TX SenseAbilities – Fall 2023 Issue

Featured Article

Adultos y estudiantes cruzan una calle durante una marcha del Día del Bastón Blanco sosteniendo letreros que dicen “Yes I Can!” (Sí puedo).

History and Importance of the White Cane: Both a Tool and a Symbol

The author describes the history of White Cane Day and why the white cane is both an important tool for individuals who are blind or visually impaired as well as a symbol of their independence. A list of White Cane Day celebrations in Texas is also included. Image: Students and staff cross the street during the 2022 White Cane Day march in Austin.

Family Wisdom

Bringing Home the Family Engagement Priorities: Part 1

Continuing with the TX SenseAbilities focus on the Family Engagement Report, this article shares the first three state priorities intended to drive the work of providers as they partner with families in navigating supports and systems. For more details on the Family Engagement Report, please see the entire 2023 Special Issue of TX SenseAbilities on Family Engagement: Lessons Learned From Our Families published in August 2023.

Going with the Flow: Supporting Henry’s Language Journey

The author shares her family’s decision to give their son with CHARGE Syndrome early access to sign language. She also describes how they followed his lead as he gained confidence in making his own communication mode preferences.

What I Wish My Parents Had Known

A lawyer who is blind shares her keynote speech that was given at the National Parents of Blind Children 2021 Conference. She reflects on wisdom gained growing up as a Palestinian refugee, going to college, building her own community, and being a parent of children with disabilities while working for a large federal agency. We invite the reader to consider the Family Engagement Report priorities while learning from the presenter’s personal perspective and her advice for other families.

Seeing a Life of Service

First printed in Accent West Magazine in January 2023 (reprinted with permission), this article describes the journey of a young man who loses his vision but continues to focus his life on serving others.

Meet Your Family Organizations for the Blind, Low Vision, and Deafblind Communities

Being part of a family engagement network is a powerful way to learn while being encouraged, mentored, and inspired. We are fortunate to have many family organizations active at both the state and national levels on issues important to our communities. Following are the state and national organizations of families with children and young adults who are blind, low vision, and deafblind.

Effective Practices

Continuing Collaboration: Advice for the Rest of the School Year for TSVIs

Emily Leeper continues her series of articles on collaboration skills for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVIs). In this issue, she provides suggestions for maintaining relationships and communication with educational team members that can ultimately lead to more effective collaboration between the TSVI and students’ teachers.

The Role of Vision Professionals for Students with a Visual Impairment Under Section 504

The authors provide information regarding 504 services for students with visual impairments, including the role of the vision professional as a 504 committee member.

Wrapping Your Mind Around the Brain

Anyone interested in how children learn should understand how teaching impacts the brain and how the brain influences learning. The author provides examples of the importance for vision professionals to learn more about the brain. She also provides resources for study.

News & Views

Inclusion: The Buzz Word that Always Matters

Superintendent Emily Coleman tackles the topic of inclusion, discussing the importance of inclusive education and ways to include marginalized students in both large and small ways. She also describes how TSBVI strives to provide inclusive education for all students.

Empowering Blind and Visually Impaired Students: The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Summer Programs

The principal of TSBVI’s Summer Programs shares information about skills and activities addressed during the Summer Program classes of 2023, including those of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).

Synthesis, Sound Design, and The Semi-Modulars

The author describes a program he created at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to teach students about music, sound design, and synthesis. The group of students in this class formed a band called The Semi-Modulars. The Semi-Modulars play in the community and have created and released five albums of original music through the years.

Seedlings Braille Books for Children