Students Recognize Blindness Awareness Month and Dyslexia Awareness Month at Jackson-Milton

Jackson Milton White Cane Day


October 25, 2021

Students at Jackson-Milton Preschool and Elementary school have been learning about vision impairments and dyslexia in October.

The Jackson-Milton and Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio (ESCEO - formerly Mahoning County ESC) teams collaborated to create an educational opportunity for students in both the preschool (operated by ESCEO at the district) and elementary school for Blindness Awareness Month and Dyslexia Awareness Month this month.

Staci Wills, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments who helps identify and service students with visual impairments for districts on behalf of ESCEO, provided Jackson-Milton elementary teachers with resources for lessons to participate in Blindness Awareness Month and White Cane Day (officially October 15). The activities about braille and educational resources about canes provided Jackson-Milton students a glimpse at the tools and resources available for individuals with vision impairments.

Wills worked with David, one of the district’s preschool students, to create a book about how he utilizes his cane to be safe and navigate through various environments.

“At this age, a big part of Orientation and Mobility instruction focuses on the purpose of the white cane,” Wills explains. “We finalized the book by adding textures to a few of the pictures, and now he has a book that he can share with his peers and family.”

Last Tuesday, the Elementary school and preschool students and staff came together to celebrate their own White Cane Day in honor of David. Some Jackson-Milton and ESCEO staff donned White Cane t-shirts designed specifically for the day (which were green - David’s favorite color!- and showed a white cane that looks like David’s). Students and other district staff wore white as part of the event. Lyndsay Devlin, David’s preschool teacher, handed out White Cane pencils that Wills had made to preschool students and elementary students who were spotted wearing white as part of Jackson-Milton’s White Cane celebration.

A bulletin board in the Jackson-Milton Elementary school cafeteria educates students about dyslexia and a number of vision impairments as part of October’s observations of Dyslexia Awareness Month and Blindness Awareness Month. Devlin, an ESCEO preschool teacher at the Jackson-Milton preschool, created the dyslexia display that demonstrates the ‘scramble’ that occurs between print and sounds for individuals with dyslexia. Wills created a display that demonstrates how vision may differ for individuals with impairments, color deficiency, and dual-media (print and Braille) messages that can be read and felt by students as they pass by. Christine Ginnis, Jackson-Milton Elementary Guidance Counselor completed the display with age-appropriate anti-bullying information.

The ESCEO supports students with visual impairments through assessment, evaluation, and instruction. “My primary role is to provide access - access to the curriculum and access to the environment,” explains Wills. Services can include one-on-one instruction to address specific skills, instruction within the classroom  to support the student’s use of these skills, and consultative support and training for the educational team to enable them to provide the accommodations and assistive technologies that allow the student to access the curriculum.

David, his sister Gabriella and ESCEO and Jackson Milton Team

David and his sister Gabriella with the Preschool and Jackson-Milton team on White Cane Day.

L to R top row: Stacy Simkins, Lyndsay Devlin, Staci Wills, Annette Black; Bottom row: Jackson-Milton Principal Tom Sullivan and students David and Gabriella

Awareness Board at Jackson Milton

The Bulletin Board in the Jackson-Milton Elementary cafeteria helps students conceptualize dyslexia and visual impairments.

pencils decorated to look like white canes

Students at the ESCEO preschool at Jackson-Milton and Elementary school students wearing white received White Cane pencils.

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