New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

NMSBVI Innovations

At the heart of good education is innovation. In our efforts to meet the needs of blind & visually impaired students, NMSBVI staff have developed some new tools. We're very proud to share a few of our innovations with you... and hope that you will find them useful in your efforts to make education an exciting process for your own students.

(SC)2: Winner of the 2009 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation!

SC2 in use
The System for Conceptualizing Spatial Concepts or, (SC)2, is an instructional tool developed within my chemistry classes at the New Mexico School for the Blind.  By utilizing a system of beveled and magnetized blocks affixed to a magnetic white board, (SC)2 allows students with visual impairments to spatially arrange, manipulate, and calculate complex mathematical and scientific formulae by simply inserting 3 x 5 cards that students have brailled with values and labels of each term.  It provides individuals with visual impairments equal access and participation in the classroom while encouraging higher order thinking and greater scientific and mathematical literacy for blind students.
Click here for more detailed information about (SC)2

Touch Grids: Honorable Mention for the 2010 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation!

touch grids
Touch Grids is an instructional tool developed within the physics classes at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Touch Grids facilitate greater mathematic and graphical literacy through the conceptualization of many graphical processes that utilize quantitative data by using a series of connectable and interchangeable grid panels, axes, and pegs. Possessing universal design features, this educational tool allows students with visual impairments the ability to bypass their visual deficiencies and gain greater independence, success, and ultimately access to advanced study or employment in STEM fields (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
Click here for more detailed information about Touch Grids.

The 'Shroom:

The ‘Shroom is a device on which a student can translate subtle movements, like a shift in weight or head turn, into a much more dramatic movement. The ‘Shroom, in essence, is a super sized wobble board onto which the entirety of the student’s body is placed. The movements of the student cause the ‘Shroom to dip in any number of angles and even rotate.
Click here for more detailed information about The 'Shroom.

Tall(er) Room:

Taller Room
The Tall(er) Room is an offshoot of the Little Room. Some students, due to health reasons (primarily congestion and swallow issues), can’t spend extended periods of time supine on the floor or a resonance board. Others don’t have the same range of motion when on the floor that they do when supported in a chair. Still others would benefit from standing (either in a stander or gait trainer) while hand/arm motions are encouraged. Unlike a fixed height Little Room (either the standard height or one with 4’ vertical posts), the Tall(er) Room allows the teacher to raise or lower the roof to meet student need. It is tall and can get taller.
Click here for more information about Tall(er) Room.

Instability Board:

Instability Board
The Instability Board is a simple device designed to help students with multiple impairments begin to roll over without the physical assistance of others. A student is placed on the board either in the prone or supine positions. The board is set in ‘neutral’, so that movement by the student to the left or right causes the board to tip to that side. The student is then rolled off of the board and onto the floor, the surface of which is covered by a pad, mat or blanket.
Click here for more detailed information about Instability Board.

DIMC (Drive In Media Center):

Drive in Media Center
The DIMC (Drive In Media Center) was designed to allow students with positional issues to access a variety of media options. Computer screens, for example, are generally presented upright & perpendicular to the surface on which they are placed. While screens can often be tilted a few degrees the possible angles traditionally available don’t meet the needs of all students. It became clear that the solution was to allow for a far greater range of viewing angles. The DIMC was designed to allow a screen to be presented at several different angles along a 90 degree arc from perpendicular to the floor all the way to parallel to the floor. Click here for more information about DIMC.

Orientation & Mobility Inventory:

O&M Inventory
The NMSBVI Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Inventory was developed as a means of quantifying student progress across the many areas that make up O&M. The goal was to create a user friendly assessment tool that quickly allowed an O&M to identify areas of need for individual students. Further, there was a need to structure it in such a way as to allow paperwork averse O&Ms to easily track student progress over time. The Inventory aspires to meet these needs. The (M)Inventory is designed for students with multiple impairments and the (B)Inventory for students from birth through pre-school.
Click here for more information about O&M Inventory.

Winter/Summer Sun Position Model:

Sun Position Model
O&Ms often use the position of the sun as an integral part of cardinal directions. The sun rises in the east, is overhead around noon and sets in the west. Unless it’s winter at American/European latitudes.…then the sun rises kind of in the southeast, is off to the south around noon and sets in the southwest. The Winter/Summer Sun Position Model is a quick and easy visual and tactual way of showing students why the sun appears to be in different places in the winter and summer. As an added bonus, science teachers can use it in conjunction with other solar models and social studies teachers may find it helpful for explaining latitude and longitude.
Click here for more information about the Sun Position Model.


T Car
Students with multiple impairments sometimes are unable to control and move each of their four limbs. This tends to lead to limitations regarding independent mobility. A student with cerebral palsy, for example, might not ever have the ability to walk. Such students tend to be wheelchair bound. Standard wheelchairs, with rims that allow for the operator to control the wheelchair, at times can’t be controlled by the student due to limitations to range of motion in the upper extremities. The T-Car, so named due to the T shaped control handle, was devised to give students with limited control over their limbs the opportunity to get from Point A to Point B under their own steam. More information about T-Car coming soon....

Activity Board:

Activity Board
Activity Board.






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Last Updated:  02/12/14