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Serving Children who are Visually Impaired and/or Blind in Mississippi Challenges and Opportunities.

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Presentation on theme: "Serving Children who are Visually Impaired and/or Blind in Mississippi Challenges and Opportunities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Serving Children who are Visually Impaired and/or Blind in Mississippi Challenges and Opportunities

2 To be eligible for Special Education Services: Visual impairment (VI) including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. Same as IDEA Other students are accommodated under Section 504. Mississippi Department of Education State Policies 7219 09.pdf?sfvrsn=2

3 “Blind student" means an individual who is eligible for special education services or 504 services and who has an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the student's educational performance. This includes a student who: ◦ Is legally blind - Has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses or has a limited field of vision of 20 degrees or less; ◦ Has a medically indicated expectation of visual deterioration; or ◦ Is functionally blind. Who is considered Blind? MS-Braille Bill (SB 960-2012)

4 Environmental Vision

5  Characterized by bumping into things, visually missing door jams, etc. The person does not see the blank spaces. Loss of Visual Field

6 Reading Issues ucati

7 General National and State Policy Students who are blind or visually impaired require specially trained personnel to assist them in reaching their academic and vocational goals. These trained professionals include Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialists (COMS) or National Orientation & Mobility Certified (NOMC). Students need full access to accessible instructional materials at the same time other students receive them. Students need to develop a strong sense of Self- Determination and acquire the skills and tools to achieve their goals.

8 Services to Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired Currently services are prescribed under IDEA, Mississippi HB 638 (2008) and HB 960 (2012). MDE has no policies or procedures for serving students who are b/vi although a request has been made by the Braille Bill Advisory Committee that some be developed.

9 Our first step: Identify & register students with visual impairments

10 Some Data …American Printing House for the Blind (Federal Quota) Registered Children (2012/2013) ◦ Number of students with Legal Blindness =386 (different from child count) StatePopulation2013201220112010 MS 2,978,240386 324 219295 KS2,863,813 670669715 IA 3,053,787 483 484501

11 Estimated Data Different national data sets report either.2%, 1%, or 2%, of school population is Visually Impaired, depending on definition used. 2012 School Population in Mississippi = 491,078 students ◦ 1% = 4,910 ◦.2% = 982 ◦ MDE identified students in Mississippi was 364 ◦ MIRC/APH identified 386

12 The importance of identifying students with Legal Blindness Makes students eligible for the American Printing House for the Blind Federal Quota. 2012 Federal Quota allocation was $340.29 per student. 324 students X $340.29 = $105,069 If we had 1,000 students identified that would be $340,290

13 Why are students not being identified? Some are classified by other disabilities on the child count and not thought of as VI. Some are the class clown Some are poor students Some are doing okay academically

14 Next Step: Provide qualified teachers

15 Who are Qualified Teachers? (MS- BB) Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI), who are trained professionals having specialized knowledge and skills in the education of students with visual impairments. These teachers shall provide consultative services and instruction to blind or visually impaired students in the areas of communication literacy, daily living, social and emotional skills, academic support and career education.

16 What do TVI’s do? adapted from TVI‘s support the classroom teacher’s implementation of the curriculum for students with visual impairments. TVI's provide classroom teachers with adaptations and modifications as necessary to allow visually impaired students to participate in the appropriate instructional program. These adaptations may be Braille materials, large print materials, the use of low vision instruments, and/or taped materials. TVI’s provide consultation to classroom teachers to enable them to work more effectively with visually impaired students. Teachers of the visually impaired provide strategies and advice on vision-related issues, as well as communicating parent-generated requests. TVI’s provide resources and instruction to all elementary, middle, and high that have a student needing their service, as initiated by IEP. TVI’s conduct and interpret specialized assessments such as learning media assessments, assistive technology assessments, functional vision assessments. TVI’s instruct students in self-advocacy strategies that will help them gain access to the general education curriculum. These strategies may include use and care of assistive technology, skillful questioning, self-selecting appropriate seating, strategic skills for learning. TVI’s provide instruction in the general education curriculum. They may use modified materials and alternate strategies to pre-teach vocabulary, re-teach material, and help enhance the background knowledge of students in order to better prepare them for instruction. TVI’s provide instruction in the “Expanded Core Curriculum”. This curriculum includes a set of nine unique needs that are not typically learned incidentally by visually impaired students and need to be taught through direct instruction.

17 Numbers of TVIs (outside MSB) Currently certified/licensed = 16 Students working to become TVI’s - 6 Only 11 TVIs are currently working with students who have Blindness or Low Vision

18 Counties/Districts with TVI access Biloxi, Booneville, Cleveland, Columbia, Desoto, Grenada, Gulfport, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Lafayette, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Neshoba, Madison, Monroe, Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, Pearl, Picayune, Rankin, Smith, Starkville, Stone, Tishomingo, Vicksburg, Webster, Winston

19 Next Step: Order those Textbooks and Educational Materials Early Kim Esco will be discussing this process

20 Next Step : Get Appropriate Assessments National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) for Youth with Visual Impairments National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) for Youth with Visual Impairments

21 Who does the Learning Media Assessment to decide on whether or not to teach Braille? The assessment required for each student shall be conducted by a TVI and shall include, at a minimum, a research-based learning media assessment and functional vision assessment, and if necessary in the determination of the IEP Committee, a comprehensive assistive technology evaluation.

22 Braille is NOT obsolete!!

23 Who needs to learn Braille? Section 37-23-197, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows: 37-23-197. (1) Each blind student, as determined by the IEP Committee, shall be eligible for instruction in Literary and Nemeth Braille reading and writing codes which will sufficiently enable that student to communicate effectively and efficiently with the same level of proficiency expected of the student's peers of comparable ability and grade level.

24 Who needs to learn Braille continued… (b) The reading and writing media of a student with some residual vision shall be determined after a TVI has administered and reviewed the results of a research- based learning media assessment and reviewed a student's current reading and writing skill level in comparison to levels expected of the student's sighted peers as determined by the IEP Committee.

25 Consider Typical Reading Rates for High School Graduates Normal Vision-250-350 words per minute Braille Reading Rate – 115-150 wpm Low Vision Reading Rate – 7-75 wpm Audio Reading - 350-700 wpm

26 Dual Readers and those with multiple media Dual Reader – Large Print and Braille When to introduce multiple reading modalities for college bound students

27 Assistive Technology and Reading Computer Access Technology (JAWS, Magic, Window Eyes, ZoomText) Stand alone reading devices (Victor Stream, Sense, Sara, EMD [akaCCTV]) Other: GPS, Smart Phone Apps

28 What about O&M?

29 29 Orientation and Mobility… “[S]ervices provided to blind or visually impaired children by qualified personnel to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in school, home, and community;” Sec. 300.34(c)(7)(i) of IDEA

30 The 3 O&M Questions… Where am I? Where do I want to go? How am I going to get there safely and independently?

31 31 O&M Summarized from IDEA Includes teaching students the following: Use of existing vision Develop & use spatial and environmental concepts to establish, maintain, or regain orientation and line of travel; Use of the long cane (or other travel devices, including wheelchairs) for safe travel Use of distance low vision devices; and Other concepts, techniques, and tools. Sec. 300.34(c)(7)

32 Qualified Assessors Only certified O&M specialists are qualified to perform O&M evaluations ◦ ACVREP-certified O&M specialists (COMS) ◦ Interns practicing under an ACVREP-certified O&M specialists ◦ NBCBP – certified O&M Specialists (NOMC) There is no emergency, partial, probationary, or provisional certification in O&M. The VI teacher can complete a screening, not an O&M evaluation. 32

33 Who Needs O&M? Students with visual impairments are at-risk for needing O&M regardless of their: Age, including birth-3 Degree of low vision Physical ability Additional disabilities Familiarity with school and/or home 33

34 34 O&M Is Needed When Students Experience Changes in … Vision Visual demand ◦ Lighting conditions change  such as a darkened lecture room, hall, or auditorium; or  outdoors, such as dusk or night ◦ Visually complex environments  lots of details in maps or graphics  environment is cluttered

35 O&M Specialists Work: In isolation with students In home, school, and community environments Non-traditional hours Travel between students With limited supervision Administrators need to know about O&M services. 35

36 36 Limit Your Liability Students who receive O&M: Learn safe stair techniques, thereby limiting the school’s liability. Are able to play on the playground with less chance for injury, thereby limiting the school’s liability. Are able to travel with greater independence to and from the bus stop, thereby limiting the school’s liability.

37 Set up a Low Vision Exam

38 Who needs a low vision exam Any child who has residual vision that may be used for educational purposes. A Low Vision Exam is NOT a substitute for an Educational Assessment, it supplements other assessments A Functional Vision Assessment is conducted in a natural setting – like the classroom and is conducted by a TVI.

39 Where are the Low Vision Clinics? Mississippi School for the Blind Low Vision Clinic – Dr. Glenn Stribling ◦ Contact MSB to schedule an appointment Sight Savers of America ◦ MS State Department of Education K vision – screening failures state wide ◦ Special Clinics set up where needed ◦ to schedule a clinic appointment ◦ Private Low Vision Clinics

40 Developing an Educational Plan

41 Next Step: Set up an Appropriate Educational Plan with Qualified Teachers and Professionals Be sure that there is a TVI on the IEP Team who can address: ◦ Assessments ◦ Learning Media Assessment ◦ Functional Vision Assessment ◦ Need for Braille ◦ Expanded Core Curriculum requirements ◦ Testing accommodations An O&M Specialist needs to address O&M needs

42 Expanded Core Curriculum ( The Nine Specific Skill Areas listed below comprise the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) for students who are visually impaired: 1. Assistive Technology 2. Career & Vocational Education/Transition 3. Compensatory Skills 4. Independent Living Skills & Personal Management 5. Orientation and Mobility Skills 6. Recreation and Leisure Skills 7. Self Determination 8. Social Skills 9. Sensory Efficiency Skills (Visual Efficiency)

43 Compensatory Skills These skills include, but are not limited to: the use of Braille, large print, optical devices, tactile symbols, calendar systems and abacus; study and organizational skills; listening skills; concept development; the use of assistive technology and recorded materials; social interaction; independent living; recreation and leisure skills; and career education.

44 Brief Recap…..

45 For a Student with a Visual Impairment that means… Teachers who are qualified to teach them – [i.e. Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)] Textbooks and instructional materials that are accessible to them (i.e. large print, Braille and audio) delivered at the same time as other students receive their materials Assessments that are fair, accessible and conducted by someone who is qualified to administer and interpret the results Educational program that addresses their individual and unique needs. (Expanded Core Curriculum for student with Visual Impairments)

46 It also means…. Braille unless otherwise determined by the IEP team based on administration of a research-based Learning Media Assessment and Functional Vision Assessment (if appropriate) administered by a qualified TVI. Orientation & Mobility by a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist, unless IEP Team determines it is not necessary.

47 Given a good education, children who are blind or visually impaired become productive and successful! It starts with a dream…And ends with a job and a smile!

48 This session is brought to you by the letter “B” and … Mississippi Department of Education University of Southern Mississippi Mississippi Deaf-Blind Project Mississippi State University- The National Research & Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision Mississippi School for the Blind Mississippi Instructional Materials Center (MIRC) The Braille Bill Advisory Committee

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