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Basic Skills for Community Living: A Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities

by  Nancy Levack, Susan Hauser, Lauren Newton, and Pat Stephenson, Editors
© TSBVI 1996/1997 Edition - 400 pages Order # 59427BSP
Also available on disk - MAC or DOS (textfiles-no forms) Order # 59427BSD
Note: This curriculum is sold unbound and printed on 3-hole punched 8 1/2 x 11 paper ready for a ring binder.

Table of Contents for this book.
Companion Books

Designed for students at TSBVI who are between the ages of 6 and 22 who have visual impairments combined with other disabilities, such as hearing impairments or dual sensory impairments and/or severe developmental delays.

It is particularly designed for students who learn best within highly structured routines and who have great difficulty generalizing what they learn to new situations.

  • Functional activities from the domestic, recreation/leisure, and vocational domains, with infused skills training in social interactions (including communication) and emotional development, sensory and motor development, basic concepts, and representation/cognition
  • Assessment procedures


Basic Skills for Community Living: Activity Routines

by Pat Stephenson
© TSBVI Revised 2008 - 230 pages Order # 59428BSA, or textfile - Order # 59428AD

A companion book to Basic Skills for Community Living for the domestic, recreation/leisure, and vocational domains, including activity routine discrepancy analysis forms preprinted with routine steps with permission to copy. The routines are sold unbound and printed on 3-hole punched 8 1/2 x 11 paper ready for a ring binder.


Contents of Basic Skills for Community Living: A Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities

by Nancy Levack, Susan Hauser, Lauren Newton, and Pat Stephenson (Eds.)

Part One: The Overall Program

Chapter 1: Overview

  • Intended Population
  • Philosophy
    • The Role of Community-Based Instruction
    • The Transdisciplinary Approach to Programming
  • The Continuum of Programming at TSBVI
  • Curriculum Content
    • Functional Activities
    • Developmental Skills
    • How to Integrate Functional Activities and Developmental Skills in Programming


Chapter 2: Assessing the Student

  • Who Should Assess
  • How to Do an Assessment in Preparation for an ARD Meeting
    • Assessments to Be Done by the Classroom Teacher
    • Other Teacher Activities for the Pre-ARD Meeting
    • Assessments to Be Done by the Residential Instructor
    • Assessments to be Done by Support Staff
    • Assessments to Be Done by the Work Skills Teacher
    • Additional Assessments for Specific Needs
    • Timelines for ARD Preparation
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 3: Transition Planning

  • Philosophy
  • Guidelines for Transition Planning
    • Who Does What in the Transition Process?
    • When Students are 14 Years or Older
    • The Role of TSBVI in the Transition Process for Students 16 Years and Older
    • Identified Outcomes and the Student's IEP Goals
    • Making Decisions About Future Services
    • When Community Services Have Been Arranged
  • Guidelines for Completing the Individual Transition Plan Summaries
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 4: Developing the IEP

  • What is an IEP?
  • Drafting the Goals and Objectives for the IEP
    • How to Lead the Pre-ARD Meeting
    • How to Use the IEP Form
  • The ARD Committee Meeting
  • After the ARD Committee Meeting
    • TSBVI's Role When Students are Returning to LEAs
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 5: Planning and Documenting Instruction

  • The Daily Schedule
    • Suggestions for Planning the Daily Schedule
  • Lesson Plans and Data Keeping
  • Activity Routines
    • Special Considerations When Using Activity Routines
    • Activity Routine Discrepancy Analysis
  • Diagnostic Teaching
  • Writing and Documenting the Progress Report
  • How to Fill Out the Progress Report
  • Documenting and Closing Out the IEP
  • Documenting the Behavior Plan
  • Documenting Work Training
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 6: Effective Teaching Strategies

  • The Student's Environment
    • Arrangement of the Environment
    • Positioning the Student
    • Materials
  • Activity Routines
    • Developing a Routine
    • Using the Discrepancy Analysis
    • Scheduling Routines
    • Adjusting the Routine to the Student
  • Prompting
    • Forms of Prompting
    • Types of Prompts
    • Methods of Prompting
    • Timing of Prompts
    • Reducing Prompt Dependency
    • Fading and Shaping
  • Rewards, Value Sharing, and Reinforcement
    • Reinforcing for Motivation
    • Human Interaction
  • Behavior Management
    • Problems with Communicating
    • Physical Problems
    • Emotional Problems
    • Problems with Learning New Skills
    • Tuning in to the Student
    • The MANDT System
  • Adaptations
  • Factors Influencing Learning
    • Factors Influencing Visual Learning
    • Auditory Factors That Affect Learning
    • Other Factors That Affect Learning
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 7: The Role of the Residential Instructor

  • Responsibilities of the Prime Advocate
  • Assessment
  • Planning Activities
  • Planning and Documenting Instruction
    • The Daily Schedule
    • Writing the Progress Report
    • Student Notebooks
  • Safety
  • DO and DON'T


Part Two Content Areas

Chapter 8: Domestic Activities

  • Philosophy
  • Areas of Domestic Activities
  • Assessment
  • Using Activity Routines for Instruction
  • Teaching Strategies and Adaptations
    • Example of Personal Hygiene Strategies
    • Example of a Personal Hygiene Routine
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 9: Career Education

  • The Four Levels of Programming
    • Career Awareness
    • Career Exploration
    • Career Preparation
    • Job Readiness
  • Career Awareness Focus
    • Establishing a Work Routine
    • Introduction of Work Tasks
    • Introduction of Money
    • Self-Management of Routine
    • Site Rotation and Documentation
  • Career Exploration Focus
    • Increase of Tolerance and Stamina
    • Expanding Work Routine
    • Increasing Task Skills
    • Self-Management
  • Assessment
    • Work-Related Activities Assessment
    • Parent Survey on Student Preferences
  • Documentation
    • Career Portfolio
    • Resume of Work Training Experience
    • Career Education Report
  • Guidelines and Strategies
    • Selecting Training Sites
    • New Work Assignments
    • Routines
  • Additional Readings and Resources

Go to top

Chapter 10: Leisure and Recreation

  • Philosophy
    • Importance of Choice
    • Enhancing the Student's Image
    • Importance of Age-Appropriate Activities
    • Building Self-Esteem Through Leisure
  • Assessment
    • Planning/Observation
    • Determining the Student's Strengths
    • Survey of Interests
    • Brainstorming
    • Determination of Needs
  • IEP Recommendations
  • Criteria for Selecting Skills
  • Choosing Goals and Skills
  • Writing IEP Goals and Objectives
  • Instruction
    • What To Teach
    • How To Teach
    • Activity Routines
    • Problem Solving
    • Maintaining a Resume of Recreation/Leisure Activities
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 11: Communication

  • Philosophy
  • The Model for Teaching Communication
  • Major Goal Areas for Communication Programming
  • Principles for Selecting Goals and Objectives in Communication
    • Selecting Objectives
    • Before Teaching a New Skill
    • Communicative Form
    • Communicative Function
  • Selecting Contexts for Teaching Communication
    • Teaching Communication as an Infused Objective
    • Teaching Communication as a Primary Objective
  • General Approaches to Teaching Communication
    • Van Dijk Methods
    • Joint Action Routines
    • Hanen Techniques/Ecological Communication System
    • Unit Teaching
    • Incidental Teaching
  • Selecting the Best Method for Your Student
  • A Standard Tactile Symbol System
    • Who Can Use Tactile Symbols?
    • Why Would a Student Use Tactile Symbols?
    • How the Symbols Have Been Used
    • Considerations in Developing a Tactile Symbol System
    • Conclusion
  • Strategies Related to Communicative Form
    • Forms for Communication are Limited
  • Transitioning to Higher Form Levels
    • Transition from Object Symbols to Pictures
    • Transition from Objects to Tactile Symbols (for Totally Blind Students)
    • Transition from Physical Manipulation to Gesture
  • Developing Social Interactive Skills
    • Establishing Primary Relationships
    • Maintaining Interaction by Actively Participating
    • Initiating Interaction
    • Terminating Interactions or Rejecting Materials Appropriately
    • Responding to or Using Questions
  • Developing and Expanding Communicative Functions
    • Intentional Requesting or Rejecting
    • Making Choices
    • Requesting or Labeling
  • Developing Communicative Content
    • Topics for Interaction and Communication are Limited
    • Expanding Meaning Categories
  • Additional Readings and Resources


Chapter 12: Calendars

  • Philosophy
  • How to Use Calendars to Teach Skills
    • Cognition
    • Communication
    • Time Concepts
    • Social Development
  • Common Characteristics of All Calendars
  • Components of a Calendar
    • Symbols
    • Framework of the Calendar Design
    • Differentiated Time Intervals
    • Routines for the Daily Calendar
    • Routines for the Weekly or Multi-Weekly Calendar
    • Group Calendar vs. Individual Calendar
    • Dialogue
  • Types of Calendars
    • Anticipation Systems
    • Calendar Boxes with Objects
    • Two-Dimensional Calendars with Symbols and/or Pictures
    • Weekly Calendars
    • Multi-Weekly or Monthly Calendars
  • General Guidelines for Effective Implementation of Calendars
  • Additional Readings and Resources

Chapter 13: Social Skills and Behavior Management

  • Social Emotional Skill Development
    • Assessment and Goal Selection
    • Intervention
    • Social Skills Assessment Form
    • Annual Report of Social Skills
  • Sexuality Education
  • Behavior Management
    • Philosophy
    • Positive Approach to Behavior Management
    • Proactive Prevention of Behaviors (or Keeping Problems from Occurring)
    • Intervening After Behavior Has Occured
    • Strategies for Effective Proactive Intervention
    • Crisis Intervention
    • The Role of Stress and Anxiety
  • Formal Behavior Intervention Procedures
    • Assessment Procedures
    • Baseline Data Collection
    • Writing the Intervention Plan
    • Documenting the Plan's Effectiveness by Evaluating Student Behavior
    • Re-Evaluating the Plan/Strategies
    • Incident Reports
    • Summary of Behavior Plan Development
  • Additional Readings and Resources


  • Appendix A. Forms
  • Appendix B. Glossary


Assessment Kit: Kit of Informal Tools for Academic Students with Visual Impairments

Compiled by Debra Sewell, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
© TSBVI 1997

Go to Table of Contents for this book.

Total Kit - Order # 59433AKP (3 parts - 188 oz.) 

Order Form/Pricelist in DOC

Order Form/Pricelist in PDF

  • Part 1: Assessment Tools for Teacher Use Order # 59433AK1 (38 oz.)
  • Part 2: Large Print Reading Assessments for Student Use (use with Basic Reading Inventory, 10th Ed.) Order # 59433AK2 (37 oz.)
  • Part 3: Braille Reading Assessments for Student Use (use with Basic Reading Inventory, 10th Ed.); available in hard copy or on PC or MAC disk in Megadots or Duxbury format) Order # 59433AK3 (braille) (74 oz.) OR Duxbury or Megadots file Order # 59433AKD

Every itinerant VI teacher knows how difficult it is to get organized! It seems that this is especially true where assessment of academic students with visual impairments is concerned. The VI teacher needs to have quick and easy access to materials in print, braille, and large print. Often the student needs parts of several different tests, and every student has to be assessed in the compensatory skill areas, such as daily living, career awareness, and rec/leisure. All of this means that VI teachers find themselves spending hours of valuable time locating, adapting, duplicating, and packaging a wide variety of assessment materials for their academic students.

TSBVI Outreach Teacher, Debra Sewell, has compiled the Assessment KIT to help solve some of the most time-consuming problems associated with assessment of academic students with visual impairment. Parts 1, 2, and 3 feature tabbed sections in 3-ring binders to simplify using the necessary forms as needed. Forms contained in Part 1 are reproduced with permission from the original publisher to be copied as needed.

The Assessment KIT Part 1 provides you with informal checklists, suggestions for formal assessment materials that you may want to buy, assessments of compensatory skills, and evaluations of the student's environment:

  • Abacus skills
  • Braille skills
  • Calculator skills
  • Career readiness
  • Classroom behavior and environment
  • Communication skills
  • Concept development
  • Daily living and self-help skills
  • Family
  • Keyboarding skills
  • Listening skills
  • Math skills
  • Nemeth
  • Organization and study skills
  • Pre-braille skills
  • Reading skills
  • Science and social studies skills
  • Script writing
  • Slate and stylus use
  • Social skills
  • Technology use

The Assessment KIT Parts 2 and 3 provide you with informal reading inventories in large print and braille taken from Basic Reading Inventory (10th Ed.) by Jerry L. Johns.

Contents of Assessment KIT:Kit of Informal Tools for Academic Students with Visual Impairments

Compiled by Debra Sewell

  • Abacus and Fingermath Assessment
  • Abacus Checklist for the Counting Method
  • Administrator Questionnaire
  • Assessing Typing Skills of Visually Impaired Students
  • Assessment of Keyboarding Skills
  • Assessment of Script Writing for Low Vision
  • Assessment of Script Writing for the Blind
  • Assessment of Slate & Stylus
  • Basic Math Assessment
  • Braille 'N Speak Checklist
  • Braille 'N Speak/Braille Lite Checklist
  • Braille Assessment
  • Braille Checklist
  • Braille Readiness
  • Braille Reading Readiness Skills
  • Calculator Assessment
  • Career Portfolio: Student Profile
  • Career Portfolio: Student Self-Evaluation
  • Career Portfolio: Work Behavior Evaluation
  • Checklist for Differential Diagnosis
  • Checklist for Informal Evaluation of Pre-Vocational Skills
  • Classroom Variables Analysis Form
  • Cognitive Concepts Checklist
  • Community Evaluation
  • Community Profile
  • Concepts Checklist for Visually Impaired Children
  • Daily Living Skills Checklist
  • Early Identification of Language-Based Reading Disabilities
  • Educational Environment of the Receiving School and Classroom Evaluation
  • Elementary Nemeth Code Checklist
  • Experiential Concept Development Checklist for Visually Impaired Students
  • Family Needs Scale
  • Family Profile
  • Family Resource Scale
  • Informal Assessment of Developmental Skills Part IV, Language: Verbal and Written Language Skills
  • Informal Assessment of Developmental Skills - Social Emotional
  • Informal Assessment of Listening Skills
  • Informal Student Data
  • Measurement Assessment
  • Median Rates of Reading for Different Grades as Determined by Several Standardizing Reading Tests
  • Money Assessment
  • Observation of Relevant Classroom Behavior
  • Observation Guidelines
  • Observation Guidelines for Students
  • Operating a Braillewriter Assessment
  • Organization and Study Skills Checklist - Elementary Level
  • Organization and Study Skills Checklist - Secondary Level
  • Parent Questionnaire
  • Print Sizes
  • Reading Rates for Students Without Visual Impairments
  • Receiving Classroom Teacher Questionnaire
  • Reference Chart of Mathematical Symbols
  • Report and Recommendations for Assistive Technology
  • School Profile
  • School Questionnaire for Support Services
  • Science and Social Studies Survival Skills
  • Slate and Stylus Assessment
  • Social Skills Assessment Tool for Children with Visual Impairments (SSAT-VI)
  • Student Profile
  • Table of Approximate Equivalent Visual Acuity Notations
  • Tactual Skills Checklist: Exploration & Manipulation & Discrimination
  • Teacher Interview: Classroom Observation Checklist for Visually Impaired and Blind Students
  • Time Assessment
  • Vocational Skills Checklist

Assessment KIT - Parts 2 & 3: Large Print and Braille Assessments for Student Use - Note: For Use with Performance Booklets from Basic Reading Inventory: Pre-Primer through Grade Twelve & Early Literacy Assessments (10th Ed.) by Jerry L. Johns, ©Kendall/Hunt (available from APH)


You Make the Difference: An Educator-Oriented Process for Supporting High Quality Interactions with Students Who are Deafblind

by Craig Axelrod, Kim Conlin, Tish Smith
© TSBVI 2008 - Order # 59447 YMD

"Effective interaction helps dissolve the barriers between us. Through a mutual exchange of the deepest human feelings of togetherness, we share a world of understanding and hope." -- Dr. Jan van Dijk, 2007

As research continues to validate the role of interaction in attachment, security, relationships, learning and communication, the need for educators of students with deafblindness to develop their interaction skills becomes more apparent.  The interaction training process presented in this DVD will help educators learn how to improve the quality of their interactions with students who are deafblind, by changing their own interactive behaviors and by adapting the interactive context.  You Make the Difference emphasizes and addresses the following educator-oriented learning goals:

  • Understand the role of high quality interactions in early development.
  • Understand the challenges to high quality interactions with children who are deafblind.
  • Identify student-specific factors that impact interactions.
  • Recognize the components of interaction.
  • Analyze the interactions between adults and students who are deafblind.
  • Identify and implement intervention strategies that improve the quality of those interactions.

A Team Approach

Interaction training is most productive when the core members of a students team participate in this process together.  Multiple perspectives can help a team clarify adult/student interactive strengths and challenges, and enhance its ability to develop, implement, modify and generalize intervention strategies.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

A variety of instructional strategies are discussed and demonstrated in this DVD that reflect best practices for students with deafblindness.  It is recommended that viewers and, particularly, interaction training participants have a basic understanding of these approaches.  *** 

Accessibility Features

You Make the Difference provides optional audio description and closed captioning tracks.

Interaction Documents in PDF, Text and Braille formats are included with the DVD.

Minimum System Requirements


  • A 400 MHz or faster Intel-compatible CPU
  • A video card with AGP architecture and at least 4 MB of onboard RAM
  • At least 128 MB of system RAM (Windows 2000, XP, Vista users - 256 MB or more is recommended)
  • Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP, or Windows Vista
  • The latest version of Microsoft DirectX
  • A DVD-ROM drive (DVD discs cannot be read by CD-ROM equipment)


  • Mac OS 9 and above (OS X or higher recommended)
  • A Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 processor (G5 required for HD playback)
  • The latest version of DVD Player
  • 256 MB of RAM
  • A DVD-ROM drive (DVD discs cannot be read by CD-ROM equipment)

***  These TSBVI Publications provide information about teaching students with deafblindness:

© TSBVI 2008 - Order #47801OME (English) or 47801OMS (Spanish)

TSBVI is pleased to announce their new O&M brochure available in English and in Spanish: Learn to Move and Aprender a Moverse.  The brochure was especially written with and for parents.  The Learn to Move/Aprender a Moverse brochure provides parents basic information about orientation and mobility in an easy to access format. 

The brochure includes many images of children of all ages and disabilities, traveling with a cane and other mobility devices in an array of settings.  The Learn to Move/ Aprender a Moverse brochure provides parents information about what O&M specialists do, and how their child may be able to benefit from O&M skills.  The Learn to Move/ Aprender a Moverse brochure acknowledges that not all children need O&M at all times, and encourages parents to request an evaluation.
The Learn to Move and Aprender a Moverse brochures are packaged in sets of 25 brochures and are free (Shipping fees plus a $2.50 handling fee apply).  You can order by downloading the form and either mailing or faxing it back to TSBVI.

Learn to Move - Front. The picture is a flap that opens...

revealing the inside....

close the flap and turn it over...

In Spanish...

By Dr. Phil Hatlen  (2009)
248 pp. - Order # 59400HATL  or text file Order # 59400HATL

Dr. Hatlen recounts his personal journey in the field of education of students with visual impairments. In this insightful book, the reader gets a first-hand look at his life's work and the core convictions that drove his professional career. He shares his viewpoints on various topics that we face each day in working with students with blindness and visual impairments. In addition, he gives an historical account of the events that have shaped our field, and he leaves us with issues to consider for our future.

Some of the areas Dr. Hatlen discusses are:

  • Educational Needs of Blind and Visually Impaired Children
  • Placement
  • The Expanded Core Curriculum
  • Braille
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Students with Multiple Impairments
  • Mentors and Peers


Books purchased from TSBVI may be returned for credit or a refund subject to the following conditions:

  • Any book(s) returned must be in new and sellable condition. Books returned with stamps, marks, stickers, etc., in/on the book will not be accepted for credit or refund.
  • There will be a 25% restocking fee on all returns.
  • Credit or refunds will be made to the customer in the form of the original payment method within thirty-days for books in re-sellable condition.
  • A return authorization number is no longer necessary for book returns.
  • A packing slip, sales receipt or invoice referencing the original order must accompany the returns.
  • It is the customer’s responsibility to wrap and pack the book(s) in a protective manner.
  • Shipping costs and tracking are the responsibility of the customer.
  • Books must be returned by an insured, traceable carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEX, DHL). The customer is responsible for the return shipment until we receive it.  Books damaged in transit are not the responsibility of TSBVI.


1100 W. 45th St.
Austin, TX 78756

Customer Satisfaction Statement:

If you are dissatisfied with your book for any reason we will refund the cost, less the 25% restocking fee, providing it is in its original condition. We will only refund shipping costs if the return is a result of our error.


 EFFECTIVE February 25, 2013

Selected Anomolies and Diseases of the Eye

Table of Contents

This collection of eye diseases and anomalies was prepared for the Teacher of the Visually [Impaired], who may need a rapid reference for consultative and interpretive purposes. This is a web-based reference work. Each page includes related websites for additional information. If you would like a personal copy (without related websites), please see attachments below.

Most of the conditions will be found in school age or preschool children and youth. A few exceptions were included, since they occur commonly in the visually impaired population (e.g., diabetic retinopathy and presbyopia).

Every effort has been made to be accurate, concise and objective, however, it is recognized that there may be a variety of opinions among educators and eye specialists (particularly concerning treatment and implications). Each visually impaired individual is unique, and should be viewed as such; treatments and educational considerations must be designed to meet individual needs.

This Manual should not be considered a complete information guide. There is no substitute for a detailed ophthalmological textbook, and every Teacher of the Visually [Impaired] should own at least one. A reference list is included at the end.

Since medical technology and knowledge is constantly being expanded, several blank pages have been included in the back of this Manual. The user is encouraged to add notes or references as needed.

It is hoped that this Manual will serve the needs of Teachers of the Visually [Impaired] as it was intended. These persons are often the facilitators of success for visually impaired children and youth, and have historically been liaison agents between educators and the eye care professions. Perhaps this Manual will enhance those functions.

© 1990 Virginia E. Bishop, Ph.D.