Fall 2016 TAER Newsletter
A Message from Shay
Happy Fall TAER Members,
It has been an honor to lead our organization as your president this year. Your board has been very busy with planning the conference this year in Corpus Christi. Members such as you are what make the conference happen. We could not put on an amazing weekend without your contributions. Membership to AER is very important and we hope that you will reap the benefits of membership. Many people ask “what does AER Membership provide for me?” Well let me answer that question for you. AER Individual Membership Benefits include:
Networking, Professional and Career Development, Peer Reviewed Publications, Advocacy, Insurance Programs, Professional Recognition, Recruitment, Special Discounts (Discount on TAER Conference) and Scholarships. For further information please visit the AER Website and sign up today! https://aerbvi.org/membership/235-2/
There will be several open positions on the TAER Board next year. These include two Members at Large, President Elect and Secretary. If you are interested or know someone who would like to serve alongside these amazing professionals, please contact me to add your name to the ballet (dance card???). We have a lot of fun!
Thanks to Amy Renken, the new webmaster, our website has a new look. You can see it now at http://www.txaer.org/. We are also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TxAER/?ref= bookmarks.
I hope that each of you has a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in March 2017.
Shay Utley, COMS
Check Out Our Website! Great New Look!
The TAER website has been updated and is easier than ever to navigate and has a great new look! Check it out at http://www.txaer.org/ Be sure and sign up for our emails! Even if you have already signed up for emails from AER, you must opt in to our Texas Chapter as well if you’d like to receive our communications directly.
Conference Update!!! ECC: It’s a Game Changer!
We are upping our game and adding some recreation and leisure activities while we’re in Corpus Christi this year! The registration page is up and running, so don’t delay! Sign up today! http://www.txaer.org/registration.html
TAER 2017 Conference a Great Value!
The TAER Board passed a motion to lower the non-member conference registration fee for students and paraprofessionals for the 2017 TAER conference to $75. Member students and paraprofessionals still only pay $50. The registration fee for Professionals who are members is $125, and non-member professionals can register for $175. Parents and guardians continue to have a fee of $95 for our Texas chapter conference.
Only $15, the pre-conference offerings this year include a make-and-take session “Making Switches Accessible” presented by Jill Brown and Michelle Johnson. Stay tuned for more information about “Learning that My Reflection Matters.”
Patricia Walsh will share the incredible story of her journey from pediatric brain tumor patient to vision loss to world class athlete. Her path has taken her many amazing places. She has achieved success as a runner, triathlete and Ironman, and her path also led to Rio as part of Team USA for the Paralympics and a subsequent trip to the White House. Also an engineer, author and speaker, Walsh’s path has been amazing by anyone’s standards, and we are pleased we can bring her to speak with us and hopefully inspire us.
Preview of Breakout Sessions we Anticipate
We don’t have all the submissions in, but we have a few breakout sessions that we’re working on. We think they’re going to be great fun, and many will be hands-on. Some topics we’re working on are Geocaching, Pokémon Go, adapted beach volleyball, applying make-up and shaving, and more. What can you offer? We know that you have many talents! Share them with us, and submit a presentation proposal.
Presentation Submission Deadline Earlier!!!
December 31, 2016! Hurry to get your submissions in. This promises to be a well-attended and wonderful conference. http://www.txaer.org/call-for-presentations.html
No experience presenting? No problem! This is the PERFECT place and time to get started! We are your colleagues, and we want you to be successful! We know there are a lot of talented professionals with amazing ideas and we want to hear from you!!!
News from Texas Tech University:The Texas Tech Special Education/Visual Impairment program has hired a new assistant professor, Phoebe Okunga. Phoebe is called Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Deafblind Program. She can be reached at email@example.com
Please remember to recruit for the TVI, O&M, and DB programs. We need new professionals, and we are the front line of spreading the word. Scholarships for all three programs are available through the Reach Across Texas scholarship program, and that the deadline for applications for the Reach Across Texas Program for Summer is May 1. The deadline for fall is June 1. Anyone who is interested in the TVI certification program can contact Dr. Rona Pogrund (firstname.lastname@example.org). Anyone interested in the DB certificate program can contact Dr. Phoebe Okunga (email@example.com). Anyone interested in the O&M certification program can contact Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There also are some funds available from Region 3 for the TTU Graduate Certificate in Deafblindness, and these funds can be put toward tuition and costs for the TTU DB certificate program. Contact Lottie Tomko at email@example.com for information and application.
News from SFASU
SFA students in the studying to be a teacher of visually impaired (TVI) or certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS) have been out and about getting hands-on experience. The last weekend in October, a group of SFA students volunteered to help with a goalball tournament in Grand Prairie, TX, and Sports Extravaganza for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Irving, TX. The very next weekend, a group from SFA attended SWOMA. Last spring, several of these students joined us at the TAER conference in Houston. We look forward to seeing them in Corpus Christi this spring and will be excited to have new colleagues who are clearly already committed to remaining abreast of current trends in the field of education and rehab of individuals with visual impairment.
SFASU has job openings for an Assistant Professor – Orientation & Mobility (Tenure track), Assistant Professor – Visual Impairment (Tenure track) and Orientation & Mobility Clinical Instructor. Check out their Human Resources site for more information: https://careers.sfasu.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1478996866257
We Want You! Committees Needed!
Now that you’re excited about this year’s TAER conference, we want you to get involved! Being involved in TAER can be fun and rewarding. You will meet new colleagues and make new friends all while contributing to our field in the great state of Texas. We still are looking for help with the Membership committee and the Scholarships/Awards committee. These are important committees that help us maintain and increase our membership and gather nominations for and decide upon the scholarships and awards that are presented at the spring conference.
Ch ch ch Changes!
Heraclitis said, “The only constant is change.” Well, this is a year of change for the state agencies supporting children, transition and rehab for persons with visual impairment. DARS DBS is no more. The DBS children’s program is now under Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), and it’s called Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development Program (BCVDDP). The new email addresses will be the persons first name.last name @ hhsc.tx.state.us and the link to their site is https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/blind-and-visually-impaired/blind-childrens-vocational-discovery-and-development-program
The transition, rehabilitation and other programs for individuals with visual impairment who are age 11 and over are now part of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). New email addresses will be first name.last name @twc.state.tx.us and the link to their main site is http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/vocational-rehabilitation-services
The previous website, http://www.dars.state.tx.us/, gives a list of more specific changes, and there is a link to send an email to a general email box for more information.
Find us on Facebook!
Check out our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/TxAER/
Remember to register for the TAER Conference today!