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New TEA Approved Courses

New innovative courses submitted by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Curriculum Department, Braille Reading and Writing, Orientation and Mobility for Students with Visual Impairments I, II, III, and IV, and General Employability Skills have been approved for use as innovative courses beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. We appreciate the hard work that you and your staff contributed toward the creation of these courses. The course Braille Reading and Writing will remain in effect until the English language arts and reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills are revised.  The course Orientation and Mobility for Students with Visual Impairments I, II, III, and IV will remain in effect until the physical education Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills are revised.  The course General Employability Skills will remain in effect through the 2015-2016 School year. Please note that the approved courses may serve as state graduation elective credit only and are not approved to substitute for...
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2013 Texas Symposium on Deafblindness: Hands Matter!

2013 Texas Symposium on Deafblindness:  Hands Matter! Omni Austin Hotel in South Park  February 21st - 23rd, 2013 This year our theme is "Hands Matter" and many of our sessions will focus on the importance of developing the tactile sense and hand-use in students with deafblindness.  Of course, there are many other topics in the breakout sessions including student and family issues, professional development, orientation and mobility, communication, transition, self-determination, behavioral challenges and mental health concerns, the impact of pain on functioning and orientation and mobility.  TSBVI Outreach Programs is pleased to announce that Barbara Miles and Paul Hart will be the keynote presenters at the 2013 Texas Deafblind Symposium.  Many of you already know Barbara Miles and her valuable contributions to the field of deafblindness.  Paul Hart may be new to many of you because he is from Scotland!  Paul has collaborated with Barbara, and others, as a part of...
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Braille Institute IPhone/IPad App for Vision Simulations

At the recent SWOMA Conference a teacher shared a great app from the Braille Institute that show vision simulations.  Vision simulations are nothing new, but this one let you point your camera on your phone or IPad and see a vision simulation of a real-time scene.  Using touch-screen controls, the user can select one of the four simulators to replicate the symptoms of that particular disease. The application uses the device camera to allow the user to see the world through digital filters simulating the symptoms and experience of the disease. Using sliding touch-screen controls, the user can manipulate the severity of the symptoms. The real-time still images can be saved by the camera and stored for later review in the image gallery, or to be shared. Check out this free app at the Braille Institute. Kate Hurst Statewide Staff Development Coordinator Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
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High Touch and Low Incidence - What I have learned from the Deafblind Census

In a conversation I had with Jay Gense, director of the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB), he estimated the incidence of deafblindness for children and youth birth to 22 years old in the United States is around .01%. The incidence in Texas is slightly higher at about .017%.  This means that out of the 4 million plus students in public education in Texas, around 750 are identified as having both hearing and vision problems.  Here is a different perspective:  4 million miles will take you around the Earth at the equator 161 times.  It is almost exactly a 750 mile drive from Houston to El Paso.  Quite a difference (And you thought Texas was so big!). One of the lessons I have learned from looking at the Deafblind Census is that no two of the students are alike.  There may be 79 students who are considered deafblind as the result of...
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Teacher of the Deafblind (TDB) Pilot Program

There is a movement afoot in the world of deafblind education..... Movement afoot you say?!?!?  That's A Big Yes Pardner.... TSBVI Outreach is currently partnering with the Region 4 Education Service Center on a Teacher of the Deafblind (TDB) Pilot program. The Pilot program is just starting on it's first year of a two year cycle. Select teachers and administrators from the Cy-Fair Regional Day School for the Deaf, Katy ISD, and TSBVI's Comprehensive Programs are participating. Our goal is to start small with this group, define the role of a TDB, establish a great program for technical assistance, and grow it into a sustainable model that is recognized on a state and national level. Another really great aspect of this program is that we are able to work with Texas Tech, who has online, graduate level, coursework in deafblindness. We are encouraging our Pilot TDB's to enroll and reap the...
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