How much could you improve them?

Now rate your kitchen skills on a scale of 0-2

0 = I can’t do this at all

1 = I have done this a few times, but I’m not comfortable with this

2 = I do this often and am very competent

  • Cut vegetables and other stuff with a chef (big) knife.  0  1  2
  • Adjust the fire/temperature on a stove and cook something in a pot.  0  1  2
  • Adjust the temperature and cook something in an oven.  0  1  2
  • Heat up water for tea, coffee, oatmeal, etc.  0  1  2
  • Use a beater to make a cake.  0  1  2
  • Know how long to store milk and meat in a refrigerator.  0  1  2
  • Know how to work a toaster oven.  0  1  2
  • Know how to read a measuring cup and measuring spoons.  0  1  2

List some things to eat that you have prepared for yourself of someone else:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

List some things to eat that you would like to be able to prepare for yourself of someone else:

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 


Getting Ready for Your Eye Exam

  • Look online at your eye doctor’s website to get an idea of what the layout is.
  • Learn your doctor’s name, and introduce yourself when (s)he enters the exam room.
    • Write your doctor’s name here______________________________
  • Tell your doctor about some of the things you are having trouble seeing. Think in terms of tasks up close, and tasks or things at a distance.  Include things during the school day, and after school.  Make a list here:
Problems with things up close Problems with things at a distance
   
   
   
   
   
  • Write out a list of vision questions or concerns. Which of these sample questions might apply to you?  Highlight all that apply.  Take this list with you!
    • Why do I have trouble seeing in bright light?
    • What part of my eye is affected?
    • Why do I have trouble seeing in dark areas like hallways or when the lights are out?
    • Why do my eyes hurt (or burn)?
    • Can glasses help? If not, why?
    • Will it damage my vision if I participate in _______ (sport)? Do I need to wear protective eye wear if I do?
    • Will I outgrow this condition? Will it get worse? 
    • If my vision will get worse, how long will it take for that to happen?
    • Will I lose all of my vision (go completely blind)?
    • Is there treatment or surgery for my eye condition?
    • Can I pass my eye condition on to my own children in the future?
    • Is there an optical device (low vision device) that will improve my vision functioning for reading? For seeing greater distances?
    • Will I be able to drive?
    • Is there special medicine for my eye condition? If so, what does it do, and how do I use it?
    • Are there any vision symptoms that would require an immediate call to you?
  • Write down anything you notice about your vision that might be different from your last visit to tell the doctor.

Sharing Your Vision Information with Peers

People are curious.  They might ask you about your vision, or why you do something differently from them.  Often it is best to be open about your vision and how you might do the same tasks with some modifications.  This sheet will help you organize your information so that you can “disclose” the information you are comfortable with sharing.

Write down 3 main facts about your vision.

  1. The parts of your visual system that are involved:

 

 

  1. How your vision affects your ability to see things up close:

 

 

  1. How your vision affects your ability to see things at a distance:

 

 

Write down 2 strategies you use for doing each of these things:

  1. Playing a sport (any sport)

 

 

  1. Ordering food in a restaurant

 

 

  1. Observing a sporting event or assembly

 

 

  1. Getting information from the board/projector screen

 

 

  1. Finding your way around a grocery store

 

 

Are there any things you need help with from peers?  If so, what are these?

 

 

Is there a question about your vision that your peers are always asking you?

 

 

What would YOU like your peers to know about you?

 


Unit:  Representing Myself to Others

Topic:  Handling Awkward Situations

Lesson 7

Unit Goal:    Student will develop skills to handle situations in which other people misunderstand the student’s use of special tools and/or strategies because of a vision loss.

Lesson objective(s): Student is able to advocate for himself with adults and peers in situations in which the student feels he is not being treated fairly in regards to access to information/materials, and/or in regards to general respect for a person with a visual impairment.  

Teaching procedures/steps:

StepActionsVocabulary
Anticipatory Sometimes you find yourself in a situation in which a peer or adult makes a comment about your vision or how you need to do things differently.  These comments might seem rude/mean to you, but mostly people just don’t understand your visual condition, or the strategies you need to use to perform a task.

Advocate

Awkward Situation

Strategy

Introduction We are going to be learning what to say or do in awkward situations where someone says or does something you find insensitive to you. Insensitive
Stating the Goal This lesson will help give you the words that will educate others about how you need to function as a person with a visual impairment.  
Instruction
  1. Ask the student to relate situations in which someone made a remark that seemed insensitive or even rude. Make a list with the student. 
  2. Have a discussion with the student to help clarify the difference between rude/insensitive comments, vs. curiosity of on-lookers that is not intended to be hurtful/rude.
  3. Discuss situations in which others may be overly-cautious or protective, and why this might occur.
  4. Use the document, “Handling Awkward Situations”, as a starting point for an activity related to role playing. Younger students might enjoy a game format, where the “situations” are cut into strips and drawn from a bag, with points earned for logical and polite responses.  Older students can look through the list and select those that they can relate to, or ones that have happened to them before.
  5. Play the “It Bugs Me” game with 2 or more students. 
Rude
Check for Understanding Check to see if the student can give responses that are informative and respectful to a variety of scenarios related to awkward situations related to his vision.  
Closure The student should be able to name situations related to incidents that happen because of his visual impairment that make him feel uncomfortable, angry, or upset.  He should be able to give others (peers, teachers, parents, relatives, etc.) enough information to explain why he may need certain adaptations, or why he may need to perform tasks/activities differently.  

Rationale: 

The intent of this lesson is to teach the student how to handle situations in which others make comments that may seem rude or insensitive.  It is important for the student to realize that sometimes people are just curious, cautious about the student’s safety, or otherwise well-intentioned.  On the other hand, some people are just unkind or insensitive.  The student needs to be able to handle these situations in a way that is polite and informative.  Examples:  “I take a little longer to read the board because my vision makes it difficult to take everything in the way you do.”; “If you could use a dark marker instead of that red one, I could read the board much easier.”; “Thanks for the help, but I can cross the street by myself.” 

Materials:

Document:  “Handling Awkward Situations-Strips”

Document:  “It Bugs Me Game”-Instructions for creating and playing the “It Bugs Me” activity

Resources for Skill Evaluation and Instruction:

  • ECC Essentials, Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, Allman C.B., and Lewis, S., AFB Press, 2014. See chapter 12, “Self-Advocacy”.
  • It Bugs Me Game http://www.tsbvi.edu/tsbvi-blog/it-bugs-me-game

Materials to Accompany Lesson 7: Handling Awkward Situations

  • Handling Awkward Situations

  • It Bugs Me Game


Handling Awkward Situations

Instructions for Teacher

Reprint or braille these statements and glue them to strips of paper.  You might color code the strips according to the different settings.  Place the strips in a cup and have the student pick one for the role play. 

Instructions for Student 

Role play how you would handle these situations that could happen in home, school, or community settings. Remember that your interactions with people should be respectful and polite.   

In School Settings

The teacher hands you a worksheet and tells you to “do the best you can.”

You don’t get a braille copy of an assignment at the same time other kids are getting their work.

You get a print copy of an assignment that is very difficult to see because it is blurry, too busy, or just a poor copy.

The teacher is demonstrating something and you can’t see it. 

You need to sit closer to see something, and you don’t want to interrupt the teacher.

You don’t get picked to play on someone’s team in PE or recess.

You can’t find a friend in the cafeteria or outside.

Someone says, “Can’t you see that?”

Everyone is working on the computer in the lab or watching a video, but you can’t see what’s on the screen.

You have to take notes in class, but can’t write fast enough to keep up.

Someone passes you in the hall and says “hi”, and you don’t know who it was.

You can’t keep up with a group assignment and you are afraid people think you are not doing your part.

You’re at an outside sporting event (like a football game) and everyone is cheering and you don’t know what’s going on.

Someone grabs or hides your cane. 

In Community or Home Settings

You accidently bump into someone and they say, “Hey! Watch where you’re going!”

You drop something important on the floor in a crowded room and can’t find it.

You are trying to read an overhead menu in a restaurant and the person behind you is telling you to hurry up.

Someone asks you why your eyes, skin, or hair look different.

Your mom or dad won’t let you go somewhere by yourself.

Someone asks you what your magnifier, telescope, or cane is for.

Your mom or dad won’t let you cross the street.

Your mom or dad won’t let you cook anything that needs heat.

People tell you what to order in a restaurant when you don’t know what’s on the menu.

No one invites you to spend the night or do stuff after school.

Your mom or dad won’t let you do stuff because they think it is dangerous (give an example).


It Bugs Me Game

Created by Chrissy Cowan and Cindy Bachofer, TSBVI Outreach

The objective of the It Bugs Me game is for students to role play verbal responses they could use with people who may sometimes make insensitive remarks about an individual’s vision, appearance of the eyes, or visual adaptations, or in situations where they feel others don’t understand their abilities.  An individual student draws a card with a situation explained and the student reads the card to the group.  Each card begins with the stem, “It bugs me when….”.  (see photos 1 and 2) For example, “It bugs me when I’m reading an overhead menu with my telescope in a restaurant and the person behind me tells me to hurry up.” 

Situations can occur in the community, school, or at home.  The student thinks of a reply that is both informative and respectful, and shares this with the group.  Students are asked to place themselves in the situation on the card if they have not had personal experience with the scenario selected.  Other students determine if the response given is reasonable, effective, and respectful by indicating with a thumb up or thumb down signal. Players are encouraged to offer advice and this often leads to shared stories, examples of comments given in frustration, or personal insights.  If the group agrees, the student gets to pick a plastic bug from the bug bag and takes a step forward on a giant game board taped to the floor (brightly colored squares form rays of the sun leading to the sparkly circle at the center; see photo 3).  The objective is to reach the inner circle together, empowered with some new solutions to buggy situations.  In addition to eliciting valuable conversations within the group, this game helped the kids realize that awkward situations are a commonality among students with a visual impairment, and there are tactful ways for dealing with these situations in the moment.

Examples of situations
Examples of situations
Student draws a situation card
Student draws a situation card
Interactive game board
Interactive game board

 


Lesson Plan

Lesson 1 – Assistive Technology

 

Goal: Student will identify visual tasks required for their classes. 

Lesson objective(s): Student will be able to articulate visual tasks they need to complete in their classes and their current methods for access.

Teaching procedures/steps:

 

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

Do you use any technology in school and home?

Technology

Introduction

 

Let’s find out more about the technology that might work for you.

 

Stating the Goal

During this lesson, we will talk about the tasks all students in your class need to be able to complete during the school day, and how you are able to do the same tasks as your peers. 

Tasks

Instruction

“Think about yesterday in school. Let’s make a list of all the near tasks you had to do. For example, read a textbook.”

Have the student write out (print or braille), or dictate as you write, a list of near tasks used in each class period. Prompt when necessary. 

Do the same for distance tasks. 

Near tasks

Distance tasks

Instruction

“Looking at your two lists, tell me your current strategy in completing all of these tasks.” (see Worksheet #1 Near and Distance Tasks)

 

 

Strategy

Instruction

“Now let’s look at your strategies, and you tell me which ones are working well, and which ones are not working as well for you.”  (highlight or list student’s responses)

Note:  The teacher will need to have observed the student’s classroom functioning and talked with classroom teachers in order to complete the following activity (see Worksheet #2 Observation Checklist and Interview)

“As you know, I’ve observed your classes and here are some ideas I have on how you could use technology to help you (increase your productivity).”

 

Check for Understanding

Review the list and have the student answer these questions:

1.     Is my strategy for access to this task efficient and timely?

2.     Do I need something different for this task?

Efficient

Timely

Closure

We will keep referring to this list, and move towards identifying assistive technology that might help you do your work.

Assistive technology

 

Notes:  In this lesson, you are simply trying to have the student think through what (s)he is required to do throughout the school day. Then, help the student to start thinking about completing tasks with efficiency and in a timely manner. You will close the lesson by setting the stage for the next lesson, where you will be introducing the concept of using assistive technology.

 

Materials:  Worksheet #1 Near and Distance Tasks, Worksheet #2 Observation Checklist and Interview, pen or pencil, brailler and braille paper, as needed

 

Resources for Skill Instruction:

Hey! Can I Try That?

http://www.wati.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/HeyCanITryThat08.pdf

 


                                             Lesson Plan

Lesson 2 – Assistive Technology

 

Goal:    Student will define low, mid, and high tech tools for classroom task completion.

Lesson objective(s): Student will be able to list visual tasks in their classes they need to complete and the possible tools that might help them complete these tasks.

Teaching procedures/steps:

 

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

During the last lesson, we listed classroom tasks and the strategies you used to do each task. We talked about the strategies that work well and those that are not working well for you. Let’s look at how we can improve the strategies that are not working well for you.

Strategies

Introduction

 

Today we will discuss the strategies that are not working well for you. We will explore assistive technology options that can help to improve timeliness and efficiency.   

Assistive technology options

Timeliness

Efficiency

Stating the Goal

During this lesson, we will look at each task that may be difficult for you. We will also look at the strategy and explore ways to improve it, like, using assistive technology as an option to help you.

 

Instruction

In the last lesson, we highlighted the tasks and strategies on Worksheet #1 Near and Distance Tasks that are not working well for you. We will go through each strategy, and I want you to answer the following questions:

-       Do you agree that the strategy needs to be changed? Tell me what is currently not working.” Let the student talk and write down the responses on Worksheet 3 Improve My Strategies.

-       “If you agree, then let’s talk about ways to improve your strategy. One of the ways is using assistive technology. We can explore technology options.”

-       Then, use the Sample of AT Tools for Access chart as a guide. Have the student write down the AT that he/she wants to try on Worksheet #3. (Do not answer “What I want the technology to do for me” in this lesson.)

Strategy

Assistive technology

Instruction

If the student does not agree that a strategy needs improvement, then refer to Worksheet #2 Observation Checklist and Interview. Based on your observation and interview data, explain to the student why the strategy needs improvement.

-       Help the student understand that the strategy may not be timely or efficient when compared to the sighted classmates. Give examples based on your observation. For instance, “In math class, I noticed that when most of your classmates handed in their warm-up assignment, you were not finished with yours. Did you have difficulty seeing the information on the worksheet?”

-       Let the student talk about what’s not working for him/her. Write the responses on Worksheet #3 under “What’s not working.”

-       Then, tell the student that technology may help. Using the Sample of AT Tools for Access chart as a guide and introduce the name of the AT tool(s). Let the student know that it is an option that may make reading math warm-up worksheets easier.

-       If the student wants to try it, then ask him/her to write it on Worksheet #3 under “Assistive technology I want to try.”

-       If the student does not want to try the suggested AT option, then move to the next strategy that needs improvement. (Do not answer “What I want the technology to do for me” in this lesson.)

Timely

Efficient

Name of AT tools being introduced

Check for Understanding

Review the strategies that need improvement.

1.     Tell me about a strategy that you’ve changed/improved.

2.     How may this help you to do your work?

 

 

Closure

We will continue to explore assistive technology tools that might help you do your work.

 

 

Notes:  Prior to this lesson, familiarize yourself with technology options. Use the Sample of AT Tools for Access as a guide. During the lesson, offer to write the student’s responses, as necessary, so that the student can focus on the near and distance tasks that may be difficult and strategies that need to be changed.

 

Materials:  Previously completed Worksheet #1 Near and Distance Tasks, previously completed Worksheet #2 Observation Checklist and Interview, Worksheet #3 Improve My Strategies, Sample of AT Tools for Access chart

 

Resources for Skill Instruction:

Paths to Literacy: Technology for Students with Low Vision

http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/technology-students-low-vision

 

Hey! Can I Try That? A Student Handbook for Choosing and Using Assistive Technology   

http://www.wati.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/HeyCanITryThat08.pdf

 


 

Lesson Plan

Lesson 3 – Assistive Technology

 

Goal:    Student will define low, mid, and high tech tools for classroom task completion.

Lesson objective(s): Student will explore assistive technology (AT) options and identify AT tools that might help them to be more efficient when completing the stated tasks.

Teaching procedures/steps:

 

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

In the last lesson, we looked at strategies that are working well and those that aren’t working well because they do not seem to help you to do your tasks efficiently and timely. We talked about assistive technology (AT) tools that you’ll like to try.

Efficiently

Timely

Assistive technology (AT) tools

Introduction

 

Today, we will continue to look at the AT tools and find out what each tool can do.

 

Stating the Goal

During this lesson, we will explore each AT tool and see what the tool can do to help you complete your near and distance tasks. 

 

Instruction

Using Worksheet #3 Improve My Strategies partially completed in the previous lesson, review the strategy and what has not worked well. Then, remind the student of the AT tools that he/she wants to try. For each AT tool, do the following:

-       Tell the student about the AT tool. Let the student ask questions.

-       On Worksheet #3 Improve My Strategies, have the student answer the question “What I want the tool to do for me.”

Use Sample of AT Tools for Access chart as a guide.

Write the student’s responses, as appropriate, so that the student can focus what he/she may like the AT to do for him/her.

Go through the AT tools for the near tasks.

Repeat the same steps for the distance tasks.

AT tools

Name of AT tools listed on Sample of AT Tools for Access chart

Check for Understanding

-       Review the list of assistive technology tools.  

-       The student will state what the individual tools can do for him/her.

 

Closure

We will continue to explore assistive technology tools that can help you with your tasks.

 

 

Notes:  Prior to this lesson, familiarize yourself with technology options. Use the Sample of AT Tools for Access chart as a guide. During the lesson, offer to write the student’s responses, as necessary, so that the student can focus on what he/she may want the AT to do for them.

 

Materials:  Previously completed (partially) Worksheet #3 Improve My Strategies, Sample of AT Tools for Access chart

 

Resources for Skill Instruction:

 

Paths to Literacy: Technology for Students with Low Vision

http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/technology-students-low-vision

 

Hey! Can I Try That? A Student Handbook for Choosing and Using Assistive Technology   

http://www.wati.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/HeyCanITryThat08.pdf

 


Lesson Plan

Lesson 4 – Assistive Technology

 

Goal:    Student will define low, mid, and high tech tools for classroom task completion.

Lesson objective(s): Student will explore AT tools to try.

Teaching procedures/steps:

 

Step

Actions

Vocabulary

Anticipatory

In the last lesson, we talked about assistive technology (AT) tools that you would like to try. These tools are likely going to help you to do your tasks in school.

Today, we will look at these assistive technology tools. You will have a chance to explore one or more tools, and use one for trial with near or distance tasks.

Assistive Technology (AT) tools

Introduction

 

Today, we will look at the task lists and see the assistive technology tool that you want to try.

 

Stating the Goal

During this lesson, you will learn about the technology tools that you want to try. These tools may help you do the tasks more efficiently.  

 

Efficiently

Instruction

Looking at Worksheet #3 Improve My Strategies, let’s review what’s not working in the strategy that you’re using now, and take a look at the AT that you want to try.

Introduce the AT tool. Let the student explore the tool, including how it works.

Use Worksheet #4 AT Tools: What I Like and Don’t Like to guide the conversation about the pros and cons for each AT tool:

-       How may the tool help you with the task? What do you like about this tool? Why?

-       What don’t like about this tool? Why?

-       Write your thoughts on Worksheet #4 AT Tools: What I Like and Don’t Like.

Repeat the steps for each near task.

Do the same for the distance tasks.

Use Sample of AT Tools for Access chart as a guide.

Name of AT tool listed on Sample of AT Tools for Access chart

Check for Understanding

Review Worksheet #4 AT Tools: What I Like and Don’t Like

1.     Do you know more about the AT tool that you want to try?

2.     Is the tool likely to help you do your tasks more efficiently?

 

Closure

We will learn to use the AT tools in upcoming lessons.  

 

 

Notes:  Prior to this lesson, familiarize yourself with technology tools that the student wants to try. Bring the AT tools to this lesson. During the lesson, let the student explore the tool as related to each near and distance task. Write the student’s responses, as appropriate, so that the student can focus on what he/she may like/not like about each AT tool.  

 

Materials:  Previously completed Worksheet #3 Improve My Strategies, Worksheet #4 AT Tools: What I Like and Don’t Like, Sample of AT Tools for Access chart, AT tools that the student will like to try

 

Resources for Skill Instruction:

 

Paths to Literacy: Technology for Students with Low Vision

http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/technology-students-low-vision

 

 

Hey! Can I Try That? A Student Handbook for Choosing and Using Assistive Technology   

http://www.wati.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/HeyCanITryThat08.pdf

 


Handouts 

Worksheet 1 - Near and Distance Tasks - MS Word

Worksheet 1 - Near and Distance Tasks - PDF

 

Worksheet 2 - Observation Checklist Interview - MS Word

Worksheet 2 - Observation Checklist Interview - PDF

 

Worksheet 3 - Improve My Strategies - MS Word

Worksheet 3 - Improve My Strategies - PDF

 

Worksheet 4 - What I Like and Don't Like - MS Word

Worksheet 4 - What I Like and Don't Like - PDF

 

Worksheet 5 - Sample of AT Tools for Access - MS Word

Worksheet 5 - Sample of AT Tools for Access - PDF

 

 

National

Texas: General

Texas: Visual Impairment

Texas: Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Local Family Organizations

  • There are wonderful family organizations active in local communities all over Texas.  To learn more about them, please contact your local Division for Blind Services office, TSBVI Outreach or Texas Parent to Parent.

National

NAPVI Jewish GuildNational Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

NAPVI is a national, non-profit, independent organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities. NAPVI provides leadership, support, and training to assist parents in helping their children reach their full potential. NAPVI is dedicated to:

  • Giving emotional support
  • Parent education
  • Initiating outreach programs
  • Networking
  • Advocating for the educational needs and welfare of children who are blind or visually impaired

NAPVI, 15 West 65th Street, New York, NY  10023
Susan LaVenture, Executive Director
Phone:  212-769-7819
Toll free:  800-562-6265

Email: 

Website:  http://www.lighthouseguild.org/napvi

Family Connect Website:  http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp    

NFADB logoNational Family Association for Deaf-Blind

    The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) is a nonprofit 501(c) 3, volunteer-based organization that has served families since 1994. NFADB is the largest network of families focused on deaf-blindness. Originally started by and for families of individuals who are deaf-blind, our membership is now extended to any person or organization that desires to support individuals and families who are deafblind.  

We are all in this community together!

Visit us on the web at www.nfadb.org and on Facebook.

For questions, please call Lori at 1-800-255-0411 or   

PacerPACER Center

The mission of PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. http://www.pacer.org/parent/

Founded in 1977, PACER Center was created by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges. Today, PACER Center expands opportunities and enhances the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families. PACER is staffed primarily by parents of children with disabilities and works in coalition with 18 disability organizations.

With assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education for all children, PACER's work affects and encourages families in Minnesota and across the nation.

Visit the PACER Center on the web at www.pacer.org or on Facebook  

Texas: General

Texas Partners ResourcesPartners Resource Network

Partners Resource Network (PRN) is a non-profit agency that operates the state wide network of federally funded Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) in Texas. The PTI Projects are:

PATH http://prntexas.org/path

PEN http://prntexas.org/pen

TEAM http://prntexas.org/team

The programs and services of PRN are based on the concept of parents helping parents. Our mission is to empower parents of children and youth with disabilities in their roles as parents, decision makers, and advocates for their children and to promote partnerships among parents and professionals.

Our web site is designed to provide timely information and to link the visitor with other resources in Texas and the nation. Our goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of infants, toddlers, children and young adults with disabilities and their families who live in the great State of Texas.

1090 Longfellow Drive, Suite B, Beaumont, TX 77706
Phone:  409-898-4684
Toll free TX Parents Only: 1-800-866-4726

Email: 

Website:  prntexas.org/

Family to Family Network

The mission of Family to Family Network is to help families of children with disabilities by providing information, training, referral and support

13150 FM 529, Suite 106 Houston, TX 77041
Phone:  713-466-6304
Email: 

Website:  www.familytofamilynetwork.org/

Texas Project First Website:  http://texasprojectfirst.org/index.html 

Texas Parent to Parent

Texas Parent to Parent is a state-wide non-profit organization that provides support to families of children with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other special health care needs by empowering their families to be advocates for them through peer support, resource referral and public awareness.

3710 Cedar Street, Box 12, Austin, Texas  78705
Phone:  512- 458-8600
Toll free phone:  866-896-6001

Website:  www.txp2p.org

Texas: Visual Impairment  

Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (TAPVI)

TAPVI is an affiliate of NAPVI. We are a non-profit organization that provides support to the families of children who have blindness or visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities. TAPVI enables families to find information and resources, as well as connect and network with one another. We offer leadership, support, and training to assist families in helping children reach their full potential in school and in the community.

View a video from TAPVI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fekev47SGr4

Visit the TAPVI Website: http://www.tapvi.com/

Visit TAPVI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TAPVI

TXPBCTexas Parents Of Blind Children

Texas Parents Of Blind Children (TPOBC) is the state chapter of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), a division of the NFB of Texas, a national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children.

Kim Cunningham, President, PO Box 125, Friendswood, TX 77549-0125
Phone:  713-501-9659
Email: 

Website:  www.tpobc.org/

Texas: Deafblind

DBMATDeaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas

  The mission of DBMAT is to promote and improve the quality of life for all Texans who are deaf-blind multi-handicapped, deaf multi-handicapped, and blind multi-handicapped. We support the establishment of educational, rehabilitative, vocational and independent living opportunities.  

Melanie Knapp, President
Phone:  (281) 302-5454
Email:   

Website:  www.dbmat-tx.org    

Texas Chargers, Inc.    

The Texas Chargers, Inc. is a group of Texas families, friends, and professionals who are dedicated to helping children and young adults who live with Charge Syndrome. The primary function of our organization is to support the emotional and educational needs of the people with Charge Syndrome and the families and professionals working with them, to provide them with a better quality of life.  

Kathi Barksdale, President
Phone:  325-286-4230
Email:   

Website:  www.texaschargers.org

Texas: Deaf & Hard of Hearing

TXHandVoicesTexas Hands and Voices

Texas Hands & Voices is a chapter of the nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as the professionals who serve them. We are a parent-driven, parent/professional/community collaborative group that is unbiased towards communication modes and methods. Our diverse membership includes those who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing impaired and their families who communicate orally, with signs, cue, and/or combined methods. We exist to help our children reach their highest potential.  

PO Box 2208, Cypress, TX 77410
Phone:  936-463-8948
Email:   

Website:  www.txhandsandvoices.org

Guide By Your Side Website:  www.txgbys.org

Note: Many of these documents are forms. They are presented as MS Word .doc files for downloading. Some of the documents are mostly text - they are presented as html files with link to a Word version.

Table Of Contents

Preface (.doc - 34k)

PROCESS RELATED TO STUDENTS WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING

Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing at Risk for Vision Loss (.doc - 43k)

Vision Quick Check (Appendix A-1) (.doc - 36k)

Preparation for the ARD When Vision Loss is Suspected (Appendix B-1) (.doc - 26k)

Informal Vision Skills Inventory (Appendix C-1) (.doc - 32k)

Vision Testing Plan (Appendix D-1) (.doc - 53k)

PROCESS RELATED TO STUDENTS WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired at Risk for Hearing Loss (.doc - 41k)

Hearing Quick Check (Appendix A-2) (.doc - 58k)

Preparation for ARD When Hearing Loss is Suspected (Appendix B-2) (.doc - 32k)

Informal Auditory Skills Inventory (Appendix C-2) (.doc - 32k)

Audiological Testing Plan (Appendix D-2) (.doc - 48k)

GENERAL APPENDICES

TEA Q & A (Appendix E)

Questions from Issues Regarding the Assessment of Vision Loss in Regard to Sign Language, Fingerspelling, Speechreading, and Cued Speech for the Student Deafblindness (Appendix F)

Making Sure the LMA, FVE and Communication Assessments Address Dual Sensory Loss (Appendix G) (.doc - 24k)

Deafblind Eligibility and Census Checklist (Appendix H) (.doc - 54k)

Documenting Instructional Considerations for the Student with Deaf-Blindness (Appendix I) ( .doc 151k)

IEP Quality Indicators for Students with Deafblindness:

Word Version (.doc) 
PDF Version
Spanish Version (doc)
Spanish Version (pdf)

Texas Deafblind Census (Appendix K) (.doc - 57k)

Cover Page

The development of this process was undertaken as one of the goals of the Region 12 Deafblind Stakeholders in an effort to identify all students who have combined vision and hearing loss or deafblindness. The Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Teachers of the Visually Impaired are currently being trained on how to follow the process, so that children who have already been identified as either deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired are more systematically evaluated for additional sensory impairment. This process will be field-tested during 2003 in Region 12. Additional plans include training school nurses, speech-language pathologists and diagnosticians about the process in the future.

Core Group

  • Robbie Blaha, Teacher Trainer, Texas Deafblind Project
  • Leigh Crawshaw, Deaf Education Teacher/ Private Consultant
  • Tina Herzberg, Education Specialist, Education Service Center Region 12
  • Ann Johnson, Deaf Education Consultant for the Northeast Texas Cluster
  • Kate Moss, Teacher Trainer, Texas Deafblind Project
  • Shelia Mosser, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Killeen ISD

Other Contributors

  • Ann Adkins, Teacher Trainer, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Visually Impaired Outreach
  • Gigi Brown, Early Childhood Specialist, Texas Deafblind Project
  • Janet Chlapek, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Temple ISD
  • Ramona Egly, Deaf Education Teacher, Killeen ISD
  • hris Krasusky, Special Education Coordinator for AI/VI, Killeen ISD
  • Jenny Lace, Teacher Trainer, Texas Deafblind Project
  • Stacy Shafer, Early Childhood Specialist,
  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Visually Impaired Outreach
  • Heather Sullivan, Deaf Education Supervisor, Temple ISD
  • Amy Tange, COMS, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
  • David Wiley, Transition Specialist, Texas Deafblind Project

With Special Thanks To:

  • F. Keith Busse, M.D.
  • Marty Murrell, Special Education, Texas Education Agency
  • Sha Cowan, Services for the Deaf, Texas Education Agency

Banner Photo O&M Page

This page is a place to find resources and information related to Orientation and Mobility. The information and resources found here are intended for the whole Team: professionals, families, and students. This page is intended to provide access to a wide variety of information and resources related to students with visual impairments and deafblindness. Please send ideas for additional resources or features you would like included to Outreach Statewide Orientation and Mobility Consultant, Chris Tabb at .


Quick links for sections on this page:


Assessment

Blogs, Listservs, and LiveBinders

Education Codes And Legal References

IDEA, Related Services (Sec. 300.34)

Texas Education Code (Specific to Children with Visual Impairments, Sec. 30.002)

Q&A: Expanded Core Curriculum Instruction and Orientation and Mobility Evaluations (Word Format)

Region 18 Legal Framework - summarizes federal and state law by topic

TEA Special Education Rules and Regulations - a resource for federal and state laws, rules, and regulations that covern the delivery of special education servcies in public schools. (As of April 4, 2014 has not been updated to reflect changes related to HB 590 or SB 39.)

Pedestrian Laws in Texas (Sec. 552.010 specific to Blind Pedestrians)Sec. 552.010 specific to Blind Pedestrians)

White Cane Definition and Service Animals in Texas (Sec. 121.002, Sec. 121.005, and Sec. 121.006)121.002, Sec. 121.005, and Sec. 121.006)

Resources

Teaching Age-Appropriate Purposeful Skills (TAPS) Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) resource that is an Orientation and Mobility Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments and includes activities and suggestions instruction, assessment, writing evaluations, street crossing details, working with students with ambulatory devices, the list goes on, and on, and on.

Orientation and Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas (O&M-VISSIT) The O&M VISSIT: Orientation & Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas is designed to guide orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists in determining the type and amount of itinerant O&M services to recommend for students on their caseload.

New Mexico School for the Blind Orientation and Mobilty Inventory Another option for ongoing evaluation of students' present levels of performance and a terrific tool for planning appropriate goals and objectives.

Guidelines and Standards for Educating Students with Visual Impairments - a "go-to" document for everything about serving students with visual impairments.

Benefits of O&M

General Orientation and Mobility Recommendations for Functional Programs

Michigan O&M Severity Rating Scale 2013 - two downloadable intensity of service scales from the Michigan Department of Education. One for students with visual impairments (OMSRS) and one for students with visual impairments and additional disabilities (OMSRS+).

T-TESS Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System for COMS as a PDF document

Introduction to T-TESS for COMS document for COMS and Administrators PDF

Professional Development Assessment System (PDAS) Companion for VI Professionals: Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS©)

VI and O&M Preparation in Texas

What Should I Charge for Contractual Services? (Word or PDF)

What is the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)?

Training Events

Southwest Orientation and Mobility Association (SWOMA) is a Southwest regional conference. SWOMA typically occurs annually in or near the beginning of November. Visit the SWOMA Conference Page for additional information.

For other training opportunities around the state and nation, please see the Statewide Calendar of Training Events.

Videos

TSBVI's Online Learning, Orientation and Mobility

International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium (IOMOS), Recorded Sessions

Washington State School for the Blind, "Video Clips on Blindness Tips"

Guide Technique from Project IDEAL

How a Blind Person Uses a Cane from BreakingBlind

How To Offer Help To A Blind Person

O & M Video for Parents from Arkansas School for the Blind

Wheelchair Orientation and Mobility from Perkins

Lighthouse O&M Folding Cane Construction from East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in Tyler

Lighthouse O&M Escalator Training from East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in Tyler

Websites

Perkins E-Learning Webinars

Paths To Literacy (Collaborative between Perkins and TSBVI)

Paths to Technology

An Introduction to Orientation and Mobility Skills- Vision Aware

Perkins Scout Orientation and Mobility- Perkins School

Cane and Compass - Blog posts and lesson ideas for Orientation and Mobility