“If you want to be happy set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes” —Andrew Carnegie
This was a two-year journey for us all. Last year we completed our level 1 Module for Visual Impairment through the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers. Today we checked off all the boxes for the on and off snow portions of the Level 2 VI Module through CADS. For me it was an accomplishment by our entire team.
To our knowledge, this was the first request of a skier who is blind, studying to be an Instructor/Trainer with the program. The concern in teaching is that a Blind person cannot ‘observe’ and thus was shut out of teaching. To date the observation portion was entirely visual.
We challenged that observation was strictly visual. We proceeded with the belief system of co-facilitation and team teaching as is the approach of our adapted sports programs.
We came up with teaching plans through leading, co-facilitating education sessions, and demonstrating knowledge of the CSIA technical references. And being able to consistently apply this knowledge with verbal description of what our student was doing, we used reflective learning techniques and a myriad of other approaches. Through this process we discovered that Blindness could be ameliorated.
In all lessons of disabled or adapted skiing there is team teaching. So instructors who are blind can be involved in lesson planning, mentoring, monitoring advancement of skills and providing encouragement and motivation to their students along with their co-instructor. The on hill participation will depend on the independent instructors residual vision, choice of terrain and conditions.
Don’t count us out! We have an instructor who has tunnel vision and is able to participate in the lesson both on and off the snow. Go Deb King go!
A big shout-out to our course conductors Dick Taylor, Veronica and Neil Connors who never doubted we would achieve our goal.
After weeks of studying and training on and off the snow we submitted our results to Susan Hughes who is a CADS Level 4 examiner. Veronica, A CADS Level 2 Course Conductor outlined the ways we adapted the ‘observation’ part of the Level 2 VI module . Then we waited.
Veronica wrote in March of 2018;
“This week I conducted the Level 2 VI Module evaluation for six ASSP Instructors. We had been training all of last season and again regularly this season, with success.
Lisa Bentz supported the team and myself each session and whilst she didn’t start off planning to take the evaluation, she was able to by the end, “Demonstrate the skills applicable to her ability…and used others to demonstrate those functions she was unable to perform while explaining what is happening.” (As per the CADS Level 2 Study Guide prerequisites for a candidate living with a disability).
She has attended CSIA teaching sessions regularly conducted by Neil throughout this season and last, and in her weekly locals ski lessons with him, he focused on sharing the pedagogy approach as though she were an Instructor. All this has resulted in her having a good understanding of CSIA methodologies, skills and practice. She also demonstrates refinement stage of skill development for an adaptive skier which meets expectation.
Going through the marking guide, Lisa’s knowledge and understanding of the AOT process is superior to most, enhancing the group’s use of AOT. She could demonstrate hand to hand guiding with support and can clearly explain other forms of guiding. She was able to explain teaching steps 5-6 using appropriate terminology and instruction asking others to feedback to her the results of her instruction.
Lisa uses with success, touch to place her ‘student’ into the right position required and asked others to give feedback, making changes as necessary. Giving her insights to the group whilst being tethered, clearly impacted on the refinement of this skill for the others.
During the sessions into looking for cause and effect of skiers’ demonstrations following her Guide painting the picture, Lisa was able to explain possible causes and confidently suggest applicable technical reference and tasks for improvement.
I feel her input and knowledge gained throughout the many sessions, results her in successful certification, but wanted to share my thoughts with you before I proceed in completing the marking guide. I have discussed with Lisa that I would be seeking your comments and advice to ensure certification is appropriate.
Susan writes back in March of 2018;
Thank you for pursuing my input.
You have outlined very well all of the components of the level 2 and how Lisa demonstrates competency to meet the expectations.
I would support you and your decision to award her the Level 2.
Lisa writes in March of 2018;
“Thanks Susan. We did it. The whole team. Thanks also to you and Fannie for inviting myself and one of my guide’s to speak to the Visually impaired and blind kids, coaches, guides and families who were in Sun Peaks attending a BCASS carving the future camp. Great questions and discussion were had. We could feel the energy grow in the room. Hats off to CADS and all the local programs who continue to introduce people with disabilities to the freedom of skiing. FYI when I started in disability and sport some 40 years ago we were referred to as `the handicapped`. WOW! Look how far we have come in this short time.