Transitions for a Lifetime Flyer

Transitions for a Lifetime
Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Spring Family Conference
May 1-3, 2015
Iowa Braille School Campus
1002 G Ave., Vinton, Iowa 52349
Transitions happen from the time a child is born. The milestones pass as quickly as children
change from infants to toddlers and before we realize it they are in school and doing amazing
things we never thought they would achieve. Hopes and dreams change through the years as
they pass from preschool to elementary into middle school, high school and move on to the postsecondary world of living learning and working. Planning for the future begins at birth.
Building upon the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) concepts takes a lifetime. You will have
an opportunity to hear from blind and visually impaired individuals about the challenges they
faced as they moved through these various transitions in their life. They will share individual
experiences as well as some practical tips for making the process a little bit smoother. You will
gain information about financial planning as well as living and working in the community.
ECC such as independent living and social interaction will be highlighted in sessions.
Professionals will share resources to support the educational process. Parents will share personal
experiences and siblings have an opportunity to interact and learn from each other as well. Join
the fun starting Friday evening as we renew relationships and make some new ones.
Friday Evening, May 1
All activities will take place in the Recreation/Gym Building
6:00 - 6:30 pm
Registration and Family Meet and Greet Social
6:30 - 7:30 pm
Parents’ Meeting
Children’s Activity
Sibling Activity
7:30- 8:00 pm
Family Feud
8:00 - 8:30 pm
9:00 pm
Building Closes
Saturday, May 2
All sessions will take place in the Old Main Building
8:00 - 8:30 am
Breakfast in the Dining Room
8:15 am
Childcare Opens
8:30 - 9:15 am
Welcome - Auditorium - Steve Gettel, Superintendent
Information will be shared about the future of the two special school, Iowa School for the Deaf
and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. An update on the Northeast
Regional Academy will also be shared.
9:15 - 10:15 am
Estate Planning for People with Disabilities and ABLE Act Auditorium - Frank Varvaris
In 1997, Frank Varvaris drafted and successfully introduced House File 492, regarding the use
of ‘Special Needs Trusts’ to protect money for persons with disabilities - which is now a law in
Iowa. In September 2014, he was awarded ‘Business Professional of the Year’ by the Arc of East
Central Iowa for his dedication and service to people who have disabilities and their families.
This session will focus on: estate planning for the future well-being of your child, understanding
guardianships, special needs trusts, and how to apply for and receive Social Security disability
10:15 - 10:30 am
10:30 - 11:30 am
Breakout Sessions
The Birds and the Bees - Denise Brown, mother of Emily, age 18 who is blind and lives in the
Des Moines area. Dana Cheek, mother of James, a high school sophomore, who is blind. Phyllis
McGowan, IESBVI Family Services Specialist
To our children, the Birds and the Bees really means a bumblebee and a bird that flies - not sex
education. Denise has participated with Parents as Presenters and has many experiences to share.
Confronted with permission for Emily to participate in sex education in school, Denise had some
concerns about Emily’s understanding of this subject. She decided to approach this on her
own. Learn the importance of sharing concrete factual information so your child has an
opportunity to learn the meaning behind the Birds and the Bees.
Saturday - continued
Making Memory Books - Cindy White-Botello, IESBVI Special Education Consultant
Learn how to construct a book about an experience you have shared with your child. Using
familiar objects and relating them to a meaningful experience, you and your child can recall and
retell your story. You will have an opportunity to create a book to take home with
you. Examples of simple story books, using concrete objects for understanding the content, will
also be shared. This session will focus on needs of children who have additional disabilities.
An Overview Unified English Braille Code (UEB) - Chris Short, IESBVI Literacy Consultant
The Braille code is undergoing some changes that will affect Braille readers in a positive way.
The United States has adopted UEB (Unified English Braille Code) as their official Braille code.
Our students will be transitioning to this code beginning in the fall of 2015. In this session you
will learn about these changes to the code and our statewide plan for helping our students to
make that transition.
Transition - One Step at a Time - Julie Aufdenkamp, Iowa Department for the Blind
Transition Counselor
From the moment we took our first breaths, we began a life-long journey of transition. The
process can take on a wide variety of characteristics and range from minor to major. As parents
of blind and visually impaired children, you may be wondering when transition becomes most
important. This session will focus on setting goals now to begin preparing your child for the
transition to the adult world. You will also learn about how the Iowa Department for the Blind
can be a resource to you and your child along the way.
11:30 am - Noon
Check out the display tables
11:45 am
Daycare closes - pick up your children for lunch
Noon - 1:00 pm
Lunch in the Dining Room
1:00 pm
Childcare Opens
Saturday - continued
1:15 - 2:30 pm
Expanded Core: A Lifetime of Learning Opportunity: Part 1
“Independent Living Skills K-8” - Doug Anzlovar
Doug Anzlovar is the Dean of Educational Programs and Instruction at the Hadley School for
the Blind where he serves as a member of the administrative team, oversees a 30-member
faculty, is involved in curriculum decisions and policy development and oversees the Low
Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Prior to joining Hadley, Doug worked as a teacher of the
visually impaired in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly ten years. While at Walter Payton
College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Doug developed a resource program for students
with visual impairments and later became chair of the special education department. Doug holds
a master's of science in adult rehabilitation of the blind and a bachelor of science in special
education with an emphasis in teaching the visually impaired, both from Northern Illinois
University. Doug is a certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. He is a currently a member and
serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (AVRT)
and the Illinois Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and
Visually Impaired (IAER).
Doug will discuss a brief history of the Expanded Core Curriculum, as well as, relate his
personal story of its impact on his life. Those most responsible for providing important supports,
developing the most critical skills and giving the greatest encouragement will also be discussed.
2:40 - 3:40 pm
Breakout Sessions
Advocating for Your Child: Attaining Good Special Education Services - Kelly van Dyk,
Iowa Deafblind Project Coordinator, Deafblind Specialist
Good special education services are intensive and expensive. In this session parents will:
1. Increase their knowledge of the Rules of the Game
2. Learn to plan and prepare
3. Learn the importance of keeping written records
4. Learn to ask questions, listen to answers
5. Learn to identify problems and propose solutions
iPad and Reading Books - Rosa Mauer, IESBVI Assistive Technology Consultant
In this session we will review iPad/Phone apps used for reading books. This will be an overview
and demonstration of book reader apps that work with Voice Over and may be used with
students who are blind or have low vision. Some apps that will be covered include Voice Dream
Reader, Read2Go, Learning Ally and the BARD National Library Service app.
Saturday - continued
O&M: Ages and Stages - Jim Judd, IESBVI Orientation and Mobility Specialist
This presentation will focus on the blind or visually impaired child’s development from early
years until graduation from high school and how orientation and mobility can help assist with the
child’s development. We will look at the O&M scope and sequence of skills for the early years,
birth to age 3, elementary school travel and orientation, and on the mastery of skills needed to
graduate high school as a fully independent blind/VI traveler, ready for post-secondary life.
Some participation from the audience will be encouraged - but not too much! Bring your
questions and enjoy one Orientation and Mobility Specialist’s take on “Ages and Stages”.
Some Thoughts for a Bright Future or How did I get where I am? - Marisa Beekman,
Human Resources Associate, Outlook Nebraska, Inc.
Marisa Beekman is currently employed by Outlook Nebraska, Inc. as the Human Resources
Associate. Outlook Nebraska, Inc.’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of the blind and
visually impaired in many ways and especially through employment. Marisa is originally from
Pocahontas, Iowa and graduated from Buena Vista University with a Bachelor’s in Political
Science/Public Administration. She will share life experiences of living, learning and working,
as well as the challenges and successes along the way, as she transitioned from high school to
college and the world of work.
3:45 - 5:00 pm
Breakout Sessions
Dads’ Session - facilitated by Brook Nolin
Brook is married to Kashia and the father of four children, Brandon, Alissa, Matthew and
Zachary (who is blind). The family lives in Spencer, Iowa. Brook maintains the Facebook page
Iowa Blind and Visually Impaired Childrens Support Group. Brook has been active in educating
and reaching out to families to make the world a better place for all children.
Moms’ Session - facilitated by Kashia Nolin and Stacy Simmons
Kashia is married to Brook and the mom of four children, Brandon, Alissa, Matthew and
Zachary (who is blind). Stacy is married to Dan and the mother of three children, Klair, Ali and
Kyle (who is visually impaired). Come prepared to share and learn from one another.
Saturday - continued
Sibs’ Session - facilitated by Abby Morales
Abby says: I am the oldest of four children. One unique difference about my family is that my
brother has Down Syndrome. When asked at the age of two and three if we wanted another
sibling, my sister and I both responded, “No, we want another John.” We love our youngest
sister more than anything and wouldn’t replace her for the world, yet there is something
different, something incredibly wonderful about having a sibling with special needs. Are there
Challenges? Definitely. Are there joys? Absolutely. Am I a better person for knowing him? You
better believe it! Come hang out with me to talk about some of the challenges and joys of your
perfectly amazing, absolutely quirky, seriously annoying, incredibly loveable sibling. Originally
from Vinton, I’m a 27 year old 6th grade teacher and mother of two in Monticello. I have
experience with those who are visually impaired through my previous work at Camp
Courageous, which is where we now live and where my husband is the Travel Director.
5:00 pm
Pick up your children from childcare
5:15 pm
Childcare closes
5:30 pm
Supper in the Dining Room
After supper until 8:30 pm - There will be activities in the gym and the pool will be open
for swimming.
Sunday Morning, May 3
All sessions will take place in the Old Main Building
8:00 - 8:30 am
Breakfast in the Dining Room
8:15 am
Childcare Opens
8:30 - 10:00 am
Expanded Core: A Lifetime of Learning and Opportunity Part 2
“Independent Living Skills: High School and Beyond”
Doug Anzlovar, from the Hadley School, will continue the discussion of lifelong learning in the
Expanded Core by sharing resources available through Hadley, as well as, discuss a variety of
technologies that exist to promote independent living. He will also explore a variety of apps for
iDevices used by the blind and visually impaired community. Apps from the following
categories will be discussed: cooking, entertainment, magnification, productivity, reading/news,
and travel. Audience participation is encouraged!
Sunday Morning - continued
10:00 - 11:00 am
Expanded Core Checklist Discussion - facilitated by Phyllis McGowan
What is the purpose of the ECC Screening tool? How is the information useful for my child’s
education? Share your thoughts and ideas through discussion and by completing a brief
anonymous survey about the screening tool.
11:00-11:15 am
11:15 am
Pick up your children from childcare
11:30 am
Box lunches will be available outside the Dining Room. You can eat in
the Dining Room or take them with you.
General Information
Hotel Rooms:
A block of rooms has been set aside at a group rate of $80 at Cobblestone Inn and Suites, 1202
West 11th St, Vinton, IA. You must make your own room reservations. Call 319-472-2220 and
ask for a room for the Iowa Braille School Spring Conference. Room reservations need to be
made by April 24, 2015. This is a small hotel, so book your rooms early.
All meals will be provided for conference attendees.
Stipend checks will be available for parents as they leave the conference. For those living within
50 miles of Vinton, the stipend will be $50 per day (maximum $150) and for those further than
50 miles from Vinton, the stipend will be $100 per day (maximum $300).
Limited childcare will be available on Saturday and Sunday. Friday evening’s activities are
designed for participation by most family members. Assistance will be available for infants and
toddlers. Childcare is limited to the first 20 families who register. So register early!
Registration due by April 10, 2015
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