Adding to and Maintaining Your Instructional Toolbox

Authors: Ann Adkins, Education Specialist, TSBVI Outreach Program

Keywords: resources, materials, teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI), certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS)

Abstract: This article begins a new series of newsletter articles describing important resources for VI professionals, especially those who are new to the field of visual impairments. Additional resources will be added in each issue with links for accessing those materials.

After conversations with many new Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS), as well as questions from more experienced members of our field, TSBVI Outreach and members of the TX SenseAbilities staff would like to begin an ongoing series of articles highlighting resources that are important for all of us to have in our educational and instructional toolboxes. This will be an ongoing series of articles, so if you don’t see your favorite book or reference, please let us know. We welcome feedback from our readers!

There are two important new publications that we’d like to highlight in this edition of TX SenseAbilities:

  1. Keys to Educational Success: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities This is “the comprehensive guide on visual impairments and multiple disabilities that (VI) teachers have been looking for!” ( It provides programming strategies to address the very diverse needs of a population that can be challenging, so it is also an important reference for special education teachers, educational team members, and administrators. It includes information about assessment, IEP development, instructional planning, and the roles of team members in relation to students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities, with key information on communication skills, literacy, orientation and mobility, behavior intervention, social skills, assistive technology, independent living skills, early childhood, and transition. (paperback – $64.95; online – $38.95; ebook – $45.95)
  2. Sacks, S.Z. & Zatta, M.C. (Eds.). (2016). Keys to educational success: Teaching students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. New York, NY: AFB Press.
  3. Nemeth at a Glance: A Math Resource, Grade-Level Chart, and Evaluation Tool
    This new book from the TSBVI Curriculum Department supports the teaching and transcription of the Nemeth Braille code. It is a practical resource and quick reference that will facilitate Nemeth instruction and improve the quality and quantity of accessible mathematics materials for students who use braille. A sequence for the introduction of Nemeth symbols, arranged by approximate grade level, is included, as well as a matching evaluation of Nemeth reading and writing skills. Additional information is provided on important topics related to math and Nemeth Code instruction, including the tactile skills needed for math (and other subjects as well!), concept development, early numeracy, the importance of collaboration among team members, braille formatting, and examples of using Nemeth Code within UEB. ($60).
  4. Cleveland, J., Bean, J., Bird, M., Kelley, S., O’Brien, S., Osterhaus, S., Sewell, D., & Torrence, G. (2017). Nemeth at a glance: A math resource, grade-level chart, and evaluation tool. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Some other crucial references for all TVIs and COMS (new or “experienced”):
  5. ECC Essentials: Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments
    ECC Essentials is the first comprehensive book on the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) for teachers working to meet the unique learning needs of their students with visual impairments. It focuses on the education of children and adolescents in the Expanded Core Curriculum by providing the rationale, suggestions, and strategies necessary to implement instruction in all nine (9) areas of the ECC. Each area of the ECC is addressed in a separate chapter, written by leading professionals in the field. Chapters also address teaching the ECC in general education settings, aligning the ECC with state standards, and integrating the ECC into the home and community. (paperback – $64.95; online – $38.95; ebook – $45.95).
  6. Allman, C. B., & Lewis, S. (Eds.). (2014). ECC essentials: Teaching the expanded core curriculum to students with visual impairments. New York: AFB Press.
  7. 2015 Guidelines and Standards for Educating Students with Visual Impairments in Texas
    This FREE document is the “go-to” resource for all things related to providing services for students with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities and/or DeafBlindness, in Texas. The primary purpose of this document is to provide decision-makers, including school administrators, educational staff and family members, with a set of guidelines and standards by which they can determine the quality of their programs serving students with visual impairments. It addresses legal issues and programming concerns, including eligibility criteria, evaluation issues, the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments (ECC), instructional requirements (including appropriate instructional time, accommodations, and modifications), roles, service delivery options, placement issues, and caseloads. Links to legal information and important resources are provided, and the entire document can be downloaded from both the TSBVI website and that of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) page of State Guidelines for students with sensory impairments. It is recommended that VI professionals carry a print copy of this document with them as they endeavor to address the diverse needs of their students.
  8. Expanded Core Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments (ECC): Resources for Evaluation and Instruction
    Another new resource from the TSBVI Curriculum Department, this book is a compilation of resources for both evaluation and instruction in all nine (9) areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). It is divided into sections for each ECC area and includes charts that list books, articles, websites, etc. that can be helpful for evaluation and/or instruction in that specific ECC area. A key is provided to indicate the intended population for each resource. Each ECC area also includes a section of General and Professional Resources, and a flash drive is included with the purchase of the print copy of the book. The flash drive includes all the information in the book and provides direct links to the resources. It will also allow for the updating of the resource information and the addition of new materials as they become available. ($50).Adkins, A. & Sewell, D. (2016). Expanded core curriculum for students with visual impairments (ECC): Resources for evaluation and instruction. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

COMING SOON! Look for the new update of Foundations of Education: Instructional Strategies for Teaching Children and Youths with Visual Impairments! The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is working to release an update to the original, groundbreaking textbook, an essential resource for VI professionals since 2000. We’ll include that information, along with other important references, in future editions of TX SenseAbilities.

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