SWOMA 2020

SWOMA 2020 logo; Zooming into the future with a white cane making the Z shape and OM in the word zoom highlighted

This year's conference will be entirely virtual due to COVID-19 and social distancing; the exhibitors event will be held at two time slots on Friday evening

Registration fee: $100 for Professionals and Family Members, and $40 for University Students and Paraprofessionals

Additional conference details, session handouts, and the conference guide will be made available to https://www.tsbvi.edu/swoma-2020

Thursday, November 5th

Housekeeping and Welcome
(Thursday, November 5, 2020 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM)

Pre-Conference Part 1
(Thursday, November 5, 2020 12:45 PM - 2:15 PM)
Training Travel with Tech
We will focus on utilizing devices we all carry with us to gain a greater awareness of our travel environment. The top 3 GPS mobile apps will be demonstrated and ways of introducing these apps into a student’s travel training program will be discussed. Use of other technologies such as beacons & QR codes will also be demonstrated. Because one of the programs utilizes the entire stereo field to show landmarks, listening to this session with stereo headphones is strongly encouraged.

• Explore/demonstrate 3 GPS based navigation programs including Blindsquare, Microsoft Soundscape, & Nearby Explorer.
• Discuss how O&M instructors can use these programs and get greater engagement with their students in person and virtually.
• Demonstrate other travel technologies including beacons, QR codes and different types of headsets that do not interfere.

Presenters: Jeff Molzow, Michael Doise, Andrew Bernet, Texas Workforce Commission, CCRC

Pre-Conference Part 2
(Thursday, November 5, 2020 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM)
Non-Visual Digital Maps for Remote O&M Instruction
Non-visual digital mapping technology is now being adopted by people with VIB. This new technology enables students to build mental maps quickly and independently and works well for remote instruction. You will learn how to use non-visual digital maps, how to teach students to use the maps effectively and how to create customized maps for individual students. These maps will fit your student’s current ability level and will meet the goal of a specific lesson.

• Participants will learn how students use mental maps for independent travel.
•Participants will learn how students build mental maps from non-visual digital maps using headphones and computer keyboard.
• Participants will learn how to create custom non-visual digital maps for specific student needs and specific geographic locations.

Presenter: Diane Brauner, COMS, Web Content Manager, Paths to Technology; Ed Summers

Friday, November 6th

General Session I
(Friday, November 6, 2020 8:45 AM - 10:15 AM)

Intersections! What Next?
Recent issues of the Journal of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) have had articles about a new type of roundabout, had articles on separated bike lanes and floating transit islands with all kinds of changes to improve safety for bicycles, and had articles about signal changes to improve pedestrian safety. We need to understand some of these proposed changes and be prepared to suggest modifications that might make them work better for our clients/students.

• Attendees will be aware of new intersection designs, such as roundabouts and alternative intersections that may affect travel by individuals who are blind or who have low vision.
• Attendees will be able to describe separated bike lanes and the potential confusion for pedestrians who are blind.
• Attendees will be able to suggest some solutions that may be helpful to their students/clients.

Presenter: Janet M. Barlow, COMS

General Session II
(Friday, November 6, 2020 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)

Can Standards and Design Guidelines Help Us?
Many of the design guidelines that transportation designers and engineers refer to do not address issues related to travel by pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision. This session will show some new designs and highlight the areas where we do have guidance and the areas where we need to develop solutions and consider what we teach and how we teach it.

• Attendees will be aware of ADA and MUTCD standards that can apply at intersections.
• Attendees will have some understanding of the design guidelines used by transportation planners and engineers.
• Attendees will know about the opportunities for public input in intersection redesign and be able to suggest ways they and their clients/students can participate.
• Attendees will have the opportunity to review some new types of intersections and brainstorm solutions.

Presenter: Janet M. Barlow, COMS

Breakout Session I
(Friday, November 6, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM)

Creating and Teaching Use of Tactile Maps
Throughout over 40 years of teaching O&M, Dr. Laurie Hudson has made and used accessible maps to teach her students spatial layouts and routes within them. In this highly practical SWOMA session, she will emphasize teacher-made tactile maps for young students. She will also include many mapping examples and suggestions for older students and adults.

• Participants will learn to create several kinds of teacher-made tactile maps.
• Participants will know strategies to teach map reading skills to students with visual impairments or blindness.
• Participants will be prepared to introduce specific tactile maps to their students.

Presenter: Laurel J. Hudson, PH.D.

O&M Strategies when Working with Students with Deafblindness
Case studies of students with deafblindness ages 6 - 18 and their progression learning orientation and mobility skills. Communication, basic skills, adaptive mobility devices, street crossing, night lessons, and assessment.
• Participants will learn strategies to facilitate the acquisition of orientation and mobility skills at home, school and community.
• Participants will learn alternate communication strategies, how to work with interpreters and interveners, teach alternate strategies for community travel, and learn basic sign related to O&M.

Presenter: Carolina Gonzalez, COMS, Comprehensive Programs, TSBVI

Non-Visual Digital Map Lessons
Now that you have learned about non-visual digital maps, this session will dive into how to APPLY these maps to teach critical orientation concepts through a series of progressive lessons. Lessons will cover specific student scenarios (elementary school through college transition). Participants will also be introduced to the Paths to Technology Map Library.
• Participants will learn best practices on how to determine an appropriate O&M goal(s) for a specific student and how to create a customized map to teach specific O&M skills.
• Participants will learn how to systematically teach progressive O&M-related concepts using non-visual digital maps.
• Participants will learn how to open and share available maps in the Paths to Technology Map Library.

Presenter: Diane Brauner, COMS, Web Content Manager, Paths to Technology

Breakout Session II
(Friday, November 6, 2020 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM)

Versatility Through Touch
I will share my experiences and lessons learned regarding using the sense of touch for communication and information from my different roles as a Deaf woman, friend of autonomous DeafBlind people, mother of a DeafBlind boy, university O&M student during blindfold exercises and an O&M intern. Among the topics covered will be my introduction to ProTactile when my son was 2 years old; O&M terms in either or both ASL and ProTactile; considerations for comfort with touch; and examples of using touch for sharing simple to complex information, such as prompts, modeling, emotions, directions and maps.
• The purpose of this session is to learn a variety of ways the sense of touch can be used for communicating with DeafBlind children and adults.

Presenter: Heather L. Withrow, COMS

New Workload Analysis Tool for Itinerant Vision Professionals: Meet the VISSPA!
Come learn about the new workload analysis tool, the VISSPA (Visual Impairment Scale of Staffing Pattern Analysis), that will be a companion to the VISSIT and O&M VISSIT to account for all those "other" duties that TSVIs and COMS do as part of their work week.
• Attendees will learn about the history and purpose of the new workload analysis tool, the VISSPA, for accounting for other tasks that itinerant TVSIs and O&M specialists do in addition to direct and collaborative consultation services.
• Attendees will learn about the development of the new scale, the Visual Impairment Scale of Staffing Pattern Analysis (VISSPA), and how it can be used by vision professionals.
• Attendees will have a demonstration of how the VISSPA tool works.

Rona Pogrund, Ph.D., TSVI, COMS, Professor, Texas Tech University Shannon Darst, Ph.D., TSVI, Stephen F. Austin State University

Teaching Blind Adults and Adults with Visual Impairments
A panel of CCRC O&M Specialists will discuss pros, cons, and differences of working with adults and children.
• Participants will learn helpful strategies for working with adults.

Presenters: Alison Behringer, Andrew Bernet, Julie Brown, Todd Clarke, Luisa Dotson, Yael Druker, Winford Haynes, Scott Meyer, Dustin Meyers, Ed Mullen, Helena Roberts, and Joe Vaughn (O&M Department at Criss Cole Rehab Center)

Simple Technology for Students with Multiple Disabilities
Participants will take a closer look at several students who are in self-contained classrooms who use tech in simple ways to support their O&M concept development, including community concepts and simple routes. In addition to O&M-specific skills, developing community concepts during O&M lessons can also improve critical language and social interaction skills. We will follow several students with multiple disabilities as they learn to use and apply simple iOS apps for O&M purposes.
• Participants will learn at least three alternative strategies for teaching O&M concepts to students with multiple disabilities, including students with traumatic brain injury or other brain processing disorders.
• Participants will learn at least three simple-tech mainstream apps and activities that can be used for O&M purposes with students who have multiple disabilities.

Presenter: Diane Brauner, COMS, Web Content Manager, Paths to Technology

Exhibit Hall
(Friday, November 6, 2020 5:30-6:30 p.m. AND 6:45-7:45 p.m.)
Connect with exhibitors during the two virtual exhibit sessions to learn about products for supporting orientation and mobility. Enter the drawing of door prizes after the exhibit sessions. Contact the exhibitor if you are a lucky winner of a door prize.

Saturday, November 7th

Breakout Session III
(Saturday, November 7, 2020 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM)

Partnering with Families: Infusing O&M into Family Life
Join us for a conversation about family engagement and partnership. Together, we'll discuss culturally respectful approaches that help form strong partnerships with families and create rich learning opportunities for the students to gain O&M skills. In this session, you'll have a chance to learn from several families as well as share what has helped you.
• Participants will increase their knowledge and skills with partnering with families, including using culturally respectful approaches and valuing family life.
• Participants will identify ways to partner with families in providing rich and meaningful ways for students to practice O&M skills in a variety of environments, including home and community.

Presenters: Edgenie Bellah, Family Engagement Coordinator, Texas Deafblind Project and Heather L. Withrow, COMS, Family Panel: To Be Determined

Non-Formal Teaching Ideas (Tips) for Teaching Pre-School and School Age Students

Ed Mullen and Patricia Rutan made a similar presentation last year with non-formal teaching ideas gathered primarily from rehabilitation instructors who work with blind adults. This year the session begins with a sharing of "tips" prior to the conference from O&M teachers of preschool and school age students to help generate discussion. The goal is to generate and share additional teaching ideas from the session attendees.
• To improve and accelerate a child's understanding of his/her physical world, and how to move safely and better oriented within that world.
• To encourage orientation and mobility teachers attending the SWOMA conference to share their creative ideas (tips) with other teachers, especially new teachers.
• To improve the effectiveness of all orientation and mobility teaching to preschool and school-age children.

Presenters: Patricia Rutan, O&M Specialist
Ed Mullen, M.S. Ed., M.A. O&M, COMS

Sound Travels
Sound Travels is a collection of tools designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between audiologists and orientation and mobility specialists when working with students who have dual sensory loss or are DeafBlind. This presentation will share resources for working with a team of professionals serving a student or client who is DeafBlind.
• Participants will learn about strategies for communication and collaboration between audiologist and orientation and mobility specialist for students who are Deafblind.
• Participants will learn about tools designed to facilitate communication and collaboration for students who are Deafblind.

Presenters: Christopher J. Tabb, M.A., COMS, Statewide O&M Consultant, TSBVI Outreach
Kaycee Bennett, M.Ed., Deafblind Education Consultant, TSBVI Outreach

O&M for Children with Visual Impairment in Early Intervention: In-Person and Remote Models
This session will focus on O&M for young children with visual impairment and their families in early intervention using both in-person and virtual home visiting models. Best practices for home visits in early intervention, O&M strategies for children aged birth to three years old, and video snippets from home visits in in-person and virtual formats will be shared.
• Share with session attendees best practices for home visits in early intervention and how they are applied in in-person and virtual formats.
• Share with session attendees O&M strategies for children aged birth to three years old.
• Share with session attendees the presenter's personal experiences with providing O&M services in early intervention in both in-person and virtual formats (video).

Presenter: Hong Phangia Dewald, Ph.D., COMS

Breakout Session IV
(Saturday, November 7, 2020 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)

Adaptive Mobility Devices (AMD)
Description of various adaptive mobility devices (AMDs) and how to make them. Progression of students using various types of adaptive mobility devices.
• Participants will learn to decide when, why, and which students could benefit from using an adaptive mobility devices (AMDs) for safe and independent travel at home and in school environments.
• Participants will learn about the different types of AMDs and methods to construct some of them.

Presenter: Carolina Gonzalez, COMS, Comprehensive Programs, TSBVI

An Exploration of Virtual O&M Home Visits with Children with Visual Impairment
This session will focus on virtual O&M home visits with young children with VI and their families in early intervention. Research, best practices, application to school-aged children during Covid-19 school dismissals, and videos of virtual home visits/lessons will be shared.
• Introduce session attendees to research on virtual O&M home visits in early intervention and the outcomes of the research.
• Share with session attendees best practices for virtual home visits in early intervention and how they can be applied to virtual
visits/lessons with school-aged children. • Share with session attendees the presenter's personal experiences with virtual O&M visits/lessons during school dismissal in Spring 2020.
• Encourage participants to think about the future of virtual O&M lessons & the issues related to distance service delivery model.

Presenter: Hong Phangia Dewald, Ph.D., COMS

O&M Assessments: Current Practices and Where We Need to Go
The presentation will share the results of an electronic survey completed by O&M specialists about the procedures, forms, and tools that they use when conducting O&M assessments with children and youth. Results will include demographics of respondents and specific information about what is included in the assessment and associated report.
Attendees will:
• Understand how O&M specialists conduct assessments with different student populations.
• Be able to describe how the assessment processes and content may change depending on the age and characteristics of the student being assessed.
• Be able to describe items commonly included by O&M specialists in their assessments and reports regarding mobility devices and specific environments.
• Be able to identify the impact that COVID-19 has had on O&M assessment practices.

Presenters: Justin Kaiser, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
Tina S. Herzberg, Ph.D., USC Upstate

General Session III

(Saturday, November 7, 2020 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM)

Technology for Keeping Space Between Traveler and Instructor
This session will introduce Assistive Technology (AT) options (apps, wearables, accessories, etc.) to be used for instruction in Orientation and Mobility that allows the learner to be a considerable distance from the instructor. In addition to learning about AT options themselves, guidance for evaluating the safety of instruction from a distance and/or the safe use of AT during travel will be shared and discussed.
• Participants will learn strategies for designing lessons that use technology for enhancing lesson activities from a distance.
• Participants will learn risk assessment strategies for determining what is safe to employ during lessons at a distance.

Presenter: Christopher J. Tabb, M.A., COMS, Statewide Orientation and Mobility Consultant, TSBVI Outreach