NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

April 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

4th Annual Kids Helping Kids Festival Submitted by Lin Causey

Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Staff Birthdays for April

Photo/Video Credits

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On May 6, 2018 the Bryce Martin Foundation is putting on their fourth annual Kids Helping Kids Festival. It will be a fun packed day at the Laurel Hills Park in Raleigh with lots of outdoor activities and performances, including bands, gymnastics teams, carnival activities and an exhibition by the local Goal Ball Team. This year, we are expecting over 1000 families and thought this would be a great opportunity for exposure for your organization and you would also be contributing to an amazing and important cause that impacts local families.

The purpose of the festival is to bring together sighted and visually impaired children to interact and to educate sighted children about the world of the visually impaired. All proceeds go to funding glasses, therapy equipment, Braille learning tools as well as helping support The Exploration Learning Center, which offers preschool, camps and classes for visually impaired children in the Triangle.

The Bryce Martin Foundation

9321 Leesville Road

Raleigh, NC 27613

Professional Development Opportunities

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2018 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute

May 8-10, 2018

Chapel Hill, NC

The Courage to Reach Inward and Outward: The Power of Reflective Practice

Pre-Institute Workshop Speakers:

Fialka, Janice and Peters, Mary

Developing partnerships is both joyful and challenging work which requires reflection both inward, (for our own individual growth) and outward, (with each other). Our partnerships are strengthened when reflection is integrated into our practice. Join this half-day interactive workshop to experience guided reflection through journaling, conversations, and other strategies to support our ongoing engagement in the important work of inclusion. Using Janice Fialka’s writing as a springboard for our thinking and discussion, this session provides opportunities to explore and create:

· practices for careful listening to ourselves and our partners for deep connections that honor vulnerability and diversity

· brave space that fosters honest, trusting relationships and communication

· connections between attending our own inner lives, our roles and the renewal of our commitment to supporting outcomes for our young children and their families.

The principles from the Center for Courage and Renewal© and The Courage to Teach, by Parker J. Palmer (2017) are the foundation of this session.

Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop

Type: Pre-Institute

Age Group: Birth to 5

DEC Recommended Practices:




Teaming and Collaboration


Explicit and Intentional: Tools and Strategies for Supporting Inclusion in Professional Development Efforts

Primary Speaker name:

Catlett, Camille

The goal of this session is to build the capacity of each participant to incorporate content related to supporting children who are individually diverse in inclusive settings in coursework, field experiences, and other professional development efforts. Through generous handouts, demonstrations, small group work, and conversations the instructor will nurture each participant to consider new ways in which to build knowledge and support expertise related to the inclusion of children, birth to age 8, in home, program, and community settings. If you’re interested in free, high-quality resources to increase the emphasis on inclusion in your professional development efforts, this is the session for you!

Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop

Type: Pre-Institute

Topic: Professional Development

Age Group: Birth to 5

DEC Recommended Practices:


How to Make Friends and Influence Preschoolers: Classroom Management that Motivates and Engages Children

Primary Speaker name: Holland, Adam

In this session, we will discuss different options for classroom management and how they can benefit or challenge children with special needs. In the first part of the session, participants will learn about two key theories that drive classroom management: behaviorism and self-determination theory. Then, we will apply these theories, discussing strategies for building classroom community, teaching behavior, and designing experiences for children that promote success rather than failure. Time at the end will be allowed for questions about how to apply learning to participants’ specific classrooms and situations.

Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop

Type: Pre-Institute

Topic: Inclusive Practices

Age Group: Birth to 5

DEC Recommended Practices:





Creating Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes: Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions

SPEAKER: Therese Willkomm, PhD, ATP

WHEN: May 4th, 2018 8:30 am – 4:00 pm (6 contact hours)

WHERE: Extraordinary Ventures 200 S. Elliott Road Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Please register by 4/27/18!


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

April Staff Birthdays

April 3rd Lori Bartram

April 3rd Beth Shaw

April 7th Christina Tuton

April 8th Bethany Mayo

April 21st Megan Libby

Photo/Video Credits