I am a wife and mother of two teenage boys and one sweet dog, and I love spending time with them! In addition to managing and developing articles and resources on this website, I work full time as an itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) with the Forsyth County public school system in Cumming, Georgia which is just north of Atlanta in the United States. When time and finances allow, I love going on road trips and exploring National Parks and other locations that make America great…or just binge watching something while working on my website and creating resources!
My Career Path
I graduated from Messiah College in Grantham, PA in 1994 with a degree in Elementary Education. Rather than teaching in the public schools, I decided to accept a position at the Forest Warren Department of Human Services in Warren, PA as an Early Intervention Specialist. In 1995 I moved to Cary, NC where I accepted a position at White Plains Children's Center, a non-profit developmental day program where I taught in an inclusive preschool classroom. At that time North Carolina was facing a shortage in early intervention and preschool teachers and I had the opportunity to take coursework through UNC-Charlotte to add on my certification in early intervention.
I entered the vision field in 1999 when I accepted a teaching position at the Governor Morehead Preschool on the campus of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind (GMS) in Raleigh, North Carolina. I was intimidated by all I needed to learn about working with this unique population but I was surrounded by a team of excellent teachers, specialists and therapists who taught me about working with students who are blind and visually impaired. My position was contingent on becoming certified as a TVI. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take my coursework on the GMS campus via courses offered by the North Carolina Central University's Visual Impairment Program.
I left the school for the blind in 2003 when I accepted an itinerant position with the Wake County Public School System’s Visual Impairment Preschool Program. We moved to Ohio in 2006 to be closer to family (and free childcare!) when I accepted a position as an Itinerant TVI with the Mahoning County Educational Service Center (MCESC) serving students PreK - high school. I worked for the MCESC until 2012 when our family decided we missed the warmer climate (and I was particularly tired of driving in the snow!). I accepted a position with the Forsyth County School System in Georgia where I continue to teach full time as an itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments.
I am currently a board member for the Georgia chapter of AER and am honored to have been selected as one of the five 2018 APH Scholars.
Why I Developed Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
The reason I developed this web resource is twofold. I had been working for years on developing a resource tool to help me provide consultation and support to classroom teachers. I found providing consultation to be one of the most challenging aspects of being an itinerant TVI. I found it difficult to coordinate the time to have uninterrupted collaboration with teachers and therapists. Additionally, I had created a number of resource handbooks for myself filled with notes from conferences, trainings and from VI resource books I had read. My files continued to grow and become quite cumbersome. I wanted a more efficient way to organize the information for quick reference.
After attending a website development training at a technology conference in October 2012, I realized I could create a website that would allow me to support all persons involved in educating students who are blind or visually impaired and also provide me with a means to organize and file all the resources and notes I had gathered over the years. What started as a means to support local teachers and my own needs has grown into a global educational resource! I am thrilled to hear from so many of you that Teaching Students with Visual Impairments has become your go-to VI resource!
How I Can Help You
As you read in My Career Path, I have worked in a wide range of teaching positions in large school systems with many TVI’s and have also worked as the only TVI for a large county wide program. I have taught in the classroom as well as itinerantly. I have been employed by a State School for the Blind, an educational service center and public-school systems. I have experienced many of the frustrations and challenges you have experienced along with the growth that comes from each of those.
It is my hope that whether you are a seasoned professional in the field of visual impairments, just entering the vision field, a classroom teacher learning how to meet the unique needs of a student with visual impairments, a parent of a student with visual impairments, or an administrator that you will find this site to be a helpful resource! My articles are developed through a combination of research and direct experience. I would love to partner with you and support you in educating students with visual impairments and to discover new ways to meet each student's unique visual and learning needs.
I am continuing to add to this website and update each article regularly. I am also in the process of developing new tools and trainings to support you. If you have suggestions and feedback for this site, including topics you would like covered, or vision specific resources you would like added please feel free to share them with me within the article pages. I enjoy hearing from so many people throughout the United States and around the world! Knowing you find this resource to be helpful is truly my inspiration!
All the best!
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings