TxAER O&M Division

Newsletter Jan/2016

Message From Chair:

It has been a fast two years as my term as TAER Division 9 Chairperson comes to an end soon. I would first like to thank the officers that have served on the board with me. We have all been very busy with the teaching of O/M as well as our other assigned duties at our jobs. We probably have all felt the effects of many new evaluations, as well as our continued O/M training sessions. It seemed to me as officers, we got a lot done the first year of our terms adding in the International conference to keep us busy for a while as well as having our phone conference meetings to discuss service awards, email list, other formalities. It has been a good experience for me and I hope for the other officers as well. Again, thank you officers for the support, ideas and even making time for the meetings.

At some point and maybe even this year as TAER members, consider being a part of the interest group and even be on the board. Everyone keep your head up and encourage each other. I think we do make a big difference to a lot of people.

Hopefully we will see you at the conference.

Vance Lankford

Omni Houstion Westside

Theme: ECC: Putting it All Together

Join us for the O&M business meeting at TAER. Be on the lookout for the session time. Available for ACVREP credit.

Officers: 2014– March 2016

Chair: Vance Lankford

Vice Chair: Heather Munro

Secretary: Lori Graham

Newsletter Editor: Stephanie Walker

Member-at-Large: Scott Addison

Member-at-Large: Karen Abney-Marsh

Officers for 2016 and beyond

At the 2016 TAER conference the Chair will lead the meeting and at the end of the meeting, the Vice-Chair will move up to the office of Chairperson:

The new Chair will then announce the results of the rest of the officers from those who ran for a position or who got on the board, since they were unopposed.

The 5 positions listed will be open:

· Vice Chair

· Secretary

· Newsletter Editor

· Two Member-at-Large

If you would like to run for an office or nominate someone (please make sure they are willing to run before you submit their name). Please contact vance.lankford@esc15.net with that nomination. You are also welcome to nominate someone at the O&M table at the TAER Conference.

Please vote at the conference. There should be a large green box for your vote at the O&M table at the conference.

Please write up a short summary about yourself, if you would like, so others can get to know you.

History: Who were involved with TAER, O&M March 1988?

Chairperson: Marjie Wood

Vice-Chairperson: Sue Linklater

Secretary-Treasurer: Julie Glover

Newsletter Editor: Vickie Carson

Board Members: Melanie White, Mark Libby

Some who were nominated for new officers:

Chairperson: Richard Lampert

Sec-Treasurer: Philip Johnson

Newsletter Editor: Rebecca Kilian Smith and Board Lisa McCullough: Even then we had trouble finding people to run for office.

TAER was gearing up for their conference at the time: Dallas, Texas

O&M were preparing to have MOWAT sensor training, one of 3 electronic travel aids that was taught to the O&Ms around the state, at the conference. A MOWAT was a green, hand-held device that could detect poles, etc. in addition to using the cane and held in the non-cane hand.

The O&M Constitution and By-Laws were being discussed.

O&M even had a pre-conference.

Stephen Bosbach had an article about tandem bicycles and was presenting a slide show at the conference.

The interest group had a recreation committee at the time and answered some questions in the newsletter:

One question that was answered, explained Goal Ball: Ask if you are new to the field and are not aware of Goal Ball: or even Beep Ball:

These are great team sports for the Visually Impaired:

Back then the interest group had a bank account: We no longer have a bank account but sometimes can access items from the TAER Board.

O&M Division: Best Practice Award Winners


Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind – 1997
Vance Lankford - 1999
Marjie Wood – 2000
Gene Healy - 2003
Cindy Haughn – 2004
Carolina Martinez – 2005
Christy Householter – 2006
Beverly Jackson - 2007
Edward Mullen - 2008
Susan Waltrip - 2009
Emily Leeper – 2010
Diane Barnes – 2011
Ruth Ann Marsh – 2012
Burnsteen (Bernie) Smith – 2013
Rebecca Kilian-Smith – 2014

No one nominated-2015

Help us out:

Please submit articles that might be of interest to O&M to our newsletter editor:

Announcements about your life, or other O&Ms.

Just about anything useful to the field of VI and O&M.

Submit a newsletter idea or story

We need your help gathering relevant news to add to our newsletter. Please use this form or email swalker@esc11.net

Survey of Feet Position:

This Survey of Five Hundred People in a community while walking in everyday life, compared to a smaller number of Visually Impaired walking in regular day activities:

GP: General Population:

VI: Low Vision or totally blind

Walking with both feet forward: GP: 18% VI: 14%

Walking with feet slightly out:

GP: 30% VI: 14%

Walking with feet facing out:

GP: 37% VI: 29%

Walking with feet facing in:

GP: 9% VI: 7%

Walking with one foot in:

GP: 1% VI: 7%

Walking with one foot facing out:

GP: 5% VI: 29%

I had often assumed that everyone walked with feet straight forward like Bob Bryant described as the way Indians walk:

The GP that were surveyed actually showed 67% walk with the feet out to some degree while VI walked with feet out at only 43%. VI had higher numbers with feet in different directions. GP 6% with VI 36%.

2016 TAER O&M Division Awards: Make a Nomination

The Best Practice Award: is given to an individual or group of individuals who demonstrate exemplary standards in professionalism, effective communication, is creative in teaching skills and plays an integrative role in teaming with other professionals

and family members.

The Mike Shirley O&M Student Award: to an O&M student/consumer who has shown unusual determination and courage as he/she endeavored to learn and maintain the skills needed to be an independent traveler to the highest degree possible

Bob Bryant/Bill Bryan O&M Leadership Award: To an individual (an O&M specialist or layperson) who has had an enduring impact on the field of O&M in the state of Texas. The award is given in honor of Bill Bryan and Bob Bryant who started the first O&M program in Texas and continued to serve the field in a variety of positions. The recipient should be a person who has unceasingly served the O&M field in many capacities, i.e. as a TAER officer, committee member, SWOMA organizer, researcher/author, conference presenter, promoter of better O&M services for students/consumers, advocate of O&M professionalism and growth, etc.

To nominate a person for an award please use the link to the form below: Nominations due by Feb. 29th at 12 noon

Did you miss Dr. Lofti Merabet at SWOMA?

Use this link to view recordings of his presentations: Inside the Adaptive Brain and Building Spatial Skills through Video Game Play

Some Things Change

I have been an Orientation and Mobility specialist for almost thirty years. Considering all the time that has passed, many things in my life have changed. We didn’t have computers for use every day when I started my first job back at the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. I didn’t have a cell phone for several years and the first one was large and had to be plugged into my car all the time. Amazingly, I had a five minute a month plan and mostly didn’t even use those up. Wow! Well my hair is no longer brown but that happened years ago, so that must not be the age thing. Some things are the same. There is still a WTLB, still ESC’s, SFASU is still producing O/Mers and The Division for Blind Services (well except for the name) is still here. Somewhere along the way I got married and five kids happened along the way. The point of this article (besides trying to set an example for others to write articles) is that one of my daughters’, Katie, has decided to join the VI field. I am proud of all my kids in many ways but it is really cool when one of your children follow you in your profession. Katie has helped with VI programs and camps since she was very small and I guess she figured she might as well sign up. She made her own decision without much input from me. Katie just graduated from Angelo State University and jumped right into the program. She has already received so much support and encouragement from the local TVI’s and I hope that she can get through the classes and join our profession very soon. — Vance Lankford


Three businesses were asked if they wanted free advertisements in this newsletter, One well known company said yes but did not send information, one well know company did not respond: The last upstart company is the first add in our newsletter:

Freelance Videographer

If you need professional video work ranging from commercials to interviews, it can be done, with the knowledge and experience from a professional work environment, I can give you a high quality product for a reasonable price.

Email: Elankford5@gmail.com

Phone: 325-277-4505

Ethan Lankford

Your article could have been placed here. Instead we used a filler:

Who claimed to have invented the white cane in 1921?

Email me the answer to show you have read the newsletter and we will put your name in a drawing at the TAER O&M business meeting.

(correct answers in drawing only)