A school consultation is a personal visit to your program. School consultation can help you design more successful programming for an individual student. We follow a collaborative process by working with the student’s entire team.
At district/ECI program request, and in collaboration with the regional Education Service Center (ESC) consultants, Outreach staff come visit classrooms, ECI programs, job/community placements, and homes to offer our assistance in developing appropriate programs for your VI and DB students.
We are also available to provide consultation to programs serving transition-aged individuals who are blind or deafblind and who are not currently being served by a school.
Why do you offer school consultations?
Students who are blind, low vision, or deafblind are unique. It is not possible for any one professional to know everything about all the many possible ways in which vision (or vision and hearing) loss impacts a particular child’s learning. We pair our expertise with your team’s deep knowledge of your student to help figure out and implement effective educational practices.
How can I request a school consultation or training?
Complete the TSBVI Outreach Contact Form to choose the service you are looking for. We do suggest that you connect with the VI and/or DB specialist at your regional Education Service Center prior to inviting us for a consultation as they are much closer and often can offer assistance in a timely manner. We will also contact them before planning our visit so they can provide us with follow-through information.
What preparations will occur prior to the visit?
The Outreach team reviews requests for training and consultation on a weekly basis. We will assign an Outreach staff member to your referral. This person will get in touch with you as soon as possible to discuss your request, answer any questions, and determine a date for the visit. We will request specific documentation (which will be indicated in the “Consultation Preparation Checklist”) and may also ask the education team and/or parents to gather additional data using specific tools. This will help the OTR staff to make better use of time during the consult. We will also call the family and talk with team members before we come so we can come prepared.
What do you do using the visit?
A consultation visit typically includes a visit at the family home, and an observation period at school as much of a typical day as possible given travel constraints. At some point, usually at the end of the observation day, a gathering is held. The family, principal, classroom teacher, teaching assistants, support staff, VI/DB/O&M professionals, and all other interested parties are invited to attend this informal exit meeting. This is a time for asking questions, sharing ideas, and developing plans.
What can we expect after a school consultation?
After our visit, and depending on the request, you will receive written notes outlining our observations and highlighting some considerations. Ideas from the informal exit meeting are incorporated into these notes. This can offer a guideline for developing programming or suggest program modifications, alternate curricula or assessments, or respond to specific questions about this child’s unique needs. At times we will arrange a return visit and/or web-based meetings to help the team implement these recommendations and/or tweak the plan.
What does it cost?
The Outreach programs cover salary costs for TSBVI staff. We ask for district help with paying all OR ANY PART of our travel costs so the outreach program will be able to maintain its commitment to local programs statewide. In many regions, the Education Service Center consultants have been able to help support these costs. Even if a local district or an ESC is unable to contribute funding for travel, as long as TSBVI Outreach Programs has available funds, we will be able to come.