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SWOMA 2023: Virtual Conference

The Southwest Orientation & Mobility Conference is back... and this year is virtual! This coming November we will be hosting our conference live via Zoom. We can’t wait for you to join us!!

We are excited to bring back our virtual conference format this year, with timely and informative keynotes and breakout sessions, as well as the opportunity to connect with exhibitors.

Over 13 hours of CEU’s (ACVREP and SBEC) are offered through SWOMA this year.

Conference Dates:
• November 2nd: Pre-Conference (Optional)
• November 3rd - 4th: Main Conference

Registration Fees:
• Professionals - $100 (Early) & $125 (Late)
• Family Members, Univ. Students, & Paraprofessionals - $25 (Early) & $50 (Late)

Late registration begins October 2nd, and all registration ends October 26th @ 5:00 PM Central! A late cancellation/no-show fee of $25 may be applied to registrations that not cancelled by October 26th @ 5PM. This includes "no-calls, no-shows." If you suspect that you are unable to attend, please log into your account to cancel your registration or contact us ASAP to avoid this charge.

For more information about this conference, please visit our SWOMA Conference Page.

Housekeeping & Welcome (Required)
(Friday, November 3, 2023 8:00 AM - 8:15 AM)
Session ID: 40786
Housekeeping & Welcome
Seats Filled: 275 / 400
Fee: $100.00
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

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 simply enter "0000" and provide the number to us at a later time.

Preconference Breakout 1 (Optional)
(Thursday, November 2, 2023 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM)
Session ID: 40787
Domes, Bars and Trapezoids: What Are the Streets Trying to Tell You?
Seats Filled: 121 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Alan C. Scott, Ph.D. & Linda Myers, COMS

As the environment gets more complicated for a person with visual disabilities to travel in, how can textures help them interpret the situation? Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs) is a generic term now used in the US for three types of walking surfaces that are used to aid wayfinding by pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision. When a pedestrian who is blind or has low vision finds a TWSI, they need to identify the surface, understand what information it provides, and know how to best use it.

Objectives: Learn about the three Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSI) demonstrated by human factors research to be readily detectable and identifiable under foot and by use of a long cane: Detectable Warning Surface, Tactile Directional Indicators, and Tactile Warning Delineator. Learn about evidence-based recommendations for the application and use of TWSI.

Session ID: 40788
It’s a “Sensory Thing” - What does that even MEAN?
Seats Filled: 112 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Kate Beals, Retired Occupational Therapist

The senses are the only means by which we, as humans, know anything about our own bodies and the world around us. When sensory information going into the brain is absent, diminished, or distorted, the motor response the individual makes may look inappropriate for the situation. Sensory processing also affects state regulation. When a student is either over- or under-aroused, he or she is unavailable for learning. Sensory input is a powerful tool that can be used to help move a student to a state of “calm alertness” in which he or she is ready to learn.

Objectives: Participants will be able to discuss how seven sensory systems operate individually and together (when functioning both typically and atypically), and how sensory input influences motor output and level of arousal. Participants will be able to identify appropriate sensory-based interventions to increase or decrease level of arousal to help a student be “ready to learn.”

Preconference Breakout 2 (Optional)
(Thursday, November 2, 2023 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM)
Session ID: 40789
Navigating the Changing Urban Landscape (floating bus stops, leading pedestrian intervals, APS beaconing) and the Need for Advocacy
Seats Filled: 139 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Alan C. Scott, Ph.D. & Linda Myers, COMS

Several issues which make navigating the changing urban landscape more difficult for pedestrians with visual disabilities will be discussed, including an increase in bicycle facilities and ways to make crossing skewed and wide streets safer.

Objectives: Participants will learn the benefits of floating transit stops for cyclists and transit operators and the new challenges they create for transit users, especially for those with visual disabilities. Participants will learn what APS beaconing is and how it can help pedestrians avoid veering at skewed or wide intersections. Participants will also learn to describe the functional and hardware requirements of far-side beaconing APS in language understandable to traffic engineers, planners, or signal technicians so that they might advocate for it where needed. Participants will be updated about the APS lawsuits and the new research about APS helping sighted pedestrians cross streets.

Session ID: 40790
Hand-UNDER-Hand Facilitation for Improved Intervention Outcomes: How neurology research supports the use of Hand-UNDER-Hand Facilitation, and what it means for writing goals and objectives.
Seats Filled: 94 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Kate Beals, Retired Occupatinal Therapist

In this session, we will review how sensorimotor systems function and how motor learning takes place. We will look at neurology research about brain activity before, during, and after intentional movement that supports the use of Hand-UNDER-hand facilitation. The session will also include info about early hand skills a child uses for object exploration. Armed with this knowledge, we can write goals and objectives that are truly achievable, even for learners at the earliest stages of cognitive development and those with significant motor challenges.

Objectives: Participants will be able to discuss the basics of how the brain controls movement, the four phases of intentional movement, brain activity at each phase, early hand skills for object exploration, and why H.U.H. is the preferred and most effective teaching strategy. Participants will be able to write meaningful, functional, achievable goals and objectives.

Breakout Session I - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Friday, November 3, 2023 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM)
Session ID: 40791
Leader Dogs for the Blind: DeafBlind Program
Seats Filled: 58 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Kathryn Roberts, GDMI, Adaptive Services Team Supervisor; Sarah Duyck, GDMI, COMS, BEI 1; Mara Turner, GDMI Apprentice

This presentation provides an overview of the DeafBlind Program at Leader Dogs for the Blind including how the program began, dog selection and training, application process, matching the client-dog team, and how services are provided.

Objectives: Attendees will learn what characteristics are desired in dogs for DeafBlind clients and the basics of Leader Dog training for these dogs. Attendees will become aware of the application process for DeafBlind clients. Attendees will learn how services are provided to DeafBlind clients, how their experience may differ in training, and different forms of communication employed.

Session ID: 40792
Goalball and the ECC
Seats Filled: 44 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Beverly Jackson, M.Ed., COMS, Clinical Instructor, SFASU & Jake Czechowski, MA SpEd., Head Coach USABA Women’s Paralympic Goalball Team

This session will provide an overview of the exciting and competitive sport of goalball and discuss how participation in the sport can address many areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. Resources and information will be shared on how to start a program in your area.

Objectives: Participants will learn the history and fundamentals of the sport of Goalball from the Head Coach of the USABA Women’s Paralympic Goalball Team. Jake will share amazing stories of overcoming the challenges of visual impairments from some of the players on the team. Beverly Jackson will share her experiences in coaching goalball for 15 years and share how participation in this sport will address many areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum, including recreation and leisure, self-determination, sensory efficiency, and more.

Session ID: 40793
Laying the Foundation Through Collaboration: Teaching Basic O&M Concepts and Skills in the Early Years
Seats Filled: 173 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 3

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Mary Shore, COMS, Early Childhood O&M Consultant & Kathi Garza, M.Ed., TVI, VI Educational Consultant - Infants & Early Childhood

Working collaboratively when teaching and reinforcing basic orientation and mobility concepts and skills benefits young learners by increasing opportunities for practice in all environments. Additionally, these skills are important for achievement across developmental areas, and collaboration allows team members to work together towards shared outcomes.

Objectives: Identify basic O&M skills for young learners. Discuss the importance of teaching these skills in collaboration with other team members. Connect the importance of these skills for young learners to the older child who may have gaps in their acquisition of skills.

Breakout Session II - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Friday, November 3, 2023 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
Session ID: 40794
The Ins and Outs of Creating a Mobility Mural and how to Make one in your Community
Seats Filled: 44 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Shelby Glass, COMS, VRT

Come together to learn how to make a mobility mural– made from cane strokes, wheelchair tracks, and guide dog paw prints. By developing public art that is engaging and accessible, the project aims to connect communities by celebrating orientation and mobility.

Objectives: Identifying supplies and supply costs to create a mural. Learning how to facilitate the creation of a mural.

Session ID: 40795
Finding Wheels: A Tool to Promote Travel Knowledge of Teens and Those in Their Early 20s
Seats Filled: 111 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D.

Finding Wheels is a resource written by Dr. Anne Corn and Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum. During the session the presenter will introduce attendees to the curriculum. She will use videos and photos to illustrate how both TVIs and O&M specialists are using Finding Wheels with their students. Time for participants to share experiences and ask questions will be allocated.

Objectives: Participants will describe the sections of Finding Wheels and the focus of each of the chapters. Participants will list the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of travel.

Session ID: 40796
Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), Raising the Bar with High Expectations, Rubrics, and More
Seats Filled: 120 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 3

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Robbin Clark, MA

Upgrade your Expanded Core instruction with a new approach using a collapsed framework of the nine areas. In this session, we will review this new approach and cover strategies for designing high-impact Expanded Core instruction.

Objectives: Learners will examine the Expanded Core collapsed framework to connect ECC areas for targeted instruction. Learners will investigate different forms of rubrics to help raise the bar of their Expanded Core instruction.

General Session I (Required)
(Friday, November 3, 2023 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM)
Session ID: 40797
Efficiency and Success Strategies of a Blind COMS
Seats Filled: 275 / 400
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Bradley M. Blair, COMS, CATIS, CVRT

This session will discuss the challenges, attitudinal and logistical, to working as a COMS who is blind. It will present strategies for providing O&M instruction across skill areas and discuss strategies for building an efficient workflow in spite of logistical challenges presented by blindness.

Objectives: To discuss strategies for providing O&M instruction as a blind COMS. To discuss building of efficient itinerant work flow in spite of challenges presented by blindness.

Breakout Session III - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Friday, November 3, 2023 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM)
Session ID: 40798
Creating Safe and Effective Environments for People with Vision Loss
Seats Filled: 95 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Darick Wright, O&M Coordinator, Vision Studies Program, University of Massachusetts-Boston

The environment can have the greatest impact on a person’s ability to use vision effectively when performing tasks. How does color contrast, light, and complexity affect functional use of vision when performing a variety of tasks? Participants will learn about basic terminology, how to evaluate the characteristics of a variety of environments and identify possible modifications to increase functional use of vision.

Objectives: Understand basic terminology relating to light, contrast, and complexity. Evaluate characteristics of light, color, complexity, comfort, and safety in both indoor and outdoor environments. Identify ways to modify the environment to allow for efficient use of functional vision and safe movement.

Session ID: 40799
Unique Orientation and Mobility in Australia
Seats Filled: 55 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Kerri Weaver, BTeach Special Ed-Vision Impairment; Graduate Diploma Early Childhood; Masters of Human Services O&M

This presentation will be a shared experience in the variety of O & M experiences offered to 3 separate clients. Non-traditional methods are often implemented because we are catering to the individual who has individual needs. For example, a person who is 'deaf-blind' requires unique O & M strategies & time to develop his independence; 14 year old girl working through her anxiety of stairs and incorporating the cane; a 40 year old man profoundly deaf-blind encouraged to move and familiarise with a cane for information - is this any different in Australia to the rest of the world? Individual approaches need to be implemented and one way is not for everybody. Variety and flexibility is important for the tool box.

Objectives: Share experiences of 'difference' in O & M sessions in Australia. Provide evidence of success in the different approaches.

Session ID: 40800
What’s in Your Assessment Toolbox? The Latest and Greatest for ECC (including O&M!) Evaluation
Seats Filled: 125 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 3

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Stephanie Herlich, MA, TSVI/COMS & Shelby Zimmerman, MA, TSVI/OMS

Part of our role as O&M specialists is to evaluate our students' ECC needs, and there are many assessment tools to consider. Join us in a discussion about some of the newest assessments available along with the tried and true. We will discuss specific tools and strategies for all nine areas of the ECC with special focus on O&M. These assessments target the variety of students we serve including students with visual impairments, multiple disabilities, CVI, and Deafblind. There will also be an opportunity for you to share your favorite assessment tools with colleagues.

Objectives: Participants will learn about specific assessment tools for all nine areas of the ECC. Participants will receive links and descriptions of the assessment tools presented for easy-to-access use in the future. Participants will be able to select specific assessments that target the unique needs of students being assessed.

Exhibit Hall (Optional)
(Friday, November 3, 2023 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM)
Session ID: 40811
Exhibit Hall
Seats Filled: 118 / 400
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Connect with our exhibitors via Zoom to learn about products for supporting orientation and mobility! A complete listing of exhibitors will be provided soon... stay tuned for more details! CEU CREDIT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THIS SESSION.
Breakout Session IV - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Saturday, November 4, 2023 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM)
Session ID: 40801
Let’s Talk About Babies!
Seats Filled: 72 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Mari Hubig, M.Ed.

Early intervention is a critical developmental period for children who are visually impaired or deafblind, and COMS have an important role in these services. This session will discuss the rules, roles and responsibilities of Early Childhood Intervention and the local school district in providing services to families of children under age three who have a visual impairment.

Objectives: Discuss the LEA service expectations for families and children under age three. Understand the role that ECI plays in referrals and services to infants/toddlers who are BVI or DB

Session ID: 40802
Let’s Explore Together….the Now Famous Multi Sensory Impaired Children Curriculum from the Victoria School, Birmingham, England
Seats Filled: 81 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Naomi Feller Vaughan, M.Ed., TVI, COMS

We will discuss how the Multi-Sensory Impaired Children Curriculum can be used to create a learning profile for both the TVI’s and COMS within the framework of the ECC. The student learning profile can then be used to support learning activities and routines using the ECC framework. We will explore how to identify and prioritize multiple modalities, incorporate student interests, create learning priorities and connect routine activities to meaningful goals in multiple ways.

Objectives: Learn how to assess a student learning profile within the phases of the MSI Children Curriculum for a student with MSI. Understanding of the MSI Children curriculum and how it can be applied to the Expanded Core Curriculum to guide best practices. We will discuss scaffolding student needs, connecting goals, successful activities, calendar routines and creating necessary team interventions for some of our most vulnerable and hard to reach students.

Session ID: 40804
OKO: Every Traffic Signal Accessible
Seats Filled: 122 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 3

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: Willem Van de Mierop, Founder

In this session Willem, one of the founders, will explain how the OKO application uses the back camera and complex software to recognize the status of the pedestrian signal. This makes every intersection with a pedestrian signal accessible for the blind and visually impaired, creates a higher sense of orientation, and can help prevent users from veering off into traffic. Willem will also explain what the best practices are for using the application and will answer any questions you might have about the OKO application.

Objectives: Explain how the OKO application makes every traffic signal accessible. Explain how to best use the OKO application.

Breakout Session V - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Saturday, November 4, 2023 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
Session ID: 40805
Fraudulent Service Dogs: Who Let the Dogs Out?
Seats Filled: 68 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Rabih Dow, Guide Dogs for the Blind & Pat Pound, Past Director of Criss Cole

Have you noticed a significant increase of dogs in public? What's the difference between a Service, Guide, Emotional Support, Therapy, and pet dog? How has this impacted someone who is blind and uses a guide-dog for travel? What are the rights of a legitimate Service-Dog handler? Presenters will describe the difficulties service dog teams have when traveling in public places that are “no pets allowed" venues. Solutions to improve this are new state laws impacting the on-line sale of dog merchandise that facilitates misrepresentation of pets as service dogs. Presenters will discuss actions that COMs can take to support safe travel and equitable community access for people who are VI and blind.

Objectives: Attendees will describe problems faced by service dog teams who encounter misbehaving dogs in public places. Attendees will describe actions COMS can take to impact these problems.

Session ID: 40806
COMS and the FVE
Seats Filled: 79 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: DJ Dean, M.Ed., COMS/TSVI

COMS are legally permitted to complete Functional Vision Evaluations (FVEs), but how prepared do you feel, and do you complete or participate in completing FVEs? This session will discuss reasons why it is important for the COMS to be a part of the FVE, and provide strategies, techniques and tools to complete a thorough FVE. This session will primarily address FVEs in regard to independent school districts.

Objectives: Participants will be able to identify the importance of the COMS participation in completing FVEs. Participants will be able to identify strategies, techniques and tools for completing thorough FVEs.

Session ID: 40807
Determining Instructional Minutes and Effectiveness of Various Instructional Arrangements for O&M: A Research-based Range That Aligns with O&M Career, College, and Community Readiness Standards 2.0
Seats Filled: 69 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 3

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: William Koehler, M.Ed. COMS, TVI

Session will review results of national study, including recent updates, resulting in recommendations for instructional minutes in Orientation and Mobility as well as effectiveness of various instructional settings. This session will offer the "trifecta of support" for field-based COMS as they make evidence-based recommendations for IEP development. This research and analysis is aligned with the new O&M Career, College and Community Readiness Standards.

Objectives: Brief explanation of orientation and mobility as a related service. Review and discussion of a national study and follow up. How/where orientation and mobility relates to general curriculum-components of core curriculum and orientation and mobility.

Session ID: 40808
Football vs. Eyeball: How to Explain Vision Loss
Seats Filled: 59 / 100
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 3

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Toby Anne Penington, M.Ed., COMS, CLVT & Charlotte Simpson, MA, COMS, CLVT

Hear how two CLVT/COMS with over 30 years of experience educate their students, teachers, family members and others about vision loss using memorable sports analogies to support their training goals. You do not need to be a sports fan to enjoy this presentation!

Objectives: Participants will learn simple sports analogies and clever comparisons to explain anatomy of the eye and various eye conditions. Participants will be shown a variety of ways of talking to school support staff and family members about the value of training and the importance of incorporating O&M skills into functional situations.

Breakout Session VI - Select 1 Option (Required)
(Saturday, November 4, 2023 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM)
Session ID: 40809
Risk Assessment, Safety Supervision and Liability in Orientation and Mobility Instruction - Post-COVID Edition
Seats Filled: 120 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom

Important Breakout Information:
Presenter: William Koehler, M.Ed. COMS, TVI

With the onset of COVID, coupled with the shortage of trained COMS, remote instruction via multiple technologies has raised new and serious questions about liability for the COMS. This discussion will explore the tenets of risk assessment, including the Risk Assessment Matrix process, safety supervision, and describe how scope of practice affects potential liability for that specialist. Ramifications for the use of untested technology and devices will be discussed, as well.

Objectives: Review the analysis and clarifying factors that play into decisions regarding safety supervision and liability as some of the keystone responsibilities for COMS. Review brief history answering why the RAM was created, how to use the RAM and responses from field-based COMS. Understand how the professional scope of practice influences liability including potential risks of using synchronous technology in specific circumstances when providing remote or virtual instruction.

Session ID: 40810
O&M Strategies and Communication Techniques When Working With Students Who are Deafblind
Seats Filled: 155 / 200
Location:TSBVI, Zoom 2

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters: Carolina Gonzalez, COMS & Heather Withrow, COMS

This session will show through, videos, pictures, and discussions various activities and techniques when teaching basic and advanced O&M skills to students who are deafblind. Participants will also learn and practice basic ASL (American sign language) signs and some protactile to use during O&M lessons with students who are deafblind.

Objectives: Participants will learn various strategies to teach basic and advanced O&M skills when working with students who are deafblind. Participants will learn and practice basic ASL (American sign language) signs and some protactile to use during O&M lessons with students who are deafblind.

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