Spotlight Person: Tyneal Miller: Mandan Public Schools VI Para

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Categories: Instruction News Event Student Programming

I am Tyneal Miller, a paraprofessional for Mandan Public Schools in Mandan, ND. I work with students with visual impairments, alongside TVI Lacey Long. I have held this position for 4 years and have been with MPS for 5 years. I am an intermittent paraprofessional which means I serve 8 students in 7 schools across Mandan. The students I work with all have a visual impairment; many have other disabilities as well. During service time we work on a variety of visual skills such as tracking, object fixation, decreasing visual latency, and preferred field of sight. I am motivated working in this position because I myself have a visual impairment called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Growing up I had services but nothing to this extent. I am giving these students what I didn’t have and sharing personal experiences and preferences as well as getting feedback from the students on what works for them, what doesn't work, and how we can collaborate to come to a solution. My personal goals are for each of my students to be confident in who they are, to have a voice and self-advocate, and to strive for what they need and want out of life as they grow. I want these students to have the ability to teach others about themselves and not to shy away from their condition because it makes us who we are. It allows us to accept the unexpected, to think outside of the box, and most importantly it allows us to be who we are and not what society thinks we should be. Mandan TVI Lacey Long first approached me about the intervener portfolio and the DeafBlind modules. She hired me, she took a chance, and I will forever be grateful to her as she has helped me help others in a relatable way, a way that not many people can say they do. She is genuine, and I will always be honored to work beside her. I have completed all 27 modules of the Open Hands, Open Access (OHOA) Deaf-Blind Intervener training. I am currently working on my portfolio to become North Dakota’s first intervener. These modules have granted me access to a world of understanding of a rare human dynamic. The modules include simulations, papers, discussion boards, videos, and research to teach intervener strategies. The work I do with my students is beyond just the VI they have. Communication is often difficult as some students are non-verbal. Breaking through this barrier and giving students a voice is critical. The ability to bring a student to an expressive form of communication no matter what modality it may be (braille, ASL, fingerspelling, vocal (hums)) is so powerful, not for me but for the student and their family. Granting them access to the world and people around them may look different for each student, such as vocal descriptions, haptics, touch cues, or hand-under-hand Continued from page 1 technique. Another strategy that is taught in the modules is to break down everyday tasks that you and I take for granted. The intervener motto is ‘do with, not for…’ I wish freedom, success, and personal growth for each of my students because they can and will achieve it. It may not look the same way as you or I would do it, but in their own way with their mark. Being a VI para, intervener, and someone with an impairment has helped me flourish and understand the world in a new way. Because of my vision progression, one day I will be in a world of darkness. If I can make someone else’s world brighter while I have the chance, I will. I will do anything it takes. I am so grateful and lucky to be here today to share my life experiences and knowledge with others. I truly am blessed to have been given this opportunity in life and have found my passion. I am one of the lucky few in this world that whole-heartedly loves her career

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