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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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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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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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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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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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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Thursday, November 4, 2021

Categories: 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:

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Monday, November 1, 2021

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

Below is a list of organizations that offer scholarships specifically for North Dakota students who are blind or low vision. If you have any additional questions, contact Shanna Hanson, NDVS/SB Transition Specialist at 701-795-2708 or

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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

Mary poses smiling with 5 of her colleaguesMary 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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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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