News

First comes hardship, then comes confidence

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 11:00 pm

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

Periodically, we share a transition student’s story of success. In this profile, meet Paxton Franke from Fargo. He attended NDVS/SB’s short-term programs as an elementary and high school student and graduated from Fargo’s Davies High School in 2016. Read his story and find out what advice he has for students and TVIs.

Paxton Franke has some advice for teachers of the visually impaired. “As students mature, I think TVIs should do as little as possible to help their students,” he says. This statement, he admits, is a bit controversial, but “learning to be independent is crucial for success. A student must learn to advocate, navigate, and acclimate for and within their new position in life. This lesson is a difficult one, and, in real life, can have substantial consequences, so it is best learned early and within a forgiving environment such as school. Increasing the amount of these tasks until the student is fully independent is excellent practice and will prepare them well for life.” 

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Transition Matters!

Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 11:00 pm

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

by Shanna Hanson, NDVS/SB Transition Specialist

North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind provides transition services to students who are blind or visually impaired across North Dakota. Transition Specialist Shanna Hanson collaborates with local school districts to improve the transition process. She is available to attend IEPs and any other meetings so that a student’s entire team is aware of the services NDVS/SB provides before and after graduation. Shanna will make referrals and connections with other agencies so that the student can succeed in whatever path they follow. Transition matters!

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Technology 2022 - Where are the flying cars? 

Thursday, January 6, 2022 at 11:00 pm

Categories: All News Items, Assistive Technology, Golden Guides

by Dave Olson, NDVS/SB IT Director

When we think back on movies from the 1980s or 1990s that referenced the future, it seems like we should all be in flying cars like the Jetsons right now. Sadly, I think we can all agree the years of flying personal cars is a long way out! Things may not have progressed that far, but the technology still has increased rapidly in various areas. Let's take a journey through some of the assistive technology that we highlighted in 2021.  

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Meet Erika Moulton

Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 11:00 pm

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

Regional Coordinator, Regions 1 & 2
Daughter, Teacher, Mom, Ed Sheeran fan

“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher,” Erika Moulton, the NDVS/SB Regional Coordinator for regions 1 & 2 in northwest North Dakota, says. “When I was younger, I wanted to be an elementary education teacher because I had some great teachers that made a lasting impression on me. When I was in high school, my mom, who was a special education teacher at a small, rural school, began working with a student who was visually impaired. Seeing her work with this student and how rewarding it was for her was inspiring to me. I attended a Family Weekend with her while I was in high school, and the experience that I had there was really special.” 

Not only did Erika follow her mom’s footsteps into education, she also followed them to NDVS/SB. “My mom held this position [in regions 1 & 2] before I did, and when she decided that she was moving out of state, I decided that I would go for it and see what happens.” Six years later, Erika is still excited to come to work each day. “There is always so much to learn!” she says. “Each child that I work with is so different so that keeps things exciting as you try to determine what works best for each child.” Read on to learn more about Erika.

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Adult Program Update

Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Categories: All News Items, Adult Programming News, Instruction

by Ken Dockter, Adult Program Coordinator

In early December, we had three adults join us for a week of Adult Programming. It was great to have adults back within the walls of the school. We had to start a day late as Mother Nature made her presence known on Sunday and delayed travel to Grand Forks. The adults were able to make it to the school on Monday afternoon and start classes on Tuesday. The adults had classes in Orientation & Mobility, Technology, Daily Living Skills, a group session to talk about adjusting to their vision loss, and braille. The Skills of Blindness for adults are very important as they learn to complete skills in a non-visual technique.  

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New equipment in the Tech Center at NDVS/SB – OrCam MyEye

Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 11:00 pm

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

by Tracy Wicken, NDVS/SB Assistive Technology Specialist 

A very recent addition to the Technology Center’s equipment for demonstration is the OrCam MyEye. OrCam MyEye is a lightweight smart camera that attaches magnetically to any glasses frame. OrCam MyEye allows you to access visual information audibly.

Using artificial intelligence technology, it instantly and discreetly reads printed and digital text aloud from any surface. It recognizes faces, products, money notes and more, all in real-time. The device is operated by using simple hand gestures or through its more than 20 voice-activated commands. It can be used with any level of vision loss and does not require an internet connection. It has Bluetooth connectivity and also has a mobile app where one can customize its settings, control reading navigation and also find the device if you should misplace it.

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Reading for all seasons

Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Categories: All News Items, Adult Programming News, Library News

by Emily Stenberg Brown
Director of Vision Resource Center


If you like to read, I hope you have been participating in our monthly Book Club during the We Care Wednesday Coffee Chat Zoom calls. NDAB President Trampes Brown and I have been leading a book discussion on the first Wednesday of every month for a year now. Our group has read a variety of genres, and I hope we have read something for everyone. We have discovered it’s impossible to pick a book everyone will like, but there’s nothing wrong with reading a book that pushes you a bit out of your comfort zone. There is something to be learned from every book, even if it’s simply “I don’t like that author/style/book.” 

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Student Programs Update

Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Categories: All News Items, Instruction, Student Programming

by Cindy Williams, Student Program Coordinator

3 students sit at a table playing the game of LIFE. One student reads the directions to the others.It has been such a joy to have our students back in our building and partaking in our short-term programs in person! While students attend our programs, we instruct in the areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). The ECC goes beyond academic skill areas and was designed for students with visual impairments to support the development of skills that a student might not be able to learn by visually observing others. This semester we’ve had a full house for our numerous student programs.

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Superintendent’s Scoop

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Categories: All News Items, Superintendent

by Paul Olson, NDVS/SB Superintendent 

Those of us who have the pleasure of working in a field that is so important and impactful are blessed. We get to observe people of all ages overcome challenges and take on life in amazing ways. Sometimes, however, we are frustrated and disappointed by roadblocks and attitudes that continue to get in the way of success for students with visual impairment in school. Our North Dakota schools generally do a good job in supporting our students, but there are always situations where the appropriate resources, effort, and positive attitude are lacking. A couple of years ago I wrote the Bill of Rights for All Children and Their Families with Emily Coleman, the Superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind.

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Meet Melissa Snyder

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 11:00 pm

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

Like many vision professionals, Melissa Snyder’s path to NDVS/SB was not a straight one. “I started college at North Dakota State College of Science in Computer Programming and Web Design. After a year of school, I decided to look into other career areas, and education seemed to be a better fit for me.” It certainly has been. Melissa has gone on to obtain two master’s degrees in education (Early Childhood Special Education from Minot State and Special Education of the Visually Impaired from UND), as well as her Orientation and Mobility certification from the University of Northern Colorado. “I love to learn new things, and this job provides me with learning opportunities often,” she said. Find out how Melissa’s path led to NDVS/SB – and how to track her favorite restaurants – by reading on.   

Melissa and 5 other women pose smiling for the camera.
Melissa (far right) with fellow ND TVIs Julie, Danielle, Kristi, Lacey, and Brandi.

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