Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

Teacher Appreciation Week: O&M Specialists

May 26, 2022 American Printing House Episode 53
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
Teacher Appreciation Week: O&M Specialists
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Change Makers, we are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week with a focus on Special Education and Orientation and Mobility Specialists. We’ll learn the process to become an Orientation & Mobility Specialist, the need for more, and what opportunities are in the field. We’ll also have a special segment that highlights the new APH Press book, Guidelines and Games.

Podcast Participants (In Order of Appearance)

  • Jack Fox, Narrator
  • Sara Brown, APH Public Relations Manager
  • Lauralyn Randles, APH’s Product Manager of Educational Product Innovation
  • Dr. Amy Parker, Portland State University’s College of Education, Assistant Professor, Orientation and Mobility Program Coordinator
  • Jess Bryant, APH Press Managing Editor
  • Renae Bjorg, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota

Additional Information and Links

Jeff Fox:

Welcome to Change Makers, a podcast from APH . We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Here's your host.

Sara Brown:

Hello, and welcome to Change Makers I'm APH's Public Relations Manager, Sara Brown . And on this episode of Change Makers, we're celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week, focusing on Special Education and Orientation and Mobility Specialists. We're gonna learn the process to become an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, the need for more, and what opportunities are out there in the field. We'll also have a special segment that highlights the new APH Press Book "Guidelines and Games." With us now is APH's Product Manager of Educational Product Innovation, Lauralyn Randals. Hello, Lauralyn , and welcome to Change Makers.

Lauralyn Randles:

Thanks for having me.

Sara Brown:

So you're now an APH Product Manager, but you were once and O&M Specialist. Can you talk about what orientation and mobility is about the work of an O&M Specialist and what all they do?

Lauralyn Randles:

Um, Orientation and Mobility... It's, it's a specialized set of skills that we teach to students and travelers with low vision and blindness. Um, there's actually about 145 different skills that we teach , um , depending on what they need for their age, their goals , um , where they are at this moment in time, where they want to be, what vision loss they have. We use all of those things to kind of guide where we want to go with them. Um, as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist... my job is to guide that , um , that instructional journey that they're on to make sure that they get where they need to be.

Sara Brown:

How does the work of an O & M Specialist differ from other education professions specifically in the field of Special Education for those who are blind or have low vision?

Lauralyn Randles:

So actually orientation mobility has a great deal of overlap with both the fields of , uh , visual impairment. So TVs , but also physical therapists. We're a related service. We're not an educational service in the school system itself. So we are working with students on a one-on-one basis on functional and life goals , not necessarily academic goals . We're trying to make sure that they have access to the educational envirO&Ment and access to their community, which is where our, our students and our learners are really picking up. Most of those skills,

Sara Brown:

Orientation and Mobility is a very specialized field. So to become an O&M Specialist, one needs a bachelor's degree, but do you need a teaching certification or any other certifications? Tell us about the process to become an O&M specialist. If we have anybody out there interested in pursuing that field

Lauralyn Randles:

Orientation Mobility, actually... there's only one remaining program that has a bachelor's program and that's , um , SF Austin in Texas (Stephen Fuller Austin State University). Other than that, they're all graduate certificate programs or they are , um , graduate degree programs. So you, when you're going through, you can kind of choose your own adventure and decide whether you wanna get it as a master's if you live in the state of Texas or sorry, if you wanna get it as a bachelor's, if you live in the state of Texas or , um, if you would like to go for a shorter program where you're just ending up with a graduate certificate, or if you wanna go for a longer one where you actually end up with a master's degree. Um, a lot of teachers that are going back into the field or those that are wanting to work in education will choose to go the graduate , uh , degree route because it kind of bumps you up this higher pay bracket, because I don't know if you're familiar with it, but in education, our pay is, is kind of decided on an Excel sheet. You go across for the number of years of education and down for the number of years of experience. And so it just kind of helped move you over that one more column. So when you're gonna be an O&M specialist, if you are choosing to go either the graduate certificate or the graduate route, you do have to get your GRE first for most universities, it's an exam that you have to take. Um , it is a , it is offered predominantly virtually at this point. So you just kind of find a local testing center and you go and you take that exam that helps prove that you're ready to sit for a graduate program. Um, they do also offer it in adapted format. So if you do have , um , low vision or blindness yourself , um, you can get accommodations for that exam. Um, after that point, it's a matter of finding the program that best suits you, because it is it's again, a kind of suits your own pick your own adventure kind of program. You find whether you wanna work with children or adults... If you want to do a summers only program, or a virtual program, or an in person. Um, if there's certain faculty that you want to go towards, if you want to be a dual major where you're getting an Orientation and Mobility License, but you're also getting your TVI license or Vocational Rehab or Assistive Technology, you can kind of pick what program meets your needs based on that. And then you just kind of go through the application process and , and get in , um, some of the programs, even at this point have , um , federal funding that will help you go through the program. Some include tuition, reimbursement, some include books. It , it really depends from programs program, but there is a, I think the most up to date list of the programs that we have in the us right now is on us OMSA. org. Um , if you search for O&M program, it will come up. You can also search search that in Google. And that's how I typically find it. Um , a teaching certificate though is not necessarily required. Um , some states have wonky requirements , um , because each state is so different, especially in the education system. Um, you can have two neighboring states with completely different requirements. So some may require it and some may not. Um , there is also the consideration of certifications that go along with it. So there are three different ways in the us to practice as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, you can practice with your base degree from the university and be, you would just be an OMS, or you can get your COMS license or COMS license. It , you go through an internship after your university program, and then you sit for an exam and then you have five years of an active licensure, and then you get that opportunity to do continuing education to renew in five years. There's another one that's very similar. It's NOMC, National Orientation and Mobility Certification. That one is very similar. Um , in that you have an internship after you come out of university program, then you sit for the exam and then you have five years of active licensure , um , to, to go through your renewal process.

Sara Brown:

Wow. So there's a lot of options out there. Are there any specific colleges or universities where you can obtain your certification?

Lauralyn Randles:

So there's actually universities in a majority of states or regions across the United States. Um, I I'm partial to Northern Illinois University just because that's where I went. Um, but there are programs in or near your region. Um , we actually have one here in Kentucky. Um , that's University of Kentucky at Lexington, Donna Brostek Lee runs that program there. Um, it's great program really. I've been in the business a while and I don't know of any bad programs. So reach out find, find one near you find, find some around you listen to the O&M Specialist that, you know, see where they went and where they had a great experience

Sara Brown:

As a former O&M Specialist. How was that career rewarding to you? And what impact does this role have on the students who are served?

Lauralyn Randles:

I, I loved working as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I was actually a dual TVI and O&M, but O& M always had my heart. Um, everyday is new. You , you never know what you're gonna get. You may start your morning with a three-year-old. Who's just beginning to explore their environment. You may end your day with a , a high school student. That's preparing to cross a street that would make any parent have palpitations, and they'll do it with ease because they're amazing. Um, you have the ability to just open up a world of possibilities for these students and their families that they, they never knew were gonna be available to them. It it's really, it's great. It forever changes you and it forever changes them working through this process. I actually have several students at this point that still reach out to me from time to time and let me know where they're at and what great things they've done. I actually had four graduate in the last two years from college , um, and I'm just tickled pink to see them and where they're headed next.

Sara Brown:

How does your past impact your current role as an APH Product Manager?

Lauralyn Randles:

So, actually right now, I'm more over test and assessments and it , it's not directly connected at this point, but really through my orientation and mobility time , I, I found that because there's so few and far between us, we have to heavily heavily justify our decisions. And in order to do that, we have to have really strong assessment pieces that are guiding that not just our O&M assessment, but our functional vision assessment . And even our educational assessments. We have to have a really strong profile that tells us exactly who this student is and exactly where they are and exactly where they want to be so that we can design the best program that we can, because it seems like we have a lot of time with them because, you know, if we get them in kindergarten, we have them for 13 years in theory, but it's, it's never enough there . There's never enough days to get it all in. And the better picture we can have from the beginning, the better we can serve them moving forward. And the better we can justify to administration that we need additional help. We need additional manpower. We have to have data to guide those decisions and that data starts with assessments .

Sara Brown:

Okay . Lauralyn, is there anything else you would like to say regarding O&M?

Lauralyn Randles:

Joining any aspect of the low vision and blindness field. It's, it's going to change you for the better. It's going to change. It's going to change the world for people around you, and there's not a whole lot of jobs out there where you can make that immediate and huge impact that you can see and you can feel. And just to know that you're making that impact on a daily basis and see that change over time is huge.

Sara Brown:

Thank you, Lauralyn for joining me today on Change Makers.

Lauralyn Randles:

Thank you for having me.

Sara Brown:

We'll be sure to put those links she mentioned in the Show Notes. Let's talk more about the opportunities in the Special Education field. We're talking to Portland State University's College of Education, Assistant Professor Orientation and Mobility Program Coordinator, Dr . Amy Parker. Hello, Amy, and welcome to Change Makers.

Dr. Amy Parker:

Hi, thanks for having me.

Sara Brown:

Can you talk about your job and how you prepare and work with future O&M Specialists?

Dr. Amy Parker:

An Orientation and Mobility specialist is one who provides direct instruction and assessment to all kinds of people of any age who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision to travel safely and efficiently in their environment. So those environment can span from home , uh , to neighborhoods, to communities, to schools, to workplaces anywhere a person wants to go or be and move about safely. So it can start at a very, very young age when a person is , um, an infant and learning to move and learning how their body works all the way , um , throughout life until the end of life. When someone is maybe traveling with less , um, less agility and less mobility, but still needs to move about safely, to know where they are , um, to get where they wanna go,

Sara Brown:

Job opportunities and job security are important in every field. Can you talk about the opportunities in the field of Special Education for future educators who may consider this path?

Dr. Amy Parker:

Absolutely. Well, just as I mentioned about O&M spanning a lifespan , um, there are opportunities to practice O&M with babies and infants and toddlers, and very young children. So at, at home, in home and community settings and preschools , um, but there are opportunities of course, in K12 settings or in typical school settings where, where , um, one would be considered , uh , related service provider under I D E A Law and work within schools under that, that job title of Orientation and Mobility Specialist. But there are also job opportunities beyond that. So as people transition from high school to community living to adult services or career service or college , uh, there are lots of opportunities for orientation, mobility specialists there. Some of them work in still in school settings, but some of them also work for adult service agencies who are focused on , um, transition age youth. And then there are of course, Orientation and Mobility Specialists that work with working age adults and older adults as well. Um , some Orientation and Mobility Specialists work in hospital settings. Most traditionally, the veterans administration, hospital settings , um, employ orientation and mobility specialists. That's actually a part of , uh , Orientation and Mobility's history is with , um, with Veterans, but there are other , um, Orientation and Mobility Specialists that work in hospital settings. For example, I have a student , um, who works at, in , in Seattle at a Children's Hospital and she provides Orientation and Mobility to patients there as a part of a team. So it's more, it's still with children, but it's in that setting as far as special education goes, there are so many , um, openings right now for Orientation and Mobility. I at, at Portland State University have connections with folks in, in many states, not just Oregon who are looking for personnel who have this unique skill set , because I think more and more people are beginning to realize what it means for a child , uh , to be able to move safely and independently around in schools. Um, some people recognize what has been lost during , uh , the pandemic when students weren't out and about as much. And they weren't as mobile that they're having to , um, come back to environments and relearn some of those skills. And I think if we're honest, that happened to a lot of children, not just children who were blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind, but it was more pronounced when people weren't , um, getting out and navigating in the environment, getting where they want to go. And they're having to relearn some of those skills.

Sara Brown:

The past couple of years have been tough on everybody, educators, administrators, and students alike as a nation. We need more educators and we need more special educators. We need more O&M Specialists. Do you feel that there is a need for more awareness about the Special Education field in particular, the area of Orientation and Mobility?

Dr. Amy Parker:

Absolutely. <laugh> . I don't think it can be overemphasized. Um, we know that Orientation and Mobility is linked with really positive outcomes, positive life outcomes for students . Um , some researchers have actually found , um, Dr . Jennifer Smart. Um , some of her work on Correlational Studies have actually correlated Orientation and Mobility , um , services that students have received and , uh , improved career outcomes. Others have looked at quality of life, so it kind of makes sense. Doesn't it? If someone can move more safely and efficiently can have more confidence can get where they want to go , um , knows how to use tools such as canes or guide dogs or way finding apps that they have , uh , a better quality of life because they have more choices. They have more opportunities to participate, to travel, to have , uh , career opportunities maybe that they wouldn't have, or even knowledge of the environment, knowledge of where they live knowledge of opportunities about where they want to go and how to get there. So, absolutely, I think that we need to do a better job as Orientation and Mobility Specialists about not being shy about what we do about , um , working right where we are to raise awareness about these skills , um, and to partner, to partner more effectively with , um, folks on the educational team. But maybe even beyond that, to let people know that Orientation and Mobility is a Civil Right. It is a part of Inclusion and Community participation and access to the world. And in doing that, that kind of opens us up right as a field, not to be siloed, but to be integrated into , um, all kinds of conversations that help , uh , our students have more choices, more opportunities , um, and, and hopefully better lives.

Sara Brown:

What APH products have you used in the past as an Orientation and Mobility specialist?

Dr. Amy Parker:

I have found Tactile Town to be a useful tool. Um, I've even used this tool with adults and adults who are deaf-blind to talk through certain environmental settings. You know, that the product is , is really creative. It's easy to use. I actually have , um, left that product with a colleague and a friend who is deaf-blind, who has conversations with, with others who visit her about , uh , the location of certain , uh , landmarks or stores or , um, places that folks wanna visit in her town. And she has used it to have conversations with other folks. So it's, it's a great product. The other products that I've used as , um, a university program are , uh , one created by Dona Sauerburger, that wonderful curriculum "Crossings with No Traffic Control." That product is, is really innovative because it helps people think through the risk of a , of a particular crossing based on systematic thinking. Um, and it's a really great tool for partnering with clients to , um, make informed decisions about particular crossings. You know, Donna talks about the intuitive timing or intuitive sense of someone's time in crossing a street. That's a really helpful tool that O&Ms can use. And I love that product and encourage my students to use it. We've attended APH webinars with Donna, where she's talking about the tool , um, and I encourage all of my students to, to get that curriculum and to use it. Um, it's even been helpful for people who are working remotely, who may not be with a particular client every single day, but can review elements of that , uh, curriculum at a distance. And then when they come together with that particular client can work through , um, those decision making processes using that curriculum. It's, it's fabulous. The other , um, tool that I really like is , uh , one that was created by Dr. Sandra Rosen from San Francisco State University, the "Step-By-Step" curriculum. That was a really innovative , um, approach that APH engaged in with Dr . Rosen to help university students , um , refresh their knowledge and skills on, O&M just by watching these wonderful video clips , um, breaking down the different , uh , Orientation and Mobility skills that they're learning. Uh, so again, I use that curriculum all the time

Sara Brown:

At APH. We talk a lot about turning awareness into a verb into action. What would you like to see happen to increase awareness?

Dr. Amy Parker:

Well, I think that if Orientation and Mobility Specialists can begin to see themselves as , um, as partners and not be shy about sharing what they do with others, I think sometimes Orientation and Mobility Specialists are, are rightfully so. They're so focused on their students or their clients. Um, they're working so hard to help someone have greater independence and to be mobile, to be out and about in the community. Um, but maybe where we're not doing as much is sharing what we do with other professionals, both to raise awareness about the profession, but also to talk about the Civil Rights that people have to be mobile, to be included, to fully participate in the world around them. And so I would see one things that Orientation and Mobility Specialists, right , where they are, wherever they are, can share awareness and knowledge about what they do with the teams around them. I think that's gonna help the field grow and be sustainable. I also think that we can , um, follow in the footsteps of people like Janet Barlow, who is a leader in the field who talked to transportation, engineers and designers, and helped Orientation and Mobility Specialists and people who are blind and visually impaired share their knowledge with those , um, folks. So that designs could be more inclusive. So I would say that that's a challenge for us, and it can be exhausting to think about always being an educator, but I think the payoff is worth it because when more people recognize how important orientation and mobility is, and what's possible, then they become allies and they become people who are interested in inclusion in a whole new way.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much, Amy , for joining me today on Change Makers.

Dr. Amy Parker:

Holy thank you for having me. It's been nice to chat with you, Sara.

Sara Brown:

Now I'm gonna turn this podcast over to APH Press Managing Editor, Jess Bryant .

Jess Bryant:

Thank you, Sara. We have Renae Bjorg, Assistant Professor at the University of North Dakota and the primary author of the Second Edition of Guidelines and Games here today. Hi Renee.

Renae Bjorg:

Hello, Jess. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Jess Bryant:

<laugh> Thank you for being here. I just have a few questions about "Guidelines and Games." How do you think the book benefits teachers?

Renae Bjorg:

So , uh , I wanna start out by saying that , that this is a quote from , um, Sally Mangold. Um, and Sally is like a pioneer in braille, right? Um, and she coauthored the first book with Myrna Olson , um, 40 years ago. So it's exciting. Right? Um, so here's what, here's what Sally Mangold said. She said, "the quality of life need not be compromised because of the visual impairment. Love tenderness pride in one's accomplishments are never measured in terms of physical characteristics." So, right. So I have a student , um, a former student and , um, I used to, as a teacher of students with visual impairment, I used to get called to , um , universities to be a speaker, a guest speaker. And I'd always bring a student with me because they didn't wanna really see me. They wanted to see somebody who had a visual impairment or respond . Right? <Laugh> so I was, I brought this guest speaker with me and one of the , um , the , the future teachers to be in the audience asked the question. "So if they came up with a surgery to fix your eyes, would you do it?" And she said, "are you kidding? No way. Why would I ever wanna do that? I'd have to learn how to do everything all over again." Right. And so, and this student had , um, she's blind, totally blind. She had prosthetic eyes. So, so the , the audience was like, "why you wouldn't wanna see?" She's like, "why would I, why would I ever wanna do that?" Right. So we have, as, as people that are cited , we have this perception that, "oh, you poor thing, right? You , you , you can't see and you have to do all these extra things and wouldn't it be great to be like us?" And she's like, "no." So I think that kind of , um, so in going back to Sally's quote, it's like our job as teachers is to help people to be , um, make things accessible, make the world accessible. And braille is the really the medium to experiencing the world. Um, so I, how is this helpful to people? I hope that people get inspired to know that it is braille is not a problem. Braille is easy. Braille is the gateway for adventure and excitement and independence and , uh , self-expression , uh , connection. Right? So that's really the, I think that's the biggest message in, in my view anyways, like that the understanding that the power of braille cannot be underscored. And in the , in the field, sometimes we, we come into situations where the administrator might say, "gosh, why don't we just use technology? Why do you need braille? Um, why can't they just listen to a book on tape?" And I'm like, "yes, books are important. Yes. Is important. And listening to a book is not literacy. It's not literacy and reading , uh , literacy and listening are different skills." We need to teach students how to listen and we need to teach them how to read. But I think really the messages that braille is so important, it's equally important to, you know, there's a certain number of minutes in a , in a day, in any student's day, that's devoted to English language arts, and we need to spend an equal amount of time devoted to helping students learn braille and reading braille and using the , um, process of like, "what is the code? How do you read it? How do you use it? And what's important?"

Jess Bryant:

Absolutely.

Renae Bjorg:

So that's, that's, that's really the , the power of this book is when you start to understand the importance of braille and what it can do for you, then you're more motivated to go, oh, how can I like, this is a fun thing, not, "oh my gosh, braille, oh, this is this added thing. And how am I gonna fit in the students day? And how am I gonna do it ?" And right. But it is this, this adventure of learning, this process of reading .

Jess Bryant:

So how does this book support braille reading then?

Renae Bjorg:

Um, it's very functionally based . So there's specific examples. Um, and, and when you read this book, you become familiar with the essential elements of evidence based reading, and you learn about the science of reading , um, and what the elements of those, those pieces are and how they're necessary. Like , um , how children read the , the skills that are necessary to read and how the brain develops. And I think the beauty of this book is that we talk about the science of reading, but it's in a bite size way. That's manageable so that you really understand, okay, here's the concepts of the book. Here's what we really need to focus on in this reading process and how can, and then, then it's the, it's like the strategies to help , um, educators and parents and, and , um, family members to really understand , um, like, okay, here's okay, this is easy to understand. I , now I understand the background of this. So, and then it's like, what are some things strategies that we can use to help our students to learn?

Jess Bryant:

And what are some of those activities or games found within the book that you find the most useful or helpful?

Speaker 6:

Um, okay. So one of the most fun things , uh , activities in this book is really excited from the work of Carol , uh , gal lamb . And it's , um, there's an example of the, the , the book that from the , the book, the three Billy goats gruff, have you ever read that book? Do you know what I'm talking about? It's an old book, right? So in ,

Jess Bryant:

I haven't, no, but I I've read guidelines and games. And so I saw the reference, of course <laugh> .

Renae Bjorg:

So in the , in the book, the Three Billy Goats Gruff, is like the here's the three Billy Goats on one side of the bridge. They need to cross the bridge to get over to that really great lush grass so they can eat it. Right. And underneath this bridge is this troll, and they're terrified of this troll because this , the troll's gonna come out and eat them . Right. So, so here's a fun little story, right. But how do you make it real and exciting for a student? So you can actually use the braille, and this is the, like the Gayle Lambs , um , whole, whole language approach, right? Like "how can we use the the braille to symbolize the goat? Oh , so here's, here's braille and here's the braille symbolizing, the goats, and here's the bridge and, oh , here's another symbols of using braille and, oh , look, here's above the bridge." What's going on? And here's the troll below the bridge. And all of this is in braille. And then on the right side, if you think of crossing the bridge from left to right, is that this beautiful lush grass and how can you represent that using braille? So all of a sudden in , instead of just reading braille from left to right, or reading a page, like if you're reading print from left to right then there's, it becomes a picture, like a story that you can participate in. Right. So I think that's where, where I , that I think in that approach is like, whoa, like it opens up, braille becomes this vehicle for inspiring children to practice their tracking skills. And, oh, let's tip toe across the bridge. We're gonna use light touch instead of heavy touch on the paper. Right. Um, what was the concept of under the concept of over? So all of those things can be part of this little, this little lesson completely using braille and the braille position in certain places on the page in order to represent the story. So, and I think that is like, if, if I can start to think about brail as a vehicle and go, oh, how can I use the braille to represent , um, the grass in the, like in preschool when they have , uh , what is that story? The bear hunt, right. Going on a bear hunt and the , you know, like, okay, let's, let's find the bee in the grass, the bear in the grass. Right. It makes it more exciting and more fun and more entertaining. So that children naturally wanna be part of it. They are part of it, they're learning skills, but they don't even know their learning skills. It's the art of reading. And that reading has meaning and that we can create something in braille ourselves to create or express something else. It's , it's exciting to see kids connect that braille has meaning. And I think that's one of the things in this book that's really helpful. And it , not only that braille has meaning, but it shows you how to , um, teach specific what is mechanical skills and how do you teach those and what are some tracking skills and how can you teach those? And what are some, you know, if you don't have hand strength, what can you do to work on that? So , um, besides the it's very practical and functional, but it's still doable. Like anybody can do it. And , um, it's important. I hope that people read this book and be inspired about learning and teaching, teaching braille and the importance of , and the value of it.

Jess Bryant:

Is there anything else you want listeners to know about this book that we haven't already talked about?

Renae Bjorg:

Well , there's, well , there's lots of things, but

Jess Bryant:

So many things, <laugh>

Renae Bjorg:

Yeah. You have to buy it too , too , really , uh , understand. But I think this book was really a collaborative process. So , um, I invited some of my students. Um, so, so I'm a , um , a professor at this , the University of North Dakota, and we have phenomenal students going through our program who , when they graduate as a teacher, you know, and are ready to go into the field, they're ready. People are, people are , um, those school districts are fortunate to have our graduates, but I had some phenomenal students. And so I wanted to invite them to get, to be involved in the research and the writing and the publishing aspect of this book so that they could forward our field cuz because right, we need, we need more researchers, we need more people , um, promoting our field. So that , so anyway, so I invited these students to participate in this project and um, I am is very much a collaborative effort, their voice in this project. And the research that they've done to contribute is , um, is part of what makes the book so important and so well done. So I'm really proud of the people that have contributed and, and even , um, one of my, one of my students , um, she said, well, I have to ask my boss if I can do that. And she asked her boss, and this is a student from Canada. And she asked her boss and her boss called me and she said, "I am a graduate of the University of North Dakota. I'm a graduate from your program, Myrna Olson, Dr. Myrna Olson was my teacher. I wanna give back. And there's other people in, in our, in our , um, in our group in Canada , um, who want to give back. So can we please be part of this project?" And I think that, that , that speaks to the high caliber students that we have, but the, the importance of braille and the importance of being a teacher of braille, like Myrna and Mangold, so that they can continue to give back to the field and continue to , um, develop their own skills and forward our field and continue to be exceptional teachers.

Jess Bryant:

Thank you so much for being with us, Renae. I appreciate your time. Um, and, and your insight , uh, and your, your time on the book as well. Um, and I think it's going to be a great resource for teachers. So thank you for writing it. Thank you for time today, time on the book, energy, you know, all of that. Thank you so much.

Renae Bjorg:

Well , um, and thank you for inviting me and thank you for listening to me this morning,

Jess Bryant:

Back to you, Sara.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much, Jess. And thank you for listening to this episode of Change Makers. For more information about O&M Specialists, the links that have been mentioned in this podcast and the new APH Press Book, "Guidelines and Games." Please see the Show Notes for links as always be sure to look for ways you can be a changemaker this week.