Please view the tentative program below. The Collaborative Vision Conference is an ACVREP Approved CE Opportunity.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

8:00-9:00 Expo 1

Registration and Continental Breakfast 

9:00-9:30  Expo 1 & 2

Welcome and Conference Business

9:30-10:30 Evergreen

Selecting the Right Assistive Technology for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired – Carmen Willings, TVI, founder and developer of web resource Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

This presentation will encompass the process and steps of selecting the right Assistive Technology for students who are blind or visually impaired using the SETT Framework. Key points include identification of the current problem; consideration of current skills; understanding unique visual and learning needs; awareness of AT for VI; AT equipment considerations; the process of building a toolkit; instructional strategies; and next steps.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will:

  1. Identify required steps in conducting an AT evaluation for students with visual impairments
  2. Analyze student’s current skills and unique needs to make appropriate AT recommendations
  3. Develop strategies for selecting low, mid and high tech Assistive Technology

9:30-10:30 Stonefield

Accessible Smart Digital Signage – Tim Fahlberg, Math and Computer Science Instructor, Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Learn how smart digital signage using NaviLens and WayAround can make places, art, assistive technology, and personal items more accessible by enabling items like signs, etc. to speak for themselves, link to additional resources, and more. To get the most out of this session, please get the NaviLens and WayAround apps on your smartphone or iPad prior to the presentation. Both are free and available for iOS and Android.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

  1. Learn how to create free, personal talking tags. 
  2. Learn how smart digital signs can enable independent indoor and outdoor navigation.
  3. Learn how smart digital signs can add value to assistive technology devices.

9:30-10:30 Woodland/Trillium

Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Its Impact on Adapted Diabetes Self-Management – Jennifer Ottowitz, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and Senior Learning Expert, Hadley

Continuous glucose monitoring is becoming a more prevalent part of managing diabetes. This exciting technology is changing how people test and monitor their blood sugar levels. Learn more about its use and impact on adapted diabetes self-management for your students and clients who are blind or visually impaired.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will be able to explain how continuous glucose monitoring works as a part of diabetes self-management practices.
  2. Participants will be able to identify equipment needed for continuous glucose monitoring.
  3. Participants will be able to describe options for making continuous glucose monitoring accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

10:45-11:45 Evergreen 

O&M In a Nutshell – Judy Holmes, COMS for 40 years in Illinois, Wisconsin, and with the Macomb Intermediate School District, Clinton Twp, Michigan. 

Come be part of an actual O&M presentation to a Board of Education. The mission: to increase each Board Member’s understanding of O&M services in the district, and to participate in informative conversations with the “Experts”. While this presentation focused on O&M services, it would be easy to recreate it to advocate for any area of service (VI services, Preschool services, Rehabilitation services, and Parents, etc.).

Learning Objectives:

Participants will: 

  1. Name 3 pieces of information that you would want your Board of Education/Agency to know about your professional role. 
  2. Identify 3 ways to highlight the needs of your students. 
  3. Determine a specific need for which you would like to advocate for your students and present to a Board who may make decisions about programs, services, or funding.

10:45-11:45 Stonefield 

Taking the Goggles Off Visual Information Services, Getting Assistance is Just a Tap Away! – Jim Denham, Assistive Technology Specialist, Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired

Visual Information Services, such as Aira and Be My Eyes, offer products which can connect individuals who are blind or visually impaired to sighted assistance through a smartphone camera or dedicated glasses. These services can be used to do anything from reading a bank statement to navigating a shopping center. This session will demonstrate these products and discuss the advantages and limitations of each service.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will understand the term visual information service and be able to identify several companies who offer products in this space.
  2. Participants will be able to identify situations and tasks where visual information services can benefit individuals who are blind or visually impaired. 
  3. Participants will understand the pricing structure of various visual information services and be able to determine which product is appropriate for specific situations and tasks.

10:45-11:45 Woodland/Trillium 

Your Voice Matters; Advocating for the Needs of People with Vision Loss – Denise Jess, CEO/Executive Director, Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired

The needs of children, students, working-age and aging adults with vision impairment are complex, requiring the support of highly trained professionals and outstanding programs. As professionals, you know first-hand the impact of these programs. You are often powerfully poised to tell the story of success, concerns and challenges to policy-makers to help guide them to make decisions that benefit these programs and allow people with vision loss to live independent, productive and satisfying lives. Come learn how you can become a citizen advocate.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will:

  1. Identify opportunities for advocacy with local officials, policy-makers and legislators on behalf of students and adults with vision loss. 
  2. Understand the parameters for advocacy as a professional in the field of vision services. 
  3. Develop strategies for effectively communicating your advocacy message.

11:45-1:15 Expo 1&2

Lunch and Keynote Presentation

It’s My Job: A Conversation About Professionalism, Leadership, AER and You! Janie Blome, Executive Director, AER 

WAER Awards Ceremony

1:30-2:30 Evergreen 

Travel Instruction Overviews and Mindset – Micaela Smith, Travel Instructor

Did you know that the AER O&M Division supports O&M specialists in providing travel instruction? They do! Participants of this session will take a deeper look at the history of Travel Instruction, review AER’s position, learn about the components of best practice related to travel instruction, and broaden understanding of the connection between the two fields. 

Learning Objectives:

Participants will: 

  1. Be aware of AER’s guidance towards O&M specialists and travel instruction.
  2. Learn of best practice components for travel instruction. 
  3. Engage in new thinking about the connection between O&M and Travel Instruction.

1:30-2:30 Stonefield 

The Art of Teaching the ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum) – Carmen Willings, TVI, founder and developer of web resource Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

The role of the TVI is to orchestrate the ECC and ensure that it is embedded throughout the day. This presentation provides suggestions and strategies for teaching the ECC including tips for collaboration, how to know the student’s unique visual needs, instructional techniques and strategies, and suggestions for material preparation.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

  1. Learn strategies for orchestrating the ECC. 
  2. Identify the importance of knowing each student’s needs and planning appropriate service delivery. 
  3. Identify strategies for preparing for instruction.

1:30-2:30 Woodland/Trillium 

Partnering with DVR for Youth and Adults – Chad Bowe, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Darci Weber, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Wisconsin DVR

The DWD/DVR provides a wide range of employment services to working age individuals with vision loss. DVR wants to partner with schools, agencies and providers of services to maximize resources and provide a high quality service to consumers to help them reach their employment goals. DVR has an established team of subject matter experts, we want to share information with you about the SenseAbility team.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. The participant will learn more about services DVR provides. 
  2. The participant will learn how to partner with DVR. 
  3. The participant will learn how resources can be shared to serve individuals in employment and training.

2:45-4:15 Evergreen 

Inside the Mind of an O&M Specialist – Judy Holmes, COMS for 40 years in Illinois, Wisconsin, and with the Macomb Intermediate School District, Clinton Twp, Michigan.

This presentation provides an overview of the role and responsibilities of an O&M Specialist, for someone getting started in O&M to seasoned O&Mers. It is packed with best practice teaching materials, creative O&M lesson ideas, and professional encouragement. This format often sparks impromptu exchanges in many areas of Orientation & Mobility.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:  

  1. Identify 3 requisites that an O&M Specialist is expected to document. 
  2. List 3 O&M teaching ideas or educational resources that was new information to you. 
  3. Identify an activity on which you would be able to collaborate with other VI professionals to provide “in and out of the box” teaching experiences and highlight your student’s progress.

2:45-4:15 Stonefield 

Cooking with Kids and Adults with Dual Sensory Loss (Deaf/Blind) –  Elyse Heinrich, TVI & Learning Expert with Hadely and Jennifer Ottowitz, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and Senior Learning Expert, Hadley

Working with children or adults with dual sensory loss is truly a unique situation. Deafblind is a unique disAbility. Come explore the ECC daily living skill of cooking, food prep and clean up with adaptations for those with both hearing and vision loss. 

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will: 

  1. Describe the unique disability of dual sensory loss (DeafBlind/DB).
  2. Incorporate Expanded Core Curriculum and daily living skills to support learning/IEP goals (food prep) for student with DB. 
  3. Explore high and low tech options, modifications and adaptations for safe cooking skills in the kitchen for those who are DB. 
  4. Understand and practice low tech communication methods for those who are DeafBlind (PoP, braille on fingers, alphabet card, object schedule/calendar).

2:45-4:15 Woodland/Trillium 

An Overview of the Vision In-Service in America (VIISA) and In-Home Sensory Impaired Training and Education (INSITE) Course Curriculum for Education Professionals and Families – David Hyde, Professional Development Coordinator WCBVI; Kay Glodowski, Outreach Specialist at WCBVI; Dawn Weaver, TVI;  Diane Gaffney, O&M Specialist; April M. Hartjes, MSE Early Childhood Instructor Mid-State Technical College; Kim Ubersox; Deb Benish, TVI,OT

Introduction to the course content, application, activities and benefits of the SKIHI courses; Preview of course modules may include literacy, CVI, movement, working with students having both a sight and hearing impairment; Discussion of assessment and pathologies as well as teaching techniques. Hands-on activities and how to apply the model will be included. Meet the new and existing INSITE and VIISA instructors.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Attendees will learn about the three classes available in this curriculum.
  2. Understand techniques in promoting literacy, movement, development and socialization for students with a visual impairment as well as those with additional complications.
  3. Find techniques which can be shared with families of these students to reinforce activities from the school or center programs.

4:30-5:30 Evergreen 

Lots of Dots: Navigating the World of Refreshable Braille – Amy Snow, CATIS, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

This will be an overview of a variety of refreshable braille displays on the market today. What are the similarities and differences among them? And what’s the difference between a “display” and a “notetaker”.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Attendees will name one difference between a notetaker and a braille display. 
  2. Attendees will identify one braille display from the presentation and list two features that would be beneficial to students. 
  3. Attendees will identify one braille display from the presentation and name one feature of the display that would be challenging for a student to use or master.

4:30-5:30 Woodland/Trillium

How the Heck Do You Get Blind Teens to Practice at Home?, Haley Chopp, CVRT, COMS & Chris Correia, MSW, Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss 

Now in its fourth year the Lighthouse’s school year Transition Program serves fifteen teens from across Minnesota. The program offers five weekend camps along with weekly remote contact. We’ve learned a lot and are trying to learn more. Come hear our experience and share your own.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will: 

  1. Stimulate participants to think of transition programming more creatively   

and holistically. 

  2. Learn about the possibilities of working remotely in a group setting. 

  3. Identify strengths and weaknesses of different programming approaches.

5:30-6:30 Refreshments and Unopposed Vendor time Expo 1&2

6:30-7:00 Speed Vending & Raffle Expo 1&2

7:00-8:00 Dinner on your own 

8:00 Trivia for Fun       Top Shelf Lounge

Friday, May 8, 2020

7:30-9:00 Expo 1&2

Registration and Breakfast Buffet 

WAER Annual Meeting – Open to all


9:15-10:15 Woodland/Trillium 

Activities for Teaching the ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum) – Carmen Willings, TVI, founder and developer of web resource Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

Do you ever feel like you are in a rut with the activities you do with your students? You’ve been working on the same goals using the same tired strategies and materials? If you are bored with the activities your student is more than likely bored as well! This presentation will provide suggestions and strategies for individualizing instruction and adapting materials for your students in the areas of the ECC through age-neutral and multi-sensory activities designed to meet the needs of the broad range of students served by a TVI. This session will provide activities in the areas of concept development, braille instruction, visual efficiency, optical device, social skills and more! 

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

  1. Develop strategies for individualizing instruction to motivate students.
  2. Identify instructional strategies for instructing students that are blind, have low vision as well as those with multiple disabilities. 
  3. Identify sources of materials and strategies for creating teacher made materials.

9:15-10:15 Harvest 

Overcoming Physical Challenges of Educating Children with Visual Impairment – Colleen Kickbush, TVI, Vision Forward and Jenna Zubella, DPT, ATC, Vision Forward

Many children with vision loss have additional disabilities.  For children with motor limitations, collaboration with a physical therapist is critical.  In this session, learn how to build strong and effective relationships with PTs and understand the role they play with your students.  Topics discussed will include:  supporting movement, using available equipment, encouraging cause and effect and reducing physical barriers to promote success. 

Learning Objectives:

Participants will: 

  1. Learn about equipment and positioning that will maximize your student’s ability to meet Expanded Core Curriculum goals. 2.
  2. Understand physical barriers to achieve a successful outcome and meet your student’s Expanded Core Curriculum goals. 3.
  3. Develop methods for effectively communicating with a physical therapist or other therapist team member.

9:15-10:15 Stonefield 

Tobii Heat Map Visualizations Used to Track Visual Behaviors of an Individual with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) – David Bohil, University of Minnesota Duluth

Tobii Gaze Viewer screen recording software was used in conjunction with the Look to Learn software on a Tobii Dynavox to generate heat maps and gaze plots of an individual with CVI. These data were used to track gaze behavior over time and compare previous to current performance.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Explain the value of heat map images as they relate to client visual behavior.
  2. Describe how to use the Gaze viewer app on a Dynavox.
  3. Describe other systems used to generate visual-behavioral data.

10:30-12:00 Woodland/Trillium 

Teaching Feminine Hygiene to Blind Teenage Girls – Gretchen Kapperman, TVI, Milwaukee Public Schools

Instruction in the use of feminine hygiene products by teenage girls is, in the majority of cases, an extremely sensitive area of endeavor. It is particularly sensitive with regard to the use of tampons and menstrual cups. In the vast majority of cases, mothers commonly instruct their daughters either sighted or visually impaired in the use of pads. We contend that the majority of sighted mothers do not have the knowledge that would be required to provide meaningful instruction to their blind daughters in the use of tampons and/or menstrual cups. The teenage girl, who cannot see, of course, cannot glean the information from the written and pictorial information that accompanies tampons or menstrual cups. Therefore, I contend that special efforts are needed to provide meaningful information for the teenage girl who cannot see. The individual who is best equipped to provide that information is the girl’s special education teacher who has been trained to provide meaningful instruction for her students. 

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

  1. Understand the methods for teaching feminine hygiene to blind students.
  2. Understand the importance of using clay models when teaching the insertion of tampons or menstrual cups. 
  3. Understand the importance of instruction from and collaboration with a teacher of blind students in the area of feminine hygiene.

10:30-12:00 Harvest 

Seeing From Different Points of View: Skill building and sensitivity training for those supporting students with visual impairments – Judy Holmes, COMS for 40 years in Illinois, Wisconsin, and with the Macomb Intermediate School District, Clinton Twp, Michigan.

Are you searching for training strategies that provide meaningful experiences and enable others to see through the eyes of students who have a visual impairment? Learn how one school district’s paraprofessional training workshop evolved. Discover successful training workshop ideas that increase understanding and support in-home, school, and community settings.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will: 

  1. Identify 3 sensitivity experiences that allow training audiences to see through the eyes of students who have visual impairments. 
  2. Determine 3 VI specific areas of training to support students who have visual impairments. 
  3. Identify 3 targeted audiences who would benefit from a “Seeing From Different Points of View” training session

10:30-12:00 Stonefield 

Come on and Code! – Amy Snow, CATIS, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Meghan Fredel, TVI, COMS, Short Course Instructor Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

This presentation will encompass accessible coding for students with visual impairments at various ages and levels. This will be a hands-on session where participants will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of coding activities including Code Snaps, Code and Go, Coding Unplugged and more!

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will engage with a minimum of one commercially available coding activity.
  2. Participants will engage and experiment with one coding activity that does not require technology.
  3. Participants will engage in one active learning coding activity.

12:00-1:00 Lunch and Unopposed Vendor Time! Expo 1&2


1:15-2:15 Woodland/Trillium 

Creating Meaningful Activities for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments – Colleen Kickbush, TVI, Vision Forward

The expertise of a TVI is critical for children with vision loss and their families in the Birth to Three and early childhood programs. Attendees of this session will learn the skills necessary to better serve this population. During this session, the presenter will share information about early visual development and its impact on multiple domains. In addition, guidance will be provided on appropriate activities to support babies and toddlers with vision loss and how these concepts can be incorporated into routines and facilitated by parents and other team members. This session will also address young children with multiple disabilities and the collaborative approach between vision and educational and therapy providers.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will: 

  1. Create meaningful ECC activities and promote early literacy for children with visual impairments ages B-3 and/or with multiple disabilities. 2.
  2. Become familiar with resources to determine if your activities align with the child’s level of visual development and overall developmental level (i.e. gross and fine motor skills, social/emotional, speech/language). 
  3. Learn how to share your vision expertise with other team members (i.e. parents, therapists, early childhood educators).

1:15-2:15 Harvest 

A Guide to Chromebook Accessibility – Cory Ballard, CATIS, Vision Forward

Google Chromebooks can be a powerful and affordable way for students and individuals to access common school and work-related tasks. Explore what accessibility options are available to those living with vision loss. Find out what keyboard commands are needed to accomplish tasks such as reading email, creating documents, and formatting text. When a Chromebook is not the right option, explore alternative options such as a Windows laptop or tablet.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will: 

  1. Explore accessibility features of the Chromebook focusing on students and individuals living with vision loss. 
  2. Learn what keyboard commands are used in common programs such as Google Docs and Google Drive. 
  3. Discuss alternative methods to accessing Google content on Windows laptops or iPads.

1:15-2:15 Stonefield 

Re-Evaluating: How You Evaluate Your Students Who Are Blind/VI –  Megan Purfeerst, TVI, Roseville Area School

The goal of this presentation is to give you ideas on how to make your evaluation process more effective for you to gather data to support your student for the next 3 years. 

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will: 

  1. Recognize the type of testing that is going to give you the most information.
  2. Discover ways to make evaluating a student easier. 
  3. Understand how this type of evaluating can be valuable to the parent and you in the future.

2:30-3:30 Woodland/Trillium

Principles of Tactile Design – Matt Scholtes, Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement

A general audience presentation geared towards developing a better “learned intuition” for what makes a good tactile graphic. Learn about: visual vs. tactual perception, visual intuition misfires, the scale of tactual perception, and other tips for diagrams that are accurate, intuitive, and meaningful. Computer and braille knowledge recommended, not required.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will: 

1. Experience reading a diagram tactually. 

2. Learn how to develop a better intuition to improve tactile diagrams. 

3. Understand how big picture goals can help transcribers balance competing directives.

2:30-3:30 Harvest 

Incredible Collaboration-TVI Teachers & UW-Madison Engineering – Deborah Benish, TVI, OT, Collaborator with University of Wisconsin Madison Engineering Department, and Heidi Werjes (Parent of TVI student)

Learn about a FREE opportunity each semester to collaborate with UW-Madison Engineering Department. Deborah Benish, has written four successful project proposals to design equipment and adaptations for CESA 5 students who are blind and visually impaired. UW-Madison supplies labor, materials, and a room full of knowledgeable engineering students excited about making a contribution to improve the lives of visually impaired children. At the end of the semester, the Engineering department gives the finished project to the visually impaired student(s) for which it was uniquely designed. If we can imagine it, UW-Madison Engineering Department can build it. See the incredible energy, enthusiasm, creativity and know-how that a group of aspiring engineers can bring to the table when addressing the unique needs of visually impaired children.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will: 

  1. Increased awareness of an incredible FREE collaboration opportunity with UW-Madison Engineering Department to benefit students who are blind and visually impaired. 
  2. View examples of completed projects and see how they are being used by visually impaired students.
  3. Learn about the application process and writing a proposal.

2:30-3:30 Stonefield 

Adapting Literacy Materials for Those with CVI – Kari Landis, TVI, Wisconsin for Low Incidence Consulting Services

During this presentation you will learn how to adapt common children’s books for students in all three phases using various forms of media and programs. This presentation will also discuss ways to communicate with the student’s team on how to best accommodate and adapt materials for said student.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will: 

  1. Learn how to adapt books for students who are in the 3 phases of the CVI Range. 
  2. Learn how to easily inform the student’s team about their CVI needs. 
  3. Learn to use different programs to promote reading for your student with CVI.

3:30 Turn in Evaluations, Conference Wrap-Up, Big RAFFLE!! Expo 1&2

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