Supports for Educators
Please note office hours are intended to provide real-time technical assistance to educators, caregivers, parents, and students. Technical assistance is not legal advice. Specific questions concerning a student’s special education program or the laws relating to the provision of services in a child’s IEP (Individualized Educational Program) should be directed to ConsultLine at 800-879-2301
Testing your system:
Participants are encouraged to test your computers/devices prior to the date of the web conference using https://zoom.us/test, and to seek local assistance if you encounter difficulty.
Date/Time: Families may arrange appointments by contacting PaTTAN Educational Consultants. Please contact Jennifer Edgar at (firstname.lastname@example.org), Greg Gerhart (email@example.com) or Greg Lazur (firstname.lastname@example.org) for appointments.
For assistance outside of these hours please contact Jennifer Edgar (email@example.com), Greg Lazur (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule an appointment.
Email for Questions: Jennifer Edgar at (email@example.com), Greg Gerhart (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Greg Lazur (email@example.com)
PaTTAN Pod: Ting Siu:Technology Considerations for Students in a Google Classroom
PaTTAN Channel: http://bit.ly/2Iy6Byx
Creating Accessible Educational Materials
How to add alt text to Word Document - This user friendly 1:15 minute video demonstrates how to add alt text to pictures.
Podcasts from the 2017 Texas Symposium of Deafblindness on topics such as recreation and leisure, active lifestyles, the impact of stress, current research, and emotional connection.
Sense of Texas Podcast - A podcast from Texas School for the Blind on visual impairment field related topics such as CVI, student health and well being, AER, emotional literacy, NOAH, Mentoring programs, Recreation and Leisure, and transitions.
Texas School for the Blind provides numerous free Online Learning Videos and Webinars on the following topics:
Braille, Braille Production, Tactile Graphics
Communication, Calendars, and Routines
Expanded Core Curriculum Areas
Google Classroom and Jaws Instruction
Google Classroom and Voiceover introduction
Orientation & Mobility
Recreation and Leisure
TI-84+ Graphing Calculator
Transition to Adulthood
New Website for Families and General Educators for Complex Learners
It is recognized that everyone is doing their best to manage work, self-care, children’s online education, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and professionals supporting children with disabilities face additional challenges. You are not in this alone. The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), in collaboration with the Bureau of Special Education, has created a website for families and general educators supporting complex learners at home. For the purpose of this website, a complex learner is a child, youth, or young adult with an intellectual or significant cognitive disability, multiple disabilities, and/or sensory impairment.
PaTTAN Blind and Visually Impaired Publications and Resources
Audible is providing free selected online book titles while schools are closed.
Accessibyte is offering free access to our “full range of fun, funky, fully accessible apps for users who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, dyslexic, or have other reading difficulties. For those who are unfamiliar, our apps can be accessed from school or home, on Chromebook, iPad, Mac, Windows or Android Devices. Each app has visual and audible accessibility built right into the browser. We built these apps to support students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, have reading difficulties or just want something fun and different. We’ve included information below to familiarize you with what we offer.”
Bookshare provides access to thousands of books to students with print disabilities. Teachers should work with their Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) to determine if their student with a visual impairment already has an account and if not sign them up.
Hadley School for the Blind is offering free trainings, both online and on demand, for the rest of the academic year
JAWS, ZoomText, Fusion These platforms are all provided to students and teachers for free at this time
Objective Education (Formerly Blindfold Games) is providing free access to their digital curriculum to schools and teachers to use with their students with vision impairments through the end of the current 2019/2020 school year. ObjectiveEd’s distance learning helps students practice many of the Expanded Core Curriculum, with skill-building games for Orientation and Mobility, Assistive Technology and Braille Literacy. To get started, visit www.objectiveEd.com/distance
Perkins School for the Blind Educational
Perkins School for the Blind: Accessible Science primary goal “is to share techniques and strategies to make science accessible to all. They have adapted activities to meet the needs of their students. They hope these adaptation ideas inspire teachers to find their own creative ways to include students who are visually impaired in the science classroom. They invite you to share your ideas, resources and activities with them.”
Paths to Literacy provides information that “ranges from a basic overview of literacy to various stages of development and special challenges, as well as an exploration of different media (print, braille, auditory strategies). They encourage you to add your ideas and questions, so that the site will be an interactive hub of resources. Below are a few of the specific resources that educators may find helpful.”
- Connecting to a BrailleNote Touch Plus via Zoom Meeting - This resources is for “students who have access to the Internet and who already are using a BrailleNote Touch Plus device, and have the option of continued support from their Teacher of Visually Impaired Students through the utilization of the online meeting platform, Zoom. This will allow the teacher and student to work on electronic files that are either already saved on the BrailleNote, through the Cloud servers, or via e-mailing of work to complete. Unfortunately, tactile diagrams/graphs/charts and other hands-on materials are not accessible.” Students will need the following materials: Teacher computer, BrailleNote Touch Plus, Internet connection, and ZOOM Meetings Application.
- Homework Helpline - Tues - Thurs, 3:30 pm - 8 pm EST, March 17- April 16, 2020 (*end date may be adjusted based on school closure developments). Students submit a support request via email and receive a call-back during the designated NHH-BVI times. The hotline does not provide tutoring in non-expanded Core Curriculum content areas. This new addition to Paths to Literacy includes support in the following ways: navigating accessible websites with JAWS, Nemeth and literary braille reading and writing, navigating tablet/laptop using JAWS and Over, Using refreshable braille display.
- Using Google Classroom on a Braillenote Touch - This resource provides a video and transcript that demonstrate how to access assignments on Google Classroom using Braillenote Touch. Downloadable step-by-step cheat sheet provided via a link on site.
- Working Together to Support Students with Visual Impairments - The goal is to link students and families directly to volunteers in the field to ensure students can access their curriculum. You may fill out the form asking what you need assistance with to be paired with a volunteer.
Paths to Transition is to “provide information and resources to the educational teams of youth with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities, as they make the transition from school to adult life.” Main areas of the site include:
- What is Transition
- Independent Living
- Preparing for Work
- Parent Support
- Transition and the ECC
- Activities Advocacy
Paths to Technology is “designed to assist educators and families in learning and staying current on ever-changing technology for students with visual impairments and blindness. The goal of this site is to enable students with visual impairments and blindness (VIB) to succeed in paperless mainstream classrooms and post-school opportunities for employment by achieving digital literacy and by staying current with rapidly evolving technology. Created as an interactive site, Paths to Technology will be a resource for defining and disseminating best practices, training, and support for teachers of the visually impaired, braille transcribers, other education professionals, parents and students themselves.”
National Center on Accessible Educational Materials - Best Practices for Educators & Instructors This site provides resources for educators and instructors on best practices to ensure the accessibility of self-created educational materials and presentations:
- WebAIM Resources for Developing Accessible Educational Materials (MS Word, Ms, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF)
- How to Make Presentations Accessible to All
- Online Course Accessibility
- Social Media Accessibility
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired This organization is a well known leader in the field of educating students with visual impairments as well as providing published and online resources.
VISTAS Education Partners - National Homework Hotline for Blind/Visually Impaired Students is a free service for K-12 and college students in the United States who are experiencing school closures due to COVID-19. Areas of hotline help include, but are not limited to:
- Voice Over for macOS and iOS devices
- Nemeth and literary braille
- Cranmer abacus
- Refreshable braille displays
- Core Curriculum Subjects (Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies)”
YouDescribe App this site provides a selection of youtube videos that have been audible described by volunteers. Teachers can use this site to add descriptions to videos. simply search for the topic, choose the video and add a description. Examples of quality described videos can be found on the Audio Description Project website.