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KHSelf-Determination Units and Lessons

 Use with Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access Lesson 1:  Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media

Visual Task Magnifier or Telescope Braille iOS Device Desk-top Video Magnifier Screen Magnifier Screen Reader Desk Copy Audible Materials Partner with Student None Needed
Read print in textbooks                    
Read small print such as math symbols, tables, charts, graphs                    
Read information on the chalkboard or whiteboard                    
Read information on an interactive board (e.g., Smartboard)                    
Read things projected on a screen (such as a PowerPoint)                    
Watch a speaker in class, at an assembly, or large lecture hall                    
Use audio books along with print books for classwork                    
Complete art projects                    

Self-Determination Units and Lessons

Use with Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access Lessons 9 & 10: Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media

Visual TaskMagnifier or TelescopeBrailleiOS DeviceDesk-top Video MagnifierScreen MagnifierScreen ReaderDesk CopyAudible MaterialsPartner with StudentNone Needed
Read print in textbooks                    
Read small print such as math symbols, tables, charts, graphs                    
Read information on the chalkboard or whiteboard                    
Read information on an interactive board (e.g., Smartboard)                    
Read things projected on a screen (such as a PowerPoint)                    
Watch a speaker in class, at an assembly, or large lecture hall                    
Use audio books along with print books for classwork                    
Complete art projects                    

Self-Determination Units and Lessons

Use with How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information, Lesson 6

Eye with image of the world in place of the iris.

Activities and Things I Do on My Own or with TechnologyActivities and Things I Ask Others to Help Me WithActivities and Things I Cannot Do at All
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Self-Determination Units and Lessons

Use with How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information? Self-Determination Lessons 9, 10, & 11

  1. List 3 personal goals you have.
    • 1.
    • 2.
    • 3.
  2. Will your vision make it difficult for you to accomplish any of these goals independently?
    • Yes
    • No
  3. What steps would you have to start taking now to achieve these goals?
    • Step 1:
    • Step 2:
    • Step 3:
  4. Who could you use as a support or resource to complete the steps you listed in #3?

Self-Determination Units and Lessons

Use with Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access Lesson 12:  Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media

Directions:  Indicate which method of access you use most often for each of media.

  • RP-; I use regular print (no optical devices)
  • LP- I use large print
  • B/T- I use braille/tactile materials
  • OD- I use an optical device (telescope, magnifier, cell phone, tablet)
  • WH- I can do this if someone helps me
  • X- I can’t do this yet

MediaRPLPB/TODWHX
textbooks            
diagrams and charts in science / social studies books            
small visual screens (cell phone, microwave key pad)            
store receipts            
food boxes and cans            
my handwritten notes            
board games            
menus            
library books            
maps            
Interactive board or classroom board            
projector screen            
computer monitor            
information on classroom walls            
sporting events & performances            
school assemblies            

by Maurice Belote, Project Coordinator, California Deaf-Blind Services

Reprinted in the Fall 2002 PS News with permission from reSources published quarterly by California Deaf-Blind Services. 

The incidence of sexual abuse among persons with disabilities is staggeringly high, and yet abuse prevention is rarely addressed in school programs for these individuals. Teaching children who have multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness often requires creativity and the ability to adapt and modify existing materials and programs. When teaching abuse prevention, it may not be adequate to simply follow the same instructional objectives used among children without disabilities—don't talk to strangers, run away and tell a safe person if someone is trying to hurt you, etc. For a child who is deaf-blind, intervention will need to encompass many curricular domains, including the areas of communication, self-help, and social skills. The following strategies may be useful in creating an instructional program to address prevention of abuse and exploitation.

Start young.

Issues of sexuality begin at an early age, and instruction during these early years creates a foundation onto which everything else can be built. Some of the early skill areas that will assist in abuse prevention instructional activities include curiosity about the bodies of other people (children and adults), names and function of body parts, and public restroom behavior. In addition, this is the time to make children feel comfortable about talking to their parents or caregivers about personal issues. This comfort level—established at an early age—will be very helpful as the child passes through adolescence and young adulthood. Despite what we may think, national research consistently suggests that teenagers want to discuss these issues with their parents, and that adult-child communication is effective in decreasing sexual risk behaviors.

Know the people who interact with your child.

Sadly, most abusers aren't strangers, but people who know their victims: friends of the family, neighbors, service providers, etc. If a situation doesn't feel right, trust your instincts and intervene. An Internet resource can be found at http://www.sexoffender.com that provides a database searchable by state and also a guide to Megan's Law (don't accidentally type sexoffenders—plural—or you will go to an adult material website). And while vigilance is important, there is probably no need to be overly suspicious of everyone who interacts with children. The vast majority of friends, neighbors and service providers are caring people who would never put a child's safety and well being at risk.

Make sure skills are generalized.

When teaching abuse prevention skills, use the same methods that help ensure that all skills are generalized—teach the skills in multiple locations and settings, with multiple people, and at various times of the day and night. A significant component of skill acquisition is testing to determine if the skill is truly mastered and generalized. Don't assume that a child will perform in a certain way if she or he has demonstrated the skill in a contrived setting with familiar adults. You may need to set up a situation where the child must demonstrate mastery in an unfamiliar setting with unfamiliar people.

Teach terminology, including slang.

It may be difficult for an individual to relay information about abuse or mistreatment if the person lacks a way to communicate this clearly. Building vocabulary regarding body parts and action words is an important step to providing the individual with a communication system that will last a lifetime. It may also be necessary to specifically address the use of slang. For example, an individual who isn't knowledgeable of widely used slang terms for genitalia and sexual acts is more vulnerable because of their lack of sophistication, even if they know the proper "medical" terms for the same things.

Respect privacy; and insist that others do so too.

It is important that we provide children with significant disabilities the same respect and dignity we give all people. It may be necessary to teach the concept of modesty, and be certain that this instruction respects individual family values and norms. For children who require help with daily living, issues of privacy and modesty may be complicated by situations where adults and even peers are providing assistance with physical care needs that require intimate physical contact. One way to handle this, from an early age, is to ask the person's permission before helping with intimate or invasive tasks. If requesting permission is established early and consistently, the person who is receiving help is much more likely to feel she or he is in control of their body, and in control of where they are touched and by whom they are touched.

Teach appropriate behaviors.

We want to teach our children and students to act in the same way we expect others to when those others interact with our children. For example, we want our children to resist if other people try to touch them in inappropriate places on their bodies. This will be difficult to teach if these same children have been allowed to touch others in those same places. The goal is to establish norms, so that behaviors outside of these norms are clearly viewed as such.

Put it in the IEP.

Don't assume that goals and objectives discussed in the IEP meeting will be implemented if they are not part of the written plan. It isn't necessary to includeeverything in an IEP, but too often there is a reluctance to include items in IEPs that are out of the ordinary domains such as functional academics, gross/fine motor, communication, etc. If a particular skill is very important to you, do not accept an explanation that instruction in this skill doesn't need to be written into the IEP because it will be addressed all the time throughout the child's program. The IEP is the family's assurance that a skill will be addressed, and also provides a forum for discussing mastery towards the goal at subsequent IEP and team meetings. For service providers, IEPs provide concrete plans, and help maintain consistency between programs and staff members during times of transition or instability.

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

 

 

by Robbie Blaha, Teacher Trainer and Kate Moss, Family Training Coordinator

Originally published in P.S. NEWS!, Vol. IV, No. 3, July 1991.

There are few events in our day to day lives that do not become routines. Whether it is brushing our teeth, putting gas in our cars, or going bowling there exists in our minds a series of predictable steps and specific objects associated with those steps. Often we move through these familiar activities with little notice. However, there are aspects of these routine activities that deserve a second look. A well organized routine can have a powerful effect on a child with severe disabilities. Children with severe disabilites have been shown to benefit from learning through routines.

If you consider your child's day, you probably have already established a variety of routines. Think about changing a diaper, eating a meal, bath time, etc. These events happen daily and generally in a predictable or routine way. Here are some things that these routines are providing your child.

AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNICATE

You may notice during these activities your child seems to communicate a great deal with you. His subtle or sometimes not so subtle responses during these events might "tell" you, "I'm not hungry", "I'm ready to get out of the tub", etc. You understand and respond to these communications by skipping to dessert or pulling the plug on the tub and wrapping the child in a towel.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT IN LEARNING

Routines feel comfortable and the child uses his energy and attention more efficiently. When a person who is not familiar with your routine way of doing an activity, attempts to feed or bathe your child, the child might become anxious or uncooperative. Yet if you direct that person to do it your way the child will often calm and respond better. He's familiar with the routine. That helps him to better anticipate and participate in the activity.

A FRAMEWORK FOR LEARNING

Routines develop a sense of a beginning, middle and an end to an activity. They also help weave a cluster of people, actions, objects and locations into a meaningful whole. Routines make use of natural cues, i.e. one step acts as a cue for the next step. This type of cueing does not require another person to always prompt the child because the objects used in the activity serve as the prompts. In addition routines can help a child anticipate an end to an undesired activity or recognize the beginning of a desired activity.

A WAY TO BUILD PROCEDURAL MEMORY

Routines build a memory foundation for other learning. Paul Carreiro and Sue Townsend (Routines: Understanding Their Power) note that the development of a sophisticated memory is dependent on a core memory system referred to as "procedural memory". Procedural memory is defined as "the ability to retain a simple everyday 'low attentional' understanding of how things work." If a child does not have an organized experience he can not understand. If he can not understand an experience he will not learn from it.

A WAY TO HIGHLIGHT NEW INFORMATION

When a child has an internal picture of an activity he can recognize when something changes. He is alerted to attend and learn the new part. He can become aware of specific bits of information that impact him and is more likely to tune in to that particular concept. For example, if a child has a routine for making pudding, you can introduce a new flavor. The child will tune in to the flavor being different because everything else in the activity has stayed the same. The difference in flavor can be "spotlighted".

Using routines at home can reinforce learning, improve communication between the child and family, and reduce frustration for everyone. The information that follows will help you formalize your existing home routines. If you do not use routines, you might want to consider developing some. As you develop routines, share them with school personnel. If your school is not using routines currently with your child, you might encourage them to become familiar with the concept of using routines in learning.

CHOOSING THE ACTIVITIES

Before you set up your routines it is important to decide which of your child's daily activites you want to formalize into routines. The following tips will help you in this process:

1. Map out a typical week day and weekend day for your child. (Figure 1)

2. Begin by picking obvious activities where routines are likely to exist already such as eating, toileting. Give special consideration to those activites that will be most beneficial to the child's mental and physical health. Next look at those activites that adults must do for the child. Would these activities be made easier if your child could participate partially? For example, it would be helpful if the older child could anticipate when you need to slide a diaper under him and participate by raising his bottom rather than requiring you to have to lift him. Finally look at those activites that could be done as vocational activites.

Figure 1 - Mapping out a typical week day and weekend schedule helps to identify existing routines which can be formalized. It can also help to identify times when routines might be helpful to the child and family.
WEEK DAY SCHEDULEWEEKEND SCHEDULE
6:30 a.m. wake up 7:30 a.m. wake up
6:40 a.m. bathroom 7:40 a.m. bathroom
6:50 a.m. breakfast & medications 7:45 a.m. help dad cook pancakes
7:15 a.m. brush teeth 8:30 a.m. breakfast & medications
7:30 a.m. dress 9:00 a.m. brush teeth
8:00 a.m. catch bus 9:15 a.m. dress
AT SCHOOL 9:45 a.m. free time
10:45 a.m. family activity
3:30 p.m. return home 1:00 p.m. lunch time
3:45 p.m. bathroom 2:45 p.m. continue family activity
3:50 p.m. snack 4:00 p.m. snack
4:15 p.m. freetime 4:15 p.m. freetime
6:00 p.m. dinner 6:00 p.m. dinner
7:00 p.m. plays with dad 7:00 p.m. plays with dad
8:00 p.m. bath 8:00 p.m. bath
8:30 p.m. bedtime 8:30 p.m. bedtime

DEVELOPING THE ROUTINE

After you have identified activities for routines it will be helpful to write these routines out. List all the steps in the activity in the order in which they occur. The amount of detail in each step will depend on the expectations you have for your child. You might have the staff at your child's school review these routines and decide which specific IEP objectives could be worked on during the routine. These objectives could be written into your routine script. One objective might be included in several different routines. (Figure 2.)

MEAL TIME ROUTINE

  1. Walk to dining table (Trail wall from hall to dining room)
  2. Find chair and sit down
  3. Wait for mom/dad to put on bib
  4. Look for spoon when tapped on table and pick it up (Use visions to explore space and locate objects. Grasp object.)
  5. Allow mom/dad to help scoop and carry spoon to mouth (hand over hand)
  6. Set down spoon and reach for cup when drink is offered, or set down cup and reach for dessert. (Indicate choice by reaching for preferred item.)
  7. Help move plate away when meal is finished
  8. Allow mom/dad to wipe off hands and face
  9. Drink medication from medicine cup
  10. Remove bib (Remove clothing independently.)
  11. Get down from chair

Figure 2 - A mealtime routine might include steps in which IEP objectives can be imbedded. The objectives appear in italics.

You might enjoy tracking your child's success in carrying out the routine. A nice way to do that is by making periodic video tapes of the activity or keeping a log that you share with school. You may even come up with some other method to note the changes. It is important to remember that this type of information can and should be shared with the ARD committee when assessment data is being reviewed.

SETTING UP A SCHEDULE

Family life is subject to unexpected events and unplanned for crises. Given that, set up a schedule that is reasonable for you. Don't plan to take on too many new routines until you feel comfortable with the existing routines. When a routine becomes formalized, it may take longer to do especially if you expect your child to participate more in the activity. Allow for more time to complete the activity, or if that is not possible, opt to reduce the level of the child's expected participation. For example, family meal times may prove to be too hectic for encouraging the child to try emerging self feeding skills; however, snack time might be more relaxed. Instead of writing out a meal routine that includes using new self feeding skills, you might focus on these during the snack activity.

Once you have identified some routines that exist in your day write out a schedule. You may not be able to follow it exactly everyday, but if you have a schedule and everyone knows it, you will be more likely to follow it. Post the schedule on the refrigerator. Tape up the individual routines near the area where the activity will take place. Share this schedule and the routines with those individuals who may fill in for you such as grandparents, baby sitters, and siblings. It is especially important to share these routines with the educational staff who work with your child. This will help the staff to design their routines to be consistent with the routines that take place at home.

Editor's Notes: There is much more to learn about routines and their uses with children who are deaf-blind. Look for future P.S. NEWS !!! articles to cover this material. If you have questions about this article please contact Robbie or Kate. This article is based on two articles by Paul Carreiro and Sue Townsend who are communicative disorder consultants with Student Services in Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada. The articles are titled "Routines: Understanding Their Power" and "Implementing the Routine Model."

Marina McCormick, M.Ed., Region 4 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf Coordinator

Originally published in the Spring 2015 edition of TX SenseAbilities.

Abstract: The author discusses ways local school districts can serve students with deafblindness. She emphasizes collaboration, putting the student first, rewarding outstanding staff, and including the student as part of the local community.

Keywords: deafblindness, administrators, collaboration, inclusion.

When most people encounter the word deafblindness, the first image that comes to mind is one of Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Thanks in large part to Keller’s articulate and thoughtful nature, the groundbreaking duo challenged public perceptions regarding what was possible for people with multiple disabilities.

Although Keller’s life is an inspiration to many, the reality of deafblindness is more variable than originally understood by those outside the education arena. This variability within deafblindness comes from many factors. For example, children experience variations in their hearing and vision losses. One child with deafblindness may exhibit excellent use of his residual hearing and struggle with nearsighted vision while another may have better visual acuity but have profound hearing loss. Other factors that lend themselves to the diversity within deafblindness include the child’s cognition, sociological factors, communication modalities, social-emotional development, and technology skills. Children with deafblindness, through the very nature of their disability, require individualization to meet their needs.

It is the full realization of individualization, though, that many public school instructional teams struggle with when serving a student with deafblindness. An instructional team may encounter an individual with deafblindness for the first time and may grapple with how to provide that individual with access to the curriculum. From these tremendous efforts emerges a false belief that the student with deafblindness cannot be successful in the public school setting and should be sent elsewhere for his or her instructional needs. This notion can be countered, however, with a strong education administrator leading the team.

The following are five tips for administrators as they lead their teams to greatness for students with deafblindness.

1. Develop a deep understanding of the student’s needs.

In order to effectively lead the team that will provide services for the student with deafblindness, the administrator first must become highly knowledgeable regarding the student and the student’s academic and functional needs. Deafblindness is a disability that relates to access. How will the student access the curriculum, the environment, or the social network of the campus? Familiarize yourself with the student’s audiological and vision reports. Learn about how the student communicates and what accommodations and modifications the student requires. Become knowledgeable about the student’s daily living needs. The student’s multidisciplinary team (which could include teachers for the visually impaired and/or deaf, an orientation and mobility specialist, general education teachers, and others) or other campus personnel will, in most cases, contact the administrator first when questions arise related to the student’s services. Without possessing a thorough knowledge of the student’s disability and programming, an education administrator cannot sufficiently answer the question that underlies all other questions: Why are we doing this?

2. Know the team. Be the team. Lead the team.

Ronald Reagan once said: “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things” (Goodreads, 2015). Individualizing services for a student with deafblindness undoubtedly is one of the greatest things an education administrator will ever ask his or her team to do. Therefore, it is critical to identify the team that will serve the student. List every service and support the student requires and align the student’s needs with your current staff, categorizing staff members as core team members (frequent interaction with the student) or extended core team members (infrequent interaction with the student). Form a strong relationship with the student’s parents or guardians; they, too, are a part of the student’s core team. Identify the strengths of your team and those areas in which your team will need additional training. Establish regular meeting times for both the core team and the extended team. Be actively engaged in meeting and learning with the team.

3. Be student centered.

In the era of high-stakes testing, educators too often want quick solutions to their instructional problems. Effectively serving students with deafblindness is a marathon, not a sprint. The instruction for a student with deafblindness requires coordinated attention between the student and the teacher, both coexisting in the here and now. What this translates into for teachers is that lessons are not traditional and do not lend themselves to typical concepts of school time such as 45 minute class periods. For teachers who are unfamiliar with deafblindness, this can be a cause for concern because they may be unfamiliar with techniques related to differentiated instruction.

When considering programming, all team members will be involved with many e-mails, phone calls, and meetings. IEP meetings may be extremely long due to the number of services and service providers a student may need. The preparation and instruction for the student will be intensive for staff. Ongoing professional development will be needed. With all of this happening, it is essential to champion the purpose behind why the team is working so hard.

4. Reward outstanding staff contributions.

As your staff rises to your high expectations for high quality instructional services and support for the student with deafblindness, recognize and reward their achievements. These achievements do not need to be momentous occasions. Small wins such as collaborative efforts, instructional strategies, or consistency in providing excellent service and support are just as important. Have you noticed that your intervener and interpreter are working together to provide linguistic and conceptual support for a complex biology lesson? Did you observe the adaptive physical education teacher providing a superb accommodation for the student to walk around the track? Reward success often to encourage your team.

5. Remember the community’s trust in your school and in your district.

Often it is tempting for a team to want to focus on what it cannot provide, rather than what it can provide, for the student with deafblindness. Keep in mind this essential truth: The student and the student’s family are valued members of your community, and they have placed a great time-honored trust in you and your school’s abilities not only to meet, but to exceed, their expectations. According to Jay Gense, former director of the National Center on Deaf-Blindness, 95% of students with deafblindness nationwide are living at home with their families and attending school in their communities (Gense, 2015). Your team, in most cases, can fulfill the needs of a student with deafblindness through creative problem-solving and open lines of communication. It is up to you as the administrator to foster the belief of “Yes, we can!” rather than “No, we can’t.”

Concluding Thoughts

It is not often that a student with deafblindness crosses a school’s path, but when he or she does, the possibilities for learning for the student and the student’s team are endless. Students with deafblindness have an uncanny ability to stretch our professional understanding of what is educationally possible within the public school setting. They desire to achieve their goals and dreams as much as any other students, and even though we may not necessarily have a direct line in some cases as to what those aspirations are, these hopes exist nonetheless.

As Helen Keller said in The Story of My Life, “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar” (Keller, 2002).

Mary T. Morse, Ph.D., Special Education Consultant, Pembroke, New Hampshire

Originally reprinted in the Winter 2000 edition of See/Hear newsletter with permission from the Cornelia de Lange Foundation, Inc.

 

Editor's note: Recently I visited the Cornelia de Lange Foundation, Inc. website in search of information for a classroom teacher. I came across this wonderful article, one of the many interesting things available at this site. I would encourage families and professionals who want to learn more about CdLS to visit this site if they haven't discovered it already. There web address is <http://cdlsoutreach.org>. My thanks to CdLS Foundation for giving their permission to reprint this article for our readers.

Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) has great variability in its manifestation, from those individuals who are visually recognizable as having CdLS to those who, to the uninitiated observer, display no unusual physical and/or behavioral characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is that numerous infants, preschool and school-age children with CdLS have a range of significant medical and health issues that consume parental physical, emotional and financial energy and the attention of numerous professional disciplines. Many children diagnosed with CdLS also present another set of concerns, namely in the area of communication and behavior. Planning and providing appropriate quality educational services for children who have CdLS must consider the influence and interplay of both sets of issues and concerns.

Education is a cultural activity with schools charged to prepare children for the life they will lead in the culture they will live. Education can be thought of as the other side of the coin from the medical and health-related issues and, as such, needs to be addressed simultaneously.

PHYSICAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, INSTRUCTIONAL & SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Factors to consider in educational planning include the child's medical and health status, stamina, ability to manage sensory-motor demands, levels of arousal, communicative status, need for structure and organization, relevant goals and objectives, motivating and understandable activities, and appropriate adaptations. Moreover, the child with CdLS needs to be an equal partner in interactive and satisfying social experiences. Social equality rests, in part, on helping ones self as much as possible, communication abilities, contributions to others, and shared experiences.

  1. 1. Medical-Health Related Issues: There is a critical need for family, medical-health personnel and school staff to communicate with each other around issues affecting health. School staff needs to be sensitive to those periods when there is a flare-up of gastro-esophageal reflux. Staff also should be informed of food allergies and strictly adhere to dietary limitations. Lastly, staff needs to distinguish between those periods of fidgeting and non-attentiveness due to discomfort and pain vs. those periods when the behaviors are due to other causes. The situation, of course, is easier to understand and manage if the student has expressive language.
  2. 2. Communication: Any discourse on education must involve the discussion of communication. We cannot transmit or receive information unless we communicate. Children with CdLS are at risk for delayed or absent speech, difficulty in understanding the subtle nuances and pragmatics of language and auditory sensitivity to a barrage of speech sounds. Speech is very difficult for many individuals with CdLS due to oral-motor apraxia. These children do not choose not to talk but find the coordination and production of the motor actions extraordinarily difficult - especially under typical school-like demand situations.
    1. While speech may be the ultimate goal for those children who currently do not talk or find talking difficult, they need a way to express themselves now so they may be more active participants in the educational process. There are a variety of educational techniques that can be employed to help these children communicate right now while they simultaneously work on the higher goals of speech production.
    2. Speech may not be a realistic goal for some children with CdLS. There are, however, a great many other educational techniques that can be employed for very effective communication. These techniques are very reliable regardless of the country, culture and/or the education program.
    3. Signing may/may not be an effective route for some children due to such receptive difficulties as (1) poor visual attention, (2) a visual handicap and/or (3) the transient/spatial/speed nature of sign. Expressive difficulties may be difficult due to factors such as (1) upper limb malformations, (2) dyspraxia (difficulty in performing smooth, rhythmical and sequential hand motions), (3) memory for motor movements and so forth.
    4. Although most children with CdLS are said to have visual-perceptual strengths, this does not necessarily mean they understand all forms of visual stimuli. Visual regard for two-dimensional representation (pictures, line drawings, photographs, print) does not automatically mean there is understanding of this form of symbolic representation. An assessment of such understanding is highly recommended.
    5. Technology provides many options for augmenting communication and has been a major boon for persons who have disabilities. However, computers and other high tech devices are not the answer for every child. There are basic skills that must be learned in order to use this technology effectively as communication and learning devises. Students need both a basic understanding of the communication process and of the concrete world of objects before they are able to manage the abstract world of symbols.
    6. In general, children who have multiple disabilities are at very high risk for missing out on numerous incidental learning experiences that typical children pick up so easily. These types of experiences center around the concrete world and bring together the visual, hearing, touch, doing foundation necessary to manage the abstract world of symbols.
  3. Vision: Myopia (near sighted), amblyopia (lazy eye affecting depth perception), chronic conjunctivitis-appearing eyes, and dry eye syndrome (making the eyes feel as if they have sand in them), photophobia (light sensitivity) and ptosis (droopy eye lids) are common visual problems. Students with these symptoms may need drops for lubricating their eyes and eye washes done in school. They also may need (1) preferential seating close to the blackboard, (2) assigned seating facing away from the windows or other sources of glare due to their light sensitivity, (3) adapted but non-glare lighting to highlight the specific work area, (4) special printed materials if vision is limited even with corrective lenses, and (5) alternating work requiring fine visual functional skills from work requiring less fine visual performance in order to reduce fatigue. Fatigue may result from the need to constantly shift head positions to accommodate to the ptosis. Teachers should know if glasses have been prescribed for the student and what is the recommended pattern for wearing them. Sometimes glasses are prescribed for specific activities. If the student has use of only one eye, it may be helpful to know if safety glasses should be worn during certain activities. Some students will have a documented visual handicap and will require the services of a trained teacher of the visually impaired.
  4. Hearing : Students may have a documented hearing loss or fluctuating hearing requiring close communication and coordination with the pediatrician and with audiologist. Such students may require use of hearing aids, A FM system and/or preferential seating near the teacher. If either hearing aids or a FM system are prescribed, staff should be aware of how to adjust the settings, how to work with the ear molds, and the best times to use the equipment. Other children with CdLS may have delayed responses to auditory stimuli which require that they be given time to process the auditory information and plan their responses. Some students will require the services of a trained teacher of the hearing impaired.
  5. Vision & Hearing: Some students with CdLS have both a vision and a hearing impairment. These students are considered deafblind and require very specialized teaching. Deafblindness is not a simple "one plus one equals two" but rather, presents significant risks in learning due to the impact of the dual sensory disability on the development of a language system. Teaching techniques oriented toward children who are visually handicapped rely on intact hearing and touch. Teaching techniques oriented toward children who are hearing impaired rely on vision. When neither sensory modality is intact or reliable, alternative communication techniques need to be utilized. Moreover, the efficiency in which a deafblind individual is able to use their residual vision and hearing is highly influenced by stress, health, medications, fatigue, background noise/visual clutter, size/distance/plane of presentation/etc. of the visual stimulus, speed of presentation, competing sensory stimuli and many, many other factors interwoven with each other. All children who have combined visual and auditory disabilities require the services of a trained teacher of the deafblind.
  6. Visual & Auditory Processing: Many children who have both visual and auditory disabilities have associated problems in processing and understanding the visual and auditory messages. Cortical visual processing problems are the biggest single cause of visual handicaps in the United States. In most of these situations, central auditory processing problems also exist. We do not, at this time, have enough data to provide information on the incidence of these cortical processing problems with individuals who have CdLS. However, prematurity, a history of difficult birth and neonatal period, and/or anoxia, place a child at risk.

A FEW STRATEGIES

  1. A well organized routine and predictable, calm, organized environments seem most conducive for students with CdLS. Schedule and calendar systems via objects, pictures, line drawings and/or words can help the student anticipate and prepare for changes in the schedule. Such schedules should be in the format the student most easily understands.
  2. Allowing time for the student to process, plan and implement a response to sensory information is essential. The number and pacing of activities may have to be individualized - especially for those students who have limited stamina, endurance and ability to control their own state of arousal. Take advantage of the visual strengths the student may have by orally giving the directions, then visually present the questions and/or demonstrate the method, and end by giving the oral directions again. Time constraints potentially may add to the stress, which, in turn, will reduce processing time further.
  3. Many of the students perform better with concrete learning experiences. For example, applying math principles by going into the community to shop for needed items involves planning, reading, mobility, safety, social etiquette and so forth.
  4. If handwriting is laborious, investigate the advantages of computer use for the student.
  5. For those students in academic programs, some may need rest breaks to reduce their level of arousal. Simultaneously, many need specific tutoring or pre-teaching, in a resource room, to deal with subjects they find difficult in the mainstream.
  6. Some of the students have a difficult time taking the initiative and making their needs known. They may find casual, recreational times with typical peers difficult because of the unpredictable nature of social events and anxiety in unfamiliar situations with unknown outcomes. To promote positive social-emotional growth in these students, determine the appropriateness of the student becoming a big sister/brother to a younger child and/or social skills training in a small group of socially-similar students.
  7. Many students with CdLS, who also have significant additional disabilities are in inclusive environments. Most often these experiences are not really social because there is very little INTERaction. However, the students profit best from such techniques as A Circle of Friends and from structured and facilitated interactions with peers.

Editor's note: Below is some additional information that is available on the CdLS website.

FAMILY ISSUES

Whether an individual is diagnosed at birth, or at age two, five or twenty, receiving a diagnosis of CdLS can be overwhelming. A lifelong process of challenging and re-challenging feelings, thoughts, actions and beliefs may begin. There will be sadness, but there will also be joy. There will also be many decisions to be made, but they do not need to be made in isolation. There are many families and professionals ready to offer information, support and encouragement to people who request it.

Families may struggle to accept the diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. Shock, anger, denial, guilt, and sadness are common early responses. Most families adjust to their new situation, but protracted grief or depression in a family member should be treated. In addition to the initial adjustment, intermittent stresses throughout the life of the child may temporarily destabilize a family. The primary care providers should periodically inquire about family adjustment and continue to provide emotional support for the family.

Children may qualify for special services such as CAP/MR (Community Assistance Program for the Mentally Retarded) through the division of developmental disabilities at their local mental health center. Most children should be eligible for medicaid (independent of parents' income) which provides prescription coverage as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy. In addition, respite care should be suggested in cases where the caretaking burden is high. The Association of Retarded Citizens often has a respite program and also provides support for families.

BEHAVIOR

Although many children with CdLS have no significant behavioral problems, there are some conditions, which makes self-injurious behavior more likely to occur: pain, discomfort, frustration or dismay. The typical young person with CdLS may be described as hypersensitive and dysrhythmic. He/she may be hypersensitive in that he/she may have strong reactions to ordinary stimuli and these reactions may continue long after the stimulus is gone. He/she is sometimes dysrhythmic, that is having irregular patterns of behavior in the areas of eating, sleeping and emotional response.

The lack of sensitivity to pain and/or heightened sensitivity to touch suggests some individuals may have neurological impairment. They may also be prone to behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, short attention span, and oppositional or repetitive behavior.

PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION

Many of ordinary problems that children have can be dealt with by a pediatrician who has some developmental or behavioral experience. These would be minor problems with eating or sleeping, tantrums, or even hyperactivity. Many pediatricians are quite skilled in the first and second line drugs for impulsive and hyperactive behaviors.

Persistent behavioral difficulties including hyperactivity that does not respond to medication, severe impulsive behavior, oppositional behavior, aggression, or self injury, is the kind of treatment that will require the attention of a specialist in behavioral psychology or a child psychiatrist who has experience with the developmentally disabled. Sometimes, individuals need referral to an epilepsy specialist first, if there is suspicion of seizures. But the long-term treatment of serious behavior or emotional problems in individuals should almost always be the responsibility of a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry, who has the appropriate background.

OPHTHALMOLOGY

All children with a new diagnosis of CdLS should be referred for ophthalmic assessment. In addition to problems which may be easily recognizable such as misaligned eyes (strabismus) or shaky eyes (nystagmus), ophthalmic examination is necessary to reveal possible nearsightedness (myopia) which might be quite severe yet otherwise go undetected. If the initial examination is normal, routine ophthalmic follow-up is usually not necessary unless new problems arise. However, it may be prudent to recheck for nearsightedness every few years until puberty.

Individuals who develop recurrent red eyes, crusting on the eyelashes, itchy eyes, tearing, or eye discharge should also see an ophthalmologist. Although the symptoms may mimic a blocked tear duct (nasolacrimal duct obstruction), they are more often due to blepharitis: an idiopathic condition in which the 20 - 30 glands normally present in each eyelid have sub-optimal flow. Rather than surgical treatment for a tear duct problem, baby shampoo eyelash scrubs can often result in dramatic improvement of the blepharitis symptoms. Older children with self-injurious behavior can seriously damage their eyeballs. Any signs of self-induced eye injury should also prompt an ophthalmic referral.

VISION

It is not unusual for children with this syndrome to be nearsighted, have recurrent red-eye, discharge or tearing or have ptosis of the eyelids. If ptosis is severe the children may lift their chins or arch their eyebrows in order to improve their vision. Many parents opt for surgery to correct the ptosis.

Many children with CdLS may not engage in normal gaze behaviors. Gaze averting may happen for a number of reasons. It may give the child time to process visual information, it may mean the child perceives the task as too difficult, or it may mean the child is feeling uncertain or stressed. Children with CdLS may also use peripheral vision more frequently than direct gazing because they have greater difficulty choosing which of the varied stimuli should receive their attention. It also tends to be true that children who are lower functioning show greater sensory rejection and sensitivity to stimulation in their environment.

HEARING

People with CdLS may have very tiny structures and testing may be difficult. It is advisable to consult an audiologist and/or otolaryngologist who is familiar with CdLS or who is experienced in working with infants. Pharyngeal-esophageal tubes may be useful for middle-ear drainage as needed but a physician experienced in working with small infants is usually necessary.

If a hearing loss is suspected, headsets and hearing aids should be prescribed for infants and children. Even a mild hearing loss can result in a speech and language delay. Smaller aids are available so it is not necessary or advisable to use an adult-sized aid. If the child will not leave on the aid, an audiologist or behavioral therapist may be helpful. Appropriate audiological management should include selection and fitting of suitable amplification for all listening environments. While the child's personal hearing aid may be sufficient some of the time, the use of FM amplification may be necessary in other situations.

Almost all children with CdLS are diagnosed with mild to moderate and sometimes severe hearing loss, however interviews with caretakers reveal unexpected reports regarding the history of audiological results. Many caretakers report that their children were diagnosed as severely hearing impaired at birth, moderately impaired at 12 months, and mildly impaired or without impairment at age 2 years. Since it is unusual for hearing to improve rather than worsen, it seems correct audiological assessment is difficult. Individuals with CdLS may have narrow ear canals and difficult behaviors, making examinations a challenge.

Parents often report their children seem to hear much better than their test results would indicate. Considerable confusion exists regarding hearing ability for some children. Many children fitted with hearing aids will not tolerate the use of them or do so only sporadically. For these individuals, retesting is often important to insure that the aid is beneficial. There have also been reports of young children fitted with adult-sized hearing aids when child-sized aids are available and more appropriate.

ORTHOPEDICS

In the more mildly affected children curving of the fifth finger (clinodactyly), small hands, a short thumb placed closer than usual to the wrist and some limitation of elbow motions are often present, with webbing of one or more fingers (syndactyly) less common. Abnormalities of the hip occur in five to ten percent of the children with CdLS and may interfere with the ability to walk. Surgery may be used to correct this condition.

Of greater relevance to communication because of the interference in the use of sign language or other augmentative strategies for communication are the more severe upper-limb malformations. In some cases, fingers, metacarpals and the long bones of the arm are absent.