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Reaching Out Newsletter #81
September 2015

What's New at NDVS/SB

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” —Helen Keller

Quotes attributed to people we admire are very powerful. Helen Keller is one of those historical figures whose words still ring true today. I think that the power in these words are inspirational in a couple of ways. I think we all long to not only do meaningful work but to also truly make a difference in the world. For those of us who work with children and adults who are visually impaired there is the rare opportunity to feel we are making a difference on a very personal level with people as well as making a difference in the world.

We are excited about the work we are currently doing and we are excited about future projects. As we start the 2015- 2016 school year we again have a very busy schedule of student program weeks (STP), adult training weeks, extensive, outreach service across the state and special events. It is an honor to do this work and I think I can speak for every NDVS/SB employee when saying that it is also our pleasure!

Please remember that if you have any questions about services, need to make a referral or have suggestions, we are just a phone call or email away. We want to hear from you!

Paul H. Olson—Superintendent
(701)-795-2717 or

New Materials in the Vision Resource Center Library

Here are the new materials in our professional collection that focus on teaching social skills and helping students overcome periods of transition.

Think Social!: A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age Students for Teaching Social Thinking and Related Social Skills to Students with High-Functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD -NOS, ADHD, Nonverbal Learning Disability and For All Others in the Murky Gray Area of Social Thinking by Michelle Garcia Winner (2006). A book with a long name – and detailed lessons, worksheets, and vocabulary to introduce social skills to, as the name suggests, all sorts of children.!

Thinking About You, Thinking About Me by Michelle Garcia Winner (2007) is a resource that discusses how parents and educators can teach social thinking skills to students with social cognitive learning challenges.

Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents by Ronald M. Rapee (2008) is a guide for parents whose children suffer from excessive fears and worries.

The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self- Regulation and Emotional Control by Leah M. Kuypers (2011) includes activities and lesson plans Page 2 Reaching Out that teachers, parents, and therapists will all find useful.

The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum (2012) was written by and for professionals and parents. The book includes tips for all the stages of college life, from searching for colleges to working with disability services, all the way through life after college.

The kit, The Incredible Flexible You (2013), includes a book describing the social thinking curriculum for preschool through early elementary age, 5 storybooks to share with students, and a CD that includes the templates and reproducibles that are described within the curriculum.

The following are new materials in the Dual Sensory Project Library which focus on literacy and are helpful to use with all students, whether or not they have dual sensory loss.

  • Making Sense of Phonics: The Hows and Whys by Isabel L. Beck (2013)
  • Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Isabel L. Beck (2013)
  • Seeing All Kids as Readers: A New Vision for Literacy in the Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom by Christopher Kliewer (2008)
  • ECC Essentials: Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments edited by Carol B. Allmann and Sandra Lewis (2014)
  • Interventions for Reading Problems: Designing and Evaluating Effective Strategies by Edward J. Daly (2015)
  • Catching Readers Before They Fall: Supporting Readers Who Struggle, K – 4 by Pat Johnson (2010)
  • Teaching Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities by Diane M. Browder (2011)
  • When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by Gay Su Pinnel (2009)

If you would like to check out any of these new items from the VRC, contact the librarian, Emily Stenberg, at or 701-795- 2709.

Poets at NDVS/SB

We are very proud to announce that two of our elementary students, Bethany Kochmann and Alyssa Spillum, recently had poems selected to be published in poetry anthologies sponsored by Creative Communication.

Last November, both girls worked with NDVS/ SB teacher Jessica Bolt to write poems about their favorite colors. Bethany titled her poem “Pink is…” and Alyssa titled her poem “What is Orange?”. In March, both girls wrote acrostic poems titled “Spring” which were chosen for publication in a second anthology. This is such an honor for both girls! Less than half of the poems received are published and their work has been chosen for back-to-back publication in an anthology!

In January, the girls received a certificate and a copy of their winning poem and were recognized in front of their peers and NDVS/SB staff during programming. Additionally, thanks to the generosity of the North Dakota School for the Blind Foundation, Bethany and Alyssa each received a copy of the first poetry anthology their poems were published in. Congratulations Bethany and Alyssa!

Pink is...By Bethany Kochman

Pretty music sounds pink.
Sparkly diamonds feel pink.
Perfect strawberries with cold whipped cream smells pink.
A big banana split tastes pink.
Blue birds singing in a tree sound pink.
Soft daisy petals feel pink.
Little cherry blossoms smell pink.
Marshmallows from cereal taste pink.
Pink is great!

What's Orange? By Alyssa Spillum

Orange is the color that sounds like magic.
Orange is the color that sounds like my favorite songs.
The color orange sounds like ants chittering.
The color orange feels like cheese puffs when you grab them.
Enormous pumpkins from the pumpkin patch feel orange.
Orange feels like tiny plastic chairs.
Orange smells like colby cheese.
It smells like instant mashed potatoes.
The color orange smells like cinnamon too.
Orange tastes like a huge chocolate cake.
It tastes like chunky peanut butter on toast.
The color orange also tastes like spicy beef jerky.
Orange feels like swinging on the tire swing.
Orange feels like hundreds of tiny paper stars all over the wall.
The color orange feels like I’m flying with my stuffed animals.

Spring by Bethany Kochman

S inging birds and crickets
P erfect flowers bloom
R ainy days outside
I ce melts
N ature comes out
G rass grows in spring

Spring by Alyssa Spillum

S now melts
P retty flowers bloom
R ocks stick out
I nsects crawl in dirt
N ets catch fish
G rass grows

Upcoming Events


Reaching Out is published by the ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, an agency funded by the state of North Dakota for the benefit of people with visual impairments. ND Vision Services/School for the Blind is a division of the ND Department of Public Instruction. NDVS/SB does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in employment or provision of services Reaching Out is available in alternative formats upon request. Please send comments to:

REACHING OUT ND Vision Services/
School for the Blind
500 Stanford Road
Grand Forks, ND 58203-2799

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Kirsten Baesler

Superintendent, ND Vision Services/School for the Blind: Paul Olson -

Reaching Out Editors: Nicole Zambo ( and Leslie Pedersen (

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