Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 11:00 pmCategories: 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.
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 11:00 pmCategories: 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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Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 11:00 pmCategories: 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.
Thursday, November 4, 2021Categories: All News Items, Adult Programming News, Instruction
November is now upon us! For the people of North Dakota, the start of winter is also the time to prepare for traveling in icy and cold conditions.
Treacherous winter weather comes with many hazards, including the possibility of falling on slippery, icy surfaces. It’s even more challenging as we get older and are less agile.
Here are some simple things you can do to keep safe while out and about this winter:
Monday, November 1, 2021Categories: All News Items, Adult Programming News, Instruction, Student Programming
Tuesday, October 26, 2021Categories: All News Items, Instruction, News Event, Spotlight
Mary Verlinde, the NDVS/SB Regional Coordinator for western North Dakota, loves her job and loves her colleagues. “NDVS/SB is a great place to work. I love having the support and understanding of my colleagues, both at work and outside of work. We are all striving for the same thing, which is to help individuals with vision loss. We all learn together!”
Mary’s colleagues feel the same way about her. Mary is “compassionate,” said one colleague. “Fun to be around and dedicated to her students,” said another. “Helper and thinks outside the box.” The list goes on:
“Talented, modest, kind.”
“An awesome Irish woman who is very knowledgeable in all areas of vision and always willing to lend an ear.”
“A spitfire Irish mother with a wonderful and warm spirit of energy. You just admire her for all the hard work and care she uses when working with students and parents.”
“A seasoned TVI who always goes over and above for her students.”
“Always willing to help, whether it is to share ideas from her wealth of knowledge or jump into work on a project.”
Indeed, Mary is beloved at NDVS/SB and in the schools, homes, and communities in which she serves individuals with vision loss. Read on to find out how she stumbled into the vision field and why she is the queen of Queen.
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Partners in Providing Hope: A pre-optometry student explains how volunteering at NDVS/SB has affected her education
Monday, October 18, 2021Categories: 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.”
Tuesday, October 12, 2021Categories: 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.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021Categories: 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.”
Thursday, September 2, 2021Categories: 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.