[nobe-l] Introducing myself and Asking a Few Questions

Humberto Avila humbertoa5369 at netzero.net
Wed Mar 7 03:36:03 UTC 2018

Greetings to All on the Blind Educators  List:
I have just heard about this list serve concerning working with students 
with blindness and visual impairments / sighted children as a blind 
teacher from my mentoring teacher where I am doing my Practicum 
experience, and it sounds like a good resource here to learn about new 
things and all things about blind students. My name is Humberto Avila, 
and I am a student from Central Washington University at the brink of my 
graduation with a B.A.Ed. in Special Education P-12 with two minors in 
Information Technology and Accessibility Studies. I am aspiring to work 
with persons who are blind and teach them Braille and technology skills 
that are so essential in today's ever-changing world, and as you know, 
is something all blind students need to start getting acquainted with as 
part of their lives.
I am blind myself; I was born prematurely and as a result, develop an 
atrophy in my octic nerves (Octic Nerve Hypoplasia) and have light 
perception / motion. I am legally blind and use Braille and assistive 
technology in my every day operations in both K-12 and college 
education. I also use a Long White Cane to get around and be as 
independent as possible like my sighted peers. I use a combination of 
note-takers as well as smartphone with built-in accessibility to do 
sophisticated work, reading, surfing the World Wide Web, and even 
programming and communicating my daily matters through email and text 
just as I am doing right now.
I am brand-new to this awesome mailing list, and I am here with you 
because I would love for anyone of you to answer some of my initial 
questions that I have regarding working with students with visual 
impairments and blindness as someone who is also blind. Please feel free 
to answer my questions off the list, if you don't mind doing so; this 
way, we do not have so much clutter in here. If you are, or know someone 
who has successfully worked in the field of blindness and vision 
education, who is blind or visually impaired him / herself, and are 
working in a mainstream school district or program, I'd like to ask the 
following questions:
1. How do you manage your caseload of students and your 
paraprofessionals as a blind TVI?
2. What do you do to keep organized, E.G. your materials at each school, 
or classroom, or your data that needs to be collected, as a blind TVI?
3. If you are an itinerant TVI, like most of such teachers working in 
school districts, how do you manage your mobility between school to 
school, when you cannot necessarily drive your own car, as a blind TVI? 
Do you pay for a driver, use Uber / Lift, Paratransit, mainstream 
transit, ETC?
4. How do you communicate with parents, paraprofessionals, community 
stakeholders, ETC. since you may not necessarily make eye contact and / 
or initiate greeting / meeting, as a sighted person would visually look 
for a person in response? How do you get them to listen to you and grab 
your attention to communicate your details, as a blind TVI?
5. What methods of instruction do you best use to facilitate the 
learning of your fellow blind / VI pupils in the classroom(s)? Do you 
use modelling in a format that you can get your students fully motivated 
to learn? Explain.
6. How do you best cope with accessibility barriers in your settings you 
teach as a blind TVI? For instance, how do you deal with curriculum, 
either material, online, physical, ETC. that is not readily accessible 
for you or your students? How do you deal with teachers that don't 
necessarily "want" to make their curricula accessible?
7. When you work in a new site, such as a new school building where you 
are teaching a student more, how do you plan, implement, and manage 
mobility options, as well as become acquainted with the surroundings as 
a blind TVI? What method / format / assistance system do you use to work 
around and navigate without using sight?
8. How do you best adapt and accommodate materials as a blind TVI? Do 
you use certain technologies, such as OCR, scanners, cameras, or even 
phones? Do you use apps, if any, and what are they? Do you use human 
guides / readers many times?
9. how do you assess students for evaluation / reevaluation as a blind 
TVI? Do you use any assessment instruments that are accessible, and how 
do you use them? If instruments are not accessible, how do you work to 
accommodate your needs using those instruments? How do you test 
functional vision, if you yourself don't have functional vision?
10. How do you cope with situations in which you are told that you 
cannot fulfill all aspects of your job, such as at a job interview, as a 
blind TVI? How do you advocate for yourself when the need arises? How do 
you prove yourself that you have the necessary skills, dispositions, and 
knowledge to teach students who are blind / visually impaired?
11. Lastly, but not least, how did you cope with coursework in your TVI 
endorsement program, such as at a university that certifies TVIS? How do 
you overcome any accessibility barriers present in those TVI courses? 
How do you fulfill needed competencies such as learning Braille and O&M 
when you are already proficient and efficient using those skills 
yourself? How do you access and work with material that is highly visual?

Thanks so much for answering my many questions. I know that by now you 
are thinking that this is a long-winded novel you have to scroll through 
/ listen to. :)  But I just started embarking on the journey to become a 
TVI myself, and am looking for highly skillful, proficient, efficient, 
confident / competent individuals working in the field of visual 
impairments / blindness who also have the same disability, especially at 
such a profound level like myself.
Thanks so much again for reading, and I hope to hear from anyone soon, 
off list. Have a very awesome day.

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