TX SenseAbilities – Fall Winter 2019 issue

Featured Article

Adulto con gafas posando con una camiseta verde del Día del Bastón Blanco y un bastón

Austin All-Stars Albinism Awareness Picnic

This article describes an event hosted by the author to bring those in the albinism community together on behalf of NOAH, the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.

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Family Wisdom

Discovering How to Connect and Communicate with My Granddaughter

This article discusses connection and communication between a grandparent and her grandchild with CHARGE syndrome. The author discusses the benefit of attending conferences and how implementing the “Triple C Concept” has improved her communication and relationship with her granddaughter.

Connecting with a Community: International CHARGE Syndrome Conference 2019

The author discusses her family’s experience at the International CHARGE Syndrome Conference in Dallas. Callie gives her perspective about resources shared and the wonderful community in which her family was immersed. She also discusses the special memories she was able to create with her family over the weekend.

Summer Send-Off

This article, compiled by a former Summer Programs Coordinator, provides information about Summer Programs 2019 at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Parents and students offer insight into the impact of their experience(s) with Summer Programs.

Usher Syndrome Coalition USH Connections Conference – Perspectives from a Parent

The author describes her experience at the 2019 Usher Syndrome Coalition USH Connections Conference held in Philadelphia this past July. This conference provides an opportunity for those impacted by Usher Syndrome to learn about the latest developing treatments from leading USH researchers while connecting with hundreds of impacted individuals, their families, and professionals serving the DeafBlind community. There were over 300 attendees.

Effective Practices

Documenting Progress in Active Learning

Kate Hurst explores the difficulties surrounding documenting progress for students whose educational team members use an Active Learning approach, a technique for teaching students who are learning skills within the range of 0-48 months in child development. She explores what documenting progress means according to IDEA, and offers simple solutions for measuring and reporting progress as exhibited by these students.

Considering the Impact of Social and Emotional Development on the Acquisition of Braille Skills

In this article, Scott Baltisberger offers teachers and parents ideas for alternate routes to take when braille instruction isn’t going well.

Accessing Self-Determination Through a Creative Process

The authors describe a process for creating an informative product which will support students with low vision in advocating for visual needs in the home, school, and community.

What is Specially Designed Instruction for Students with Visual Impairments? Part 2

The Summer 2019 issue of TX SenseAbilities introduced an article on specially designed instruction (SDI) for students with visual impairments. The excerpt below explains the first component of IDEA's mandate, adapting the content, and how it may differ for students with visual impairments. The other two components of SDI, adapting the methodology and the delivery of instruction (IDEA § 300.39 (b)(3).), will be featured in future issues of this newsletter. Dr. Gray’s entire article can be viewed at

News & Views

The Texas Perspective

Superintendent Emily Coleman shares her insights and introduces Kate Borg, newly appointed TSBVI Outreach Director.

Success Stories of the Texas Workforce Commission’s Summer Earn and Learn Initiative

The Texas Workforce Commission’s Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) Initiative provides work readiness skills training and work experiences for students who are blind and visually impaired. Employers who participated in SEAL also benefited by becoming aware of how a person with a disability can contribute to the production and goals of their business.

Navigate Life Texas Website

The Navigate Life Texas website is a valuable resource for parents of children with disabilities.

Announcing: Tomás and the Case of the Mysterious Missing Dog

The authors describe a new book and video available as free downloads from the Publications page of the TSBVI website. Created for elementary students, Tomas relates how a young student uses his low vision devices to join friends in the search for his missing dog. Teaching strategies and accessible drawings are also provided.

Texas Fellows