Ask the Expert
In our "Ask the Expert" columns you will find insights on a variety of topics from professionals in the field of education for individuals who are visually impaired, blind, or deafblind, including those with additional disabilities. Columns will be added with new topics on a monthly basis.
Table of Contents
- Dr. Namita Jacob - Training people with no experience with visual impairment
- Dr. Veronika Bernstein discusses Challenging Behavior: Impulsivity
- Kim Charlson discusses Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks
- Carol Crook Discusses the Tadoma Method
- Wendy L. Buckley addresses FAQ on Assistive Technology
- Amber Bobnar Says Communication Between Home and School Is a Two-Way Street
- Working on a SMARTBoard with Wendy L. Buckley
- Dr. Jan van Dijk talks Child-Guided Assessment
- Dr. Barbara McLetchie on Deafblindness
- Betsy McGinnity Explains the 21st CVAA and Deafblindness
- Charlotte Cushman Discusses Teaching Methodologies
- Ellen Mazel Discusses Cortical Visual Impairment
- Steve Landau Navigates Campus from the Grousbeck Center
- Beth Kennedy Explains the Intervener Model in Michigan
- Michelle Perkins from Perkins Products
Click on the appropriate titles below to read questions and answers from the experts.
This month’s expert is Steve Landau who is the President and Director of Research at Touch Graphics, which has recently developed the new Talking Campus Model located in the Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology (GCST). The Talking Model helps visitors to the Perkins campus get oriented, while students and staff can explore this familar environment in miniature scale. There are many ways to interact with the Talking Model, so almost anyone can comfortably operate and learn from this public map and directory system. The Model’s surface is pressure-sensitive, and when you touch different locations, you hear names and descriptions of each place.
This month’s expert is Ellen Mazel, M.Ed. CTVI. Ellen works in the Educational Partnerships Program at Perkins School for the Blind. In 2008, Ellen was named National Teacher of the Year for Children with Multiple Disabilities by the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB). Ellen has expertise in the area of Deaf-Blindness, early intervention, cortical vision impairment, and transition.
This month's expert is Charlotte Cushman. Charlotte began working at Perkins in 1982, and taught for many years in the Lower School program. In 1992, she left Perkins to join the Peace Corps, where she trained special education teachers in Malawi. When she returned home, Charlotte became a consultant for Perkins International and the New England Center Deafblind Project. She went on to get an additional degree in Library Science and Archival Studies, and is now working with Perkins as a consultant assisting with the archives and special projects.
Betsy McGinnity Explains the Impact of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act on Deafblindness
Betsy McGinnity has worked in the field of deafblindness for over 30 years. As a campaign manager for the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB), she helped advocate for passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (21st CVAA) and provided feedback to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about proposed rules which will govern the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP).
Dr. McLetchie worked as an Assistant Professor at Boston College for more than 20 years and coordinated the teacher training program for educators of children who are deafblind including those with multiple disabilities. She is currently a consultant working both nationally and internationally to assist parents and professionals in meeting the needs of this unique population.
Dr. van Dijk has dedicated his 50-year career to helping children who have multiple disabilities in addition to deafblindness. His child-guided strategies are recognized and used throughout the world.
Wendy L. Buckley, Ed.S., is the Assistive Technology Specialist/Teacher in the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind. Wendy has extensive experience in working with students using a wide range of assistive technology. Wendy receives many inquiries from parents and professionals regarding the use of technology with students. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions related to SMARTBoards.
Amber Bobnar is the mother of an adorable little five-year-old boy, Ivan. Ivan attends the Early Learning Center at the Perkins School for the Blind and is completely blind. He also has a rare neurological condition called Joubert Syndrome that affects his muscle tone and balance as well as a seizure disorder and language processing disorder. Amber runs the website WonderBaby.org, a site designed to provide parents of children who are blind with information and support. She also has advice for teachers when working with parents of children who are blind.
Wendy L. Buckley, Ed.S., is the Assistive Technology Specialist/Teacher in the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind. Wendy has extensive experience in working with students using a wide range of assistive technology. Wendy receives many inquiries from parents and professionals regarding the use of technology with students.
Carol Crook taught in the Deafblind Program at Perkins for many years. She has had a great deal of experience in teaching children to use the Tadoma Method – a rare form of communication used with children who are deafblind where the individual who is deafblind places their hand on the speaker’s face (thumb on lips and fourth finger on jaw; second and third fingers on the cheek) and “hears” what the speaker is saying by feeling the vibrations.
Kim Charlson, Director of the Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library and member of The Braille Authority of North America (BANA), talks about the preparation of special format educational materials as an area that teachers and transcribers must always give careful attention.
Veronika Bernstein, PhD, Developmental Specialist in Perkins' Deafblind Program, talks about the issue of impulsivity in children who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind. She discusses the definition of impulsivity, developmental stages related to impulsivity, and strategies to address behavorial challenges and maximize the child's educational experience.
Dr. Namita Jacob discusses how to train people who have no experience in working with students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities
While it is critical for students with visually impairments and multiple disabilities to have access to highly trained teachers, there are many occasions when these students interact and work with people who have no background knowledge or experience. Dr. Namita Jacob, Education Specialist for Perkins International Asia/Pacific Region, has provided training all over the world and speaks to us in this column about her expertise providing this kind of basic, introductory training.
Beth Kennedy, M.Ed., the Director of Deafblind Central, in Michigan, has facilitated the development of intervener training programs in her state. We asked Beth to share information with us about this exciting project that started three years ago and has clearly had a positive impact on The Great Lakes State.
An assistive technology evaluation is designed to supplement the overall educational plan for special needs students. Our primary goal, Michelle says, is to identify what type, or combination of assistive technology will be the most appropriate for the needs of the student.