KSSB Summer Programs

This year was Peanut’s very first year at the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB) summer school.  It was a three week program that ended this past Friday with a musical extravaganza, and I cannot recommend it enough.  Peanut got to spend three weeks immersed in a school where everyone was like him, and we think it did wonders for his self-esteem.  He also learned a lot–without always realizing it–and had a lot of fun.  He came home excitedly to tell us about:

  • swimming
  • fishing
  • playing t-ball
  • sliding on a water slide (like a Slip n’ Slide)
  • riding bicycles
  • rollerskating.

He came home daily with a sheet of paper tucked in his backpack that explained what he’d done in school for social skills, O&M, technology, and other aspects of the Expanded Core Curriculum, so we had a good idea of what he’d been doing even when he didn’t want to tell us all about it.  If you’re in the Kansas City area and have a school-aged child with a vision impairment, be sure to check out KSSB’s summer programs for next year.  You’ll be glad you did.

Information on this year’s program:  http://www.kssb.net/2015-summer-programs


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Adventures in Reading: Can You Make a Scary Face?

The cover of Can You Make a Scary Face?Sprout’s current absolute favorite book–I’ve read it at least 20 times now, most of those in a row, since we checked it out on Saturday–is Jan Thomas’ Can You Make a Scary Face?  The book features a brightly-colored lady bug that speaks directly to the reader, asking him or her to play make believe with the bug.

One of the inner pages of the book.  The lady bug is on the right page, and the left page instructs the reader to "Pretend you have a tiny bug on your nose.  WIGGLE IT OFF!"The pictures are large, simple, and high-contrast, making them easy for my VI kiddo to see.  The best part, however, is interacting with the book; this book shows that reading can be fun by having kids get up, sit down, laugh, dance, and wiggle.

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Crown Center’s Fairy Tale Village

Location:  The bottom floor of Crown Center by the Coterie Theatre.  Crown Center is at 2450 Grand Blvd in Kansas City, MO.

Cost:  Free!  They can also validate your parking.

Web sitehttp://www.crowncenter.com/Event-List/fairy-tale-village

A few weekends ago, we ventured out to a play date at the Fairy Tale Village exhibit at Crown Center.  It was definitely improved from the last time we saw a Fairy Tale Village there–the walking spaces were wider, and it wasn’t quite as cramped–but it was still an incredible mad-house, overflowing with children who clearly hadn’t been out of the house in a while.  Lesson learned: skip the Fairy Tale Village on the weekends.

Peanut and Sprout ran around as wildly as the other children, and I think both enjoyed it.  Peanut tossed his cane to his dad as soon as we entered the space and was off–although there are surface challenges in the form of stairs, small doorways, and bridges, he still navigated it all fairly easily.

As with most of the exhibits in this space, it’s largely vision-based.  The buttons for sound effects generally don’t work, and the manipulatives tend to have a visual element:  one can pull a cord to open the curtains shielding Sleeping Beauty, for instance, but both the curtains and the Beauty are behind Plexiglas, rendering them nonexistent for many B/VI kids.  Truly enjoying the exhibit will require a sighted guide:  someone would need to explain that the tool set you an play with is in the Three Little Pigs’ house, that the large eggs are painted gold for the golden goose, or that the plush food is ingredients for the Little Red Hen’s baking.

If you’re willing to make that investment, go on a weekday when the space is less crowded, and have a fairy tale lover, I think this exhibit is still worthwhile.  Your child can weigh the golden eggs, count the seven dwarves’ plates, build with the three pigs or bake with the Little Red Hen–s/he will just need help to realize that’s what s/he is doing and really get “in” to the experience.


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National Braille Association Spring 2015 Professional Development Conference

From the mailbag:

Celebrating 70 Years of Service! Thursday,
April 16, 2015 – Saturday, April 18, 2015

Calling all Transcribers, Educators, Parents, Braille Readers,

We would like to extend an invitation to the National Braille
Association Spring 2015 Professional Development Conference and the
kick-off event of our 70th anniversary year. From April 16th to April
18th, we will convene in the “friendly city” of Austin, Texas.
Referred to as the city of slogans, Austin is most known for being the
“live music capital of the world.”

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering the three-day
intensive training on the Unified English Braille (UEB) code that was
so well received at our Fall 2014 conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This training, referred to as “UEBe Ready”, is a must-attend workshop
for any transcriber or teacher who needs to be prepared to transcribe
using UEB.  This workshop is limited to the first 200 people who
register, so make sure to sign up as soon as possible.

Additionally, we will be offering a three-day “Braille Boot Camp, “ a
two-day training on CorelDRAW, and our standard three days of half-day
workshops. Some workshops are limited in the number of participants,
so don’€™t delay in registering.

Our host is the Double Tree Austin. The room rate is $149.00 per night
for single or double occupancy. Reservations must be made on or before
March 29, 2015 to receive the conference rate. Early-bird Registration
is $175.00 through February 28, 2015. There will be NO On-site
registration at this conference. To register, and for additional
information, visit our website: www.nationalbraille.org

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NFB Community Service Division Seeks Youth Blog Posts

From the mailbag:
Are you a middle/high school/college student?
Do you  Volunteer in your community with friends, family, a group or church?
or  Volunteer on your school/college campus with a campus group or friends?
Then the Community  Service Division would like to hear about your experiences.
In the month of  February  we are accepting and featuring  submissions from
students from middle  school to grad school.  non-grad and in-between for our
blog nfbcommunityservice.wordpress.com
<http://nfbcommunityservice.wordpress.com/>). So if you  are a student and doing
the community service thing  then send along your story to our blog  chair Chris
Parsons at christine-parsons@sbcglobal.net
<christine-parsons@sbcglobal.net> anytime between now and the end of the
Stories can be 500 words or less, include what you do and  with whom.  they may
also include how you got involved with the group/project and what kind of
alternative (non-visual) techniques you use to serve along side your sighted
peers to get the job done.


p.s. If your child doesn?t do so but wants to, there?s no  reason why they
can?t start :).
Feel free to be in touch if support/ideas are needed.

Darian Smith
President, National Federation  of the Blind Community Service Division
twitter: @goldengateace
Connect with the Community Service Division
Facebook: search for ?NFB Community Service Division?.

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2015 BUDDY and STEP Programs

From the mailbox:

Putting the Pieces Together

Come and join us for a summer of fun and learning!

Since 1989, the Louisiana Center for the Blind has offered an innovative summer program for blind children in grades four through eight. This summer, the Buddy Program promises to be full of learning opportunities, new friendships, and fun-filled activities.

Many blind children have misconceptions about their blindness due to the lack of positive blind role models and to the negative stereotypes about blindness in society. Unlike other summer programs for blind children, the Buddy Program is directed and staffed by competent blind adults. Classes in cane travel are taught to instill independence and self-confidence. The knowledge of Braille enables the blind child to compete on terms of equality with sighted peers in the classroom and provides a solid background in spelling and other grammatical skills. Computer literacy classes expose a blind child to available adaptive equipment. Classes in daily living skills promote equal participation in household duties such as cooking, shopping, and cleaning. In addition to learning valuable alternative techniques of blindness, children will enjoy participating in a wide variety of exciting activities such as swimming, camping, bowling, roller skating, and field trips.

Title: Ethan on cane travel

The combination of hard work and fun activities will provide a rewarding experience that children will cherish. Involvement in the Buddy Program helps blind children realize that it is not blindness that holds them back. Rather, it is the negative attitudes and misconceptions about blindness that may prevent blind children from reaching their potential. At the close of the program, parents are REQUIRED to attend a Parents’ Weekend. This weekend will allow them to interact with other parents of blind children and to learn what their children have discovered about their blindness and themselves. Friendship, training, fun, growth and interaction between blind children and positive blind role models is how the Louisiana Center for the Blind is “changing what it means to be blind.”

The Louisiana Center for the Blind will sponsor two sessions of the Buddy Program in 2015–from June 7-27 and July 19-August 8 respectively.

Perhaps we will have the opportunity to work with your child this summer. We know it will be a memorable experience for both you and them. All interested families should visit www.louisianacenter.org for more details and to apply. Please also feel free to contact our Director of Youth Services, Eric Guillory before April 13. Please email Eric at eguillory@louisianacenter.org or call 800-234-4166.

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment. Please note that the fee for students not from Louisiana is $1,000­which is all-inclusive save for transportation to and from the program. The fee for Louisiana students is $500.

Aunya at graduationTitle: Aunya at graduation

Title: Greg climbing toward zipline


Since 1985, the Louisiana Center for the Blind has been changing what it means to be blind for adults from across America. In 1990, a program was created to address the needs of blind high school students. The Summer Training and Employment Project (STEP) Program is designed to introduce blind teenagers to positive blind role models and to provide participants with summer work experience.

The eight-week summer program will consist of two components. During the first part of the program, competent blind counselors will instruct the students in the alternative techniques of blindness. Classes in Braille, cane travel, computer literacy, and daily living skills will be taught by qualified blind instructors. In addition, seminars will be conducted in the areas of job readiness, job interviewing skills, resume writing and job responsibilities. The second part of the program will continue all aspects of training and expand to include an employment dimension. Students will have the opportunity to work fifteen to twenty hours a week at a local business for which they will receive the Federal minimum wage. The staff will attempt to meet the job interests of the students. Instructors from the Louisiana Center for the Blind will be available to provide on-the-job assistance as needed.

Title: Katie grilling up burgers             Title: Animal groomers work experience

The combination of work experience and blindness-related skills–along with fun-filled activities such as cookouts, swimming, and various other outings–will foster self-confidence and independence in young blind teenagers. During the week of July 5th through July 10th, students will attend the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida. This exciting conference will allow them to meet thousands of competent blind people from across the country. The students will also have the chance to participate in a wide variety of informative seminars. At the close of the program, parents will be REQUIRED to attend a Parents’ Weekend which will enable them to discover how much their children have learned throughout the summer. The STEP program is designed to provide invaluable work experience, friendships, opportunities for personal growth, and cherished memories.

Training will begin June 14 and conclude August 8. Please visit www.louisianacenter.org to learn about more program specifics and to complete an application.

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment, and applicants must have an open case with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or other funding entity to cover program costs.

Questions? Please call our Director of Youth Services, Eric Guillory at 800-234-4166 or email him at eguillory@louisianacenter.org. “Together, we are changing what it means to be blind.” Check out STEP and find out how.

Title: graduation ceremony

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Health, Mobility, and Navigation Survey

From the mailbag:
“The Therapeutic Research Foundation (TRF), with input from the access technology team at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, has created a survey on health, mobility, and navigation. TRF is inviting blind and low-vision participants to take the survey to help them create the next generation of navigational tools. The data gathered will be used specifically to do research and development, so please consider taking the time to complete the questionnaire and help them build a device that will serve your needs. Depending on your responses, the survey will take 5-15 minutes, and your impact will shape the future of the project.

You can take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XNZKWL8

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PCWSN Sweetheart Dance

From the mailbag:

You and your child(ren) are invited to a magical night of dinner and dancing at our…

Sweetheart Dance 

Saturday February 28, 2015 5-8pm

The Cotillion

1721 Burdett Crossing,

Blue Springs, MO 64014


A Magical Night Awaits You!


PCWSN wants to help you celebrate your little sweetie in this very special way.


Please join us for dinner, dancing, photos, and tons of memories created during this magical evening with your sweetheart while benefiting PCWSN!


This event is open to all families with and without a child who may have challenges. Plus, it’s a great way to be among peer models and fun for EVERYONE! Grab your angel and have a night that both of you will remember for a lifetime.


There are three way to purchase tickets:


1. Buy Tickets now using the “Buy Now” link to the right


2. Email us at pcwsnkc@gmail.com


3. Call us at 816-217-7486!




Make sure you don’t miss out on this night.  We are limited to 225 guests, and space will fill up quickly.


Thank you for believing in the PCWSN magic!


All Our Best,


Stephanie Myers and The Board of Directors

Parenting Children with Special Needs, Inc. PCWSN


We encourage recipients to share this offer with friends and family to maximize the benefit and help our organization grow!
All payments are non-refundable and the event can be cancelled due to inclement weather.
If you have payment or event inquiries please contact us directly pcwsnkc@gmail.com
We always need amazing volunteers.  If you are interested, please email me!
Cost: $30.00 per couple, (Dad and child; Mom and child, Grandparent and child)

$10.00/additional child


Pay in advance or at the door with RSVP


Pay for my couple

Pay Additional Guest




  1. 1721 Burdett Crossing, Blue Springs, MO 64014



Saturday, February 28th

from 5-8pm




DJ Nate starts spinning at 5pm for a night of music and dance


Dinner provided by T-Bones will be served from 5-7.


Professional photogher by Simply Moore


Balloon Artist and other activities will be happening all evening long until we wrap up the magic at 8PM!



Dress to impress!


Don’t forget to get your complimentary updo for your child!


Book My Childs Complimentary Updo at Salon Bellezzio,  limited availability call 816-224-0457



This is an RSVP event, please RSVP as soon as you can as our events fill very quickly!   Only 225 guests will be allowed to attend, 


RESERVE NOW, pcwsnkc@gmail.com







 Be a volunteer, donate raffle items or Sponsor by emailing bus pcwsnkc@gmail.com
Thank you to our event sponsors:
Blue Springs Cotillion T-Bones  DJ Nate Salon Bellezzio Simply Moore Photography Parenting Children with Special Needs Magazine Blue Springs Robotics Club Ad Trends And all our Amazing
Posted in Blue Springs, Missouri | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Book Angel Program Is Now Open!

From the mailbag:

Just a reminder …
Seedlings Braille Books for Children’s
2015 Book Angel Program is now open!
Register to receive 2 free braille books for your V-I child!

We would like to invite you to register your child and/or students for two free braille books through Seedlings’ 2015 Book Angel Program!

If your child/student is visually-impaired, 21 or under, and living in the US or Canada, he/she is eligible to receive two free braille books each calendar year,  so sign up today!

This program has been a huge success, bringing much joy to young braille readers. The children love receiving two free books that they can read and re-read to their heart’s content.
This is also a great way to introduce braille to V-I toddlers and preschoolers who may become braille readers. Just sign them up for some of our Print-and-Braille books, and they will be able to enjoy reading time with their sighted friends and family members while picking up some important pre-reading skills. We have lots of great braille books for older, more independent readers as well!
Check out the details below, and sign up today!
Best wishes and happy reading,
Debra J. Bonde, Director
Seedlings Braille Books for Children


How to Register for 2 Free Braille Books:

Image Blocked   

The Book Angel Program is open to visually-impaired children, ages 0-21, who live in the US and Canada. Book Angel orders will be filled as time and materials allow. The books will be shipped “Free Matter for the Blind.” This program was made possible by Seedlings’ generous donors.

To register simply fill out our online form by clicking this link: Seedlings’ Book Angel Program. If you would like to print out a registration form to send in later, please click this link: Book Angel Registration Form. You can fax it to: 734-427-8552 or mail it to: Seedlings, PO Box 51924, Livonia, MI 48151-5924.

Seedlings has over 1,300 titles from which to chose. They range from Print-Braille-and-Picture Books for toddlers and preschoolers to best-selling novels for young adults. Please list 4 books that your child would enjoy, and we will send 2 of them (please note: due to their cost, our 3-volume books are not available through this program).
If you have any questions, please email: info@seedlings.org or call 800-777-8552.
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Scholarship Opportunity for COMS- and TVIs-to-be

From the mailbag:

New Opportunities for Careers in Rehabilitation of the Blind

Scholarships are now available!

Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness

Louisiana Tech University

Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT) and Structured Discovery Rehabilitation have been demonstrated to be among the most innovative and effective forms of rehabilitation training for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Louisiana Tech University has operated its Orientation and Mobility program on this model successfully for 18 years, with upwards of 90% successful employment and employer satisfaction rates.

Louisiana Tech is excited to announce that along with its O&M program, it has expanded its training and is launching a brand new concentration in Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind.

Scholarships are now available for qualified individuals seeking one of the following degree paths:

  • Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with Concentration in Orientation and Mobility.
  • Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance with Concentration in Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind


  • Orientation and Mobility Graduate Certification

Why me?

  • The field of educating and rehabilitating children and adults who are blind is deeply rewarding and life-changing.
  • The job market is wide open; currently, we receive four times the number of employer requests than we have graduates to provide.
  • Training occurs on campus in Ruston, Louisiana, and can be completed in as little as one year.
  • No prior background or experience in blindness is necessary—we’ll teach you everything you need to know.
  • Scholarships are provided on a competitive basis to qualified persons and can cover costs for attending the university.
  • Scholarship also support travel to conferences, trainings, and field-based experiences at Structured Discovery training programs.

Who can Apply?

Individuals must already possess a Bachelor’s (B.A.) degree from an accredited university, have a grade point average of 2.5 and obtain a minimum of 287 (Verbal and Quantitative) on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Individuals must also be willing to attend courses on campus in Ruston, Louisiana on a full-time basis.

What’s the Catch?

  • Payback through service is required. Agreement to receive scholarship funding requires commitment for you to work in the field of rehabilitation for two years for each year of scholarship support you obtain.
  • Scholarships cover at least tuition and fees but may cover living and travel costs as well.
  • You have to move to Ruston, work hard, study harder, and have the heart to be an O&M or Rehabilitation Teacher of blind persons.

Where do I get started?

  • For program details, visit: pdrib.com
  • Send an email for more information to: dreed@latech.edu
  • Or call Edward Bell to discuss your application: 318-257-4554
Posted in Louisiana, Ruston | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment