New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired - 1900 North White Sands Boulevard, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310, phone (800) 437-3505

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Information for Parents:  Short-Term Programs

The education of visually impaired students often requires parents and families to find a balance between competing, important needs. There are only so many hours in the day and days in a year in which to teach all that a visually impaired student needs to learn. This reality forces parents to make difficult choices. For example, instruction in a VI specific area like Braille necessarily takes time away from other areas, like core content or elective classes. Both the VI specific and general education areas are important.

In an effort to help parents strike a balance between competing needs, NMSBVI has developed a short term program for students with visual impairments. This program augments other service delivery options offered by NMSBVI, notably extended placement at NMSBVI and itinerant based Outreach support. The rationale for the additional program was the recognition of a gap in the service delivery model; itinerant support wasn’t sufficient to meet some needs and extended placement was more than what was needed.

The short term program is a series of 1 to 2 week stays at the NMSBVI campus in Alamogordo. During the stay the students will work on VI specific skills that the district TVI/O&Ms and parents recognize as critical to success within the district classrooms and in life generally. The intensive 1 to 2 week programs focus on skills that can be tough to teach in the itinerant based model commonly used in New Mexico schools. The goal is to instill VI specific skills requested by the parent and district TVI/O&M quickly so as to minimize disruption in the student’s life both in and out of the classroom.

The VI specific skills taught as part of the short term program are located in that portion of the website. Currently, they include:
Orientation & Mobility: cane skills, grid and address systems, street crossings, GPS
Transition: complete assessments and transition planning
Independent Living Skills: money management, clothing management, food and nutrition,
    household management, career exploration, child care

Technology: Braille note takers, computer technology
Braille: Braille code, slate and stylus
Math: abacus, elementary Nemeth, middle school Nemeth, Algebra Nemeth, Geometry Nemeth
Science: lab equipment, Braille in science, (SC)2, graphing
Overarching skills: test taking strategies, note taking, social skills

There is also a handy link for requesting a VI specific skill that isn’t currently offered.

More Detailed Information:  Short-Term Programs

Consultation with the district TVI/O&M will help determine if this program is appropriate for your student. On that note, there are a few things to consider outside of the academic realm:
•  Is your student capable of learning a new skill quickly? While the instruction is intensive it is packed
    into a very short period of time. Some students require more time to learn than others. The short
    term program is intended to help those students who can pick up new concepts quickly. This allows
    the student to return to the local district with skills that the district TVI/O&M can hone and build upon.

Is your student capable of being away from home for most of a week? Students travel to NMSBVI on
   Sunday afternoons and return Friday evenings. For some students, particularly very young students,
   this is an issue. Given the intensive and brief nature of the program, the student will not benefit if
   thoughts are primarily of home. Students will have time to call family during the week (mainly in the
   evenings, though other times can be arranged) to help with homesickness.

Is your student capable of self-regulating behaviors? As with homesickness disruptive behaviors will
   be a detriment given the short duration of the program. Students must be able to stay on task and
   refrain from things like self injurious behaviors and tantrums.

For further information please contact:
Ron Later
800-437-3505 #4478



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Last Updated: 2/17/2011