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Learning To Listen Listening To Learn

One of our initiatives this year in the outreach department is to explore listening as a focus topic. Those of us in the VI field understand the importance of listening for individuals who are visual impairment, yet it is a topic about which very little has been written. As part of this initiative, we are forming a study group to read and discuss a new book Learning to Listen Listening to Learn edited by Lizabeth Barclay from AFB (American Foundation for the Blind) Press. We also plan on participating in the Learning to Listen Listening to Learn webinar series through AFB (American Foundation for the Blind). If you would like to join in these webinars, here is a link to the information.  AFB webinars So, stay tuned and we will periodically post comments and suggestions as we delve into this resource and topic. Eva Lavigne Outreach Transition Specialist
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Hand-Under-Hand Videos

If you are trying to explain hand-under-hand to teacher or families, try showing these video examples from Washington Sensory Disabilities Services (WSDS) . There are a variety of examples and one of them is probably similar to a student you work with.  They can be found on the video section of their website. Ann Rash VI Educational Consultant Outreach Program
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Roundtable on Social Skills Issues at TAER 2012

In a session on Social Skills at TAER 2012, the participants were asked to brainstorm activity and lesson ideas to help incorporate social skills lessons into their instruction.  In 10 minutes, they came up with  a whole exciting range of proposals.  Maybe these ideas will help spur your creative thinking! Miscellaneous: Table etiquette, social obligations, hosts Make tactile placemat with spoon, knife and fork placement. Have students set table. Go to restaurant (or set up in your classroom). Practice etiquette at the table (e.g. table setting, ordering, manners, tip, pouring, passing food around). Plan a game night. Make phone calls. Invitations. Shopping. Passing food – Utensil placement. Family style serving. Practice polite conversation, contacting a friend. Practice appropriate manners (e.g. utensil use/accessibility, closed mouth while chewing, not everything is finger food, napkin in lap, perhaps pulling out chair for friend) Payment arrangements Phone etiquette Role play in cafeteria Dating: Expresses interest...
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Optimizing Vision

The student with low vision who is functioning in a general education classroom setting may be experiencing a multitude of visual challenges unique to the environments in which (s)he works.  As a TVI, I need to have a construct in my head in order to quickly organize my observations of each environment, so that I can make adjustments and/or recommendations for accommodations. For starters, I must consider the lights or brightness in the room.  There are certain eye conditions that make lighting either detrimental (ocular albinism) or vital (optic nerve hypoplasia).  Questions I might ask myself are:  What is the lighting source?  Is the student getting so close that her head obscures the light?  Would a task light help?  Where should the light be directed?  If an outlet is nearby, the APH lamp is wonderful.  Another option is a battery powered OTT® light that can be moved from room to room.  When positioning...
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Emerging Writing

I just listened to a presentation on emerging writing in children who are 3-5 years of age.  What I kept thinking to myself was “How can we support the participation of children with visual impairments in emergent writing activities?” Here is a definition of emergent writing and a link to the paper it came from: “The broad construct of emergent writing includes the physical marks that young children make on paper, the meanings that children attribute to these markings, and the social contexts in which the writing takes place (Clay, 1975; Rowe, 2008).”p.54 Preschool lab Ohio State University  Getting the physical marks on paper may be the hardest part for a child with a visual impairment.  In children with typical vision, these marks start out as scribbles and/or pictures. For some children with visual impairments, just providing high contrast markers, good lighting, using a light box as a writing surface, using...
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"mouthing pillow"

While watching a video of a student we see on an ongoing basis, we got the input of one of our local occupational therapists, and what great input she gave!  We watched this student, who has visual impairment and very limited motor abilities, play by continually flipping a pillow onto her face.  While the pillow was on her face, she appeared to be moving her mouth a little bit.  This student, due to motor limitations, has not been able to bring objects to her mouth to explore them.  Our OT suggested creating a "mouthing pillow."  We used a firm, foam pillow that would not be floppy, made a pillow case from "headliner" fabric because it sticks well to the male velcro, and sewed elastic with notebook rings so that objects could be affixed and removed easily for washing the case.  The objects we selected it have characteristics similar to objects that...
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Learning and the Brain

I heard this story from National Public Radio (NPR) on the morning of August 29.  Here is the link. http://www.npr.org/think-youre-an-auditory-or-visual-learner-scientists-say-its-unlikely? The version you can listen to is different from what you can read.  And that is the point of the story. In summary, the idea of learning styles- auditory, visual, kinesthetic-turns out to have no scientific basis.  And learning is stronger when the same information is given in a variety of ways.  It helps with attention and retention. In my mind, I am trying to see the difference between “learning style” and “learning media”.  Students with visual impairment may have limited access to a variety of media.  However, teaching only to a student’s strongest media may limit their learning.  For example, giving a student everything auditorially because that is their strongest learning media, may impact their ability to pay attention and retain information.  Ensuring that students who primarily use auditory information...
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