TX SenseAbilities – Spring 2018 Issue

Featured Article

Scout with her family

Lessons learned from Middle School

A father of a teen with visual impairment shares the lessons he and his family learned when his daughter attended middle school.

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Family Wisdom

Would a Service Dog Be Beneficial for my Child?

This article contains some basic information about the use of service dogs, therapy/facility dogs and emotional support dogs.

IEP Letter to Families

The authors, both parents of young adults who are DeafBlind, share their advice for parents being effective partners in their children’s educational team.

Dear New Parents of a Deaf and Blind Child

The author shares her personal story in order to explore the impact of labels for DeafBlind individuals.

Effective Practices

Maximizing Literacy Opportunities in Everyday Experiences

Gwyneth McCormack of Positive Eye Ltd. has developed fun, engaging and easy to use activities using buckets to bring stories and hands-on experiences to children with visual impairments. Students with visual impairments can explore the objects as they learn the topic or review the experience. The use of story buckets promotes the development of concepts and allows children to experience literacy in a meaningful and interactive way.

Recognizing and Building Abstract Thinking in the Child with Visual Impairment

This article explores how to identify problems with and help move towards abstract thinking in children with visual impairments. It was originally published on Marnee Loftin’s blog on

A New Paradigm

Anat Baniel is trained as a clinical psychologist, and as a dancer, and was a close professional associate of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais for over a decade. She is the founder of the Anat Baniel Method© out of San Rafael, CA, and Author of “Kids Beyond Limits” and other books. She developed an approach that uses movement to impact brain function. This approach is based heavily on current research related to learning and neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new neural connections and “rewire” itself throughout a person’s life. Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, author of “Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention” and director of the Pediatric VIEW Program in Allison Park, PA, is a leading expert in the study of Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) in the United States. Cortical Visual Impairment occurs as a result of damage to the area of the brain that processes visual information. Patty Obrzut is an Occupational Therapist and Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Michigan. Penrickton utilizes an approach developed by psychologist and educator Dr. Lilli Nielsen of Denmark known as “Active Learning”. The foundation of this approach is that all human beings learn through doing, especially in the earliest stages of learning. Obrzut trained extensively with Dr. Nielsen and was authorized to provide training as an expert on Active Learning. This article discusses some of the many parallels within each of the three presenters' body of knowledge and work.

News & Views

Strategic Planning at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The author shared information on the school’s strategic planning session to determine how the school will continue to meet its mission.

New Management in the Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development Program

The Blind Children’s Program remains committed to providing quality services to meet the needs of children and families while adapting to new managerial changes.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Students with Disabilities

In this article, Ms. Winkenwerder describes the impact of Vocational Rehabilitation in her life and the federal changes that will create new opportunities for students with disabilities.

Texas Education Agency Updates

In this article, Dr. DePountis discusses how TEA has improved identification, evaluation and services for students and their work with individuals both within and outside the agency to support the unique needs of students who are blind and visually impaired.

Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome Suffer Serious Visual Impairment

This article shares information from two studies confirming that 100% of Brazilian infants with confirmed and suspected Zika were born with visual impairments.

Resources of Interest