Division on Visual Impairments

VIDBE Quarterly Volume 59(5)

A quarterly newsletter from the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Visual Impairments containing practitioner tips for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and other professionals.

Issue link: http://dvi.uberflip.com/i/422067

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Page 13 of 72

; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 2 Growing up deafblind was not easy, but luckily I was correctly diagnosed at 3 ½, when my patched good eye for lazy eye did not work. The doctor suspected Usher's Syndrome because I definitely had a hearing loss. At 3 years old, I was already receiving excellent intensive speech-language therapy in a preschool for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Kansas City, Missouri. When I moved to Minnesota in 1986, my diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa was confirmed. After that diagnosis, I progressed through school with some major hiccups, stalled movement in my progress in the early years, but by the time I was in 11 th grade, I was thriving. What was one of the big reasons? I finally had an educational sign language interpreter/intervener. She was a certified interpreter who acted as an informal intervener. I didn't have to focus all my energies following what the teacher said and matching it with the visuals that I couldn't see at the same time. I now had copies printed for me and I could read the tactile sign that interpreter translated. I didn't have to wonder where people were in the room; I could ask my intervener. She kept me informed of new information posted on the walls and helped me know if other students were paying attention to the extremely boring movie playing. This allowed me to know that I could slack off, too. I could meditate! Of course, she would inform me immediately if the teacher looked upset or reprimanded me. I trusted her to be my eyes and ears. I could fully focus on being me for the first time in my educational life and not struggle on, being just "hard of hearing". I also began taking some college classes at the University of Minnesota in eleventh grade. My interpreter/intervener would help me there, too. While my Jamie 14

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