Engaging children with visual impairments through early literacy story box activities
This presentation addresses a multisensory approach to engage children with visual impairments in early literacy activities through the use of story boxes. The presenters will discuss the purpose of story boxes, as well as ways to create and implement story boxes within a child’s day at school and at home.
Megan Foran, MS CCC-SLP
Megan is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at Perkins School for the Blind and adjunct lecturer at Northeastern University. She has significant experience working with individuals who have a variety of communication disorders in the school and private practice settings. Megan has a passion for working with people with multiple disabilities (including those with visual impairments, multiple disabilities, and complex communication needs), and for helping them to find accessible, functional ways to communicate, including through the implementation of various Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) methods.
For the past 15 years, Perkins has been more than just a job, it has been my second home. It is at Perkins where I find joy and humility every day. As a classroom teacher, it is an ongoing adventure with each student exploring and discovering interests, abilities and successes ~ day in and day out. As the art teacher for the Lower School students, I am afforded the freedom to develop a creative program of activities as unique as each student!
Active Learning DIY style
Active Learning is a powerful educational approach, based on the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen, which emphasizes that all individuals learn best by being active in the world around them.
This workshop is designed to provide foundational concepts and principles including the key points of Active Learning and will include strategies for implementing this approach with your child at home. Emphasis will be on how to choose appropriate learning materials and activities for your child. Practical DIY-style instructions will be provided for making fun, interactive, and engaging learning materials for your child from items you likely already have in your home.
Theresa A. Johnson, OT, MSOT, OTR
Theresa is a registered, licensed occupational therapist at Perkins School for the Blind. She earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Springfield College. She has more than 20 years of experience working with children in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, and a specialized child development clinic. She currently works with students ranging from 3 to 22 years of age in the Deafblind School at Perkins. Theresa has completed several training programs in Active Learning over the past 6 years. She has led presentations and workshops on Active Learning for Perkin School for the Blind, Perkins International, Tufts University, and the 2021 Perkins Early Connections Conference.
Considerations for self feeding and mealtime routines for children with visual impairments
In this presentation, attendees can expect to gain an understanding of common challenges and barriers to self feeding for children with visual impairments. We will review tools and adaptations for children with visual impairments to access and participate in mealtime routines and develop self feeding skills. The presentation will also briefly review oral tactile sensory components which may impact self feeding development for children, as well as provide a variety of foundational strategies that can support self feeding from the sensory perspective.
Molly Bennett, MS, OTR/L
Molly has practiced as a pediatric occupational therapist for seven years, spending time in settings such as early intervention, pediatric outpatient clinic, and adaptive equine assisted therapy with children aged 0-3. She has worked in the Lower School program at Perkins for the past four years, serving a population with diverse medical diagnoses and visual impairments, aged 7-15. Molly is certified in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding, and has experience working with students who are picky eaters or have other feeding related needs due to neuromuscular and oral tactile sensitivities. At Perkins, she works closely within her students’ teams to support self feeding development and participation in mealtime routines.
Tova Teperow, MS OTR/L
Tova is a registered, licensed occupational therapist at Perkins School for the Blind. She is currently working with students in Lower School with vision impairment and multiple disabilities. Before coming to Perkins, Tova worked for four years as a home visiting occupational therapist for early intervention. Tova has extensive experience in treating children with oral and tactile sensitivity, low muscle tone, and “picky eaters.” Every day she is helping students develop their self-feeding skills, often building independence through the use of adaptive feeding equipment.
Expand your child’s cognitive and communication abilities!
Begin today! Your child is already thinking and communicating. Learn how to identify observable behaviors that tell you what your child is thinking and communicating at the birth to two years of age (Sensorimotor Level). Learn play and game strategies you can begin using immediately with your child to encourage growth and development. Handouts describing how parent interactions can support these interactive games will be provided. These strategies are based on the interconnectedness of three theorists: Jean Piaget, Lilli Nielsen, and Jan van Dijk.
Susan Mary DeCaluwe, M.Ed., TDB, TVI, TSSN, INSITE Trainer
Susan DeCaluwe has extensive experience as a presenter, consultant, teacher, and author. She specializes in supporting learners of all ages with deafblindness, intellectual disability and/or multiple disabilities and is currently Perkins’ Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher. Susan has provided hundreds of training opportunities to professionals and parents through the Deafblind Project/New England Consortium, Perkins International, Boston College and many other national and international agencies. She has participated in approximately 20 publications, webcasts, and webinars. Areas of expertise include Communication Portfolios, Sensorimotor Development, INSITE training, Jan van Dijk’s-Co Active Movement, Lilli Nielsen’s – Active Learning, PIWI Model, and disability awareness through puppetry – “Kids on the Block.”
Preparing for preschool!
During this presentation, Beth will provide tips and strategies to help prepare your child and yourself for a successful transition to the world of preschool. Special emphasis will be placed on building positive relationships with your child’s educational team.
Beth Allen, M.Ed., TVI
Beth started her extensive career at Perkins School for the Blind by working in the residential setting of the Secondary program, including a supervisory role, all while attending school to become a TVI. Working with the oldest students with an emphasis on independence was the perfect preparation for working with the youngest students! Beth is now a TVI/classroom teacher in Perkins Early Learning Center working with preschool aged students with visual impairments and additional disabilities. Beth has a specialized interest in incorporating cortical/cerebral vision impairment accommodations and instructional strategies into the classroom. And her motto – It is never too early to start working on independence! In her classroom everyday she is helping students build their communication, self-determination and daily living skills
Planning for preschool: Transitioning from IFSP to IEP
Learn how to support your child’s transition from Early Intervention (0-3 years) to school-based services by understanding the initial individual education plan (IEP) process
Brenda Allair, M.Ed., TVI
Brenda has 20 years experience in the field of Early Education and has been a licensed Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments for more than 12 years. She is the Infant Toddler Coordinator with Perkins School for the Blind Community Programs. In addition to her supervisory role, she also works with the program as an itinerant TVI, serving infants/toddlers and their families in Western Mass. Brenda has been an advisor on several national projects to support families of children with special health care needs and has a special interest in supporting families of children who have visual impairment and complex medical conditions.
Learn about the IEP evaluation process, independent evaluations, and the critical role of TVIs in evaluations, and other special considerations for children with vision loss or deafblindness.
Justine Carlone Rines, M.S. CCC-SLP
Justine began her career as a speech language pathologist in the Secondary school at Perkins School for the Blind. She spent several years coordinating Perkins’ independent evaluation services and is now the Associate Director of Evaluations and Admission for the Lower School.
Orientation and mobility in your everyday routine
Learn some of the basic travel techniques and concepts of orientation and mobility and how you can incorporate those into everyday activities.
Kristen Clark M.Ed. COMS
Kristen is the Assistant Education Director with Community Programs at Perkins as well as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. She first joined Perkins in 2016, serving as an
itinerant teacher covering central and southern Massachusetts. She also supports and co-facilitates Perkins’ Pre-Employment Program, focusing on areas of mobility, transportation and community outings. Prior to coming to Perkins she worked for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. She began her career in school systems as a Physical Therapist Assistant.