NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

April 2016

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

April Quote

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

-William Butler Yeats


Student Pictures Submitted by NC ELSSP-VI Staff

Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Family Resource & Bryce Martin Foundation Submitted by Dee Martin

Bohring-Opitz Syndrome Awareness Day Submitted by Heather Lister

Early Childhood Development Submitted by Bethany Mayo

Welcome New Staff

Staff Birthdays

Professional Development Opportunities

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Professional Development

Free Continuing Professional Development Opportunities [PDF 187KB]

The North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program (ITP) Guidance for Personnel Certification applies to early intervention service coordination and special instruction services. Under this guidance, continuing professional development is required for all Infant, Toddler, and Family Certificate holders. The annual continuing professional development requirement is 10 contact hours (1.0 CEU) per year, to be obtained between January 1 and December 31 of the year. Contact hours/CEU credits must focus on infants and toddlers with or without disabilities, and their families.


North Carolina Early Learning Network (NC-ELN)

The North Carolina Early Learning Network, funded by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction(DPI), provides early learning communities with professional development and technical assistance to support preschool children with disabilities and their families through the vision of DPI's Office of Early Learning:

"Each child is honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life."

Be sure to check out the resources, events and training modules on this site.


2016 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute Attitude Makes the Difference--And It's Not Easy.

“Our teachers don’t have the special training.” “We don’t have enough people.” “We don’t want to harm the child.” There are lots of reasons teachers believe they can’t do inclusion but the biggest barrier is the attitude of the adults involved. This workshop provides a series of activities and reflections to stimulate your own thinking and to use in professional development. These experiences help adults discover the source of their own resistance to inclusion and to appreciate welcoming one child at a time.

This special opening day Pre-Institute Workshop is still OPEN even though the Institute is sold out.


UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) is celebrating its 50th anniversary by spearheading a two-day conference, May 24-25, to envision and enable better outcomes for young children and their families. Major foundations across the state are backing the event.

“This symposium will take a thoughtful look at education and child development,” said FPG director Sam Odom. “A formidable gathering of experts will reflect on our current knowledge and project a vision for the next steps in advancing knowledge and enhancing young lives.”

For more information:


Family Resource Spot Light

Are you serving a family that could benefit from additional support? Consider First in Families!

First In Families of North Carolina

Providing family support to people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries since 1996

First in Families mission is to help people with disabilities and their families to believe in their dreams, achieve their goals, and give back to others. First in Families assist children and adults to be more involved and contributing members of their communities by helping them:

· meet current goals and plan for the future

· acquire needed goods and services

· find opportunities to give back to others

There are thirteen regional First in Family local chapters across North Carolina.

The First In Families local Chapters offer support to families and individuals according to their self-defined needs. Examples of supports include computers, home furnishings or modifications, childcare or respite, or repairs to vehicles. Support can also be connecting of an individual to vocational, social, and educational opportunities in the community; whatever it takes - for people to live and participate fully in their community.

A First In Families local chapter can support any family in which one family member has a developmental disability or delay, or is at risk of the same, or has a traumatic brain injury. Families or the individual must live in a county served by the Chapter and they must meet financial eligibility requirements. The residence must be a home, not a licensed facility.

Information available in Spanish on website as well!

Want to find out more or locate a local First in Families Chapter?

First In Families of North Carolina
3109 University Drive, Suite 100
Durham, NC 27707
Telephone: 919-251-8368

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Bohring-Opitz Syndrome Awareness Day

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Early Childhood Development

700 New Neural Connectors per Second

The early years matter because, in the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. Neural connections are formed through the interaction of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences, especially “serve and return” interaction with adults, or what developmental researchers call contingent reciprocity. These are the connections that build brain architecture – the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend. (See picture below)

Center on the Developing Child (2009). Five Numbers to Remember About Early Childhood Development (Brief). Retrieved

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Welcome Jennifer Simmons

Jennifer grew up in Orlando, Florida and received her Bachelor’s in Criminology from the University of Florida. She moved to NC to work with at risk youth at a wilderness camp. Jennifer eventually found a job in education and earned her teaching certificate for LD at UNC Charlotte and VI at North Carolina Central. She then attended Western Michigan University and received her Master’s in Orientation & Mobility for Children. Jennifer has been working as a TVI and COMS for Invision Services for the past several years. She has a beautiful 8 year old daughter, a dog, and 2 cats that keep her pretty busy. Jennifer said she is "looking forward to joining the ELSSP/VI team. Her official start date is April 11th. Welcome Jennifer!

April Staff Birthdays

Lori Bartram April 3rd

Christina Tuton April 7th

Bethany Mayo April 8th

Megan Libby April 21st

Photo/Video Credits


Taylor Gurganus, Co-Founder and Vice Chair

Bohring-Opitz Syndrome Foundation, Inc.