NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

November 2015

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

November Quote

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.

-Fred Rogers


Student Pictures Submitted by NC ELSSP-VI Staff

Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Resources You May Not Know About Submitted by Elizabeth Wilde

Welcome New Staff

iPad 'Appiness Submitted by Becky Lowrey

Staff Birthdays

November's Notable Student Submitted by Elizabeth Wilde

Director's Spotlight Submitted by Bethany Mayo

Professional Development Opportunities

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ELSSP/VI Statewide Staff Meeting

Friday, Nov. 13th, 1-3pm

This is an online event.

On 11-13-2015 Sue Caruso will share her presentation on..."Is it Sensory? Or is it Behavior?". Please join us for this wonderful presentation.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

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

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

2 cups flour

½ cup salt

1 ¾ cup water

1 ½ Tbsp. cream of tartar

3 ½ Tbsp. of vegetable oil

Jar of pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and cook slowly, stirring constantly. When the mixture becomes thick and difficult to stir, and you start seeing smooth, almost shiny places, and when it forms a large ball, remove from heat. Scoop dough onto wax paper and let cool. Knead it until it is smooth, and keep in an airtight container at room temperature. This dough tastes salty so children aren’t tempted to eat it after they sneak a taste! You can throw it out after lots of little hands have been in it. Try swapping food coloring and bottles of flavoring extract to make scented doughs—like red coloring and peppermint extract; yellow and banana; orange with orange, etc. or leave food coloring out but add coconut extract. Have fun!

ELSSP-VI would like to officially welcome our newest staff member...

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Andrea Finney-Ratliff

Andi is married with 2 boys...Garrett, 4 and Gavin, 4 months. Andi worked on her undergrad at Greensboro College where she received her B-K licensure. She is continuing her education at the University of North Dakota and will finish her Master's in Special Education and a VI license in December of this year!! Prior to joining ELSSP/VI, Andi was a preschool teacher in Rockingham County for 9 years and then transitioned into the TVI position for school age kids and was the TVI for 3 years. She also served on the preschool TPBA team while serving her VI kids. Andi loves to spend time with her family, going camping, and playing volleyball. She has refereed high school volleyball for the past 5 years as well. Andi has a passion for volleyball as she has played since she was 4. She also loves most sports, but college football is her favorite!!! GO DUKE!!! (yes, she knows they aren't too strong in football, but they are national champs in basketball!!!!!) Welcome Andi!!!

iPad 'Appiness

After my rather lengthy discussion about the iPad last month, I thought it might be time for a little fun. Here are a few apps that will take you through November. The first is (and wait for it…) FREE! Hand Turkey – A Multi-Touch Thanksgiving App. I’ve been using this one for a couple of years. Your preschoolers will get a kick out of it, but I’ve also used it with some of my 1-2 year olds with success. The child will have to fully open their hand on the screen in order to activate a “hand turkey”. From there, they get to decorate the turkey, name the turkey, rake leaves with a turkey, cause a turkey stampede, and they can share their turkey with family through email. The only odd thing about the app is that the creator apparently thought that turkeys crow like roosters. Other than that – it’s a great (and free) app.

My other recommendation is made by Pocket Charts and is their Thanksgiving matching game. It is a nice one for preschoolers who have enough vision to see some differences in details, and it is not as cluttered as other matching game apps. Cost: .99, which is not too bad. Finally, if you are searching for another iPad book for Thanksgiving, look at A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The Peanuts interactive books are taken directly from the Holiday specials. Warning: these books are very cute and have a good bit of interaction, but they are not for students who are unable to sit through a more detailed and lengthy book. Cost: 5.99 on it’s own. However, you can get the entire Peanuts collection for 17.99, which includes A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; and Charlie Brown All Stars.

November Staff Birthdays

November 7th Johnnie Page

November 12th Kelly Denny

November 19th Juliet Mauldin

November 26th Karen Huffman

November's Notable Student

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Jonathan will be 7 this month! He is a former student with Governor Morehead Preschool, now known as ELSSP/VI. He came to our program when he was just two months old, and received vision services for five years from Elizabeth Wilde, who saw him off to a successful kindergarten year. He also received 0&M from former GMP staff member Jane Barabash (and also from Meg Libby---who now works for us!) He loves books, the outdoors, and slides of all types, on every type of playground! Jonathan began learning Braille with Elizabeth when he was three and a half. He is now in first grade, and his mother told Elizabeth he was the top reader in all of the kindergarten classrooms at his elementary school last year!!! The pictures of him are from when he was a student with us!

Director's Spotlight

By: Bethany Mayo, Director ELSSP-VI

Christina Tuton

Christina has been a teacher for the visually impaired for eight years. Most of that time she served school aged children with Sampson County Schools until she joined the ELSSP-VI team in April of 2015. Christina started teaching in 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She taught preschool, kindergarten and first grades, before enrolling in NCCU master’s program for Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility. Christina finished her VI and O&M degree in 2007.

Christina’s mom was her inspiration for going into the visual impairment field. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 21 (50 years ago). Her biggest worry with diabetes was the loss of vision. That is when Christina decided to learn more about visual impairment to help her Mom prepare for the future.

Christina is happily married and has two wonderful, energetic children, Ellis (5) and Emma Dixie (3). Christina spends what free time she has playing with her children and taking day trips on the weekend to child-friendly events. Their latest trip is planned for a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins for the fall.

Christina has joined the ELSSP-VI team with such a smooth transition; it feels like she has worked with us for years. Christina has personified our programs core values by the way she conducts her work on a daily basis. She seeks opportunities to learn and is willing to share her talents and skills with others. Christina is not afraid to get her hands dirty and really “fell” into her work during the file clean up project. All with a great attitude and a big smile. Her positive energy is contagious and she was recently asked to participate in a Trans-Disciplinary Play Based Assessment with one of her LEAs. What a great representation of or program. Thank you Christina for being this month’s Director’s Spotlight.

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Photo Credits