Partners in Providing Hope: A pre-optometry student explains how volunteering at NDVS/SB has affected her education

Monday, October 18, 2021

Categories: All News Items, News Event, Spotlight

Abby Wilhelmi, a pre-optometry student at UND, remembers the first time her optometrist placed a pair of glasses over her eyes. “He led me to a huge window in the clinic, and everything outside looked bigger and brighter,” she says. Abby, who was in third grade at the time, says that moment is why she decided to become an optometrist. “I will never forget what it was like to have my sight restored to full clarity, and I want to provide that for others.” 

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Project Little Room Finishes BIG!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Categories: All News Items, News Event

by Lion Tracy Wicken, Grand Forks South Forks Lions Club

Since March 2020, the NDSB Foundation has been soliciting donations from North Dakota Lions Clubs for Project Little Room. Little Rooms are child-sized partitions that are designed to give infants who are blind the opportunity to practice reaching and grasping and to begin to understand the concepts of space and objects. Different objects hang from the “ceiling” of the Little Room and may rest gently on the child’s stomach or above their head for them to reach for and grasp. Textures and objects can also be placed on the three walls of the Little Room. The child’s feet stick out, allowing the child to move and kick. Little Rooms were first conceptualized by Lilli Nielsen, a Danish psychologist who taught children who were blind or had multiple disabilities. Her curriculums and teachings on Active Learning are still considered groundbreaking today, and Little Rooms are utilized by children served by North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind who could benefit from their use. This fundraising project began when the need for Little Rooms outweighed our current supply. Thanks to the generosity of Lions Clubs around the state, the NDSB Foundation is now able to purchase new Little Rooms for NDVS/SB.

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Meet Kathy Grzadzielewski

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Instruction, Spotlight, Student Programming

158,760. That is the number of miles that Kathy Grzadzielewski has driven over the 11 years she has worked for North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind. As a Regional Coordinator, Kathy serves the children aged birth to 21 in Region 3, the north-central area of the state, which includes the counties of Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Foster, Nelson, Pierce, Ramsey, Rolette, Sheridan, Towner, and Wells. 

If you see her driving down the highway, she may be on her way to a child’s home, a student’s school, or another agency to serve a client. She may be traveling to assess the functional vision of a baby, to provide recommendations to schools to ensure a student has access to educational material, or to train other educators on how to adapt materials to make a classroom more conducive for learning. During short-term program weeks, Kathy drives to Grand Forks to assist with the classes and activities that are happening there. “This allows me to observe some of my students in a different setting and gives me a better understanding of the skills they have that we can build on.” 

Kathy also sometimes just picks up the phone and lends an ear. “All parents want the best for their child, and parents need to be a strong advocate for their child with a visual impairment. As they learn about their child’s visual impairment, there may be struggles along the way when teaching their child skills to become more independent.” Whether she’s driving or not, Kathy has made a difference in the lives of her students and colleagues over the years, and they in turn have had a big impact on hers. “I love the people I work with inside and outside of NDVS/SB, and every day seems to be a journey.”

Adult Short-term Program Update

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Adult Programming News, Instruction

NDVS/SB will be hosting 5 short-term program weeks for adults over the next year. During these weeks, individuals who are new to vision loss, who are experiencing progressive vision loss, or who are interested in learning new skills to increase their independence receive intense training at the main facility in Grand Forks.

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Welcome to Student Short-Term Programs 2021-22 at NDVS/SB

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Instruction, Student Programming

Middle Schoolers and 2 adults from Annie's House stand on a beach in front of a Cindy Williams, Coordinator of Student Programs

Welcome back to the 2021-2022 school year! I hope you are all adjusting well to your new school routine or soon will be! We are looking forward to working with your child/student this school year and are honored to be a part of your child’s/student’s educational team!

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How are things at NDVS/SB? 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Superintendent

by Paul Olson, Superintendent of NDVS/SB

Has anyone else noticed that the world has become a little complicated? We thought we were past the worst of the pandemic and now there are new concerns. I know we all hope and pray our school year goes well and we all stay healthy! The region is hampered by drought which has hurt area farmers and ranchers. This certainly affects all North Dakotans directly or indirectly. There has been considerable inflation and wages have not kept up making life stressful for many. These things are just plain hard; there’s no sense in sugar coating and let’s not even get into politics! I can’t believe I’m writing this. This must be one of the most depressing beginning of the year newsletter articles ever written and what does any of this have to do with our services? Uff Da! One might ask “is there any good news at all?"

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Meet Lanna Slaby

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Instruction, Spotlight

“It has come to my attention that there is an increasing amount of information that I know nothing about!” This is a mantra that NDVS/SB Regional Coordinator Lanna Slaby has held for some time, according to her friend and former colleague Linda Kraft. “It’s a very true statement in the world of visual impairments and education of the visually impaired,” Linda explained, and it fits Lanna’s personality perfectly. “When a new client comes to NDVS/SB, there is much to learn about the individual and their unique set of circumstances. Lanna is always willing to put in the time, learning all she needs to know, to customize a program for her clients that is perfectly suited just for them. NDVS/SB is lucky to have her, and I am so proud to call her my friend!” 

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Construction Updates at NDVS/SB

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Categories: All News Items, News Event

new gym floor shows goalball lines and new tan wallsVisitors will likely notice a lot of changes around the building as they begin to return to NDVS/SB in person! We have been busy with lots of construction and improvements throughout the past year and a half.

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Tech Talk: The Mountbatten Whisperer

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Assistive Technology, Instruction, Student Programming

The Technology Center recently acquired the Mountbatten Whisperer Learning System. It is designed to help students learn braille in a fun and inclusive manner. We chose this device because of its versatility and ease of use. It is ideal for young students learning braille as well as older students using Nemeth code and braille music. It allows a sighted teacher to connect a MIMic visual display for easy supervision.

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Finding Her Way in Medora: A Summer of Opportunities for an NDVS/SB Student

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Categories: All News Items, Instruction, Spotlight, Student Programming

Sara with her colleagues in Medora this summer.

Sara Czapiewski, 21, graduated from Minto High School in the spring of 2019 and started college at the University of Jamestown that fall. Like many young adults, Sara wasn’t sure what career she wanted to pursue, and that looming question, plus the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic, caused her to drop out of college in April 2020. A year later, after feeling cooped up on her family farm while waiting out the pandemic, she decided she didn’t want to wait until fall to start something new. “I realized that life isn’t going to look like you want it to right away. You have to work for it, and even after working for it, there will be waiting. I was ready to take those baby steps to get my life started.” The first step Sara decided to take: pursuing a summer job in Medora.

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