Our Agenda

Accessing the Live Presentations and Asynchronous Sessions

Access to all the Live Presentations and Asynchronous Sessions may be found on Zoom Room Assignments for Live Presentations and on View the Asynchronous Presentations. You will need to provide the appropriate passwords, emailed to registered participants the day before the Symposium begins, in order to access these page.

If you need help entering the Zoom rooms, please contact someone at our Help Desk at https://tsbvi.zoom.us/j/5122069268. There are more than a dozen presentations pre-recorded and posted on the Texas Deafblind Project website for viewing at your convenience. These, along with archived versions of the Live Presentations, will remain available through April 15, 2021. 

 

Tennis Racket and Balls
“Tennis Racket and Balls” by Kyle Campbell2011 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Check out the latest posting on our Blogs page about the Symposium Experience!

Day 1 – Monday, March 1, 2021

12:00-1:00 PM (CST)       

Kate Borg, TSBVI Director of Outreach, Nicholas Trotter, Texas Education Agency, Sam Morgan, Director of National Center on Deaf-Blindness, Marianne Riggio, Chair of Deafblind International – Network of the Americas and Patti McGowan, President of the National Family Organization for Deaf-Blind. 

Welcome and State of the State, Nation, and Hemisphere

Join us as we kick off this year’s event by hearing from some of our esteemed colleagues as they welcome us in and offer news and views related to the new world in which we find ourselves. Listen in as they share from Texas, from across the USA, from the Americas and around the world, sharing both professional and family perspectives.

1:00-2:00 PM (CST)         

Robbie Blaha, Cyral Miller, and Chris Montgomery, Texas Deafblind Project

Teacher of Students who are Deafblind: How did we get here?

What does it take to properly educate a student who is deafblind? A knowledgeable professional on the educational team! How did Texas get to the point where TDB (teacher of students who are deafblind) certification is now in development? It didn’t happen overnight. This session will highlight important steps in our progress toward certified TDBs. Join Chris Montgomery, Robbie Blaha, and Cyral Miller as they share stories from the winding road that has led towards this important goal of certified TDBs in Texas.

2:15-3:15 PM (CST)         

Robbie Blaha, Rachel Collins, Melanie Knapp, Marina McCormick, and Marianne Riggio      

Panel Discussion facilitated by Cyral Miller and Chris Montgomery

3:30-4:30 PM (CST)         

Hayley Broadway, Alex Chandy, Sandra Felefli, Amita Srinavasan, and Heather Withrow      

Family Stories

We end Day 1 with an inspiring address by individuals who are deafblind and their families. Join the real experts in deafblind education, the families and individuals who are deafblind, for this wonderful opening keynote. Learn what life is like typically and in the time of COVID for these individuals.

Day 2 – Tuesday, March 2, 2021

2:30-3:00 PM (CST)

Texas Deafblind Project Staff

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what everyone is buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education and join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

3:00-4:00 PM (CST)

Dr. Judy Cameron, University of Pittsburgh and the Center on the Developing Child Harvard University

The Impact of Stress on Brain Development: How to Build Brain Resilience

On Day 2 of our Symposium, we will hear from Dr. Judy Cameron, who is with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

As we all struggle to deal with the new reality of COVID lockdown and changes in our educational practices resulting from the pandemic, we are all experiencing additional stress in our lives. Dr. Cameron will explain how experiences shape brain development, and how increased anxiety and stress influence a number of processes in the developing brain. But, before you panic, she will also help us understand how experiences can also help children build resilience to the impact of stress and anxiety! Learn strategies for how parents and communities can enhance their use of social supports to optimize children’s brain development.

4:15-5:15 PM (CST)

Donia Shirley, Gloria Rodriquez-Gil, and Carolyn Monaco

Panel Discussion with Dr. Cameron facilitated by Edgenie Bellah and Deanna Peterson

A panel of experts in the field of deafblind education join Dr. Cameron to discuss the impact of COVID on students who are deafblind, their families and educators.

Day 3 – Wednesday, March 3, 2021

2:30-3:00 PM (CST)

National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB), Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas, and Texas Chargers, Inc.

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what everyone is buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education and join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

3:00-4:00 PM (CST)

Dr. Jude Nicholas, Nordic Welfare Centre, Statped, Norway

Understanding Working Memory in the Bodily-Tactile Modality: The Tactile Working Memory Scale

Working memory, or the ability to keep something in mind for a limited amount of time, is a central function in cognition. For persons with congenital deafblindness we need a bodily-tactile perspective on working memory. In this presentation, Dr. Nicholas will discuss the Tactile Working Memory Scale and discuss the importance of tactile memory in learning for people who are congenitally deafblind. Participants will learn about the Tactile Working Memory Scale developed in 2019 by the Nordic Welfare Center, and written by Jude T. Nicholas, Annika M. Johannessen, and Trees van Nunen. This manual is meant to “give an overview of the theoretical foundations of working memory and link it to the assessment and intervention of tactile working memory.”

4:15-5:15 PM (CST)

Jacqueline Izaguirre, Dr. Paul Hart, Heather Withrow, and Robbie Blaha

Panel discussion with Dr. Nicholas facilitated by Chris Montgomery, David Wiley, and Adam Graves.

A panel of experts in the field of deafblind education join Dr. Nicholas to discuss bodily-tactile working memory and the Tactile Working Memory Scale.

Day 4 – Thursday, March 4, 2021

2:30-3:00 PM (CST)

Texas Deafblind Project Staff

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what everyone is buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education and join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

3:00-4:00 PM (CST)

Dr. Paul Hart, Sense Scotland

Getting in the Zone: Revealing the Exceptional in All of Us

In this session, Paul will explore the double-sided Zone of Proximal Development as a concept that can help us understand more about the roles people could play that allow us to learn from the child who is deafblind and for the child to learn from us. This has particular implications when considering how to co-create languages between people who have differing sensory experiences of the world around them. It becomes clear that if any of us wish to become effective communication partners, then we have to recognize the other as an equal communication partner. It is also clear that we cannot become exceptional partners unless we allow the other to reveal our exceptional nature. This presentation will allow participants to explore how we can reveal the sometimes hidden exceptional in all of us.

4:15-5:15 PM (CST)

Nilam Agrawal, Heather Hickman, Barbara Miles, and Stephanie Mowery

Panel Discussion with Dr. Paul Hart facilitated by Deanna Peterson

A panel of experts in the field of deafblind education join Paul Hart to discuss the challenges and strategies that can have a positive impact on communication between individuals who are congenitally deafblind and others.

Day 5 – Saturday, March 6, 2021

2:30-3:00 PM (CST)

National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB), Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas, and Texas Chargers, Inc.

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what families are buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education. Join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

3:00-3:45 PM (CST)

Melanie Knapp, and Jacqueline Izaguirre, NFADB Board Members

Family Advocacy Skills: Taking It to the Next Level

NFADB will present a model to train family members with leadership skills to advocate on important issues that impact families with individuals who are deafblind.

4:00-4:45 PM (CST)

Vivecca Hartman, Wanda Schellenberg, and Suzanne Chen         

Panel Discussion with Melanie Knapp and Jacqueline Izaguirre facilitated by Edgenie Bellah

Following their presentation, a panel of family leaders will discuss issues that are important to the community and share advocacy strategies they have learned through their personal efforts.

5:00-6:00 PM (CST)

Facilitated Groups

Families: Uniting Internationally

Family leaders from the United States, Canada, Central and South America will facilitate conversations on how to partner with each other in our advocacy and engagement for families with individuals who are deafblind.

6:00-7:00 PM (CST)

All Family Participants

Mary O’Donnell Memorial Family Social facilitated by Diana Griffen, Donia Shirley, and Katrina Mitchel

We are honored to host this year’s Mary O’Donnell Memorial Family Social, a National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) tradition. NFADB, DBMAT, Texas Chargers, Canadian Deaf-Blind Association National, Family Partners for the DeafBlind of Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and family leaders from across the Americas join together to create this unique opportunity for families.

 Day 6 – Monday, March 8, 2021

2:30-3:00 PM (CST)         

Texas Deafblind Project Staff   

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what everyone is buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education and join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

3:00-4:00 PM (CST)         

Elaine Robertson, M.S., Instructional Officer for Deaf Education, Vision, and Assistive Technology; Kittrell R. Antalon, M.Ed., COMS and TVI; Carolyn J. Samson, M.Ed., COMS and TVI; Jennifer Magee, M.S., TDHH and Educational Diagnostician; and Diana Martinez Oviedo, Parent, Katy, TX

Transitioning from Early Childhood Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education with a Student who is Deafblind

We are delighted to spotlight the educational team from Katy Independent School District as they share their experience in transitioning students who are deafblind from Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). They will discuss how using evidence-based practices to evaluate, write the Individual Education Plan, and implement a specialized program helps to ensure a smooth transition.

4:15-5:15 PM (CST)         

Carolyn Monaco, Canadian Deaf-Blind Association; Gloria Rodriguez-Gil, and Maria Vasquez, Perkins International

Education of Students who are Deafblind in the Western Hemisphere

Carolyn Monaco, President of Canadian Deaf-Blind Association National; Gloria Rodriguez-Gil, Director for Latin American and the Caribbean for Perkins International; and Maria Vasquez with Perkins International Latin America share information about educational practices, issues and solutions in other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Day 7 – Monday, March 22, 2021

2:30-3:00 PM (CST)

Texas Deafblind Project Staff   

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what everyone is buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education and join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

3:00-4:00 PM (CST)

Maurice Belote, California Deaf-Blind Services      

The Impact of Cognitive Closure on Students who are Deafblind: Strategies for Reducing Stress, Identifying Motivators, and Increasing Active Engagement

Humans have a basic need for closure. It’s the reason why we don’t like stories with ambiguous endings, musical pieces that don’t achieve resolution with final and pleasing consonance, or tasks that repeat over and over without variation. For general education students without disabilities, this need for closure is achieved in ways that most take for granted: assignments are returned graded, capstone projects are completed and honored, quarters and semesters mark divisions within academic years, students transition from grade to grade every summer, and graduations mark successful completion of middle school and high school. For students who don’t experience many of these same markers and milestones, the lack of closure can result in unnecessary high levels of stress, and for students who are deafblind, this lack of closure might be one of the primary contributors to stress and anxiety. And we know that high levels of stress and anxiety are incompatible with learning and active engagement. Recognizing how being deafblind might act as a barrier to this need for closure is an important step toward addressing the problem. In addition, there are strategies that can easily be adopted to help mitigate the negative effects of this ambiguity and uncertainty, and elements of closure that can implemented to support this basic human need. Maurice Belote, Director of California Deaf-Blind Services, shares his thoughts about this topic with our participants.

4:15-5:15 PM (CST)         

Charlotte Cushman, Linda Mamer, David Brown, Mary Gyori

Panel Discussion with Maurice Belote Facilitated by Adam Graves

A panel of experts in the field of deafblind education join Maurice Belote to discuss the importance of cognitive closure for individuals who are deafblind.

Day 8 – Monday, March 29, 2021

2:30-2:45 PM (CST)         

Texas Deafblind Project Staff   

Welcome and What’s the Buzz?

Find out what everyone is buzzing about at the 2021 Texas Symposium on Deafblind Education and join in with your thoughts and opinions via Twitter and Facebook.

2:45-4:00 PM (CST)                  

Awards Ceremony

Our final Symposium Day begins with a very special Awards Ceremony where we take time to celebrate individuals who have shown exceptional effort in working with and supporting the lives of individuals who are deafblind.

4:00-4:15 PM (CST)         

Celebrating Our History and Leaders

Join us as we take a brief look back at the history of deafblind education since the 1960s and celebrates our leaders and the accomplishments made in the field of deafblind education.

4:15-5:00 PM (CST)         

Robbie Blaha, Texas Deafblind Project        

Where Are We Going and Who Will Lead Us There?

As a fitting conclusion to the Symposium, Texas Deafblind Project’s own Robbie Blaha, has the last word. Robbie closes the Symposium with her thoughts about the future challenges that face all of us in deafblind education and a call to participants to become leaders.

 We greatly appreciate Playing for Change letting us include a piece of their work in our Symposium presentations. Please watch their video at Playing for Change website or on YouTube.