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FamilyConnect®

For parents of children with visual impairments

American Foundation for the Blind® | National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Browse By Topic: Ask the Experts

Recognizing and Overcoming Test Bias Against Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

We are very pleased to welcome Shelley Homsy, a teacher of students who are visually impaired at the New York Institute for Special Education, as a guest blogger on the subject of test biases, and how to tackle them. by Shelley Homsy, TVI The New York Institute for Special Education Students often ask, "Why do they make these questions so hard to understand?" Bias against visually impaired and blind students in testing is a great concern to those involved with their education. These biases can cause extreme anxiety, distractibility, and in many cases, low test scores for our children. Translating visual images into braille is not reliable. We need to be confident that the tests provide a fair and accurate measure of our children's competency


Ask the AccessWorld Experts, November 14-18

As editor-in-chief of AccessWorld(r), a free online magazine focusing on technology for people who are blind or visually impaired, I am pleased to spend some time with you on this blog to discuss the technology needs of your children who are blind or visually impaired. From Monday, November 14 until Friday, November 18, we'll be answering the comments and questions that you post here. Simply scroll down to the bottom of this thread and click on the "Log in to post a comment" link to sign in and post your question. (You do need to be a member of FamilyConnect to post a


Ask Dr. Kay Your Questions!

Dear Friends, With the help of FamilyConnect and AFB Press, I am pleased to be able to spend some time with you on this blog, to talk with you about your families and your young children who are blind or visually impaired. From Monday, July 18 until Friday, July 29 I&#39ll be answering the comments and questions that you post here. Simply scroll down to the bottom of this thread and click on the &#34Comments&#34 link to post your question or comment. You need to be a member of FamilyConnect to post a comment. If you aren&#39t, please take a moment to register. It is free, and will also give you access to a number of helpful features on the site. Feel


Celebrating White Cane Safety Day: Raising Independent Children

White Cane Safety Day was first observed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, as a way to celebrate the independence and ability of people who are visually impaired. Independence and ability does not just happen, it has to be taught, fostered, and encouraged by the team of people surrounding your child, most especially his family, because unfortunately our school systems are taking an ever greater focus on the "core curriculum," math, English, etc., and how he'll perform on a standardized test this year, and even less interest in what your kid will be doing with his life when he's 28 years old and dating, job seeking, or buying a house. The core


Inspiring Your Child to Become Involved in Sports and Physical Activities

I have a passion for bringing the world of sports and physical activity into the world of individuals with vision loss. Much of my professional life has been devoted to supporting the inclusion of students with visual impairments and blindness in physical activity and sport. I founded Camp Abilities, a developmental sports camp for children who are visually impaired, blind, or deafblind, in 1996. There are now eight Camp Abilities programs across the nation and in three other countries. Camp Abilities empowers children with visual impairments to become involved in physical activity and sport and teaches future teachers how to teach children with visual


Is Your Child Ready for a Canine Buddy?

My name is Aerial Gilbert, I am the Outreach Manager at Guide Dogs for the Blind. I am also a graduate of the Guide Dogs program, working with my 6th Guide Dog, "Splash," a female German shepherd. I was on the planning committee for the NAPVI Family conference in Costa Mesa in July and presented at the conference and gave an overview of the Youth Outreach Opportunities at Guide Dogs. After the presentation I was asked to submit the information that I covered on this blog so that you would have access to these opportunities, and also be able to have a resource to ask your questions about guide dogs. <!--Please feel free


Tips for Travel with a Visually Impaired Child

Road Trip! A driving trip or resort vacation for the whole family can be lots of fun, but how do you maximize the experience for a child with a visual impairment? Below, instructors Sue Melrose and Ginger Irwin, from The Hadley School for the Blind, which offers free distance education courses for family members of a person with a visual impairment, provide their expertise and some ideas to make your family getaway fun for everyone: Share the plan: Keep the whole family involved in the travel planning process. Children and teenagers who know where they're going and what to expect are more willing travelers, especially if they have the opportunity to help pick out fun


Space Camp: Where Blind Kids Can Reach for the Stars

Hi! My name is Dan Oates and I currently work at the West Virginia School for the Blind as an Educational Outreach Specialist. I have been in that position for 14 years and for the previous 14 years I was an Orientation and Mobility Instructor. Since 1990 I have had the privilege of working with the staff at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as a consultant for their programs for special populations. I initially started with the program for the blind and visually impaired called Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS) and since have assisted with programs for other populations. Most


Assistive Technology: How Do You Decide What Tools Your Child Needs?

Hi, my name is Ike Presley. Yes, I am kin to Elvis, but not close enough to count...ninth or tenth cousins. Wait till you hear me sing! No, maybe you don't want to do that. Anyway, I would like to have a discussion with you about the use of technology by youths and adults who are blind or visually impaired. This topic is referred to as assistive technology (AT) and is one of the subjects in the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) that is essential to the education of students who are blind or visually impaired.


Sharing Ideas and Questions About Cortical Visual Impairment

Hello, my name is Christine Roman. I am so honored that AFB and NAPVI asked me to contribute to the FamilyConnect site. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to share ideas with those of you who have a special interest in cortical visual impairment. My experiences as a teacher of children with visual impairment led me into what has become a passion. In my 17 years as an itinerant vision teacher I had the occasion to work with students who had all types of visual impairment or blindness caused by pathology or injury to their eyes. But I was also lucky enough to be the vision itinerant who served a large residential center for


Making Decisions and Keeping Track

Hi again everyone! I thought maybe this week I would discuss the issue of making literacy decisions throughout your child's educational life. I think that the people who visit this Family Connect website are at various levels in their journey. Some of you will have preschool children and will just be beginning to find information that you need. Others of you will be "seasoned experts" with older children and years under your belt. Still other families are here because their child may have experienced a decrease in visual acuity or ability recently, regardless of their age. One important issue for parents is the decision about their


Falling in Love with Braille

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! I'm Cay Holbrook. I am thrilled to be connecting with you this month and hope that we can have some very interesting discussions and learn from each other. First I will tell you a little bit about myself. When I was an undergraduate student at Florida State University, I happened to know a fellow student who was in the program to prepare teachers of students with visual impairments. I went over to his house one Sunday afternoon and he was completing his braille homework and I started looking at the Perkins braillerwriter and his textbook. It was love at first sight! I was so intrigued with those six dots and I spent


Practicing Social Skills During the Holiday Season

Hello, and happy holidays to all. My name is Dr. Sharon Sacks. I have worked in the field of education for students with visual impairments for over thirty years as a teacher of students with visual impairments, a university professor in teacher preparation for students with visual impairments and students with multiple disabilities, a school administrator, and a researcher. Because of my own personal experiences as a person with a visual impairment, I am passionate about working with children, their teachers, and families on the acquisition of socially competent behavior. This vital area of the Expanded Core Curriculum is the key to


What Will Your Child Be When He or She Grows Up?

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, I am pleased to offer up FamilyConnect's second "Ask the Experts" blog post, which focuses on career education. My name is Dr. Karen Wolffe, and I am the director of AFB CareerConnect(r), a free online resource that connects young people to visually impaired mentors, and provides families with videos of blind people on the job,


Planning for the Financial Future of a Child with Multiple Disabilities

If you're worried that your child will not be capable of full employment due to cognitive or other limitations in addition to blindness, you are probably facing a dilemma. Most parents want to provide some kind of financial support for their child after they are gonewhether deceased or disabled themselvessince most government benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Social Security, etc., are insufficient for providing the quality of life most parents want for their child. So they naturally think about leaving some funds to their child to offset the quality of life deficit that usually exists.