New Device to Help with Traveling

A student from Wake Forest has invented a device, about the size of a watch, which uses sonar technology to detect objects.

Read more here: Helping the Blind

Thanks to a fellow member for finding this article!

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Got Cane?

A group of people with canes walking outside.

Did you know your student may receive a free straight cane as often as every six months? The National Federation for the Blind has a Free White Cane Program. This is a great way to put those writing skills to the test. Have your student complete the application form and become self-sufficient for one piece of necessary equipment.

Find out more at: https://nfb.org/free-cane-program

Assistive Technology Conference

I attend this event every year. If you are close, consider printing the free pass and visiting the vendor hall. There are so many products for people with vision loss. It is truly amazing. Another great experience is the shear number of individuals with vision loss at the conference. It is a great way to introduce students to successful adults who happen to be blind. Sometimes you will see guide dogs, sometimes canes, and every once in a while a guide horse! 

 

ATIA 2015 Orlando

Dear Friends of ATIA and Florida Residents:

 

I’m writing to ask for your help. As Chief Executive Officer of ATIA and formerly an AT Specialist in K-12 schools, I know first-hand the challenges that assistive technology professionals, teachers and parents face every day. At ATIA, we have made it our mission to provide first-class education, as well as networking opportunities, during our annual conference to help you meet these challenges.

 

This year, as in previous years, I want to make a special appeal to our attendees and local organizations to help spread the word about the conference. The more of us who attend, the more opportunities we have to learn from one another and build our networks.

 

Help Us Spread the Word

We want ATIA 2015 to be our best event yet. This year’s conference marks our 15th anniversary, giving us a unique opportunity to reflect on how far the world of assistive technology has come in just 15 years.

 

Let’s build on this progress. Here’s how you can help spread the word:

1. Forward this message to other organizations and your peers.

2. Send a note home to parents and caregivers, encouraging them to attend the conference. Print and include the free Exhibit Hall Pass with the note (see below for more information).

3. Organize a field trip for a group to attend the conference.

4. Ask your school or organization to post the conference on its calendar and website.

 

Take Advantage of Special Discounts

 

The ATIA Exhibit Hall is FREE to all attendees. Our goal is to enable consumers, families, caregivers and professionals who cannot afford to attend the full conference the ability to see and experience the latest AT tools and services. We know that informed decisions are critical; understanding which technology is most beneficial is not always an easy task. By attending the Exhibit Hall, we can help people better understand the power of AT. In the end, this will make all of our work more effective and save so much time and energy so that we can always focus on what’s most important.

 

Click here to download the free Exhibit Hall Pass.

 

ATIA Offers a 50% Discount on Registration! We want to provide an affordable opportunity to learn about the latest in assistive technology. Parents of children with disabilities and students can take advantage of 50% off the full conference registration fee.

 

Learn More and Join Us

 

Register for ATIA 2015 today! You can also visit our conference webpage for quick links to exhibitor information, the full session directory, pre-conference seminars descriptions and more.

We hope to see you at ATIA 2015!

Sincerely,

David Dikter
CEO, ATIA

ceo@atia.org

Teaching Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired and/or Providing Orientation and Mobility Services for Those Children

Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Illinois) offers a nationally regarded program at the graduate level for individuals who wish to join a rewarding career in teaching children who are blind or visually impaired. Teachers of students who are visually disabled generally travel from school to school working with the students on a one-to-one basis. The vast majority of students who are visually disabled attend their local schools with their sighted peers in the same classrooms as their sighted friends. The special education teachers who provide instruction for children who are blind or visually impaired work with their regular classroom teachers to insure that the youngsters receive the best and most appropriate education designed for them. There is an overwhelming need for these teachers. As a consequence, there are many job opportunities in all regions of the United States. Individuals who choose this career path can anticipate having no difficulty obtaining life-long employment with great job security! In addition to numerous job opportunities, good pay, and excellent job security, individuals who choose this career path experience a sense of fulfillment not commonly found in other careers. These teachers play a significant role in the lives of youngsters who are blind and their families.

Generous student financial assistance is available. They will pay all instate or out-of-state tuition, all fees, health insurance, and a stipend of $5,200 per calendar year for qualified individuals who wish to come to Northern Illinois University to enroll in the graduate program focusing on special education for children who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, go to the following web site to read about the program.
www.vision.niu.edu
Also, go to the following Youtube links
http://youtu.be/UHmpASpzCKA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxgVXY5jg7o

Interested individuals can contact the project director, Gaylen Kapperman, at the following e-mail:
gkapperman@niu.edu
Or by calling 815-753-8453

Admissions requirements are as follows:
Online application with a fee of $40
GRE scores of 30%tile verbal and 30%tile quantitative ($160 fee)
Official transcripts of all previous academic work
GPA of 2.8
ACT score of 22 or successful completion of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)
Three letters of recommendation
Personal statement
The link to the online application process for the Graduate School can be found on the page,www.vision.niu.edu.

This is not an online program. All courses except for student teaching and the orientation and mobility internship are taken on campus in DeKalb, Illinois, the home of Northern Illinois University.

Depending on the credentials held by a program applicant, a master’s degree and eligibility for licensure for teaching children who are blind or visually impaired, or a master’s degree and eligibility for national certification as an orientation and mobility specialist, may be completed in 16 months. A master’s degree and completion of both programs (dual certification), resulting in eligibility for licensure as a teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired and eligibility for national certification as an orientation and mobility specialist, may be completed in 22 months; we encourage applicants to consider dual certification because this will result in increased employment opportunities post-graduation. Each of the 3 alternatives may require an additional  summer session if certain foundation courses have to be completed. The credentials of potential applicants can be reviewed to determine the length of the program of study.

Students progress through the program in cohorts. Each cohort begins in the fall of each academic year. Our deadline for receipt of applications is June 15 of each year. The generous financial assistance is awarded on a first come, first served basis to qualified applicants.

The Summers-only Orientation and Mobility Component

If you are currently certified as a Teacher of Students with Visual Disabilities (TVI) or as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), you may be eligible to study in a summers-only program which will allow you to obtain a master’s degree and certification in Orientation & Mobility without an interruption in employment!

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity includes full tuition, fees, and an $800 per summer stipend. On-campus courses will take place during the summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017. A full time, 12-week internship will be completed during the summer of 2018, at any approved site in the contiguous 48 states. This package is worth $16,000 for Illinois residents; $25,000 for out-of-state students!

Act now if you are interested! This will not be a continual offering; this is a one-time cohort opportunity based on federal funding.

Application deadline: MARCH 15, 2015
For additional information on the NIU Visual Disabilities Program, please visit our website: www.vision.niu.edu

For the online Graduate School application, please visit the NIU Graduate School Admissions website:http://www.niu.edu/grad/apply/

This program is a one-time only opportunity open to certified TVIs and CVRTs. It is designed to enable professionals in the visual disabilities field to earn credentials in the area of Orientation and Mobility without an interruption in employment as teachers.

Funding is available for 6 of the cohort participants to be awarded graduate assistantships which will pay in-state or out-of-state tuition, fees, and a stipend of $800 for each of the 4 summers of this program. The graduate assistantships will be awarded on a competitive basis (combination of undergrad GPA, GRE scores, recommendations, etc.). There will be more than 6 spots available in the cohort, but only money enough to provide support for 6 students.

Many school systems, however, have a tuition support program available for their employees, so this should help tremendously with financing for anyone who wants to participate but isn’t funded by the grant. Also, most salary schedules have incremental pay increases for coursework, so this should help, also.

In order to be awarded a graduate assistantship, students must be fully admitted to The Graduate School at NIU. Admission requirements include:

– A bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year institution with a minimum 2.8 grade point average on a 4.0 scale
– A passing score on the Graduate Record Exam General Test (verbal and quantitative); and
– 3 letters of recommendation
– In addition, admission to this particular cohort requires evidence of current certification in the visual disabilities area, either as a TVI or as a CVRT.

The application process is started with submission of the actual application and a $40 application fee. This can be accomplished online at the following website: http://www.grad.niu.edu/online/apply.htm . Other supporting documents (transcripts, official GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and copies of certificates) may be submitted (to the graduate school admissions office, NOT to the vision program!) after the actual application.

Be sure to notify Gaylen Kapperman (gkapperman@niu.edu ) of your intent to apply as soon as the decision is made to ensure that your name is included in the pool of candidates!

Cohort participants will complete the program in August of 2018, and will be eligible for ACVREP certification as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and will be awarded the Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) degree.

Be My Eyes App

I am so excited to see an app which encourages us to help one another. The Be My Eyes app, http://www.bemyeyes.org/, is designed to put those with vision loss in touch with those with vision. What makes this one so amazing, is it recognizes those with vision loss are not without skills, employment, talent, humor, etc. I have downloaded the app but have not been ‘needed’ to be someone’s eyes, yet. I look forward to providing this simple service!

cardinal game image

Check out this great list of games that can be used to teach Orientation and Mobility. One of the examples I can remember making with hard wire and wood to make a North/South/East/West grid. I brailled directions from the center (four different textures) to the outside corners (matching texture to the center). It was a labor of love which survived several moves before falling apart.

Link: http://www.pdrib.com/pages/omgames.php