NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

April 2020

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

Exceptional Children Division


Amazing Kids - Staff

Everyday Activities Calendar - Heather Lister

Resource for Digital Remote Learning - Bethany Mayo

The Dog Went Me-ow - Becky Lowrey

Professional Development Opportunities - Lin Causey

Staff Birthdays for April

Photo/Video Credits

Everyday Activities Calendar

Everyday Exposure to Experiences

"Adults need to give children practical tasks and teach them concepts they can relate to today and build on for tomorrow. Children who are visually impaired need to know how a table looks when set for dinner or a tea party or how to properly hold a doll before holding a new baby. Children build new skills and practice what they know through play. Remember that children learn to enjoy life, others, and themselves through everyday exposure to experiences."

- Smith, Nancy (2001). CALENDAR Everyday Exposure to Experience for Enjoyment American Printing House for the Blind

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Resource for Digital Remote Learning

Please see the link below for an excellent resource regarding digital remote learning.

The Dog Went Me-ow

The Dog Went Me-ow or a “Tail” of Conceptual Language

By Becky Lowrey

“Dog!”, he said emphatically, as he stroked the kitten and latest member of the family’s household. His mother had talked her husband into the kitten in hopes of convincing their son that not all four legged animals were dogs.

“He says the same thing about our neighbor’s goats,“ his mother said dejectedly.

I sat cross legged in the middle of the dark blue blanket, a permanent fixture in the home since I had first walked through the door almost two years previously. Some of Drew’s favorite toys, all brightly colored and many that made sounds, surrounded us. Drew came and settled happily in my lap, and pulled my face close to his with his sticky hands. The kitten rubbed up against my knees.

“Dog, Mzz. Becky.” Drew stated, as an undisputed fact and pointed to the kitten.

“Cat,” I said. “Cat’s go, Me-ow.” And I produced a fairly accurate kitten mew, surprising the kitten who mewed back questioningly.

“See, Drew,” said his mother trying to be cheerful. “It’s a cat. It me-owed back to Ms. Becky.”

“Dog!” Drew humphed and crossed his arms with indignation.

And thus the visits progressed over the next few weeks. The kitten was compared to the family’s extra-large, older yellow lab, who was terrified of the kitten and cowered beneath the kitchen table. This was followed by a trip to the neighbor’s goats, a small dairy farm in the next county over, and to the pastor with a Shetland pony. We read tactile farm animal books, stories about Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a book entitled Pat the Cat (who was extremely fat but denied the weight gain...I always loved this book for personal reasons). I brought out toy animals activated by a switch: a cow that mooed, a pig that grunted, a bucking pony, and a rooster that let forth a rather gargled “cock-a-doodle-doo”.

Between visits his mother reread the books, sang many versions of Old MacDonald and continued to explain the salient and sensory features of each animal: “Doogle is a dog. He has floppy ears. His big tail wags. Did you hear him bark at the mailman? Minnie is a cat. She has pointed ears, and really sharp claws. She likes to jump on your toys, and she says Me-ow!”

“Good, dog!” Drew said to Doogle the lab, and his mother grinned, “That’s right, Drew! Doogle is a dog!”

“Good, dog!” Drew said to Minnie, patting her back.

“Aaaaaakkkk!” was the greeting I got from Drew’s mother, as I walked in the door. “I’m starting to think that we’re never going to get through to him.”

“He’s not quite 3,” I said hopefully. “Sometimes it takes repetition but through different channels.”

On this day, I had brought a “See-N-Say” to pair with the actual animals in the home and pictures in books. I was beginning to think this little snag might also be about two-year-old control, coupled with severe congenital nystagmus and low vision. The “See-N-Say” would allow Drew some control in that he could place the spinner on the picture of an animal, then pull the lever to hear which animal it was, and listen to the animal’s sound. As if on command, Doogle entered the room being pestered by Minnie, who was pouncing on the poor lab’s swinging tail. I allowed Drew to examine the See-N-Say close to his face, the usual introduction to a new toy, and after a few minutes, I instructed, “Point to the picture of Doogle.” Drew pointed to the dog’s picture on the See-N-Say, which surprisingly looked like Doogle, and I modeled how to place the spinner on the picture of the dog. With his hand over mine, we pulled down on the lever of the toy and listened to the gentleman’s disembodied voice: “Here is a dog!” And a dog’s deep bark commenced.

Drew giggled, and said “Dog!” as Doogle boofed in a gruff voice.

“Yes,” his mother and I said together. I gave his mom a glance and a hopeful look.

“Drew,” I said bringing his face up to mine with my voice, “find Minnie’s picture.” After several minutes of closely examining each picture, he placed the spinner on the picture of the cat with a little help and then pulled the lever by himself. “This is a cat. Meee-OW!” Drew looked at the See-N-Say dumbstruck. He climbed off my lap and went over to Minnie examining her closely and feeling her ears and then her back and tail. Minnie, who was luckily a pretty easy going kitten, purred. He came back and took the See-N-Say from me and replaced the spinner on the Cat and pulled. “This is a Cat. Mee-OW!” Drew’s face began to screw up and he growled. “No! Dog!” He replaced the spinner on Cat and pulled again. “This is a cat. Mee-OW!” He stopped and looked at Doogle and then at Minnie and then went to the window and pointed in the direction of their neighbor and the goats. His mother and I understood what needed to happen next. Drew brought the See-N-Say back to me, his face a mixture of surprise and confusion. I placed the spinner on the goat picture. He pulled the lever. “Here is the goat. Maaaahhhh!” We did this with each animal, and Drew concluded by placing the spinner on the dog and cat one last time. He silently gave the See-N-Say back to me and walked over to Doogle resting his hand on the large dog’s head.

“Dog.” He said.

“Yes”, his mother said quietly.

Then he went to Minnie and stroked her back, as he always did and hesitated. “Cat?”, he inquired.

“Yes,” said his mother with a sigh of relief.

I left the See-N-Say that day. Mid-week, Drew’s mother called to say that they had taken the See-N-Say on several outings and had visited the goats, and the dairy farm, and the pony, and had been to a rescue shelter where there were Guinea Pigs and even a large lizard. The following visit, we made a book of all the animals that Drew could name.

As I gathered my materials to go, Drew asked, “You drive your truck, Mzz. Becky?”.

“No. I drive a car, Drew. Let’s go look at it.”

Drew and his mother followed me out into their driveway, as I put things in my state car.

“See, I said. It’s a car, not a truck.”

“Truck!” Drew said with a stubborn expression I recognized.

I looked at his mother. She shrugged. “Ever since his uncle got a new Ford Ranger, everything with wheels is a truck. I wasn’t going to bring it up until next time.”

I picked Drew up to give him a hug goodbye, “Trains, Planes and automobiles, my man. Next time.”

“Truck.” Drew said lovingly as he stroked the driver side window of my car. “Truck, Mzz. Becky.”

Professional Development Opportunities

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Virtual Opportunities for Professional Development

Welcome to the TI 101 Learning Courses!

Teletherapy 101 Webinar Recording

Providing Early Intervention Services through Distance Technology

NCDPI Visual Impairment Webinars

Included in this channel are recorded webinars on various topics for Teachers of the Visually Impaired. All webinars are captioned.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Online Learning

Access professional development at your fingertips by watching recorded webinars on various visual impairment topics. Content includes: O&M, active learning, deafblind, early childhood, ECC, Google Classroom, and more.

Perkins School for the Blind eLearning

Teachers of the Visually Impaired are invited to "watch and learn" by viewing recorded webinars. Content includes: accessibility, assessment, CVI, ECC, and more.

Remote O&M Instruction Ideas

Orientation Mobility Specialist can access this link for virtual lesson ideas for students with Visual Impairment.

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Looking for some PD Time? Need a chance to visit with colleagues? Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired will be hosting a “Coffee Hour” every Monday and Wednesday at 11am EDT for teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff. Please join members of our Outreach team in discussing topics related to supporting students and families of students with visual impairments or who are deafblind. Click to join! If you need captioning, please email Kaycee Bennett at


Lori Bartram and Beth Shaw - April 3

Christina Tuton - April 7

Bethany Mayo - April 8

Meg Libby - April 21

Photo/Video Credits