Easy Activities to Celebrate Blindness Awareness Month

October is a great time to focus our attention on what really matters. It isn’t the paperwork. It isn’t managing the bureaucracy. Nor is it finding the coolest new invention for people with visual impairments.

October is our time to educate the people around us about visual impairments. It is our time to celebrate with our loved ones, our students, and our peers who have a visual impairment.

Here are a few easy ways that you can educate our students’ community and celebrate their uniqueness with them!

How I set up my conference presentations to get maximum engagement

How I set up my conference presentations to get maximum engagement

During my first presentation, I was SO NERVOUS! I was 13 weeks pregnant and honestly could not tell if I was nauseous from the pregnancy or the nerves.


It was probably the nerves.

I want to take all of that away for you and share exactly how you can set up your presentations easily, without fuss, and get the maximum engagement from the crowd.

How to use an iPod/iPad in an area without wifi

You and your student get out to the community. You start your lesson. They are going to travel a route using their iPod or iPad, just like you practiced at their school. Only this time, they are going to actually travel the route and use the iPod/iPad at the same time! 

They are ready. 

YOU are ready. 

But the device? It won't work. You can't get the map to pull up out in the community because there is no wifi. 

Now what?! 

You change your lesson plan, of course. But, you didn't have to go through that strife to begin with. 

Instead of having to change your plans, there are ways to hook up your non-wifi device to a device with wifi and use it out in the community. 

You will need a device with wifi and a little know-how. If you provide the device, I will show you how to use an ipod/ipad in an area without wifi. 

How to Use an iPod/iPad in an Area without Wifi. 

Materials needed: A device with wifi that has a personal hot spot. This can be the instructor's phone or a personal hot spot device

  1. Turn on both devices. 
  2. On your wifi-device, turn on the personal hot spot. 
  3. Connect the iPod/iPad to the personal hot spot. 
  4. BAM! You should be able to use the iPod/iPad out in the community. 

This will use the data from the wifi-device. I would make sure that the wifi-device has a data plan that can withstand the data needs of the instruction. 

I know that is a super simple overview. For more information, watch this clip that explains it all in detail: 

 

2 Most Important VoiceOver Gestures for Orientation and Mobility

2 Most Important VoiceOver Gestures for Orientation and Mobility

Do you ever feel like you missed the Tech-train as it left the station a few years ago?


Now the topics people talk about are above your head and you feel like you don’t speak the language.


Yes. Yes. and more YES. In a recent blog post, we talked about hard it is to keep up with all of the technology these days.


For those of you who want to get your feet wet, but haven’t yet, this vlog is for you.

There are 2 most important VoiceOver gestures that you NEED to know. Everything else is based on these two. Also, if you ONLY know these two, you can get a teenager to teach you the rest of them while still being a confident O&M Specialist. #win-win.

3 Simple Techniques to Increase Your Students' Independence

There has been a 16% increase in children with disabilities over the past decade.


The good news is, Asthma is down. The bad news is, neurodevelopmental disabilities are on the rise. That's CVI, ONH, and Autism.

 

We, as educators, are charged with leading our students’ teams in the fight for their independence.

Collaborating with Your Students' Team Members

During my first year as an O&M Specialist, I had a student with multiple disabilities that I walked to the dorm after school. He was a non-verbal 13 year old male student with Autism. When I inherited this student upon accepting the position, he was using a Connecticut- style AMD.

 

It worked great for him for the first few months. Then, he started to throw it. Every day. He also started to hit me, bite me, and throw himself on the ground.

 

Not too bad, unless you are 22, have NO idea what you are doing, and have to get this kid across a community-college size campus right after his gentleman “recreation” time. None of those things were in my favor.

 

Never-the-less, I noticed that he no longer needed the full AMD. It was time to move towards a less restricted cane.

 

So, I suggested an L-bar for him.

 

His teacher adamantly disagreed.

 

In this week’s vlog post, I share exactly how I navigated the situation and how I approach collaborations with other teachers.

 

 

If you like this information, you will definitely want to check out the O&M for Students with Multiple Disabilities Study Group. 

The good news is... STUDY GROUP REGISTRATION IS CURRENTLY OPEN! (As of August 20, 2018).

In case you are wondering, Study Group Registration will be open until we have 30 people in each group. I fully expect them to fill up before registration closes in September.

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Planning Sessions

All too often, I see O&M teachers who once had a zest for their job get caught up in the “Not enough” story that we can start to tell ourselves. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough resources.

 

Where we once felt an abundance of life-giving energy, we now see it all as a sea of hardened concrete.

 

I know some people who don’t even attend conferences any more because they tell themselves that there is nothing more to learn. They don’t have enough time to implement their new ideas, so they don’t even bother.

 

Check out this video where I explained where most O&Mers get stuck and how to get out of the O&M rut.

 

My challenge to you today is to flip that switch. What if what we have IS enough. What if we can make miracles happen with what we do have?

 

For years, my planning periods were split into two 15 minute sessions in any given day. Now, I’m not paid for any planning time. It is all on me.

 

This is how I make the most of my planning periods, and how you can too:

  1. Brain Dump. At the beginning of every week, do a brain dump. Write down everything you have to do for the foreseeable future. Make this one list. One life, one list. Write down all of your upcoming IEP meetings, your client needs, your child’s dentist appointment, your taxes.. Everything. Break them down in to 10 minute tasks if you can. For example, 1. Gather tactile map supplies. 2. Tactile map layout. 3. Glue tactile map. Do this part with pen and paper if you can. If not, just a note in your phone will be fine.

  2. If you want to take an extra step here, you can separate them in either:

    1. TODAY, UPCOMING, and LATER; or

    2. I. Important and Urgent, II. Urgent, but not Important, III. Important, but not Urgent, IV. Not Important and Not Urgent (from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

  3. Choose 3 things to get accomplished this week. ONLY 3. Choose the most urgent and important at first, then move on to the upcoming or important but not urgent items.

  4. Every day, start at least one item on your list. Aim to accomplish it.

 

By being prepared for your planning sessions, you will cut out a lot of wasted time trying to figure out what to do with your planning session.

 

Then, you can start to see your way out of the O&M Rut, and be able to fit in time for other things.

 

Like data.

 

Just kidding. Like study groups, obviously. If you are ready to leave that O&M Rut behind and use your newly acquired time to help your students become better travelers, you are more than welcome to join the O&M Study Groups this fall.

 

In the study groups, we will meet 4 times over the course of the semester in live, interactive webinars. Each webinar topic will give you specific strategies to use with your students.

 

There are two study groups to choose from. Head over to the website to see if you would prefer to join the MIVI study group or the technology study group!

 

Registration for the study groups opens next week! 

Collaborating with Your Students' Team Members

I had a student who was 13, multiple impairments, no verbal communication, and using an AMD. 

Every lesson, he would hit, bite, and scratch me all the way from his classroom to his dorm. 

None-the-less, he was ready to move away from the traditional Connecticut AMD to a less restrictive device. I wanted to move him to an L-bar, but his teacher adamantly disagreed. 

Here are a few ideas of how to handle this type of situation WHEN it happens.