NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

October 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

October Quote

"We who are called to teach do so out of conviction that what we teach is important, that those whom we teach are precious, and that the reason why we teach reaches to the very core of our place and mission in the world." -R. Fong


Student Pictures Submitted by NC ELSSP-VI Staff

Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Resources You May Not Know About

Welcome New Staff

iPad 'Appiness Submitted by Becky Lowrey

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

October's Outstanding Student Submitted by Debra Graham

Director's Spotlight Submitted by Bethany Mayo

Professional Development Opportunities

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ELSSP/VI Statewide Staff Meeting

Friday, Oct. 30th, 1-3pm

This is an online event.

On 10-30-2015 Dee Martin will share her presentation on Writing IFSP Outcomes ..... A group sharing effort. “Over the past two years I am finding improved communication and collaboration with our early intervention partners. During this session I hope to explore strategies that have been successful in developing IFSP outcomes specific to infants and toddlers with visual impairments and their families. An overview of how assessment drives outcomes; how we communicate assessment and progress results and how we share our input for developing IFSP outcomes will be covered. This will be an audience participation session with a request made prior to this session to share a favorite IFSP outcome that you feel "addresses the need! “

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:

Division for Early Childhood's 31st Annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and their Families

October 7- October 9


Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities

Free Continuing Professional Development Opportunities


Free training opportunity: 3 part series on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (September 17, October 15, and November 5). All sessions are from 6:30 to 8:30 in Chapel Hill. Participants can attend one, two, or all three sessions…

For more information visit to register. Direct inquiries to

NC-ITP Infant Toddler Family Specialist credits will be offered.

CONNECT Course: Foundations of Inclusion

“Introduces the basics of inclusion and the rights and supports for children and teachers in early childhood education.”

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.

*Correction on web address from September Newsletter*

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...

Lori Bartram lives in Fletcher, NC with her husband James and 2 girls, Emma (12) and Kaylee (9). She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Shorter College in Rome, GA and a Master’s degree from UGA in Early Childhood Education. She previously taught Elementary school for 11 years and decided to take a break and enjoy her little girls growing up! Lori has been a CBRS provider for the past 2 ½ years and has found profound enjoyment in that! She will be working on her VI degree beginning in January. Lori enjoys scrapbooking with her friends and traveling as much as possible with her family. Her family recently bought a camper so she hopes to enjoy the great outdoors much more frequently! Welcome Lori!!!

Lori Blaney began her teaching career after graduating with a B.S. in Special Education from Florida State University in January of 1990. She has over 25 years of teaching experience with the majority of the experience (23 ½ years) being in New Bern NC with Craven County’s Preschool Exceptional Children's Program. These career experiences have provided many opportunities to work with young children with a variety of visual conditions and their families. Lori went on to further her education by pursing National Board Certification in 2002 and renewing again in 2012. In 2007, she finished Graduate School at East Carolina University and graduated with a M.A.Ed in Special Education and a M.A.Ed Certificate in Assistive Technology. Lori’s favorite season is fall and she loves to travel, sing, cook for social gatherings with her friends, read, bike, hike, and kayak. Lori has a 22-year-old son who graduated from Appalachian State University this year and is currently a Graphic Designer at Epic Games in Cary, NC. Welcome Lori!!!

iPad 'Appiness

Hello to all our new teachers! We are so happy to have all of you! This month’s blog is dedicated to you. I’ve had some new teachers ask me about iPad basics. So if some of you seasoned folk will forgive me, feel free to bypass this month’s iPad tips and go read another interesting article in the newsletter. First here’s a layout of the iPad and its physical features:

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And no, our iPads do not have the Nano-Sim feature…

So here are some basics.

1. Those Pesky Multi-Gestures: Go to your settings icon (looks like a gray gear) and tap on it. On the left side, scroll down (by swiping a finger upward) to “General” and tap on it. Now on the right find the “Multitasking Gestures”. Turn that Sucker off! This allows you to stay on the same app and your students can’t swipe out of it. Trust me on this – you want to do it.

2. How does one get all those nifty apps: When you set up your iPad, you will be asked to open an account through Apple. You will need to have a credit card handy. Apps unfortunately cost money. I try to recommend those that are fairly cheap. Go to the App store (blue icon with an “A” ). The search bar is in the top right hand corner. Once you begin purchasing apps, you can keep up with them under the “purchased” icon in the tool bar at the bottom of the app store screen. If you want a nice list of apps – please contact me, and I will send you my list, which takes much more space than is available for this newsletter.

3. Now that you have an account and can download apps, which includes freebies. Go to the iBooks app and look at the tool bar on the bottom. Tap on the featured icon and now you can pull up a search bar. Type in “iPad User Guide” and you can download the latest user guide to iBooks for free.

4. Organizing Your Apps: Once you start purchasing, you can group your apps. Here’s a neat trick. Touch an icon/app on your screen until all of the icons begin to jiggle. You will notice that some of the icons all have little “x”s in the top left hand corners. These are apps you can actually get rid of if you like – however you can always download them again from the app store. But you can also move the icons around while they jiggle. Move an app icon into a similar app icon (Wheels on the Bus with Old MacDonald because they are both songs). They will form a group that you can now name. Instant organization at your finger tips. Hit your home button to stop the incessant jiggling.

5. Accessibility: If there is one thing that Apple does right, it’s making things accessible for our students. Go into Settings, then to General, and then look to the right for accessibility and tap on it. You will see that things are actually categorized by vision, hearing, interaction, etc. The easiest to explore right now are “Zoom” and “Invert Colors”. After turning on Zoom, go back to your home screen and tap twice with three fingers – Instant magnification! Now keep three fingers on the screen and drag them around the screen without lifting them. Now quickly double tap and drag the three fingers again. To get out of Zoom, just tap three fingers twice and lift. “Invert colors” reverses the contrast on the screen. I have had a student who needed this, so give it a look.

A few months ago, I wrote about VoiceOver. I may reprint that one soon, but if you want to try VoiceOver to show a parent, give me a call first or seek out another iPad aficionado in our program. Voiceover is not for the feint of heart and can be frustrating until you get it down.

These are just a few things you can do. Read the guide under your iBooks app and try some other things. Once you go Mac…you’ll never go back.

Take a Look...or a Second Look


NC-APVI (North Carolina Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments) is a non-profit, independent organization that includes families and professionals. NC-APVI enables families to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities. NC-APVI provides leadership, support, and training to assist families in helping children reach their full potential.

NC-APVI is dedicated to:

· *Giving emotional support

· *Parent education

· *Initiating outreach programs

· *Networking

· *Advocating for the educational needs and welfare of families of children who are blind or visually impaired.

Did you know you can receive a weekly summary of Facebook posts from NC-APVI that include notification for events; resources and snap shots of news worthy stories that include accomplishments of individuals with visual impairments?

These posts share valuable information to families, individuals with visual impairments and professionals. To join the conversation find NC-APVI at or go to the NC-APVI website at

A small snapshot from this week’s Facebook posts follows:

Why Being a Blind Mother is Awesome - FamilyConnect: for parents of children with visual impairments

From our friends at GMS PTA: GMS is observing it's 170th Anniversary this year. To commemorate this event, a special program will be held at the GMS campus on October 15th, Lineberry Hall Auditorium from 1:00-2:00 PM. White Cane Day and Art Beyond Sight will also be celebrated. Please join us!

2015 365 Day Light Play Challenge Take the 2015 365 Day Light Play Challenge to create new and exciting light play activities this year! Or just follow these blogs and Pinterest boards for inspiration.



October's Outstanding Student

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Bracey is 2 1/2 years old and has been working with Debra Graham (ELSSP-VI) since he was 6 months old. Bracey started walking when he was a little over 24 months and is becoming more vocal each day. One of Bracey's favorite things is a truck. Ms. Debra says if she incorporates trucks into her lessons, he will "talk" to her thru the whole session. He also enjoys completing puzzles on the iPad. Bracey, like Julian, (last months Star Student) was selected to participate in a field study by APH about the book, Holy Moly. He was used as a model for literacy skills in a video presentation about the book.

Director's Spotlight

By: Bethany Mayo, Director ELSSP-VI

Director’s Spotlight

Becky Lowrey

Becky has been a TVI for almost 18 years. Most of those years have been working for GMP – ELSSP/VI. Before Becky entered into the field of visually impaired, she was an exceptional education teacher for students with severe and profound disabilities as well as a music therapist for 8 years. Becky has a B.A. in Music from Agnes Scott college; a masters in Music Therapy from the University of Georgia and a Masters in Special Education from Appalachian State University. She has been a National Board Certified teacher since 2004 and renewed in 2013.

Becky is married to Santa Clause, and if you saw him you would understand. This means that Becky and her husband are very busy during the month of December making sure that all the boys and girls get their toys. Besides the reindeer, Becky and “Santa” have two dogs and two sons. Both sons are independent and share their mother’s love of music. Rip (Santa) has two daughters, and between the two of them, have four children (two boys and two girls). Becky enjoys trout fishing, playing guitar, performing for the children’s festivals, as well as participating in the community theater. The community theater is a huge part of Becky’s life for 15 years. She has won 3 best actress awards in different productions. Her most recent adventure has been learning to make pottery.

Becky has so many talents and she has done a fantastic job embracing her Lead Teacher role over the last few months. Becky has been a support to several new teachers as of late and she has done a tremendous job making their transition as smooth as possible. She takes on challenges from a positive perspective and collaborates with others to find the solutions. Thank you Becky for all that you do and for being the Director’s Spotlight.

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Photo Credits