Reading with a child with sensory impairments

Michelle O’Neal
Julie Saum



Join us as Michelle O’Neal, Media Specialist at VSDB, and Julie Saum, VSDB Family Engagement Specialist, lead us in strategies for reading aloud picture books to children with sensory disabilities. Julie and Michelle will offer tips and suggestions while showing how to use story boxes and manipulatives. This event is for all Virginia families and professionals serving and caring for children ages 2-21.

December 8, 2021

Deaf/Hard of Hearing 4:30-5:30

Visual Impairment and Blind 5:30-6:30

Deaf-Blindness 6:30-7:30

If you have any questions, please contact:

Robin Bliven, Director of VSDB Outreach Services,


Outreach Services of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind are available through grant funding from the Virginia Department of Education.

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The Board of Visitors of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind will convene on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

VSDB Board of Visitors Member Packet – December 14, 2021

This meeting will be held in the Chapel at VSDB’s campus and is open to the public. Public comment will be accepted at the end of the regular meeting.

During this meeting, the Board will convene in a closed session to discuss and consider the assignment, appointment, promotion, performance, demotion, salaries, disciplining, or resignation of specific public offers, appointees, or employees §2.2-3711(A)(1). Upon certification, the Board will reconvene.

Please contact (540)332-9000 for more information.

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*2021 Summer Camps*

Technical Assistance Center for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University
Improving outcomes for students who are deaf and hard of hearing.
*2021 Summer Camps*
Below you will find a list of summer camps that are held daily, virtually, or in-person. Due to the pandemic, most camps were put on hold until the summer of 2022.

Signs of Fun Virtual Summer Camp


Camp Loud and Clear

Gallaudet University: Summer Youth Camps/Webinars

VIRTUAL CAMP: Camp Sign Me Up Online with Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Gallaudet University’s Camp Discovery

Camp Catch Them Young is a two-week, youth leadership and cultural immersion program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing high school students of color (grades 9-12).

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education
Partnership for People with Disabilities
700 East Franklin Street
Suite 140
Richmond, VA 23219

DISCLAIMER: The TA-DHH Center regularly receives notices about events, resources, and other items which may have a deaf/hard of hearing focus and tries to disseminate resources across all communication modalities without bias. Sharing information about events and resources via email dissemination does not necessarily indicate recommendation or endorsement of any particular resource or event by the TAC-D/HH, but allows recipients to determine what may be of interest to them.

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2021 NFB BELL® Academy In-Home Edition: Applications Now Open!

National Federation of the Blind logo and tagline live the life you want

Attend 2021 NFB BELL® Academy In-Home Edition: Applications Now Open!

Enhance Braille and nonvisual skills with us

The National Federation of the Blind is offering three virtual programs of the NFB BELL Academy this summer to prepare blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people by enhancing their education. Options are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students for the following dates:

  • Session 1 – June 7-18, 2021
  • Session 2 – July 19-30, 2021
  • Session 3 – August 9-20, 2021

Receive Braille and other fun materials for lessons. Connect with experienced teachers. Build relationships with other blind students and mentors.


NFB BELL Academy, an annual summer program, is appropriate for blind and low-vision children, ages 4-12, who:

  • Do not receive enough Braille and nonvisual skills instruction in school
  • Could benefit from more Braille exposure over the summer
  • Would enjoy connecting with blind role models

While the program is typically in person across the country, we are excited to offer it virtually in 2021.

Apply Today

Take advantage of this opportunity for your child to connect with blind role models.

Limited space is available. Learn more and apply now!

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Vaccinate Virginia Partner Update – Feb. 24, 2021

FEBRUARY 24, 2021
The following information is provided to help partners communicate accurate and timely information to constituents. This information is subject to change as Virginia continues to refine the vaccination effort. Visit for more information.
If someone forwarded this message to you and you would like to receive future messages directly, please subscribe to the Partner Update.
What’s New This Week
The Vaccine Summary Dashboard continues to show Virginia’s significant progress in vaccinations, with more than 1.6 million doses administered. Although last week’s severe winter weather delayed vaccine shipments to Virginia, more than 9 in 10 of available first doses have been administered. (It is important to note that the number of doses shown as being “received” by hospitals and local health districts does not account for the doses they then redistribute to other partners such as physicians and pharmacies.)
The statewide vaccine pre-registration system at has received more than 518,000 pre-registrations since its launch on February 15. Including individuals who pre-registered through local health districts in the past, the new system now includes nearly 1.7 million residents and essential workers. All individuals who have previously filled out a survey or form or signed up for a waitlist to be vaccinated through their local health district have been automatically imported into the new statewide system and do not need to pre-register again. As data migration continues, some pre-registrations may not yet appear in the search tool. Anyone who experiences difficulties with the search function should check the spelling of their name and email address carefully and consider whether they may have used a different name, phone number, or email address in the past. Anyone with questions should call 877-VAX-IN-VA rather than their local health district. A public information toolkit is available to assist local health districts, localities, and community partners with graphics, talking points, frequently asked questions, and other materials.
The new central Vaccinate Virginia phone number, 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), has received more than 115,000 calls so far, and is available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Service is available immediately in English and Spanish, with real-time interpreter services available in any of more than 100 languages as needed.
Based on our population, Virginia is now receiving approximately 161,000 doses per week from the federal government. There are still simply not enough doses available yet for everyone who is eligible to receive them. Virginia is not likely to meet the demand for Phase 1b until March or April.  Unfortunately, it may be weeks or longer before vaccination appointments become available for those who have pre-registered.
As part of a federal retail pharmacy program, 140 pharmacy locations in Virginia are now receiving a total of 52,000 new first doses per week beyond Virginia’s normal allocation. Participating locations include CVS, Food City, Giant, Kroger/Harris Teeter, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart, and multiple independent community pharmacies. The Commonwealth is working with these pharmacies to ensure that as many appointments as possible are offered first to people age 65 and older who are currently on local health district waitlists, rather than accepting new signups from the general public. Unfortunately, CVS has been unable to find a way to do this within the technical limits of their appointment system. Anyone 65 or older can check regularly as appointments become available.
Governor Northam has amended Executive Order 72 to expand opportunities for outdoor activities in light of improving COVID-19 case statistics. While limits on indoor gatherings remain the same (including a limit of 10 people at indoor social gatherings), the limit on outdoor social gatherings and exercise groups will increase to 25 people and the limit on outdoor racetrack and amusement venues will increase to 1,000 people. The amended order removes the stay-at-home order from midnight to 5 a.m. and extends the cutoff time for alcohol sales in restaurant dining rooms from 10 p.m. to midnight. These amendments, which will be effective March 1, follow the recent amendment in effect as of February 22 to increase the capacity limit for outdoor recreational sporting events to 250 spectators. Summer camps will be able to open as of May 1, using strict mitigation protocols such as small cohorts of campers. Today’s news release, detailed guidelines, and frequently asked questions about Executive Order 72 are also available.
Key Overview Points
The doses Virginia receives from the federal government are allocated by the Virginia Department of Health to local health districts, primarily in proportion to each district’s population. Local health districts are expected to determine the most equitable and efficient use of each allocation, leveraging any combination of their own staff and volunteers, hospitals, pharmacies, and individual providers. Additional doses help support targeted equity initiatives. Other doses reach some residents of Virginia through separate federal allocations for employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and certain other agencies; the Indian Health Service; and a federal contract to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.
All local health districts in Virginia are in Phase 1b of vaccine eligibility. This means that approximately 50% of Virginia’s population is now eligible, including frontline essential workers, people aged 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions identified by the CDC, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Other than the healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a, the Virginians in Phase 1b are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 or serious illness if infected.
While local health districts are allowed flexibility in how doses are administered to eligible individuals, roughly half of the available supply should be used for people aged 65 or older. The other half should be used for frontline essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions as identified by the CDC; and people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Frontline essential workers should be prioritized in the order listed in the Phase 1b details.
Anyone who receives the first dose of vaccine will receive the second dose three or four weeks later as appropriate. Vaccine providers should not hold back their current first dose supply for second doses; they will receive second doses in proportion to the first doses they administer.
Executive Order 72 maintains the 10-person limit on social gatherings, the requirement to wear masks in public places, guidelines for businesses, and other provisions. It is essential to continue these mitigation strategies even by people who are vaccinated.
How Localities Can Help
Support local health departments by ensuring that pre-registration options through and 877-VAX-IN-VA are promoted through local websites and other channels.
Emphasize to the public that because approximately 50% of Virginia residents are now eligible to be vaccinated, the limited supply of vaccine from the federal government means it will take weeks or longer to complete Phase 1b unless supply improves.
Closely coordinate with local health districts to plan smaller vaccination clinics now and larger ones once supply improves. Pooling venues, staff, volunteers, and other resources now will avoid delays later.
Remind everyone in the community that it is more important than ever to take the same precautions as always: staying home when possible, wearing masks when out, maintaining physical distance from others, washing hands frequently, and other best practices.
Remind everyone to always look for websites that end with “.gov” to make sure the information is official. When a vaccine appointment becomes available through a local health district, there will be no charge. State and local agencies will never call, email or text to ask someone for a social security number or immigration status in connection with vaccination.
Office of Governor Ralph Northam | P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
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Register Now online tutorials VSDB Outreach & Perkins Spring, 2020

Register now for Courses 1, 2, &/or 3 Spring, 2020

NEW! Online Self-Paced Tutorials from Perkins for Individuals  

Working with Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

VSDB Outreach Services purchased access to six online, self-paced tutorials (90 minutes to 10 weeks), and made four of them available Fall, 2019.  We are now offering 4 more for Spring, 2020, free of charge to professionals in Virginia who want to learn more about working with children who are blind or visually impaired.* These courses were developed at the Perkins School for the Blind.  Those who register before the given deadline for each will be sent a code that will allow access for varying periods of time, depending on length of tutorial (dates are specified) to complete that tutorial at their convenience, 24/7.  At the end of that tutorial, each participant will choose from “ACVREP” (includes their logo), “Continuing Education,” or “Professional Development.” People may take one course, or as many as they want. Registration is now open for courses 1, 2, and 3!

We hope you can join us!   Debbie

REGISTER NOW for Course #1, Spring, 2020 (some may need to copy & paste links)

Effective and Accurate FVEs and LMAs for All Students with Visual Impairments that Help Drive Instruction Programming (3 Credits, ACVREP or CEU)

Registration for this course ends at 4:00 pm, Jan 24, 2020. Course access is Jan. 25 – Mar. 25, 2020

Learning Objectives    Participants will be able to:

  • describe the purpose of Functional Vision Assessment and Learning Media Assessment;
  • identify the components of FVA and LMA;
  • design a rubric that ensures a quality assessment and report;
  • explain the differences between FVA for ocular and neurological visual impairment;
  • compare visual function and functional vision;
  • explain the relationship between FVAs and LMAs;
  • explain impact of additional disabilities on the ed development of children with VI;
  • identify key components of a LMA for children who have CVI; and
  • describe some cautions in using LMAs with children who have CVI.

Participants will earn 3.0 ACVREP, CTLE, Continuing Education credits by completing an online quiz. By registering for ACVREP, CTLE, or Continuing Education credits, you will be provided with a self-paced tutorial using video clips and other resources related to this topic, as well as an online test to assess your knowledge.

Target Audience:  This workshop will be beneficial for both veteran and new Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVIs) O & M Specialists, Teachers of students with Deaf-Blindness or blindness and additional disabilities, & related service providers.   (cont’d.

REGISTER NOW for Course #2, Spring, 2020

Recognizing and Building Abstract Thinking

in the Child with Visual Impairment (1.5 Credits)

Registration for this course ends at 4:00 pm on Jan. 24, 2020. Course access is Jan. 25 – Feb. 26, 2020

Learning Objectives   Participants will be able to:

  • distinguish between concrete and abstract thinking;
  • describe the value of abstract thinking in a child’s educational development; and
  • design learning activities that develop abstract thinking.

Participants will earn 1.5 ACVREP, CTLE credits, or Continuing Education credits by completing an online quiz. You will be provided with a self-paced tutorial using video clips and other resources related to this topic.

Target Audience: This is a web-based, self-guided professional development activity for TVIs, O&Ms, Teachers of the students with Deaf-Blindness or visual impairment with additional disabilities, and Rehabilitation Specialists.

REGISTER NOW for Course #3, Spring, 2020 (Back by popular demand! TVI, please share this with SLPs who work with your students with CVI!)


Speech Pathologists and Cortical Visual Impairment: 

An Overview of the SLP’s Role in Working with Children with CVI  (1.5 Credits)  

Registration for this course ends at 4:00 pm Jan. 24, 2020. Course access is Jan. 25 – Mar. 25, 2020.


Course Description:  This tutorial addresses Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) through the experience of a Speech and Language Pathologist by examining the characteristics of CVI that affect speech, language, and feeding. The tutorial also identifies modifications and supports for therapies and assessments when working with children who have CVI.

Participants will earn 1.5 ACVREP, CTLE credits, or Continuing Education credits by completing an online quiz. (ASHA credits are not available for this online tutorial.)  You will be provided with a self-paced tutorial using video clips and other resources related to this topic.

Target Audience:  SLPs, TVIs, O&Ms, Teachers of Students with Deaf-Blindness or with additional disabilities, and Rehabilitation Specialists.

After the registration period ends, you will receive a voucher (coupon) code, and can then take the course at your convenience from any location, within a specified time period, as detailed above.

Information regarding registration for and access to the next course being offered by VSDB Outreach Services Spring, 2020 follows. Registration info for course #4 will be sent later.

Name of Tutorial Period for Registration Period for Course Completion Number of Credits Perkins’ tutorials can be taken on your own, free of charge if you don’t need credits; Outreach has purchased state viewing for those who want credits for continuing education and/or ACVREP for each  of these titles.
Functional Curriculum Feb. 18 – 26, 2020 Feb 27 – Ap. 10, 2020 1.5 credits ACVREP, CTLE, or CEU


A brief description of the next course being offered follows:

Functional Curriculum -This tutorial addresses functional skills for independent living, through developmentally appropriate goals and activities that offer opportunities to practice such skills within the learning environment. Participants will earn 1.5 ACVREP, CTLE credits, or Continuing Education credits by completing an online quiz.


*If you do not need credit or certificates of completion toward licensure, these courses can be accessed for free through Perkins without going through VSDB Outreach Services.

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“’Twas the Night Before Christmas” Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA

Register nowVA Dept. for the Blind and Vision Impaired, VA Hands & Voices,  VA Association of Parents of Students with Visual Impairments, VA Hands & Voices and VSDB Outreach Services co-host a theater event!

When?       Saturday, December 7, 2019, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm

Who?         For students grades 1 through 12 who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired from any school in Virginia. Students must be accompanied by at least one parent from 9:30 – 1:30, and are welcome to bring up to three family members (for a maximum of 4 people total attending per family). Limit: 45 people.

What?        View the play, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” (not like the poem) with pre- and post-show sessions, and meet students from other school divisions.  Special features:  Audio description provided by Access Virginia and ASL interpreters will make the play accessible to all; students will have the opportunity to explore the stage before the play, and ask actors questions after; time to network and learn about state services and resources during lunch; career awareness session after, “Careers in Theater:  A Lot More Than Acting!”, designed for students 12 years and older and their families (younger students who are interested and their families may attend!)

Cost?            Event and lunch provided free for all registrants confirmed to attend.

Where?     Barter Theatre, Gilliam Stage, 127 West Main St, Abingdon, VA   24210 (free parking behind Stage II – more details will be sent to registrants later.)

How Do We Register? Complete registration form at:

(click on the link above, or you may need to cut and paste this into your browser line).  Deadline for registering is noon, Nov. 21, 2019.  Attendance is limited to the first 45 family members registered.  Registration does not guarantee attendance; emails will be sent letting you know if you are confirmed or on wait list.


For more information, please contact Dr. Debbie Pfeiffer, Director of Outreach Services at  or (540) 414-5249.   More specific details will be sent to registrants as the date of the event approaches. We hope to see you there!


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