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Bringing Life Skills to Life During the School Day Ralph Cioffi, COMS/TVI & Lisa Okikawa, TVI Pasadena Unified School District Ralph Cioffi, COMS/TVI &

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Presentation on theme: "Bringing Life Skills to Life During the School Day Ralph Cioffi, COMS/TVI & Lisa Okikawa, TVI Pasadena Unified School District Ralph Cioffi, COMS/TVI &"— Presentation transcript:

1 Bringing Life Skills to Life During the School Day Ralph Cioffi, COMS/TVI & Lisa Okikawa, TVI Pasadena Unified School District Ralph Cioffi, COMS/TVI & Lisa Okikawa, TVI Pasadena Unified School District

2 Lifetime Skills: Where did they go? The development of lifetime skills have been removed from school curriculums for so many years - the pendulum has swung so far towards academics that VI teachers have had to squeeze out teaching life skills that students so desperately need. Outside agencies have promised to take them over but that is not always the case.

3 TVI’s Perspective Generally students are seen in a contained, academic environment. This doesn’t always give an accurate portrayal of their true personalities and needs. TVIs may see an entirely different side of their students in community settings. With observing community behavior, you get a better idea of your students’ true personalities.

4 Research States That... Teachers of students with visual impairments are the only collaborative educational partners with the skills that are needed to teach the ECC content areas or to provide the necessary accommodations for instruction in the general education curriculum. Several researchers have documented that children and youths with visual impairments have a lower level of self-esteem, are more passive, and experience greater learned helplessness than do other children (Sacks, 1996; Sacks et al., 1998; Tuttle & Tuttle, 2000; Wolffe & Sacks, 1997). “Promoting the Self-Determination of Students with Visual Impairments: Reducing the Gap Between Knowledge and Practice,” Martin Agran, Sunggye Hong, and Karen Blankenship

5 Functional Skills Programs In Your Schools Who has a functional program built into their curriculum? How many are thinking of doing it? How many of you can realistically do it? How many have an IEP goal that realistically allows time for that?

6 Real World Implications What happens when students exit the education system? Where do they go? How do they function? Why this is happening?

7 Establishing Effective Collaboration Experiences as an O&M Instructor: Functional skill building into O&M lessons. Pair skill building with what is happening within school in academic & social level. Connect to VI & GenEd teachers.

8 Responsibility: Effective instruction in academics is our primary responsibility. Personally – taking it to another level of engagement for students. Recall your own personal experiences in school: Who were the teachers that made the biggest impact on your life? What specifically was it & how did it impact you? All of us are adding expectation for students - none of us are doing it alone. Motivation - make it meaningful! Establishing Effective Collaboration

9 Establishing Effective Collaboration: Planning Planning periods led to discussion about individual student needs. Make time for needs in different area/students. Required academics were taken care of. Much of it was meaningless to students.

10 Establishing Effective Collaboration: Cooperation Parental consent Program specialist consent Classroom teacher consent Combine O&M Lesson + VI Lesson + lunchtime + collaboration from GenEd Teacher

11 Establishing Effective Collaboration: Needs Money (or possible sources of funding) We asked parents how they would feel about giving their child some money for lunch + activity. NO PARENT HAS TURNED US DOWN. Parent generosity was astounding. The amount of money students brought was way beyond expected amount. This is an indication that parents found this to be important.

12 Functional Skill Outings Literacy Component Students document in a weekly journal what they did on the outings and how it affected them on a personal level. Allows for recall, compare & contrast opportunities. Planning Ahead What do they need for the outing: money, a purse or a bag, BrailleNote, etc.

13 Discovery About Your Students As an itinerant teacher, you things about students that you wouldn’t find out during typical academic experiences: Classroom experiences don’t always allow for subtle nuances with totally blind students such as: One is left hand dominant. Observing their true personality.

14 Evolution of Students These experiences foster independence by: Being given an opportunity to make decisions Learning to self-advocate in a public setting Who else is giving these students these kind of experiences? We are giving them social experiences that they SHOULD be having but its very obvious that they are not.

15 Observations - Students Were Lacking planning, personal or organizational skills any self-generating activity an awareness of ordinary situations (social, emotional and functional) an ability to perform on a functional level compared to that of their age/grade level peers a connection between what they were doing and why an ability to see the big picture for themselves any sense of reality though they created an extremely vivid picture based on fantasy

16 Observations - Student Behavior Were used to being dependent that suggestion of independence is intimidating and throws student off balance on a social & emotional level. Extreme dependency This was due in part to the level of assistance in classroom which severely interfered with the student’s growth.

17 Students recognize how instrumental their VI & O&M instructors are in their development. Student improves because a uniform message of high expectation is being delivered from teachers, assistants, itinerant instructors AND at home. The TVI and O&M can deliver this in a way others might not be able to because: There is no preferential treatment; we treat them as if they were “typical” kids. Our expectations are that they will function in typical ways as sighted children do. We offer more objective viewpoints because we can be emotionally detached. This can’t be done well unless you are emotionally detached from the student. Observations - Results

18 Everyone other than VI staff comes with their own fears, anxiety and baggage about being with a blind child. Their own anxiety however, can sabotage the outcome. Overbearing classroom personnel can make students dependent on them. In turn, an adult that is not paying attention to this dynamic turns this into a self- fulfilling prophecy: TREATING SOMEONE AS BEING HELPLESS MAKES THEM HELPLESS!!! Noticing this allows you to create change! Observations - Results

19 Questions, Comments? Lisa Okikawa - OR Ralph Cioffi - Lisa Okikawa - OR Ralph Cioffi -

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