TX SenseAbilities – Summer 2017 issue

Featured Article

Photo of artwork by Graham P

I Can’t Hear You, It’s Too Dark in Here

Student artists from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired exhibited their art in the fine arts building on campus and were listed as a studio stop on WEST, the West Austin Studio Tour May 20, 2017. Enjoy these creative works by students with blindness, visual impairment, DeafBlindness, and multiple disabilities.

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Family Wisdom

The Visual World in the Eyes of a Blind Child

A woman who is blind describes how her family helped her to learn about the world around her.

Making the switch to StarPlus: Here’s our experience!

A parent describes her positive experience switching from a Medicaid waiver program to StarPlus as her son reached age 21.

The Continuum of Decision Making Supports and Protections for a Young Adult

In 2015, the Texas 84th Legislature passed two bills establishing supported decision making (House Bill 39 and Senate Bill 1881). This legislation allows families who have an adult with a disability a continuum of decision-making supports that extends beyond guardianship. The author, a parent of a young man preparing for transition, shares four main factors families and self-advocates should consider when developing an individual support plan.

Texas Chargers: Our family’s journey finding a community of support

The author shares her family’s experience finding resources and connections through the Texas Chargers family organization.

Futures Planning Led Us to Touch Base: Center for the DeafBlind

The author shares her family’s experience in establishing a non-profit organization to provide adult services specifically geared for people with Ness.

The Possibilities Are Endless

A parent shares how her family finds opportunity for the Expanded Core Curriculum in her son’s participation in athletic events.

Life After Graduation

A young woman who is a TSBVI graduate describes her experience since graduation.

The Unexpected

The author shares her personal journey of understanding the unexpected challenges and gifts of being married while bringing up two children with disabilities.

A Family’s Participation in ECC Activities at Region 13

Parent, Fran Schafers describes how participation in the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) activities offered at the Region 13 Educational Service Center impacted her family.

Behind a Closed Door: Ava’s DeafBlind Ability Statement

A young author, who is DeafBlind as the result of Usher Syndrome, shares a poem she wrote for a school assignment where she was encouraged to express her abilities in artwork.

Parker’s Poems

Parker, who will be a second grader school year 2017-2018, is a dual media learner. Parker’s mom shares that he loves technology, karate, and writing funny poems and stories on his Braille Note.

Letter from the TAPVI President

The status of the Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairment is described, including ways to get involved with TAPVI.

Tips for Home or School: Promoting Wearing of Glasses

The following Tips for Home or School can be beneficial to both families and educational staff in finding ways to help a child wear his or her eyeglasses. We are grateful for the Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project’s permission to reprint and encourage you to check out their other Tips for Home or School. All tips sheets are available in English and Spanish.

Tips for Home or School: Questions for Parents of School Age Children in Planning Transitions to New Teachers

The following Tips for Home or School can support families in preparing for changes in their child’s educational team membership. We are grateful for the Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project’s permission to reprint and encourage you to check out their other Tips for Home or School. All tips sheets are available in English and Spanish

Effective Practices

A Developmental Sequence for Teaching Tactile Skills

This article is a follow-up to “The Development of Tactile Skills” published in the last issue of TX SenseAbilities. It describes the importance of following a developmental sequence for teaching the use of tactile skills and provides another way of thinking about the progression of skills needed to be a proficient tactile learner.

An Administrator’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practices for Students with DeafBlindness

This article provides a guide to aid administrators in addressing issues and practices related to students with DeafBlindness. It specifically focuses on IEP development and instruction for students with DeafBlindness.

Adding to and Maintaining Your Instructional Toolbox

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.

Let’s Talk DeafBlind Eligibility: Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ article answers basic questions about student eligibility as DeafBlind and when it is recommended for a student to have a Deafblind label.

Paddles Up! Building a Dragon Boat Team at TSBVI

This article describes the creation of the dragon boat team at TSBVI and the skills that students must learn in order to paddle and race their boat. It also addresses the skills they needed to learn in order to work together successfully as a team.

Active Learning Approach and the Standard Curriculum

This article explains how Active Learning, an educational approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen, can be used to provide instruction for students with the most profound disabilities in both the standard curriculum and the expanded core curriculum.

Early Identification of Visual Impairment and Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

The importance of finding and serving infants and toddlers with vision impairment, and tips for sharing information with other professionals

Understanding Concept Development and Related Challenges for Academic Students with DeafBlindness

This article is a research-based examination of ways to understand the development of concepts by students with DeafBlindness. It also provides practical suggestions on how to teach and reinforce those concepts for academic students with DeafBlindness.

Ten Important Websites for Educators and Parents of Students with Visual Impairment

This article adds to the list of suggested resources for TVIs and COMS. It includes information on and links to important websites for VI professionals and parents.

News & Views

Check out these Websites

TSBVI Short-Term Programs: New Distance Learning Offerings

In this article Sara Merritt gives an overview on the new types of TSBVI's Short Term Programs offered using distance technology.

What’s New in Braille Math?

Efforts to train staff in Nemeth Code across Texas

Transfer of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to the Texas Workforce Commission Expands Opportunities

In this article, Mrs. Fuller provides information about the transition of certain programs from the Department of Assistive Services and Rehabilitative Services to the Texas Workforce Commission

The Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development Program

In this article Ms. Martin reviews the services provided by the Blind Children's Program

Developing New Distance Education and Training Resources at TSBVI

Distance learning technology and other innovations implemented by TSBVI are supporting the needs of teachers and learners with visual impairment around the state.

Working with Partners

TSBVI collaborates with many partner agencies and organizations to support quality education for students with visual impairment and DeafBlindness

What’s New in Short-Term Programs

In this article Ms. Wibbenmeyer shares what is new in the Short Term Programs.

Sensory Day at the Meadows Museum

Ms. Martin provides highlights of a group skills training at the Meadows Museum

Curricula & Resource Guides to Assist the TVI, COMS, and Families in Assessment, Instruction, and Adaptations in the Core Curriculum and Expanded Core Curriculum Areas

National Federation of the Blind Launches Ridesharing Testing Program

Organization to Monitor Uber, Lyft Efforts to Accommodate Service Animals

Texas Medicaid Mosquito Repellent Benefit Aims To Protect Texans

This article details the expansion of Medicaid coverage of mosquito repellent to prevent the spread of the Zika virus

A New Comic Book Supports Special Needs Siblings

Julie Averbach, 17, created a comic book that explores the experiences of being a sibling of a child with special needs.

Websites of Interest to Families