Beepings eggs and other enrichment programs through Vision Department
Recently, 10 students participated in a sensory focused day with activities tailored for multiple impaired visually impaired students, including a beeping egg hunt.
Dallas ISD’s Vision Department offers students enrichment activities and programs like this one throughout the school year. As in past years, teachers saw firsthand the impact that these kinds of activities have on the students, and finished the event with a celebratory walk around the track.
“It’s been my mission and passion in this job to provide as many experiences as possible for kids,” said Lisa Gray, a teacher of students who are visually impaired. “We practice all these things in classes. We teach them all the skills, and they know them, but until they put it into action and see success, it doesn’t have as much meaning. That’s why these enrichment programs are important.”
Dallas ISD’s Vision Program, which is under the umbrella of Special Services, offers specialized instruction and related services for students up to 22 years of age, who have visual impairments. A variety of services, according to the needs of each student, are provided in the home, the classroom and in the community.
Last year, the program took students to Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS), a week-long international camp in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
“There are these ‘aha’ moments the kids have when they face their fears and accomplish their missions,” Gray said.
According to Gray, programs like the camp and the beeping egg hunt empower the students.
“We have had students who are strong academically and have attended college all over the United States,” she said. “We serve students who are low vision and totally blind and everywhere in between. It’s a huge spectrum of vision impairment.”
Katie Granados, lead teacher for the Vision Program, believes that enrichment activities further develop their social skills.
“We take in so much of our environment, experiences, and interactions with others using our vision. Our students with visual impairments miss out on so many visual cues and concepts in their world that many things need to be taught intentionally,” Granados said.
Another enrichment opportunity is the vision summer program, which is offered directly through the district. The focus of this summer program changes from year to year. Last year, the focus was independent travel and safety in the community.
“Programs like space camp, orientation and mobility community lessons, the vision summer program, the beeping egg hunt, and the Dallas Museum of Art give our students the opportunities to learn concepts, practice skills they’ve learned in the real world, meet other students just like them, and be empowered as they try new activities that they may have never been exposed to or are afraid to try,” she said.
“Many of our students do not leave their neighborhoods so their world is very small. The vision team works hard at getting our kids out there and showing them and their families that they can do so much on their own when given the opportunity,” Granados said.
For more information on the district’s vision program, visit https://www.dallasisd.org/Page/56848.