Monday, January 24, 2011

A Case for Teaching Functional Skills

Hey everyone, I am so excited to share this article with you. I am posting it directly to this post. I share this one frequently especially with team members who do not fully understand the expanded core curriculum.

I think that once you read this, you will get it. I do not have the author. I got it from one of my grad school classes. This article is not written by me. Feel free to print it and share it. I hope it becomes one of your favorites, too.


My other brother Daryl
18 years old, TMH (30-40 IQ).
Been in school 12 years.
Never been served in any setting other than elementary school. He has had a number of years of "individual instruction." He has learned to do a lot of things!

Daryl can now do lots of things he couldn't do before!

He can put 100 pegs in a board in less than 10 minutes while in his seat with 95 percent accuracy.

But, he can't put quarters in vending machines.

Upon command he can "touch" nose, shoulder, leg, foot, hair, ear. He's still working on wrist, ankle, hips.

But, he can't blow his nose when needed.

He can now do a 12 piece Big Bird puzzle with 100 percent accuracy and color an Easter Bunny and stay in the lines!

But, he prefers music, but was never taught how to use a radio or record player.

He can now fold primary paper in halves and even quarters.

But he can't fold his clothes.

He can sort blocks by color, up to 10 different colors! But, he can't sort clothes; whites from colors for washing.

He can roll Play Dough and make wonderful clay snakes!

But, he can't roll bread dough and cut out biscuits.

He can string beads in alternating colors and match it to a pattern on a DLM card!

But, he can't lace his shoes.

He can be told it's cloudy or rainy and take a black felt cloud and put it on the day of the week on an enlarged calendar (with assistance.)

But, he still goes out in the rain without a raincoat or hat.
He can identify with 100 percent accuracy 100 different Peabody Picture Cards by pointing!

But, he can't order a hamburger by pointing to a picture or gesturing. He can walk a balance beam frontwards, sideways and backwards!

But he can"t walk up the steps or bleachers unassisted in the gym to go to a basketball game.

He can count to 100 by rote memory!

But, he doesn't know how many dollars to pay the waitress for a $2.50 McDonald's coupon special.

He can sit in a circle with appropriate behavior and sing songs and play "Duck, Duck, Goose."

But, nobody else in his neighborhood his age seems to want to do that. I guess he's just not ready yet.

Excerpted from: TASH Newsletter, December, 1987, page 6 CPSERRC

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CVI Resources

I have been inspired to post a couple of resources about CVI. This inspiration comes from organizing another workshop for occupational & physical therapists. We will have a breakout session on CVI. My colleagues have spent a lot of time learning about CVI and one of their main resources for understanding the unique characteristics of CVI comes from a book written by Christine Roman-Lantzy.

The second resource that I have is a nice read from TSBVI about CVI. The article is Cortical Visual Impairment: An Overview of Knowledge. Article link: I like this article because it gives you an easy snapshot of CVI. The Roman book is quite in-depth with information.

I have a third resource but I haven't figured out how to post it yet (soon, hopefully!). The third one is written by three of my favorite teachers for the visually impaired. They do a wonderful presentation on CVI. Perhaps I can snag one of them to write for me!

Again, I will post as I do with other CVI posts, the importance of understanding the unique needs of children with CVI. CVI is not a ocular impairment. It truly does have its own unique needs and it is important that therapists, general education classroom teachers and other members of the education team see the distinct needs of our CVI kiddos.

If you are unsure about these unique characteristics, see your TVI (or keep reading my blog). There is also a message board on FamilyConnect that I like as well. You can go to or here's the link to their CVI forum:

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DB-Link/National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness

This is a mega-resource for any family that has a child that is deafblind. I have used this site and its resources for several years. I loved it when I was a deafblind teacher. I am so excited to have seen it evolve into a family-friendly site with great resources for professionals as well. It really is a "one stop shop" for resources.

Check out their site:

What you can find on their site: Four tabs-for families, DB Link, personal development & technical assistance. Within these tabs are several resources including finding more information, conferences, publications, webinars, advocacy and much more!

If you have a child who is deafblind, bookmark this site (and my blog:) to your favorites. Good luck and keep reading my blog!

Under the Same Sun

I am inside all day due to the recent snow storm that hit New England so I thought it would be a perfect day to post some more sites & resources just in case some of you are stuck inside all day, too.

This one is called Under the Same Sun. It's a project designed to help people who have Albinism in Tanzania (and in other countries). Currently, my agency is collecting sun screen to send to Tanzania.

From their site: "Under The Same Sun (UTSS) Fund is investing significantly within Tanzania to improve the lives of Persons With Albinism (PWA) by establishing a well staffed office and resource center there. Our primary focus is on advocacy and education as well as assisting PWA to access external information, education bursaries, health care and other community supports available to assist with their genetic condition."

There is some interesting reads on their site. I will forewarn you that some of the material may be difficult to read. People with Albinism have been the target of some ugly human crimes. It was very difficult for me to read about especially because I have so many of my favorite students with Albinism. But it is interesting and inspired me to help be part of the solution and support UTTS's efforts to help.

The Braille Bug

I have a favorite fun site to share. It's the Braille Bug from AFB. It's a great site for several reasons: if you are general ed teacher, this is a great source for blindness awareness, if you are a newbie Braille reader, there are fun games to practice your skills, if you have siblings of your little one who b/vi, this is a great site....the reasons are endless!

I have to be honest, I have played the Harry Potter jumble quite a few times!

AFB also makes a book, The Braille Trail, which I love to use when I am teaching about Braille. It's got fun activities and explains Braille easily.

Have some fun and check it out! It's a great family site or classroom project site.

Do it at home: Check out the site! Play some of the games. You can change the colors of the site, write your name in Braille, learn about Louis Braille and read a special section just for teachers and parents. Have fun!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Another Resource for Braille Literature

I got this email from the Braille unit at work and thought it would be a good one to pass along....

Just to let those of know that this is another great resource for Leisure Reading materials for your Braille students. If you click on the links below you can search for specific books under either link. If you click on the first link which is the Home link for TSBVI, then click on Library and Braille materials, you can type in a series, author or title and find a downloadable version that is already in Duxbury. You can save it or open it, and it will come up in Duxbury. The files are all ready to emboss and it is free. No membership required.

The second link below shows a list of all book titles that are available in either BRF or Duxbury files.

This may come in handy for Summer Reading.