Teacher Appreciation Day and Your Child’s Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments and Orientation and Mobility Specialist

young boy reading a print/braille book as his teacher looks on

National Teacher Appreciation Day 2017 is Tuesday, May 9th; Teacher Appreciation Week is initiated by schools sometime between early and mid-May.

While you may have a few ideas generated for your child’s classroom teacher, I wonder if you’ve considered how to celebrate your child’s Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist.

As a TVI and O&M specialist, I’d like to give you my thoughts on what your child’s TVI and O&M specialist truly need and want.

More than anything, they will treasure a sincere thank-you, an acknowledgement of how their investment in your child has contributed to your child’s development and preparedness for the future.

Take a few minutes to reflect on how your child’s TVI and O&M specialist have positively contributed to your child’s life and share it with them. Write letters to them, thanking them for their time, patience, advocacy, lessons, and support. Be as specific as possible with your encouragement and feedback. Next, ask your child to write appreciation letters and include a few favorite memories of the year. If your child isn’t independently writing print or braille, the letter can be “scribbled” with pen/paper or a braille writer and transcribed.

Don’t stop there. If your child has an outstanding teacher, let the school know! Share the notes or thoughts with the principal, special education coordinator, or supervisor.

Like parents, teachers give of themselves day in and day out and receive minimal appreciation. Your words will be most cherished.

If you’d like to give a gift, consider the following:

  • Gift an item or small set of items you know will be used by the TVI/O&M Specialist, such as 20/20 pens (bold-lined markers), Wikki Sticks, hand sanitizer, or a travel mug. If you are stumped, ask the teacher for a few suggestions or a wish list.
  • We TVIs and orientation and mobility specialists love braille. Consider a gift embossed with braille; the simplest braille-inspired gift is an embossed Starbucks gift card. Look for additional braille gifts in AFB’s gift guide.
  • Find out what the teacher enjoys and provide a corresponding gift or gift card.
  • Your child can create something for his or her teacher. Perhaps your child is skilled at an art form, or you are and can ask your child to participate in the creation of the gift. For instance, my husband’s hobby is woodworking, and my girls can help him make a cutting board. The artwork can be a sensory painting, a story, a song, a picture frame, a jewelry piece, a photograph, a sculpture, etc.

What teacher-gift ideas have worked well in the past? I bet you all have creative ideas—I’d love to hear!