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kayden essef board croppedJanuary 31, 2019

Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

James C. Durkel Conference Center 

This workshop is designed for ESC Consultants who want to provide training and support on how to implement Active Learning as designed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen of Denmark.  It is also open to others who are providing training on this topic. We strongly recommend that you have previous training on Active Learning.

This workshop will not provide instruction on Active Learning principles, techniques or strategies. Instead it will provide an overview to utilizing specific training materials (Active Learning Space website, Active Learning modules, Active Learning: Train-the-Trainer manual) to provide training to others. 

The Active Learning approach emphasizes that all individuals learn best by active participation.  All activity, especially in the earliest stages of development, actually "wires our brains" and establishes critical foundational concepts and skills necessary for all future learning.  

Individuals with multiple disabilities (cerebral palsy, visual impairment, cognitive impairment, autism, hearing impairment, etc.) are at great risk from developing reliance on others to interact with the world around them.  They learn to be a passive rather than active participant, waiting for adults to provide activity rather than seeking it out on their own.  Children and adults with special needs often develop stereotypical or aggressive behaviors in order to communicate with others or cope within the environments in which they are placed.  Active Learning recognizes that every learner with special needs is unique.  The programming and intervention for facilitating learning must reflect this individuality.  Active Learning emphasizes creating a developmentally appropriate and enriched environment so that children and adults with multiple special needs become active learners.  

Learning Objectives

Participants in this training will learn how to use the content provided on the Active Learning Space website to train individuals in the appropriate use of Active Learning.

Participants will learn how to provide face-to-face and flipped learning activities utilizing the Active Learning Space website, online modules and ready-made Powerpoints with accompanying activities to provide training.

This training is not meant to train individuals on Active Learning, but rather to show them how to use materials from the Active Learning Space website and modules to provide training for others. 

It is recommended that participants have some familiarity with Dr. Nielsen’s Active Learning approach. Participants who are not familiar with this content are encouraged to complete the Active Learning Principles module or review the contents of the website before attending this workshop. They may also want to consider attending the June 2019 Active Learning Conference rather than this workshop.  Information about that event which is sponsored  by Region 10 Education Service Center may be found on their website.


This workshop targets individuals who are ESC Consultants and part of the Low Incidence Disabilities network or Statewide Leadership for Blind or Visually Impaired network or other related networks. They will pay a discounted registration fee of $12 when using the discount code available from their network leads.

Out-of-state participants and others must pay a registration fee of $50.

Registration costs include a working lunch, a hard-copy manual, and access to electronic versions of all Powerpoints and the manual.

Seating is limited to 50 individuals. Thirty-five (35) of these seats are reserved for ESC Consultants and fifteen (15) seats being allotted to non-ESC staff. 

Registration ends January 18, 2019. You may register now and pay later if using a check or purchase order. Payment with a credit card is immediate.  You may cancel up to January 25th without penalty. After that time you may be charged a $25 cancellation fee.



There are a variety of hotels in the area of the TSBVI campus.  Participants are responsible for their own accommodations.  A list of some of these hotels can be found on the TSBVI website.


Please contact Miriam Miramontes at 512-206-9268 or email Kate Hurst at .

Below are the powerpoints that make up the content of this of this workshop along with the supplemental handouts, agenda and other documents.  

Principles of Active Learning

1 Introduction to Active Learning and What is Play



2 Pathways to Learning and the Dynamic Learning Circle



3 Social and Emotional Development



4 Key Points to Active Learning and Overview to the Five Phases of Educational Treatment



5 Phase 1 Offering



6 Phase 2 Imitation and Phase 3 Interaction



7 Phase 4 Sharing the Work and Phase 5 Consequences



Assessment Functional Scheme

1 Functional Scheme Overview and How to Score



2 Functional Scheme Including Other Assessment and Determining Skills for the IEP



Program Planning

1 Program Planning - Developing the PLAAFP and Goals and Benchmarks



2 Program Planning - Supplemental, Related, and Special Services, Transition Planning, Placement




1 Implementation Basics and the FIELA Curriculum



2 Implementation Motor Skills



3 Implementation General Education Curriculum and ECC



4 Implementation the Student with CVI



Documenting Progress

1 Documenting Progress




1 Materials Learner Preferences, Skills, Objects



2 Materials Ideas and Participant Game




1 Equipment Things You Can Buy



2 Equipment Things You Can Make



Supplemental Handouts

Here is a list of all handouts that are included in the manual. Some handouts are used in multiple sections (for example, Active Learning Materials and Activities Planning Sheet). We encourage you to visit Active Learning Space regularly for new content that is being added. 


Active Learning Materials and Activities Planning Sheet

Five Phases of Educational Treatment

Getting Started with Active Learning

Job One for Educators: Becoming a Good Playmate

Kersten's Story

Looking at Self-Stimulation in Pursuit of Leisure or I'm Okay You Have a Mannerism

Pathways to Learning Activity Sheet

Social and Emotional Development Comparison

Assessment Functional Scheme

Sample Assessment of Levels of Function

Program Planning

OSEP Guidance Letter

Sample General Curriculum Skills in Science

Sample Goals and Benchmarks

Units and Themes in Active Learning

Writing IEP Goals and Objectives Activity Form


Basics of Implementing an Active Learning Approach

Patty Obrzut Handout on the Comprehending Hand

Putting a Child in a Little Room

Units and Themes in Active Learning

Documenting Progress

Active Learning Skills Checklist

Documenting Progress on IEP Goals and Objectives

Essef Board Observation Form

HOPSA Dress Observation Form

Little Room Observation Form

Multi-Functional Activity Table Observation Form

Other Perceptualizing Aids Observation Form

Position Board Observation Form

Resonance Board Observation Form

Support Bench Observation Form


Buncher Tips from Active Learning Space

Creating a Folding Resonance Board

Directions for Making a Tabletop Mobile

Directions for Making an Echo Bucket

Directions for Making a Resonance Board 

Make Your Own Elastic Board

Make Your Own Position Board

Putting a Child in a Little Room

PVC Mobile Tips from Active Learning Space 

Other Information

 Active Learning Train-the-Trainer Workshop Agenda

A Brief History of this Project

Website, Webinars, Guide, and Online Modules

Thursday, November 1st (Pre-Conference at TSBVI, James C. Durkel Conference Center)

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Andrew Bernet

Session Title: Moving Towards Success Part 1: Ways that O&M’s can team up with APE teachers to develop Sensory Motor efficiency.

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Andrew Bernet 

Session Title: Moving Towards Success Part 2: Exploring How O&M’s Can Help Their Adult Students Adapt physical activities and Live Healthier Lives.


 Friday, November 2nd (at Region 13 Education Service Center)

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (General Session)

Scott Crawford

Session Title: O&M for Visually Impaired Wheelchair Users 

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. (General Session)

Scott Crawford

Session Title: Walkers, Crutches and Support Canes, Oh My?

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Breakout Sessions)


Jennifer Perry

Session Title: Using Drones with OM


Lynn Gautreaux

Session Title: The ABCs of AMDs


Michael Goehring

Session Title: Tales from a Guide Dog Field Representative


Jill Brown, Tracy Hallak, Gema Nelson, Debra Sewell, Olga Uriegas, Shay Utley, Stephanie Walker, Marjie Wood, Susan Phillips, Gwynne Reeves

Session Title: Texas 2 STEPS: Time to Dance

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Breakout Session


Lynn Gautreaux

Session Title: Quick and Easy Methods for Repairing and Modifying Canes


Mary Shore and Marjie Wood

Session Title: Orienting to the TX O&M Law: Where are we? Where are we going? How do we get there? 


Andrew Bernet

Session Title: How to Set Up Beacons Yourself for Use with Indoor Explorer


Rona Pogrund and Shannon Darst 

Session Title: Practice Session Using the O&M VISSIT to Determine O&M Service Intensity

4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. (optional sessions)


Blindfold Travel Practice 


Victor Trek Treasure Hunt, by HumanWare

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (optional event)

 SWOMA Social at Crowne Plaza Hotel


Saturday, November 3rd (at Region 13 Education Service Center)

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Breakout Session


Tanni Anthony

Session Title: Young Children with Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities: Moving with Meaning (Part 1)


Pat Pound

Session Title: Transportation Options for Travelers who are Blind and Visually Impaired, Making the best Use of Your Options

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session


Tanni Anthony

Session Title: Young Children with Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities: Moving with Meaning (Part 2)


Pat Pound Session Title: Savvy air travelers with disabilities, what are the secrets? 

12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Working Lunch (General Session)

Garrett Aguilard, Lisa Calaci, and Scott Meyer

Session Title: Panel on Contracting as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist in Texas


Aiden magnifierSM

May 4, 2018

at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

James C. Durkel Conference Center

Austin, Texas

“Makes me unique” were the three words on the poster created by one student with albinism who participated in NOAH’s “My Three Words” YouTube video. Feeling good about yourself when you stand out as unique can be a tricky path. Students with albinism have unique needs in addition to having low vision and providing service for this student population is the focus of our 2018 Low Vision Conference. Program highlights include an interactive session on genetics of albinism with Dr. Murray Brilliant, a renowned researcher who has dedicated his professional work to this topic and a session focusing on psychosocial impact with Ms. Kelsey Thompson, a licensed clinical professional counselor and a certified rehabilitation counselor.

Special Pre-Conference Event

This year there will be a special pre-conference event on Thursday, May 3, from 6:30-8:00 PM at the James C. Durkel Conference Center on the TSBVI campus.  Deciding how to respond when being VI makes you stand out; this is an interactive session to talk about it. Kelsey Thompson (Vocational rehab counselor in Chicago, a presenter for the Low Vision Conference, NOAH Insight contributor, a person with albinism) will lead this discussion. Students, parents, & professionals are welcome to join in this discussion.


Early Bird Registration begins February 26, 2018 and continues through April 22, 2018 for the discounted price of $30 for all participants.  After April 22nd the fee rises to $50.  Registration online is through our trusted partner, ESC Works.  You may pay immediately with a credit card or you can registered now and pay later to get the discount fee if you pay with a check or purchase order.  Send payment to:


c/o TSBVI Business Office

1100 W. 45th Street

Austin, TX 78756

Register Now!


You may cancel your registration up until May 2, 2018 without a penalty.  Beginning May 2nd you may be subject to a $25 cancellation fee.  Please contact Randall McAlister right away at  if you need to cancel your registration.

Tentative AgendaHope kitchenSM

8:00-8:45 AM: Sign-in and Coffee

8:45-9:30 AM:  Welcome & Panel of persons with albinism

9:45-10:45 AM Genetics & the Eye (Dr. Murray Brilliant)

11:00-12:00 PM: Ages and Stages (Chrissy Cowan & Marjie Wood)

12-1:30 PM Exhibit Fair

1:30-2:45 PM Social and Emotional Aspects of Albinism (Kelsey Thompson)

2:45-3:00 PM Video Tapestry

3:00 PM Closing

EA veggiesSM


Participants will:

  1. Summarize the different patterns of inheritance and the genes associated with the most common forms of albinism;
  2. Identify unique needs of students with albinism and intervention strategies to support them;
  3. Describe the impact on social and emotional growth of having albinism, a condition that includes visual impairment along with differences in appearance and social stigma.

Stipends for Adult Family Members

Limited stipends are available for adult family members of students with albinism which can be used to cover the cost of registration, hotel, transportation, meals and / or child care as needed.  Please contact your TWC or HHSC Caseworker about their ability to help you with the costs associated with this workshop before requesting this stipend.  You may make a request when you register and someone from our staff will contact you to set up the assistance you need. If you have questions about this assistance please contact Rachel Simpson at or at 512-206-9418.

Continuing Education Credits

This workshop, like all of TSBVI Outreach workshops, has been approved for both SBEC and ACVREP continuing education credits.  The number of credits available for this workshop is 5.75.


There are a variety of hotels located near by TSBVI Campus.  Please make your own reservations unless you are a family member requesting assistance with the hotel.  There are a number of hotels in the area which typically offer a state rate.


Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement®, and author of Kids Beyond Limits, San Rafael, CA

Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement®, is the author of two highly acclaimed books, Move Into Life: NeuroMovement® for Lifelong Vitality and Kids Beyond Limits. Anat was trained as a clinical psychologist, dancer, and was a close professional associate of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais for over a decade. In 1982 Anat Baniel moved to New York City where she quickly developed a practice working with babies and young children; with musicians; with athletes and with adults suffering back pain, injury, etc. She also began teaching seminars and professional training programs worldwide. Anat Baniel’s work with children with special needs is world-renown, applauded by parents, health professionals, and those at the cutting edge of the neurosciences. Increasing numbers of leading brain scientists, medical doctors, and others in the helping professions are enthusiastically endorsing Anat Baniel Method (ABM) NeuroMovement® for her work with adults, as well as with children with special needs.

Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Professor, The College of Brockport, State University of New York

Dr. Lauren Lieberman is a distinguished service professor at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.  She is an internationally recognized presenter and a widely published author of research articles and books. Her sessions at Texas Focus 2018 will concentrate on ensuring access to sports and physical activities, whether in PE class, school sports teams, or the community, for all students with disabilities. She is also Director of Camp Abilities Brockport, a camp that seeks to to empower children and teens with visual impairments to be physically active and productive members of their schools, towns, cities, and communities, as well as to improve the health and well-being of people with sensory impairments. 

Larry L. Lewis, President of Flying Blind, LLC, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Founded in May of 2006, Flying Blind. LLC is a US-Based (Ohio) Limited Liability Company whose mission is to empower persons who are vision impaired with the necessary Adaptive Technology Solutions to make them independent and efficient in unlimited capacities. Flying Blind, LLC's founder, Mr. Larry L. Lewis, Jr., has over fifteen years of practical experience serving the Adaptive Technology Industry in a variety of capacities which include domestic and international product management and sales management roles with companies that have rich histories in developing speech and Braille solutions for the Adaptive Technology Industry. Mr. Lewis is congenitally blind and attributes his successes to Braille literacy, which has enabled him to develop the skill sets necessary to start his own company, a boyhood dream which finally became a reality in May of 2006

Kassandra Maloney, Yoga Instructor and author of Yoga for Children with Visual and Multiple Impairments, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Kassandra is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Yoga Teacher at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired where she has worked for the past 10 years. She  became a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and then a Radiant Child Yoga Teacher in 2010 and never looked back! Since then, she has been teaching yoga and movement to students at TSBVI where she combines her passions for orientation and mobility and yoga as she works with students with visual impairments! Last year her first book, Yoga for Children with Visual Impairments was published by TSBVI.  Kassandra is also an avid blogger and shares her thoughts and tips on orientation and mobility, yoga, and other topics.

Dr. Michael McLinden,  author of Learning Through Touch: Supporting Children with Visual Impairments and Additional Difficulties and Professor in Education, University of Birmingham, UK

Michael is concerned with the inclusion of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. He is co-Director of the Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research(VICTAR) in the Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the University of Birmingham and programme lead for the professional development courses in visual impairment. Approximately 100 part time students are registered on programmes offered within the centre, making it the largest single provider of specialist courses in this field in Europe. His book, Learning Through Touch, was written to assist teachers and other professionals who support children with visual impairment and additional difficulties and examines the role of touch in developing effective teaching and learning.

Dr. Elina Mullen, Physical Education Instructor, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Elina was born in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa and was trained as a licensed teacher in Kenya and obtained a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctorate in Education, in the United States of America, in physical education, planning and administration and implementation of physical education programs for the total population. Elina has worked as a teacher at the elementary and high school level.  She also lectured at Kenyatta University College, a teacher training facility in Kenya, East Africa and at many institutions and functions about the topic of physical education.  Elina is currently working as a Certified Adapted Physical Educator at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is a Consultant in the area of adapted physical education for the multi-handicapped in its Outreach Department.  She is also in much demand as an in-service training presenter.

Patty Obrzut, OTR and Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Taylor, MI

Penrickton Center for Blind Children is a unique, private non-profit agency, providing five-day residential, day care, and consultation/evaluation services to blind, multi-disabled children ages one through twelve. Patty joined Penrickton Center in 1987 as the Occupational Therapist and after attending a conference in 1992 given by Dr. Lilli Nielsen, began her study of Active Learning. During the following years, she attended over ten conferences given by Dr. Nielsen and developed a personal relationship with her. Immediately after implementing Active Learning techniques at Penrickton Center, staff saw changes in the independent activity of the children. As a result Dr. Nielsen was invited to provide training for staff and eventually Patty spent several weeks in Denmark with Dr. Nielsen observing Active Learning techniques in action. Finally, in 2002, Dr. Nielson granted Patty permission to lecture on techniques of Active Learning. In addition to her responsibilities at Penrickton Patty lectures nationally and contributes regularly to the development of the website, Active Learning Space, collaboratively developed by Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Perkins School for the Blind and Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

Athena Oden, Pediatric Physical Therapist and author of the Ready Bodies Learning Minds, San Antonio, TX

Athena is widely known in Texas and across the US for her down to earth approach to teaching, and the practical and powerful nature of the Ready Bodies, Learning Minds program. Whether it is a presentation to hundreds of therapists, or on the floor with children in a Ready Bodies Motor Lab, Athena is driven by the sincere desire to apply her knowledge to help those that choose to work with her. She is a professional and engaging speaker and an experienced therapist with a clear mission: To help children perform at their peak, and to help therapists, teachers and parents understand the fundamental issues involved with sensory integration, motor skills, learning and performance. 

Karen Ranus, Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin, TX

Karen is the Director of NAMI in Austin.  NAMI's goal is to improve the lives of all persons affected by serious mental illness by providing support, education, and advocacy throughout the Metropolitan area of Austin, Texas to individuals and families affected by mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI Austin is dedicated to supporting the inclusion of individuals with mental illness throughout the organization. They provide guidance, coordination and resources to promote communication and education in Central Texas.

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, Director of the Pediatric View Program, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburg, PA

Christine Roman-Lantzy received degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education/Visual Impairment at Michigan State Universi and worked as an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for 17 years prior to becoming a Research Assistant in the Vision Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She also completed studies in Orientation & Mobility and received a Master’s Degree in Medically Fragile/High Risk Infants. Dr. Roman-Lantzy is the Director of The Pediatric View Program at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and a former Project Leader of the CVI Project at The American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, KY. She has lectured extensively regarding the CVI educational materials she has developed and the books she has written that have been published by The American Foundation for the Blind.

Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Dr. Rosenblum is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona where she joined the faculty in August 1999. From 1999 to 2016 she prepared teachers to work with children with visual impairments (TVIs). During that time she coordinated teacher preparation programs in Arizona and Nevada.  In July 2016 she became the Project Director for an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) federal project Animal Watch Vi: Building Graphics Literacy, a follow-up project to the 4 year AnimalWatch-VI Suite. Both projects aim to support youth with visual impairments in building their ability to be successful in pre-alegbra math word problem solving skills so they have the skills to suceed in algebra and beyond. As a person with low vision, Dr. Rosenblum is able to share first-hand information with future teachers about the impact of a visual impairment on the lives of children and adults. Dr. Rosenblum has been a teacher of children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities in Pennsylvania (2 years), South Carolina (3 years), and Arizona (3 years). Currently she is providing family education services on a part-time basis for the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind. 

Dr. Neil Sharp, ABM Practioner, ABM Center, San Rafael, California

Neil Sharp trained as an M.D. at Cambridge University and Edinburgh University Medical School. He worked in the United Kingdom as a doctor before leaving medicine to pursue a career in music as an opera singer, musical director, and violinist. Neil began training with Anat Baniel in 2004 and moved to the U.S. in 2007 to work as an ABM Practitioner at the ABM Center in San Rafael, California.

Monica Turner, Field Services Representative, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Monica is a Field Services Representative for APH where she provides presentations on APH products, product exhibitions, and inservice events centering on students and their families. The American Printing House for the Blind gives serious consideration to ideas for products that improve the lives of persons who are blind and visually impaired, especially product ideas that support Core and/or Expanded Core Curricula, since both are essential to the education of students and clients who are blind or visually impaired.

Heather Withrow, Deaf Blogger, Artist, Coach, and Mother of a Deaf and a DeafBlindSonand Hearing Daughter, Austin, TX

Hearther is a former Teaching Fellow in Visual Arts at Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and studied Orientation & Mobility at Texas Tech University. However her most important credential is as a mother to two sons (one deaf and the other DeafBlind) and a hearing daughter.  Heather brings her personal experience as a parent and as a person who is deaf in thinking about how parents can support their child in becoming more active. She is also a dedicated blogger (A Mom's Musings) sharing her experience in raising Orion, her son with DeafBlindness.

Edited Transcript

Download edited transcript from the Impact of Stress on Brain Architecture and Resilience and What Harvard's Research Means for Children who are DeafBlind

Word or PDF file

Podcasts [Opening & Closing Keynotes and Panel discussion]

Select Video Interviews

 Deafblind Insights - David Brown

 Deafblind Insights - Joe Gibson

 Deafblind Insights - Suzanne Zeedyk

Podcasts [Opening & Closing Keynotes and Panel discussion]

Outdoors with and for People who are DeafBlind

Original webcast date: 3/3/2017
Description: Dr. Joe Gibson, Outdoor Activities Coordinator, Sense Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland Dr. Gibson was the opening keynote speaker at the Symposium. He discussed developing an understanding of some of the theories relating to the beneficial use of the outdoor environment and how these might apply to people who are DeafBlind. He shared practices of and opportunities for using the outdoors with people who are DeafBlind and different cultural ways of using and viewing the outdoor environment.

Downloads: Transcript (txt)

An Active Lifestyle - Two Experiences

Original webcast date: 3/3/2017
Description: George Stern and Andrew Cohen each talk about living active lives as individuals who have deafblindness.

Downloads: Transcript (txt)

Impact of Stress on Brain Architecture and Resilience

Original webcast date: 3/3/2017
Description: Dr. Judy Cameron, Professor, University of Pittsburgh and member of the Harvard Center on Child Development, Pittsburg, PA Science tells us that early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. Having responsive relationships with adults, growth-promoting experiences, and healthy environments for all young children helps build sturdy brain architecture and the foundations of resilience. The following key scientific concept areas and their impact on child development will also be discussed: toxic stress, serve and return interactions, executive function and self regulation. Dr. Cameron will discuss the developing brain and what research shows related to the impact of stress on this development.

Download edited transcript from the Impact of Stress on Brain Architecture and Resilience and What Harvard's Research Means for Children who are DeafBlind

Word or PDF file

Downloads: Transcript (txt)

What Harvard's Research Means for Children who are DeafBlind

Original webcast date: 3/3/2017
Description: Dr. Judy Cameron, Professor, University of Pittsburgh and member of the Harvard Center on Child Development, Pittsburg, PA Suzanne Zeedyk, Developmental Psychologist, Founder of the Organization connected baby, Dundee, Scotland Bernadette van den Tillaart, M.Ed., Deafblind Consultant, Ohio State School for the Blind, Columbus, OH David Brown, Deafblind Consultant, San Francisco, CA Robbie Blaha, Deafblind Consultant, Texas Deafblind Outreach, Austin, TX Following Dr. Cameron's presentation deafblind experts Bernadette van den Tillaart, Suzanne Zeedyk, David Brown and Robbie Blaha joined in a plenary discussion about how this information relates to individuals with deafblindness and what it means for us in interacting with these individuals at school, home and in the community.

Download edited transcript from the Impact of Stress on Brain Architecture and Resilience and What Harvard's Research Means for Children who are DeafBlind

Word or PDF file

Downloads: Transcript (txt)

Emotional Connection for Human Health and Happiness

Original webcast date: 3/4/2017
Description: Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, Founder of the connected baby and Research Professor at the University of Dundee, Scotland. What does emotional connection during infancy look like, and why are early experiences so important to later human functioning? In this informal workshop, Suzanne will use video footage of DeafBlind and non-DeafBlind infants to illuminate patterns of emotional exchange, exploring the biological consequences these early patterns hold for later development. This platform will leave us well placed to think more deeply about how the early life experiences of DeafBlind people, usually unknown and unconsidered, go on to affect the way they relate to practitioners, care-givers and families later in childhood and adulthood.

Downloads: Transcript (txt)

Select Video Interviews

Deafblind Insights - David Brown

Description: interview with David Brown, Education Specialist, California Deaf-Blind Services.

Downloads: Transcript (txt) Audio (mp3)

Deafblind Insights - Joe Gibson

Description: Interview with Dr. Joe Gibson Outdoor Activities Coordinator; Sense Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland.

Downloads: Transcript (txt) Audio (mp3)

Deafblind Insights - Suzanne Zeedyk

Description: Interview with Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, founder, Connected Baby.

Downloads: Transcript (txt) Audio (mp3)

6505 N Interstate 35 

Austin, Texas,78752

DoubleTree lobby01

A block of rooms has been established for participants attending this event.  You must make your own reservation no later than November 6, 2018 to receive this special rate.  If you are a family member  or invited guest attending the special family weekend workshop, Texas DeafBlind Outreach staff will make your reservations for you.

To make your reservation use this online link .

To learn more about this hotel and to get directions visit the DoubleTree website.

TXFocus18SMThe 2018 Texas Focus Conference welcomes vendors, exhibitors and poster sessions, especially those related to this year's focus on movement. Here are some of the things you should know.

Step 1: Submit the 2018 Texas Focus Request to Exhibit exhibit online. (Note: we are currently not accepting anymore vendors or exhibitors for Texas Focus due to limited space.)

Step 2: Register for the Conference and pay a registration fee if you plan to attend any sessions. 

Step 3: Send advertisement information and images to Kate Hurst at .

Payments should be made by check or purchase order to TSBVI Outreach Programs - TX Focus and mailed or emailed to TSBVI Outreach Programs, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, TX 78756

You have options for when and how long you are at a table during the Conference. These options are:

  • Friday, March 2nd (7:30 AM - 5:00 PM) only
  • Saturday, March 3rd (7:30 AM - 1:00 PM) only
  • Both Friday and Saturday, March 2nd-3rd
  • Saturday March 3rd (11:45 AM - 12:30 PM only during the special vendor/poster session breakout)

If you wish to sponsor a break or social event, we would gratefully accept your support.  In return we will include information about your agency, organization or business in our Conference Session Guide.  The size of the advertisements and contributions are listed below:

  • business card size for $50
  • 1/4 page for $100
  • 1/2 page for $200
  • full page for $400

SymposiumLogo2019 Texas DeafBlind Symposium: Resonance

February 22-23, 2019

Austin, TX


The presentation of awards to individuals whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the field of deafblindness and/or who have contributed to improving the lives of Texans with deafblindness is one of the highlights of the Texas Symposium on DeafBlindness.   

With our theme of "Resonance" in mind the following family members, paraprofessionals and professionals were nominated because they exhibit those qualities of developing security and attachment for early communicators and who demonstrate the skills of building relationships that support and enhance the lives of individuals with DeafBlindness. Please take time to congratulate these individuals!

JacquelineIzaguirreTrail Blazer Award

This award is given to a family member(s) who has, through their advocacy or efforts on behalf of their family member with DeafBlindness, blazed a trail that has made it easier for other families who follow. This year’s recipient is Jacqueline Izaguirre from Harker Heights, Texas.

Jacqueline, the proud mother of Patsy and her two brothers, likes to say that she "has been following Patsy's lead for 31 years." In 1990 she joined DBMAT, and a year later worked with staff at the Regional Day School for the Deaf to obtain one of the first classroom interveners in Texas for Patsy. As a member of the National Coalition for DeafBlind she served as an advocate in Austin and Washington D.C. seeking to have intervener services written into law. She has also served on the NFADB board, and is a founding member and president of the DeafBlind Camp of Texas.


RustyAlfordRobbie Blaha Intervener Award

This award is given to an intervener who has demonstrated excellence in their role of support to a child with DeafBlindness within the educational setting and whose efforts have contributed to the success of the intervener model in Texas. This year’s recipient is Rusty Alford from Cypress-Fairbanks, Texas.

Rusty has been serving in the educational field for nearly twelve years. He served for one year as a paraprofessional and another six years as a certified interpreter. For the past five years Rusty has served as an intervenor with Cy-Fair ISD. According to Rusty, despite his various experiences working in the educational field, "the last 5 have been my favorite, working alongside individuals who are DeafBlind."


AneishaWaugh1Community Intervener Award

This is the first time this award is being presented.  It is given to an intervener working outside of the educational setting who demonstrates excellence in their role of support to an individual with DeafBlindness and whose efforts have contributed to the success of the intervener model in Texas. This year’s recipient is Aneisha Waugh from Spring, Texas.

Aneisha has been working with individuals who are DeafBind for over 14 years. Her passion for work in the field of DeafBlindness led her to complete the coursework from Utah State University where she received the national intervener credential.  Aneisha is proud to be a certified intervener and says of her work with individuals who are DeafBlind, "I love working with both adults and children who are Deafblind. I enjoy building a bridge for communication, helping them gain access to environmental information, and developing a trustful interactive relationship with them."


KayceeBennettMarty Murrell Excellence in Education Award

This award is given to a professional in education who has made a long-term commitment to excellence in education for Texas students with DeafBlindness. This year’s award is given to Kaycee Bennett from Arlington, Texas.

Kaycee Bennett currently serves as Auditory Impairment Specialist and Teacher for Students with DeafBlindness in Northwest ISD. Her background in Deaf Education led her to support her passion of working with students with DeafBlindness and has given her a unique perspective in the field.  She loves creating better programming access and communication for these students and the staff supporting them. Her formal education in DeafBlindness has taught her many things, but she has learned the most from her students and their families!


McCormickAnn Silverrain Award

This award is given to any individual who has made an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of individuals with DeafBlindness in Texas. This year’s award is presented to Marina McCormick from Houston, Texas.

Marina McCormick, Region 4 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD) Coordinator, has served in education for 18 years.  Marina has supported students with DeafBlindness both as a teacher of the deaf and as a special education administrator.  She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston where her research focuses on statewide professional learning efforts and the potential impact on teachers’ confidence for supporting students with DeafBlindness. 



Embassy Suites Austin Arboretum

9505 Stonelake Boulevard, Austin, Texas,78759

USATEL: +1-512-372-8771

FAX: +1-512-231-4099

Participants at the workshop will be housed at the Embassy Suites Austin Arboretum.  All participants should make their own reservations; a credit card will be needed to secure the reservation.  TSBVI Outreach has reserved a block of rooms for $159 per night for single or double occupancy. Reservations must be made by March 18, 2016.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Austin Arboretum is just a short drive from downtown Austin and within walking distance of the Austin Arboretum’s shops and restaurants. Located 20 minutes from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, our Austin Arboretum hotel is close to dining and the business district.

Start your day at our Austin Arboretum hotel with a free made-to-order breakfast featuring scrambled eggs, pastries and fresh fruit. Unwind with complimentary drinks and snacks at our Evening Reception* in the open-air atrium. Enjoy room service, or indulge in regional cuisine at D.J.’s American Grill.

The two-room suites in our northwest Austin hotel feature a king-sized bed or two double beds, a refrigerator, microwave, wet bar, WiFi and two 42-inch HDTVs. 

During your stay at our Austin Arboretum hotel, enjoy our heated indoor pool and whirlpool spa, or recharge with an invigorating workout in our 24-hour fitness center. Take a short drive to Austin attractions such as the Austin Museum of Art, Sixth Street Entertainment District and Lake Travis. 

Walk to the Arboretum and discover fine dining and upscale shopping. Take advantage of our complimentary shuttle, and experience the rich history and culture of Austin by visiting any of the city’s many museums, including the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, Austin Museum of Art and Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. Children will enjoy visiting the Austin Children’s Museum and the Austin Nature Science Center. Rent a boat and set sail on Lake Austin or Lake Travis. Austin offers golfers of any handicap the ideal course and experience.


Contact Brian Sobeck at  or 512-206-9225.