[Pibe-division] AER

Marianne Denning marianne at denningweb.com
Sun Mar 16 23:24:43 UTC 2014

Karalee, it sounds like you attended an excellent program.  I had 2
semesters of braille and took a summer course that included math and
scientific notation but only basic math notation. The head of the
program can make a world of difference.

Mikayla, I want to encourage you to look into the programs when you
are closer to entering one of them.  Thins change frequently in all of
these programs.  I believe you are beginning high school now and most
of the programs we are talking about are masters degree programs so
you are probably 7 or 8 years from choosing one.  Keep asking the
tough questions as you go so you will have good information when you
are ready to choose the program.  It is great that you are doing your

On 3/16/14, Karalee Tyrrell <kar.manandhar at gmail.com> wrote:
> Mikayla,
> I think this is a difficult question to answer because there are not very
> many people who have been through both a conventional training program and
> NFB training.  I received degrees in TVI and O&M from a non-NFB training
> program.  My focus was on K-12, so when I speak of students, I am for the
> most part talking about minors.  I have a strong respect for the NFB and
> what it does.  I have steered several students and families toward the NFB,
> knowing how empowering it can be for the student and family to spend time
> with independent, competent, blind adults.  My knowledge of NFB philosophy
> comes from friendships and professional relationships with Federationists,
> and attendance at NFB conferences. If I in any way misrepresent the NFB
> philosophy, please forgive me, and feel free to correct me. I can really
> only speak with confidence about the training we received in my program.
> In the interest of full disclosure, understand that I am a sighted child of
> blind parents, which gives me the perspective of seeing first-hand the
> level of independence that blind people can and should have. I grew up
> around well-educated and independent non-Federationist blind people.
> I believe there are some differences in philosophy, but more similarities
> than most people on either "side" think (for lack of a better way to put
> it).  We had an introductory class our first semester in the program that
> addressed a lot of philosophical topics. I don't think I will be able to
> list them all, as this was several years ago, but I will give you an idea.
> Our instructor, who also ran the program, is blind, and stressed things
> like equality, respect, and equal access to information. We talked about
> the way blind people are portrayed in the media, and how this exacerbates
> the problem of society's misperception of blindness and blind people.  We
> discussed independence, and the rights of blind people to travel, work, and
> live their lives independently without interference from others.
> Our instructor/program director placed a lot of emphasis on making sure the
> TVI's coming out of the program were well-trained in Braille and Nemeth
> Code. Braille instruction consisted of two semesters of intensive Literary
> Braille and Nemeth Code, and included short units on Braille music
> notation, foreign language notation, and diacritical markings. We were
> required to pass a tough comprehensive test at the end of the semester that
> included reading, writing, and proofreading, as well as demonstrating
> proficiency with a slate and sylus. The point being, if you had a Braille
> reading student on your caseload, you had better be providing quality
> instruction in Braille, and the student darn-well better have access to
> everything in the curriculum in accurate Braille, in a timely manner.
> That being said, I think one of the differences in philosophy may lie in
> the idea of which students are taught Braille.  My understanding of the NFB
> philosophy in the past has been that that it is believed that every person
> with a visual impairment should learn Braille, due to the difficulties low
> vision sometimes presents in reading speed and efficiency, as well as
> visual fatigue.  I am aware of the NFBRMA, however, so I am not so sure of
> how this fits in with the NFB philosophy, or if I had it wrong to begin
> with.  Feel free to educate me.  <grin>  We learned in our program that a
> student's reading medium is very individualized, and needs to be determined
> through observations, discussion with student, teachers & parents,
> Functional Vision Assessments, consideration of the cause and stability of
> visual condition, impact of concomitant disabilities, and a completion of a
> Learning Media Assessment.  Students who function visually are assisted in
> learning to use their vision as efficiently as possible, using low vision
> devices, visual strategies, and self-advocacy.
> Another possible difference philosophy that I have perceived relates to the
> use of human guides and some other types of sighted assistance.  I have
> noticed a strong distaste for this type of assistance in my friends who are
> Federationists.  In our program, this is taught as another "tool" in the
> "toolbox," to be used at the blind person's discretion.  It is stressed
> that when in this situation, it is important that the blind person is in
> charge, and the person assisting is to take direction from the person being
> guided or assisted.  It is also acknowledged that sighted people tend to
> try to help too much, and/or provide unsoliced and unwanted help.  We are
> taught to teach our students to refuse unwanted help, and how to get out of
> a situation where they are being guided without consent.
> We also are taught to encourage students to teach proper human guide
> techniques to people who they want to guide them.  While these things may
> seem obvious and simplistic, please understand that we are working with
> childen and teens who are accustomed to having to do what they are told
> without arguement, and may be reluctant to assert their rights.
> One area of educational philosophy that has been of interest to me, and I
> would like to investigate further is that of Structured Discovery.  This is
> something that has been back-burnered for some time as I attend to personal
> and professional duties.  Realizing I need to learn more about it, I must
> admit that I wonder how different it is from what I do in the classroom,
> because much of my instruction consists of asking series of questions of
> the students in order to try to get them to figure things out for
> themselves.
> Ok, well I hope I have helped you answer your question.  I look forward to
> any responses.  And thank you, Mikayla, for being brave and asking a tough
> question.
> Respectfully,
> Karalee Tyrrell
> On Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM, Marianne Denning
> <marianne at denningweb.com>wrote:
>> Mikayla, that is probably true.  I think some of the professors may be
>> active in NFB but the program does not teach a philosophy.  Believe
>> me, there is so little time for the instruction that must take place
>> that discussing philosophy is very limited.  The one exception may be
>> the program in Louisiana.  It is up to each TVI to impart the NFB
>> philosophy to students.  I do this without mentioning any organization
>> most of the time.  I believe all TVIs should be teaching independence
>> from the very beginning.
>> On 3/16/14, Mikayla Gephart <mikgephart at icloud.com> wrote:
>> > Hi,   I have heard that programs for TVI's do not have a philosophy
>> close to
>> > the NFB's. Is that true?
>> > Mikayla
>> >
>> > Sent from my iPad
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>> --
>> Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
>> Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
>> (513) 607-6053
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Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
(513) 607-6053

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