Back to School Tips New Itinerant TSVIs and COMS - Canadian Version

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! With many new TSVIs starting work in itinerant roles, this article from Paths to Literacy could not be more timely. Written by our friend Charlotte Cushman, it is filled with incredibly useful tips for those colleagues just starting their itinerant voyage. 

20 Tips for New Itinerant TSVIs and COMS

I thought it might be helpful to add some content to Charlotte's list that was tailored to Canadian TSVIs, since our alternate format, resource, and service landscapes are different north of the border. 

​Getting Your Students Registered for Special Services and Materials

  1. Educate yourself about what resources are available to students with visual impairments. We have highlighted some of these below.
  2. Ensure that your student is registered to receive learning materials in alternate format through your province's Educational Resource Centre for Alternate Format Materials. In Canada, these centres belong to CAER - the Canadian Association Educational Resource Centre for Alternate Format Materials. Moving from west to east coast, member centres include:
  3. Students can obtain alternate format reading materials through CELA - the Centre for Equitable Library Access. Access to CELA is by subscription and so check to see if your student is located in a subscriber province/municipality. More information about CELA and Bookshare access in Canada can be found on the Bookshare website. 
  4. Access to NNELS - the National Network for Equitable Library Service - is available to all Canadian students with qualifying print disabilities. Visit the NNELS site to learn more about how to get students connected with digital alternate format materials through their municipal library.
  5. Consider connecting with your provincial blind sports and recreation agency for support in ensuring meaningful and accessible recreation and leisure activities for students. Many blind sports agencies offer in-school programs. There is a complete listing of agencies on the Canadian Blind Sports website
  6. Community-based programming for children and youth with visual impairments may be available through your provincial CNIB. To learn more about CNIB programs and services, visit the CNIB Foundation website and select your province/region from the menu. 

Please leave a comment below if you have something to add! Best wishes for a great start to the 2019-2020 year. 

About the author

Adam Wilton

I have been fortunate to learn and grow with students with visual impairments since 2007, working as a teacher of students with visual impairments (TSVI), Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and most recently as the Program Manager of PRCVI and ARC-BC. I completed a PhD in Special Education at the University of British Columbia in 2017 where my research focused on the administrative determinants of workloads for itinerant TSVIs.   

One of my favourite aspects of my current role is delivering outreach support to my colleagues and their students from across British Columbia. I've been fortunate to have many exciting adventures in schools and communities across the province and I hope you enjoy following along through #outreaching!

When I'm not on the road, I enjoy learning to play the violin, collecting antique books, and spending time surrounded by trees. 

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