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Transition Forum for Unified English Braille (UEB)

As you are probably aware, the COSB Board has appointed me to represent COSB on the Board of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).  In that capacity, I attended the Transition Forum for Unified English Braille (UEB) in Louisville In October and summarized that meeting in a presentation at the COSB Business meeting the next day.  I will repeat some of that information below for those who couldn't attend the business meeting.  In addition, I just returned from my first BANA Board meeting, also in Louisville, and have more information from that meeting.  I hope that in this message and future ones, I can assist COSB’s schools and programs in preparing for the transition to UEB.  With some planning and forethought on our part we can make this a smooth transition for our students and our staff members over the next few years.  The UEB is not so much a new code...
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“What We Call Ourselves”

Hello new teachers, I’m seeing email signatures that are all over the map in regards to your job title, so I thought I would provide some guidance in this regard.  If you are an orientation and mobility specialist who has passed the ACVREP exam, your title is Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, or COMS. If you are teaching students with visual impairments in Texas, the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) has us listed in  Texas Administrative Code, Rule 233.8 as “Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments”, or TVI.  Please note the person-first language (“Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments”), rather than the politically incorrect “Teacher of the Visually Impaired”.  Some of you like to put “CTVI”, or Certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. I think some TVIs started doing that when the O&M Specialists started adding “certified” before their title, however, it is not the title SBEC has listed. ...
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“What she said…” “What he said….” Reflections from the 2nd Annual Bring Your Boss to Work Week

Asking your boss to spend time with you can be a risky task.  It may require you to step out of your comfort zone.  However, those who did it and shared their experiences with us had great things to say about the experience.  Below (and in random order) are some of the comments I received, both from Texans and from VI professionals in other states.  What was the highlight of the experience for you? Getting to show off my student's math success Having an administrator come and having my student anticipate her bus trip independently. I was proud to get to show my director how well a bright student was doing on learning braille and keyboarding.  We had planned on seeing a student with CVI and multiple disabilities too, but she was sick.  My director said we could make another appointment to see her sometime!  The whole experience was very positive.  Thank you...
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Exploring options, exploring galaxies

My husband reads science and is a self-proclaimed geek.  I am not.  I am more of a "tourist" in the world of science and technology, coming and going randomly.  It is as a tourist that I sometimes pick up his books and magazines and read them. I recently read the following paragraph in a book about math and how it affects our world: “A way to wonder One method we can all use to pour forth one creative idea after another is to begin with our everyday world, imagine some subtle property slightly altered, and then explore this altered state. Which features remain the same? Which features are different?  Exploration of a hypothetical world generates whole galaxies of new ideas. And we'll discover a synergistic interplay in which those new ideas will lead us back to new insights into our familiar, everyday world" [Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making...
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Bring Your Boss to Work Week: November 5 - 9

One of the most common refrains among VI professionals is “I wish my supervisor knew what I was doing.”  In fact, in a recent survey on issues related to performance evaluations, the most common comment was “Ride with me, see what I do.” Again this year, TSBVI and TAER will partner to sponsor the Second Annual Bring Your Boss to Work Week, November 5-9. By encouraging your supervisor to spend a half-day with you will be able to increase his/her understanding of the scope of students and the range of their challenges and what it is like to be an itinerant VI professional. This experience can also provide you with a chance for informal and child-specific conversations about being an itinerant VI professional; about the importance of expanded core curriculum programming, professional development and a chance to demonstrate how VI-specific resources benefit students with visual impairments. In addition to the advantages...
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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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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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TVIs Needed for AT Survey

Researchers from Texas Tech University and Missouri State University are surveying TVIs in the United States to determine what assistive technology competencies they possess.  If you are a certified TVI, please consider completing the online survey at this link by October 31st! All participants who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of many wonderful AT prizes.  See the survey for more information.
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