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Anne L. Corn, Ed.D.
Professor of Special Education, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Vanderbilt University

In Acceptance of the
Mary Kay Bauman Award

July 17, 2006

I believe this acceptance speech is relevant for all AER divisions. However, because I am accepting the Mary K. Bauman award I have focused on two groups – the certified orientation and mobility specialist, also known as the COMS, and the teacher of students with visual impairments, also known as the T-V-I or for this story “tvi” (sounded out with a long “I”.

Several topics are not included that are important to me, e.g., children with multiple disabilities, the Expanded Core area of self-determination, and so forth. The story had a 15-minute timeframe. I hope you enjoy reading it and remember to pronounce tvi with a long “I”.

I give my apologies to Dr. Seuss and hope
He’ll understand my limited talent and scope
But a lecture isn’t what you want me to shout
My thoughts are imbedded within and throughout

A TVI and a COMS to Utah they came
They came from the sun; they came from the rain
They came to learn what’s known and what’s new
They came to contribute and see old friends too

The TVI and the COMS to sessions they went
To posters and exhibits
Their time was well spent
And to awards luncheons with much more to hear
They’ll take away points to ponder and share

I hope they’ll be thinking of three things today
They all go together
They affect every day
The TVI and the COMS wanted to know
What is this great triad?
You’re going too slow…

Ok I’ll get to the points on my mind
Your profession, your teaching
And your career, too
Must all come together
They must work for you!

If one of them falters or one of them fails
You cannot feel good but only travails
But when these three are all working for you
Your pride as a TVI or a COMS comes through

Your excitement about being a COMS or a TVI
Will become more infectious as the years fly by
Your careers, your profession and teaching, no doubt
You’ll find you simply can’t live without

Your teaching involves your students and you
The direct services you provide
And consultations too
Your planning, assessments, lessons and more
Your work with parents, and administrators for sure

Your profession involves the structure - what’s provided to you
From university programs, foundations, and organizations too
Such as National Agenda, AFB, APH, AER
With these as your resources, I know you’ll go far

Your career is yours along your chosen course
Some love special schools, others itinerant or resource
Some prefer teaching children with blindness or low vision
Others prefer positions with paperwork and supervision

Your profession should provide the tools that you need
Such as evidence-based research, not folk law indeed
You should receive appropriate and continuing education
That speaks to your students’ needs and
Your dedication!

Curricula for Expanded Core subjects
With validated tests
You’ll know what you teach
You can measure what’s best
People who teach kindergarten, math, or biology
Have what we haven’t in the field of typhlology

Curricula we have, but only just a few
Such as TAPS, Finding Wheels, and Abacus too
But teaching and designing
Curricula as you proceed
Is not sufficient for the tools that you need

From your teaching you’ll want
To see students achieve
The TVI and the COMS most surely believe
Their students are capable to reach for their potential
With parental involvement, you know they’re essential!

For your students please think
Of the end in school years
They must be able
To start their careers
They must be social and
Technological too
Remember their success is your success too!

The Expanded Core Curriculum is what you teach
Including traveling and reading and visual reach
ECC areas I wish to explain
You’ll hear me repeat them
They’ll become your refrain

Braille can bring such great satisfaction
When TVIs know all the many contractions
Of codes and of rules
You know you must learn
So your student’s literacy
Follows in turn

Some students read print
Some students read Braille
Others learn both, dual media entails
Making the right choices with evidence base
All media students must keep up the pace

60 words per minute in print or in braille
Is just not enough to pass and not fail
Unless you’re a first grader whose picking up speed
To compete academically, literacy is a need

I cannot leave without having my say
For students with low vision
Give visual access today!
The TVI and the COMS play an integral part
Teaching prescribed devices – it’s more than a chart

To see at a distance and to see close and near
A clinical evaluation is a must - do you hear?
Many students gain independence in a visual way
For reading books, white boards and signs far away

Whether using dots or lenses for compensatory skills
Knowing how to teach reading leads to kid’s thrills
Of reading a book with their eyes or their hands
A TVI with reading knowledge surely understands

Orientation and mobility is clearly a must
For confidence and building a sense of self-trust
Don’t let your students go without training
Lessons must take place when snowing or raining

A cane or a dog or a bioptic for driving
To use one of these is for what we are striving
To blend with the skills and the concepts galore
Each year a child grows
There are new places to explore

To say we can’t find a COMS year after year
Is costing your students a freedom so dear
COMS must be eager to recruit and inspire
We must replenish their numbers before they retire

Of your careers I insist you must also take note
Having plans for your future
On yourself you must dote
To be eager to learn new skills and replenish
Your teaching spirit, your knowledge
And your educational fetish

Have you ever thought that opportunities are here
To write, to travel, to advance your career
A doctoral program may give you new choices
To express your ideas and try out new voices

I’ve researched and written and had many debates
At universities, at schools, and in plenty of states
I’ve traveled to new regions and other countries too
To meet TVIs and COMS
They share the same issues with you

Of how best to help their students succeed
How to reduce caseloads and teach kids to read
If you want to travel and improve as you go
Let our field give you opportunities to grow

Relish the colleagues and friendships you’ll find
It’s a small field but keep this in mind
From many places we get to know each other quite well
Over the years those friendships will thrive and they’ll swell

There is so much to learn in AER sessions
And here’s Anne saying she has even more lessons
Three things she has heard is all an audiences can hold
These three things go together – they’re as good as pure gold

Let’s think of your teaching, how students develop and thrive
Let’s think of your careers, how they’re part of your lives
Your profession is also important for you
Expect of AER the very best it can do
With other organizations on the professional side
Promote the TVI and the COMS for professional pride

And, listen to consumers they come from all over
The NFB, ACB, the ANN and the NOAH
Macular Degeneration and RP consumers as well
Have many perspectives they may share and may tell

As a grown up kid who was born with low vision
I’ve wanted to make better the educational condition
Meanwhile I have learned that we don’t have immunity
We must all be concerned with our professional community

Now I thank you from my heart for the Bauman award
I hope with my ramblings that you’re in accord
Many of you are like family to me
We share educational passions
And we sometimes disagree
But our relationships hold through conversation and controversy
And we love celebrations like JVIB’s 100 th anniversary

The TVI and the COMS from Snowbird they’ll leave
With shared ideas and thoughts newly conceived
During the sessions and awards luncheon too
Minding the triad that I’ve shared with you

The TVI and the COMS will soon be back in their homes
They’ll unpack ideas, experiences, and tomes
And Dr. Seuss will kindly forgive my rhyme tries
‘Cause I know, he to, was concerned with kid’s eyes.

Contact Information:
Box 328 GPC
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN 37203

Phone: 615-322-2249