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Helping Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired Own Their Independence in Any Environment By Lea Ann Myers, O&M Specialist and Nancy Niebrugge, AVP.

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Presentation on theme: "Helping Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired Own Their Independence in Any Environment By Lea Ann Myers, O&M Specialist and Nancy Niebrugge, AVP."— Presentation transcript:

1 Helping Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired Own Their Independence in Any Environment By Lea Ann Myers, O&M Specialist and Nancy Niebrugge, AVP of Programs & Services Braille Institute AER International Conference July 18-22, 2012 – Bellevue Washington

2 Why We Created Cane Quest *Saw young adults who had not independently used skills taught in school *Saw need for transference of skills learned *Some bright teens at The Braille Challenge needed stronger O&M skills *Saw that the motivational success of The Challenge could be replicated

3 It Puts a Public Face on O&M *It increases public awareness and parent involvement -Supports teaching textbook skills not always being taught -Helps parents see what skills are important and why -Generates interest by general educators -Demonstrated need for more ECC-based programs and practice -Helps address national trend toward restricting O&M services *A successful pilot at our OC Center gave us inspiration

4 Pilot Project in Orange County, 2007 6 high school students 3 male, 3 female All totally blind BIA campus Instructions in braille 8 O&M instructors 2 volunteers, 1 staff member Supported by:

5 Checkpoints & Instructions *Developed concept of having O&M checkpoints, giving students a score for each skill observed *Established what skills could and should be measured and the need for a consistent rubric *Learned how to create a route that Students could follow that would not be too easy, too hard

6 What we learned…. *Students were excited and wanted to do another competition SOON! *Excellent feedback from kids and O&Ms helped us create a true event They Said-- -Too easy, make it harder -Wanted unfamiliar territory -Take if off campus We Realized- -We needed lots of O&M support -Needed an evaluation tool

7 Motivational contest with prizes and awards for 30+ Day long event, includes parents Grades 3 rd to 12 th O&M Specialists are trained to score skills O&M routes are pre-tested in community Mall travel included Simulated bus travel with transfers for oldest group What Is It Today

8 1. We are truly challenging the kids, but build in safety. 2. We Require an Eligibility Application, completed by O&Ms, so we know students have the skills 3. Prizes and element of competition is key 4. O&Ms love it because its a great assessment and teaching tool Key Elements to Its Success

9 *O&Ms have contestants in view at all times *Contestants are shadowed by a volunteer at all times for safety *O&Ms control all major street crossings, intervene whenever necessary Challenging Kids Safely

10 -Map out area to includes specific skills, such as certain street crossings, uneven terrain, etc. -O&M walk-through, draft instructions -Dry run with blind adults first, who then provide feedback on difficulty, effectiveness of instructions, etc. -Full staff committee walk-through -Shadow and O&M scorers walk-through -Routes reviewed morning of event for last minute issues -Terrain and overall difficulty scales upward by age Establishing Safe, Challenging Routes

11 -Treasure Hunt-style contest -On campus for Scouts in 3-6 th grades -Engages parents to learn basic O&M concepts and training -Kids guide parents under blindfold -All instructions given verbally to limit frustration and confusion -Earn coins for achievement, not a true competition at this age Treasure Quest for Youngest Kids

12 -Explorers in grades 7-9 master residential, light business and mall travel -Trailblazers in grades 10-12 master residential, business, mall and bus travel, including transfers. -Students follow audio routes using cardinal or directional instructions -Students are given a chance to self- correct, and are only offered assistance when they veer too far off course. Explorers & Trailblazers

13 -Not all students accepted -Screened for basic skills to be safe in this environment -O&M completes assessment -Skills assessed follow the general checklist used for scoring during contest -Assessment provides a guide for age-based benchmarks -Materials include contest rules and expectations, which provides a means for practice. Eligibility Applications Provide Safety and Assessment Tool Each of the following skills should be assessed on a scale of 1-4, with 1 representing poor and 4 representing excellent, and based on average expectations for a student at grade level. CANE TECHNIQUES Two Touch Technique 1 2 3 4 Trailing with the Touch Technique 1 2 3 4 Touch and Drag Technique 1 2 3 4 Shoreline/Guideline Technique 1 2 3 4 Three-point Touch Technique 1 2 3 4 Constant Contact Technique 1 2 3 4 Diagonal Technique 1 2 3 4 RESIDENTIAL TRAVEL Travel a variety of specified routes 1 2 3 4 Reversing routes 1 2 3 4 Travel around a rectangular block 1 2 3 4 Cross residential streets 1 2 3 4 Cross 4 way stops 1 2 3 4 Cross at accessible signals1 2 3 4

14 Trailblazer Residential to Business 1. Start at a corner of the block. 2. Line up facing east. 3. Walk three quarters of the way around the four sided block. You will be going east, north and then west. When you have gotten three quarters of the way around, verify this with your shadow. 4. Turn north, cross the street going north. 5. Continue walking north one block to corner. 6. Turn west, cross the street going west. 7. Walk west one block to a major street. There will be driveways to cross. 8. At corner turn south. Walk parallel to the major street. Cross an alleyway and walk to the corner. 9. Cross a small street parallel to the major street. 10. Walk to a major signal intersection. There will be a large driveway to cross before you get to the corner of the major signal intersection. Sample Route Instructions

15 Training for Volunteer O&M Scorers -All scorers attend training session before contest begins -Eligible for 4-5 CEUs -View video clips taken of adult walkers and together rate skills based on rubric provided -Goal is to achieve 80% inter-rater reliability -WONDERFUL opportunity for discussion -Textbook technique versus real life skills instruction

16 Sample Scorer Training Video

17 CSULA Professionals Developed Rubrics to Establish Scoring 1234 Arc heightAbove 3 from the groundN/A Below 3 above the ground Rhythm and pace Over steps cane coverage or shuffles, AND has unusual balance, unusually slow pace, or unsteady gait Over stepping cane coverage but the pace and gait are typical for walking and is balanced without breaking stride Not over stepping cane coverage; either pace is irregular or balance is unsteady; may break stride Not over stepping cane coverage; normal walking pace; doesnt break stride; balanced gait In-stepLess than 50% of the time50-75% of the time; and does not self-correct 75-90% of the time; and self-corrects More than 90% of the time Straight line of travel Less than 50% of the time50-90% of the time; and does not correct 50-90% of the time & self- corrects More than 90% of the time -Strict guidelines established to diminish subjectivity -Provides inter-rater reliability so data can be used for research

18 ER-1Appropriate cane technique1 2 3 4 ER-2Appropriate hand position1 2 3 4 ER-3Arc width1 2 3 4 ER-4Gait and pace1 2 3 4 ER-5In-step1 2 3 4 ER-6Straight line of travel (mid block)1 2 3 4 ER-7Maintain line of travel to locate curb1 2 3 4 ER-8Appropriate stance and direction at curb1 2 3 4 ER-9Sweep with cane to signal start of crossing1 2 3 4 ER-10Crosses at appropriate time1 2 3 4 ER-11Maintains line of travel while crossing1 2 3 4 ER-12Steps onto curb1 2 3 4 ER-13Locates sidewalk and resumes travel1 2 3 4 How Contestants Are Scored

19 Shadow Training -Some shadows are O&Ms, but most are professionals who work with students who are blind or visually impaired -Provided specific instruction on when and where to intervene -Essential for safety and parents peace of mind -View separate DVD that recreates scenarios they may encounter and how to respond -Issue of making sure they dont provide too much help.

20 Sample Shadow Training Video

21 Activities for the Day -Training -Registration -Opening Ceremony -Travel to and from routes -Staging of Contestants -Lunch -Scoring, debriefing, entertainment -Closing Awards


23 Competition = Motivation *Segmented by visual acuity using USABA acuity guidelines, for true parity *Kids enjoy testing their own limits, using skills only reinforced formally in school *Gives kids a way to compare their own independence and skill level *Provides a challenge for them to be independent, without the guidance of a trusted O&M, friend or family member

24 Humanware GPS system Sendero GPS System Medals Certificates T-shirts Lunch A day with friends, family Supported by their O&M Prizes = Motivation

25 Whats Next *Continue to fine tune our local event to create an event handbook, materials others can use and follow *Determine who is interested in hosting an event in their own region *Texas TVI held a pilot last spring *Interest expressed by Carroll Center, FSU, TSBVI, Connecticut Educational Services

26 What Else Weve Learned So Far.. *Some kids like braille instructions, but audio instructions preferable -better prepares them for using GPS -provides consistency of media for all contestants -if provided on a lanyard, Bookport is more hands-free -good introduction to digital players, digital literacy *Dispatching and timing for staging of kids, addressing passing on the route, everyone starts with residential to give them a warm up *Issue of parent involvement, too much or not enough – genesis of Treasure Quest, but dont include parents on older student routes. *O&M feedback helped flesh out rubrics, now have one for each skills tested

27 National Advisory Committee forming to evaluate how to export this program to other regions – Believe it can be repeated in other environments – Plan to identify core skills to be included in all competitions, with each regional creating metrics for their specific environment (for weather, rural vs. city, etc.) Data is being compiled by CSULA Hopes for longitudinal study Student surveys, O&M debrief sessions, and contestant performance analysis will tell us perceptions versus actual abilities; diversity of range of skills by age, etc. Hope to benchmarks what skills are appropriate at what age and impact of different instructional strategies May include a low vision route, testing different skills (monocular) Whats Next

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