NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

March 2018

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

North Carolina Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Visual Impairments

NC Department of Public Instruction

Office of Early Learning

Touching Lives Through ELSSP

The Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Visual Impairments and Hearing Impairments is a division of the Office of Early Learning through the Department of Public Instruction. Our team is unique to The Department of Public Instruction because it includes over 70 staff members that provide direct instruction to children and families. We have licensed teachers of the visually impaired and hearing impaired/deaf, occupational therapists, interpreters and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists all with one goal; to make sure each child will be honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life.

The paths that we take to meet that goal may look very different for each life we touch. Sometimes it means that a teacher is asked to meet a family at the ophthalmologist or audiologist’s office, just in case they need a little support. A teacher adapts a book so a child can experience a story through touch. An ELSSP teacher supports a classroom teacher with specific adaptations for a student or give strategies to help their child with mealtimes, dressing, or a family outing. We provide a multitude of resources for parents and caregivers whether it’s articles and support groups about their child’s diagnosis, an online course to explore braille for the parent of a future braille reader, or being able to engage with other families in a beeping Easter egg hunt. Our teachers travel all over the state to wherever there are children with vision and hearing impairments. We visit with families in their homes. We serve the children in daycares, homes and preschool classrooms. We work closely with other professionals who also serve our students, this collaboration allows everyone to have a better understanding as to how children with sensory impairments learn. The North Carolina Early Learning Support Program provides support in so many ways, but there is always one common outcome… the impact lasts a lifetime.

If you would like more information about our program, please visit our website at


Amazing Kids Submitted by Staff Members

March's Marvelous Student Submitted by Lori Persinger

Eighth Annual Spring EGGsplosion Submitted by Pam Bye


Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Staff Birthdays for March

Photo/Video Credits

March's Marvelous Student...Owen

Owen has been with the ELSSP-VI program since he was a baby. Owen is visually impaired due to optic nerve hypoplasia ONH. He has strong language skills and is a very inquisitive and bright little boy.

He will be transitioning to Kindergarten in May this year. Shirley Hand was his first TVI until she retired. Owen has since been my student for the past 2 ½ years and has taught me as much as I have taught him.

Owen’s visual impairment has not stopped him from learning to be independent.

Owen has been learning how to function in a seeing world. His mother has ensured that Owen be a part of society as it is. The rules are already in place and like everyone else he must learn how society works and what is expected of him. She supports Owen to be part of his family unit and not the center of it. By being a part of the family and doing what they do, Owen has learned self-confidence and a sense of self-worth. His teachers and family do not expect less from him than from his peers that are not visually impaired.

Owen’s mom exposes him to a variety of hands-on experiences with real objects; actively models play activities, and participate in everyday experiences and explaining daily events to make sense of his world. His siblings also play an important role in Owen’s life.

Sara willingly provided me videos, pictures, and input as Owen used a new Taptillo device to share with the developers of this new technology so that it could be improved. Owen also has a buddy with IR4 ( He is paired with a runner who runs for Owen. This is a cool way to build relationships and experience encouragement. The runner also learns more about Owen and his diagnosis.

Owen’s mom has actively supported ELSSP-VI and has attended playgroups, community outings, and volunteers for events i.e. NCAPVI Pumpkins and Prizes. She provides support and resources as reaches out to other parents who have a child diagnosed with a visual impairment.

Owen is successful because of early intervention and a supportive family who started teaching interdependence early in life. His mother has been instrumental in letting him grow to allow him the ability to make choices, experience failure, success, helping others, respect for himself and others, and responsibility for his actions.

It has been a joy to work with this lovely family! I can’t wait to see how Owen grows in the future.

~Lori Persinger~

Eighth Annual Spring EGGsplosion: A beeping egg hunt for the visually impaired

Please join us for this year’s Winston-Salem beeping egg hunt. It will be held on March 24th, 2018 from 10am to 12pm at Reynolda Village, 2201 Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem. This has really become a big event for our children and their families and it is such a fun day for them. There will be lots of games, prizes, food, arts and crafts and resource tables, in addition to the beeping egg hunt. Please encourage your families to attend this year’s egg hunt. I know they will not want to miss it!


Professional Development Opportunities

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Title: Getting to Know You: Early Communication Development from Birth to Three Years

Webinar Description: Infants share their needs and interests, as well as learn from social interactions within their everyday routines and activities. Recognizing children’s early communication signals is key to supporting their future development. Children learn about language and how it is used in their environment even prior to understanding and using words themselves. Join us as we explore the importance of early communication development and the initial stages of language expansion. We will share milestones that identify typical and atypical development along with resources which provide a deeper exploration of this topic.

Date: March 8, 2018

Time: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST

Fee: No cost

Learn Event:


Harnessing the Potential of Multiple Languages & Family Partnerships in Early Childhood Intervention & Special Education Webinar

Summary: Young children who are simultaneously or sequentially learning more than one language represent a fast-growing segment of the U.S. population. This webinar will present research related to language development patterns in young DLLs, an early childhood program success story, and perspectives from a family-led organization. Presenters will address the importance of maintaining a young child’s home language for their optimal development in all areas, including English language and literacy learning, and ideas for successfully partnering with families who speak a language other than English.

Date and Time: Ongoing

Contact hours: 1.0

Sponsor: Parent Technical Assistance Centers and National Center for Systemic Improvement

Fee: No cost

View Webinar

(To obtain ITP credit you will need to attach the following to their “NC ITP Documentation of Continuing Professional Development” form:

• Available slides, handouts, documents, and other training materials associated with the training;

• A statement about how the training supports evidence-based practices for infants and toddlers; and

• A write-up of how you will apply the information learned from the training in your work.


Response Interruption and Redirection (RIR) Webinar

Summary: Response interruption and redirection can be used to eliminate or reduce interfering behaviors. The AFIRM model guides the learner through four lessons to facilitate:

  • Learning basic knowledge about response interruption and redirection (RIR).
  • Applying RIR in activity-based scenarios that promote real-world application.

Date and time: Ongoing

Contact hours: 1.5 to 2

Sponsor: UNC-CH

Fee: No cost

Register: Response Interruption and Redirection


The High Risk Newborn Sharing the Care: 2018

Wednesday May 16, 2018 from 8:30 AM to 3:45 PM

Register for Event | View Event Brochure

The goal of this conference is to enhance the health care professional's understanding of current management techniques in providing care to the high-risk infant.

Target Audience: Nurses, advanced practice providers, physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, social workers and other health care professionals involved in the care of the high risk infant.


Wake AHEC Mental Health Programs - Winter/Spring 2018

Continuing Education Opportunities Read it online

Time to register!

For a printable copy of the brochure, click here!

To view online learning opportunities and all live continuing education programs, click here.


Save the Date

The NC Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness is scheduled for

April 19 and 20, 2018 at the Sheraton Chapel Hill.

There will be 5 tracks: Pre-School, K-12, Vocational Rehabilitation, Orientation and Mobility

and Pre-Employment Transition Services.


Opening Convocation

August 14-15, 2018

Raleigh, NC

Monthly Webinars: Partnering with YOU through Visual Impairment information sharing

From the North Carolina Department of Publlc Instruction

Monthly Webinars 3:30-4:30 PM

April 12th

Practical Strategies for Preparing Students with VI for State Testing

Webinar Registration Link

May 3rd

Transitioning Students From One Level to the Next:

Preschool through High School

Webinar Registration Link

March Staff Birthdays

March 18th Karen Beijer

March 30th Jennifer Simmons

Photo/Video Credits