NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

September 2015

Each child will be honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life.

North Carolina Early Learning Sensory Support Program for the Visually Impaired

September Quote

It is a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.


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Student Pictures Submitted by NC ELSSP-VI Staff

Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Resources You May Not Know About

Welcome New Staff

Vacancy Announcement

iPad 'Appiness Submitted by Becky Lowrey

Take a Look...or a Second Look Submitted by Dee Martin

ELSSP Super Heroes

September's Star Student Submitted by Karen DeWitt

Director's Spotlight Submitted by Bethany Mayo

Professional Development Opportunities

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ELSSP/VI Statewide Staff Meeting

Friday, Sep. 25th 2015 at 1-3pm

This is an online event.

On 9-25-2015 Joy Fleming will share her presentation on Personal Passports. “The Personal Passport is based on a deaf-blind workshop many of us attended in March 2014. I will be presenting my adaptation of it. The Personal Passport (called the Communication Passport in the UK) is a quick way to introduce a deaf-blind (or multi-handicapped) child to new people - it includes how they communicate, their strengths, needs, favorite things, etc.”

RSVPs are enabled for this event.


The 65th Conference on Exceptional Children November 18-20, 2015 at Koury Convention Center, Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, in Greensboro, NC. Remember this is free for DPI staff. Registration by phone may be necessary for fee to be waived.

Announcing the 2015 GREAT Conference in Raleigh on November 4th - 6th.

  • Excellent sessions
  • 2 Keynote Addresses
  • Open Exhibit Hall on Thursday, November 5th One Day Registration available

If you have any questions or need further information, contact Tammy Koger, Director at the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program.

Find out more and register at this link:

Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities

Perry Flynn, the state consultant for speech and language, has recommended these free, half hour training modules.

Non members of ASHA may also take advantage of this workshop.

Click the web address below to access the modules.

(This will open a new tab in your browser).

Please, direct any feedback to Perry Flynn directly at

Enhancing Services in Natural Environments at offered by EI Excellence through the Mecklenburg County CDSA.

Online Oreintation to Early Intervention at

offered by the North Carolina Early Intervention (NCEI) website.

Resources You May Not Know About

"Visual Brailler" is a free iPad app from American Printing House (APH) that allows you to practice your braille skills, braille things as well as email what you have brailled.

FREE: UEB "Cheatsheet" from Duxbury at It can be saved in your iBooks on the iPad/iPhone, it can also be printed out (best on 11 x 17 paper).

ELSSP-VI would like to officially welcome our newest staff members...


Christina lives in Sampson County. She is married and has two children, Ellis (4) and Emma (3). Christina began teaching in a kindergarten classroom in 2002. In 2007, she completed degrees in both O & M and VI. She has been in the VI field since 2007. Christina joined the ELSSP/VI program in April. Welcome Christina!

Kelly Denny graduated from UNC-G in 1992. She interned in the Inclusive classroom (which was staffed by Governor Morehead and the UNC-G childcare program) and later worked there as a VI teacher for 9 years. After getting married in 2001 and moving back to Stokes County, Kelly left GMP and went to work for the Stokes County School System for 14 years. Kelly and her husband have two boys (Keenan 19 and Grayson 12), 3 cats and 2 dogs. Their favorite vacation spot is the beach. Kelly says, "I feel like my work with children and families over these last 23 years has been a calling. I can only hope I have enriched their lives in some way and helped to make their journey easier. I do know for sure they have blessed me". Kelly joined us in July. Welcome Kelly!

Megan lives in Asheville with her son, Nate (8), their chocolate Lab Dolly, and their cat, Nelson. She graduated from Auburn with her BFA in graphic design but has been teaching for the past 11 years (mostly in Henderson County). Megan received her Masters in VI and is a certified TVI and O & M Specialist. She enjoys soccer, cooking, running 5K's, cross fit, hiking, hanging out with friends, going to the movies and eating out, Megan joined us in July. Welcome Megan!

New Staff Continued...

Bios Continued...

Annette graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. She became a certified O & M instructor in 2012 and moved to NC to work in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. She worked there for three years before joining our program this August. Annette was born and raised in Texas and has three children, a 23 year old daughter and two sons (ages 21 and 13). She currently lives in Gaston County. Welcome Annette!

Juliet lives in Wilkes County. She is happily married (finally) and has a son, a daughter and a granddaughter. Juliet is a fourth generation teacher. Before joining our team, Juliet was the TVI for Wilkes County Schools. She lives on a farm/zoo with a happy mixture of animals. Juliet is so happy to be a part of ELSSP/VI! She joined our program in August. Welcome Juliet!

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This vacancy is for a Teacher of the Visually Impaired serving Region 5 of North Carolina. Region 5 is the Piedmont-Triad/Central region of the state. If you are unable to access the information via the link, feel free to contact Bethany Mayo at

iPad 'Appiness

After a brief hiatus, I’m back with some iPad suggestions and reviews. This month I downloaded a book from iBooks that helps teach basic iPad interaction skills, tapping and swiping. Reviews for Stay Still, Squeaky! state that it is an “accessible interactive book” for children with low vision or even with no vision. The book has simple brightly colored pictures, gentle and slow animation, narration and a bell when it is time to swipe to turn the page. Each page contains a new messy adventure for “Squeaky” who is supposed to be staying clean prior to a visit to his grandmother’s. This book is British in origin and on one page the word “rubbish” is used instead of trash, but for older kids, this could be a teachable moment about variation in culture, even between English speaking countries. I found Squeaky to be a cute book, and I hope to pair it with some hands-on exploration in “messiness”. Stay Still, Squeaky! is by Sonokids and costs $3.19.

Take a Look...or a Second Look

Check out Perkins elearn professional development webcasts! (Website noted below). One favorite webcast is Cortical Visual Impairment and the Evaluation of Functional Vision featuring Dr. Christine Roman.

I found this webcast informative, an “easy listen” and helped me just one more time to more fully understand the many and complex issues of children diagnosed with cortical visual impairment.

Cortical visual impairment is a leading cause of visual impairments. Children identified with cortical visual impairments may be children who have experienced any number of conditions that impact the brain including strokes, congenital hydrocephalus, periventricular leukomalacia and head trauma for example.

A description from the website follows:

“Dr. Roman talks about the importance of early diagnosis and common diagnostic issues. In addition, she provides information about the specific characteristic behaviors of CVI and examples of each. The webcast also provides information regarding the evaluation of functional vision as well as interventions to improve functional vision.”

Topics include early diagnosis; characteristic behaviors of CVI; diagnostic issues; evaluation functional vision and strategies for intervention.

For teachers just beginning in the field this is an excellent introduction to the unique characteristics, assessment and intervention needs of children identified with cortical visual impairments.



Early Learning Sensory Support Super Heroes

Opening Meeting

Opening Meeting/Convocation for the Early Learning Sensory Support Program was held in Raleigh on August 19th and 20th. After a warm welcome from both program directors, the ELSSP staff were treated to a "Super" ice breaker activity, compliments of Sandy Bryant and Becky Lowery. The staff was provided with lots of supplies (tinfoil, markers, newspaper, toilet paper, etc) and challenged to participate in an ELSSP version of Project Runway. The theme for this Project Runway was Super Heroes. Each team had to design a costume, provide a model (for the costume) and an emcee to describe what the model was wearing and what super powers they possessed. Take a look at the pictures and the descriptions to see what wonderful and creative things the ELSSP Staff did for our own Project Runway.

*HI (Staff from ELSSP-Hearing Impairments)

*VI (Staff from ELSSP-Visually Impairments)

Super Teacher Office 365

This Super Hero (Elizabeth Wilde/VI) is amazing. She has a huge heart on her breastplate because "our love for our students and their families" is the reason we are here. She has two wrist bands (one to ward off sickness and one to ward off any dangerous things we may come into contact with). Many would say the coolest part of Super Teacher Office 365's attire is her wand. It has the power to remotely solve all tech problems for our ELSSP staff.

Super TVI AKA Angel Wallace (VI)

Super TVI is wearing a crown which provides good contrast with her dark hair (contrast is a good visual aid). In addition to her high contrast crown, she is wearing a cape which ensures that she gets to all her visits on time. She also has a lot of items with that are red and a lot of items that are shiny (these are great for students with Cortical Visual Impairments). Super TVI has a small tube that she uses to determine eye preference with her students as well as a pin light/flashlight for highlighting items and a bag full of other tricks. She is truly a Super Hero!

September's Star Student

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Julian is 4 1/2 years old and has been working with Karen DeWitt (ELSSP-VI) since he was 1 year old. He loves to read and scribble via Braille using a Smart Brailler. Julian is very expressive verbally and uses great intonation. He is learning to use a cane and travels independently very well. Julian gives lots of love in the form of hugs to get out of work. Last year, Julian and Karen participated in a field study about the book Holy Moly through APH. He was recently chosen to be a model showing off literacy skills to be used in a video presentation about the book.

Director's Spotlight

By: Bethany Mayo, Director ELSSP-VI

Heather Lister

Heather began her teaching career in 1995 as a Special Education teacher in Martin County at Williamston High School. In 1996 she started working for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County School District (ECPPS). Heather worked for a year and a half with the Governor Morehead Preschool before going back to ECPPS to be the Preschool Coordinator for students with special needs. While serving as Preschool Coordinator, Heather was the head of the Autism Problem Solving Team, Program Specialist for Low Incidence Disabilities, a member of the Assistive Technology Team, ADOS Team, TPBA-2 Team and an Educational Diagnostician. She just finished her 20th year teaching (all in Special Education).

Heather graduated with her undergraduate degree in Special Education from Elizabeth City State University in 1995. She obtained her Masters in Special Education from East Carolina University in 2000 and later her Pre-K add-on certification. Heather has taken and passed the VI Praxis and will have her VI internship completed in December (thru North Carolina Central University).

Heather is married to her husband; Osmond and they have four children, Eric 22, Cameron 20, Kylan 17 and Kennedy 11. They have never “officially” adopted or fostered children but have had three different children live with them in the past several years. Her family enjoys attending sporting events, going to church, cooking out, playing corn hole and working with the local Special Olympics. Heather resides in Elizabeth City, NC and serves Region 1.

Heather has demonstrated superior leadership skills in just a short period of time. Since she joined the ELSSP-VI team in March, she has volunteered to help with several special projects including Editor of the ELSSP-VI Newsletter. Her most recent accomplishment was being nominated by the Governor's office to serve on the North Carolina State Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC). The ICC brings policy makers, service providers, and parents together. It serves young children with disabilities and developmental delays, and their families. Its members work to ensure that the supports and services offered to families are in line with their needs ( I am excited to see the great things Heather will accomplish for children and families. Thank you Heather for being the Director's Spotlight.

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Photo Credits


Google Images (