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2020 Texas Focus: Self-Determination
Join us for Texas Focus 2020 as we explore tools and strategies to empower all children with visual impairments. Sessions will focus on ways to provide children with greater voice, meaningful options, and increased participation in their lives.

Registration Fees:
Registration ends February 20th. Late registration begins on February 15th.
• Family and Professional - $275.00 (early) $325.00 (late)
• Paraprofessional and University Student - $100.00 (early) $150.00 (late)
• Out-of-State Professional - $295.00 (early) $345.00 (late)

LODGING: You can book a reservation online at Hyatt Regency North Houston at 425 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Houston | Texas, 77060.

For more information, please visit our Texas Focus Conference Home Page.

Housekeeping and Welcome (Required)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM)
Session ID: 39824
Housekeeping and Welcome
Seats Filled: 14 / 350
Fee: $345.00
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom

Important Breakout Information:

You have the option of paying by check, purchase order, or credit card. Cash will not be accepted. Credit card payments will only be accepted online at the time of registration.

Your invoice will be sent via email immediately after registration to the primary email address listed in your user account. If your fee is being paid for by your school district or supporting agency, either with a check or a PO, then please be sure to forward your email to the appropriate person immediately so that payment may be processed.

Payment may be made in advance, paid on location, or received within 30 days of the event date. Instructions regarding where to send payment will be provided in your invoice/confirmation. If you are unable to supply a check or a PO number at the time of your registration, then you may simply enter "0000" and provide the number to us at a later time.


Pre-Conference (Optional)
(Thursday, February 27, 2020 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM)
Session ID: 39827
Pre-Conference
Seats Filled: 13 / 350
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom

Important Breakout Information:

NOTE: The Pre-conference is optional and available to everyone.

Join us for a half day pre-conference where our speakers will present on the topic of fine arts. Sessions will include:

Music for Self-Expression and Self-Advocacy
Jane Rundquist & Dan Butler

Creating with Blind Abandon: Creating an Accessible Art Program for Visually Impaired Students
Katherine Trimm, CTVI & Linda Brown, Braillist

Accessing the Arts: Teaching Self-Determination through Advocacy
Kate Borg, TSBVI Outreach Director

Session Descriptions for the Preconference can be found at our Texas Focus Agenda Page.


Family Luncheon (Optional)
(Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM)
Session ID: 39826
Pre-conference Family Luncheon
Seats Filled: 4 / 100
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Lonestar

Important Breakout Information:

NOTE: This session is optional and available only to family members.

Please join us for lunch and a parent panel discussion. This meal is provided by TSBVI Outreach at no additional cost. It is included in the cost of your registration fee.


General Session I (Required)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 9:15 AM - 10:15 AM)
Session ID: 39828
SEE Differently
Seats Filled: 14 / 350
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Kristin Smedley

Kristin will take the audience on her journey that began with her crying on the couch, crushed by the weight of not one but two blindness diagnoses, to cheering as her blind sons are thriving and achieving their dreams. She’ll discuss the key parts of her journey that allowed her family to move out of a victim story and soar on a hero’s journey. Participants will laugh and cry right along with Kristin as she reveals her biggest fears, greatest challenges, and most extraordinary (and often hilarious!) stories that have made her boys and their sighted sister who they are today: high achieving social butterflies with more smiles and success than Kristin ever dreamed.


General Session II (Required)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM)
Session ID: 39829
Finding Wheels: Strategies to Build Independent Travel Skills for Those with Visual Impairments
Seats Filled: 14 / 350
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Anne Corn

As students move from adolescence into adulthood, one of biggest challenges is to take control of one’s travel needs. Finding Wheels is a new publication of TSBVI and it covers such topics as using transportation technologies, learning to hire and fire drivers, dealing with frustrations of not being able to drive, how to budget for transportation, how to choose personal, public, hired, or volunteer wheels. This publication includes new scenarios, objectives, challenges, content, vignettes, and activities. Included are also first hand accounts by parents and individuals with visual impairments and a piece by Christopher Tabb about new technologies used by travelers. Finding Wheels may be taught by a COMS as an adjunct to orientation and mobility services and/or taught by a TVI as a part of the Expanded Core Curriculum. There is also one chapter on driving with low vision.


Breakout Session I - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM)
Session ID: 39830
The Foundations of Self-Determination for Young Learners with Significant Disabilities Pt. 1
Seats Filled: 7 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom III

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Phillip D. Schweigert

The role of communication is fundamental to self determination. It is the means by which one can exercise their ability and desire to control their own life and participate most fully in society. This two-part session will describe the early stages of expressive communication, and how they relate to the development of self determination. It will then describe intervention strategies at these early levels designed to build this capacity for our learners with sensory and multiple disabilities.


Session ID: 39831
Utilizing The Technology Toolbox To Complement Traditional O&M Skills
Seats Filled: 2 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom IV

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Greg Stilson

Gain knowledge of technology that facilitates the learning of orientation and mobility (O&M) skills, self-determination and other areas of the ECC. Receive an introduction to various pieces of technology, from apps to stand-alone devices, which, when used to complement established O&M skills, will enable students to travel more confidently, step outside of their comfort zone and have access to information they previously may not have had. Attendees will learn about visual interpretation services such as Aira and BeMyEyes, GPS devices and navigation apps.


Session ID: 39832
Thriving Blind: A Parent's Secret Sauce to Guide Blind Children to Their Greatness
Seats Filled: 1 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Sam Houston

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley was initially crushed by the fact that her two blind sons would never achieve the massive dreams she had for them including play baseball, be the class valedictorian, or achieve Dean’s List in college. Blindness, as she says, scared her to death. Little did she realize that when her dreams for her sons were extinguished, her boys would be free to chase their own dreams as opposed to being held back by hers. Kristin will vividly describe the miraculous moment that would change her perception of blindness and the trajectory of her family’s journey. Participants will leave inspired by the many achievements of Kristin’s children and will be armed with resources to create a path for their own blind children to soar!


Session ID: 39833
Disclosing a Can-Do List
Seats Filled: 1 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Veranda

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Training Coordinator

This presentation is designed to give students, families and professionals who work with BVI student’s ideas and strategies on how to attack the world after he/she finishes high school. During our time together, we will redefine disclosure as being the act of disclosing a person’s Can-Do List before disclosing the disability. This new and different methodology can assist the student in obtaining employment, establishing meaningful relationships and becoming as independent within his/her capacity. Finally, the presentation will be filled with interactive activities to help the participants get a full understanding of the content.


Session ID: 39834
Self-Determination: Relationhip-Based Programming from Theory to Practice
Seats Filled: 3 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Saturn V

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Deanna Peterson TVI, TDHH, TDB

Using a case study, this session will focus on out how, through a process of collaboration, an educational team increased resilience and self-determination for Kersten, a young lady who is DeafBlind. Kersten’s team addressed three critical areas, targeted toward decreasing her moments of distress and increasing her moments of joy and success.


Breakout Session II - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM)
Session ID: 39835
From Picasso to Einstein: Making Accessible Experiences
Seats Filled: 2 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom III

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Kate Borg, TSBVI Outreach Director

The typical museum experience is a no-touch, no-interaction zone where everything is hidden behind glass and not accessible to students with vision impairments. Come learn some strategies to bringing these experiences to our students in a fun and accessible way.


Session ID: 39836
My Reflection Matters
Seats Filled: 2 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom IV

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Training Coordinator

This presentation will be an interactive session that will give participants ideas on how to provide VI students techniques on hygiene and social norms. It will allow the participants to hear from a working professional who is blind give suggestions on topics such as: ideas for putting on makeup, tips on hygiene areas for both females/males, how to establish personal and professional relationships and general self-advocacy strategies. At the end of the presentation there will be a Q&A with the presenter to allow for an open discussion about social issues facing both youth and adults who are blind.


Session ID: 39837
Health and Sexuality Panel– Let’s Talk About Sex… in the 21 st Century (Family Only)
Seats Filled: 1 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Sam Houston

Important Breakout Information:

TSBVI Panel Members: Michael Clinkscales, Social Worker; Cristi Fleming, Health Teacher, Dori Senatori, EXIT Instructor, John Rose Short-Term Programs Teacher

Finding an entry into this critical and private topic can be a challenge with students, families and administrators.  Panelists will share their experiences in planning and providing lessons whether individually or in small groups for students of different ages and functioning levels. Presentation content will be tailored to role of attendees.


Session ID: 39838
Interactive Activities to Strengthen Brain Pathways in the First Eight Years of Life
Seats Filled: 6 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Apollo

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Judy Lee Cameron, PH.D.

Dr. Cameron will use interactive educational materials designed to teach parents and other adults working with children how adults can do activities with children to strengthen brain pathways. She will introduce the First Pathways Game (www.firstpathwaysgame.com), a free set of 250 activities that help strengthen children's brain development and talk about how to adapt the activities for children with special needs.


Session ID: 39839
The Foundations of Self-Determination for Young Learners with Significant Disabilities Pt. 2
Seats Filled: 3 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Saturn V

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Philip D. Schweigert

The role of communication is fundamental to self determination. It is the means by which one can exercise their ability and desire to control their own life and participate most fully in society. This two-part session will describe the early stages of expressive communication, and how they relate to the development of self determination. It will then describe intervention strategies at these early levels designed to build this capacity for our learners with sensory and multiple disabilities.


Additional Training (Optional)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM)
Session ID: 39841
Appy Hour
Seats Filled: 8 / 200
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom I

Important Breakout Information:
AWAITING DESCRIPTION
Social (Optional)
(Friday, February 28, 2020 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM)
Session ID: 39840
Family Social
Seats Filled: 1 / 100
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Lonestar

Important Breakout Information:
NOTE: This event is restricted to family members and is provided at no additional cost.

Come join us from 5:00 to 7:00 PM for the Texas Focus Family Social. This will an excellent opportunity for families to meet with our presenters and network with each other.


Breakout Session III - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Saturday, February 29, 2020 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM)
Session ID: 39842
Using Yoga and Movement Activities to Increase Self-Determination Skills in Students with Visual Impairments
Seats Filled: 2 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Apollo

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Kassandra Maloney, COMS

Yoga and movement activities can have a profound effect on one's self-determination and self-efficacy abilities. In this session, you will discover how you can use fun activities like yoga and movement to increase your student's self-determination skills. Participants will be asked to participate in the movement section of the class. Please come dressed in comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely.


Session ID: 39844
Facilitating Self-Determination through Active Learning
Seats Filled: 5 / 95
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom IV

Important Breakout Information:

Presenters: Laura Hampton, Dana Frankland, Claire Heins, & Perkie Cannon

Active Learning, based on the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen, focuses upon the importance of play and the development of opportunities for students who have severe multiple disabilities to be active participants in their own learning rather than passive recipients. Utilizing Active Learning concepts and environmental designs provides these students with tools to engage in their environment. In this session, two teams, consisting of an Education Service Center Consultant, a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment and/or a Special Educational Teacher, will discuss how their collaborative teams successfully facilitated Active Learning to build self-determination in a classroom setting. The challenges of implementation and the myriad of supports for school personnel as well as the student will be explored. Through videos of student progress and other documentation, the audience will gain an awareness of the crucial value of


Session ID: 39861
Writing and Implementing Self-Determination Goals: Give it a Try, Don't Just Get By.
Seats Filled: 2 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom III

Important Breakout Information:

Presenters: Samantha Hoffman and Wenona Lewis, Tomball ISD

Attend this session to learn how a vision team write collaborative self-determination goals with their students to increase their problem-solving skills and independence while limiting the times they settle for just "getting by." Gain skills on teaching your students to address challenges related to their vision even when they appear to be successful in school, at home and in the community. Acquire tips on addressing challenges that may not be easily noticed so that “getting by” can be avoided and students can continue to achieve. Working collaboratively as a team to support a student’s self-determination goals will be discussed.


Session ID: 39862
Health and Sexuality Panel - Let's Talk About Sex... in the 21st Century
Seats Filled: 3 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Sam Houston

Important Breakout Information:

TSBVI Panel Members: Michael Clinkscales, Social Worker; Cristi Fleming, Health Teacher; Dori Senatori, EXIT Instructor; John Rose, STP Teacher

Finding an entry into this critical and private topic can be a challenge with students, families and administrators. Panelists will share their experiences in planning and providing lessons whether individually or in small groups for students of different ages and functioning levels. Presentation content will be tailored to role of attendees.


Session ID: 39863
Interactive Educational Strategies to Enhance Stress Resilience in Children from 0 to 25 Years Old
Seats Filled: 2 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Saturn V

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Judy Lee Cameron, PH.D.

Dr. Cameron will use interactive educational materials to teach how activities adults and children can do together will improve executive function skills and how these improve children's stress resilience. This workshop will focus on problem-solving skills, emotion regulation and decision-making skills. How to adapt these activities for children with special needs will be discussed.


Breakout Session IV - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Saturday, February 29, 2020 10:15 AM - 11:45 AM)
Session ID: 39843
Why O&M?
Seats Filled: 4 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom IV

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Sandy Baker Olphie, M.Ed., COMS, Pflugerville ISD & Naia Subedar, B.S.

Sandy and Naia will share their O&M journey and experience from the perspectives of the instructor and the student. They will show a video they made of young adults using their O&M skills and discussing the impact of O&M instruction during elementary through high school upon their college lives. Naia will discuss how she has applied her O&M skills to everyday life now as a career woman. The audience will participate in discussing challenges and solutions in convincing stakeholders the value of O&M instruction to students' future lives.


Session ID: 39845
Self-Determination: Building Confidence in Our Babies / Starting out the Right Way!
Seats Filled: 3 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Saturn V

Important Breakout Information:

Presenters: Elaine Robertson, Instructional Officer, Deaf Education, Vision Services and Assistive Technology; Irene Conlan, TVI; Carolyn Samson, TVI; Katy ISD

Did you know you can start building self-determination starting at birth? Participants will learn strategies on how to start building self-determination by educating families of babies, birth to 3 years of age. Participants will also learn the importance of collaboration between family, teacher of students with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialist, ECI agency and administration to ensure smooth transition from IDEA-C (ECI) to IDEA-B (school).

Objectives:
• Increase knowledge of what self-determination means as part of the Expanded Core Curriculum.
• Learn strategies on how to build self-determination at a young age in order to ensure a smooth transition from home to school.


Session ID: 39864
Who Are My Child’s REAL Advocates?? Evaluating motives and skills of IEP team members and outside professionals – and your own!
Seats Filled: 3 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Apollo

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Caroline Nelson

Are you sure you’re the most effective advocate possible for your child? Ever considered or brought an outside professional to an ARD/IEP meeting? Wondered about the motivations of school professionals? This session explores different advocacy styles, skills and perspectives, how to know when to use them and choosing or evaluating the impact -- good or bad -- your outside professionals are actually having.


Session ID: 39865
Using Yoga and Movement Activities to Increase Self-Determination Skills in Students with Visual Impairments
Seats Filled: 0 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom III

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Kassandra Maloney, COMS

Yoga and movement activities can have a profound effect on one's self-determination and self-efficacy abilities. In this session, you will discover how you can use fun activities like yoga and movement to increase your student's self-determination skills. Participants will be asked to participate in the movement section of the class. Please come dressed in comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely.


Session ID: 39866
Facilitating Self-Determination Through Active Learning
Seats Filled: 4 / 75
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Sam Houston

Important Breakout Information:

Presenters: Perkie Cannon, Claire Heins, Dana Frankland, and Laura Hampton

Active Learning, based on the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen, focuses upon the importance of play and the development of opportunities for students who have severe multiple disabilities to be active participants in their own learning rather than passive recipients. Utilizing Active Learning concepts and environmental designs provides these students with tools to engage in their environment. In this session, two teams, consisting of an Education Service Center Consultant, a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment and/or a Special Educational Teacher, will discuss how their collaborative teams successfully facilitated Active Learning to build self-determination in a classroom setting. The challenges of implementation and the myriad of supports for school personnel as well as the student will be explored. Through videos of student progress and other documentation, the audience will gain an awareness of the crucial value of t


General Session III (Required)
(Saturday, February 29, 2020 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM)
Session ID: 39868
Building A Healthy Brain! The Foundation of Lifetime Health & Well-Being
Seats Filled: 14 / 350
Location:Hyat Regency North Houston, Grand Ballroom

Important Breakout Information:

Presenter: Judy Lee Cameron, PH.D.

Dr. Cameron will provide an overview of how neural circuits in the brain a built over the course of development and how important experiences are in shaping brain architecture that helps children adapt to their environments and individual needs. She will cover the basics of brain development, adaptations to disabilities, the impact of life stresses and how to strengthen resilience to stress. She will utilize interactive educational materials to enhance traditional educational materials such as slides and videos.




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