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Narbethong State Special School > Calendar and news > School blog
May 07
Janelle Sampson training our staff to use ROCC


During the pupil free days in January 2019, Janelle Sampson worked with all our staff to gains the skills to successfully implement the ROCC (Roadmap of Communicative Competence) – A rubric tool to assess, plan and evaluate communication outcomes.

Janelle has worked for over 25 years as a speech pathologist in both Australia and Canada. 

Janelle is the founder of Two Way Street, and her passion is working with children and adults with complex communications needs who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She is a firm believer in the need for sound research as the basis for practice. 

She is also very passionate about the importance of community in the quest to ‘change the world’ for people who use AAC. Public awareness, sharing and learning amongst families and communities, and mentoring/role models for people who use AAC as well as their families are important pieces in the puzzle. 

The current communication assessments are problematic for students with complex needs. As Janelle faced these same challenges, she has researched, worked with schools and created the ROCC. 

This assessment tool helps teachers to create individual profiles of communicative competence for your students. They are able to generate graphs and use them to:

  •  map progress 
  • create a shared understanding amongst team members 

  • inform next steps, and  

  • plan goals for individuals with disabilities and communication challenges.

Teachers, with assistance from our speech therapists are currently collecting data on each of our students.

November 26
Narby Active Literacy Learners

We recently launched our Narby Active Literacy Learners package to support the Narby_Active_Literacy_Learners.pngliteracy development of our students. The package came from an identified need to have a shared understanding of what we teach in literacy, how we teach literacy, and how we know our students are learning literacy. Our team have created a practical resource for teachers to support their planning and teaching of literacy which brings together the requirements of the Australian Curriculum, national and departmental guidelines from the new National Literacy Progressions and the Literacy Continuum and great strategies for all students and particularly for students with vision impairment and additional needs which affect literacy learning. An overview of the package will soon by uploaded to the website. 

September 04
CVI Project

The Paediatric Low Vision Clinic and Narbethong Special School in October 2018 are working in collaboration with educators from the Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ), Florine Pilon – Orthopotist from the Netherlands and optometrists from Malaysia, to share knowledge and insights into effective practice and to provide future directions in the area of CVI.

A significant number of students at our school have been diagnosed with cortical/cerebral vision impairment (CVI).

As Christine Roman-Lantzy states “CVI is a disability of access – access to the visual world. Even though man individuals with CVI have an eye exam that is typical or nearly typical, they are unable to interpret the visual information that is in their world. Individuals with CVI can see, but they are not able to participate in the numberous activities that need to be interpreted by the visual parts of the brain.”

The unique visual behaviours that accompany CVI are symptoms of visual dysfunction, and they, in turn, interfere with ongoing visual functioning to varying degrees, depending on the severity of the condition.

  • Preference for a specific colour – the child will be drawn to rich highly saturated colours, usually red and yellow, but it can be any colour. 

  • Need for movement – especially rapid movements. The child may fixate on fans or similar objects. An older child (in the classroom) may not be able to avoid being visually distracted by a ceiling decoration, movement in the hallway or outside a classroom window. This includes shiny things and other items that may draw their attention. 

  • Visual latency – the child’s visual responses are slow and often delayed. They will need to wait in order to respond, but with proper interventions their latent times can greatly improve. 

  • Visual field preference – the child will prefer to look at objects in a particular area. 

  • Difficulty with visual complexity – not seeing an object when other stimuli, such as sounds, are present. If an environment is sensory complex, the child has to choose which sense they are going to attend to. This includes the ability to analyse faces, which are very visually complex. This means that they will often avoid looking at unfamiliar faces. 

  • Light-gazing and non-purposeful gaze – since the child cannot sort and categorize what they are seeing, if they cannot find something meaningful (to them) to look at, they will have a non-purposeful gaze. Often the child will stare at light too. 

  • Difficulty with distance viewing – often mistaken for near-sightedness. This is due to what could be a visually complex environment. In these instances, the child will use memory to override their vision skills, which then makes it appear as if they can see because they will be able to navigate familiar environments based on memory. 

  • Atypical visual reflexes – not blinking when you tap the bridge of the child’s nose or come too close to the eyes. They have a delayed protective blink response. 

  • Preference for familiar objects – this is often confused with a hyper-interest in something, since they will fixate and show preference for the familiar. They prefer objects that they already know, so the brain doesn’t have to “sort” the information. 

  • Absence of visually guided reach – the child’s ability to look at an object while reaching for it is impaired.  

Some professionals believe that many children with CVI, if not the majority of these children, improve, but few develop normal vision and substantial improvement may take months or years. In Christine Roman-Lantzy’s experience, the degree of change experienced by a child without targeted intervention is usually more limited than the improvement generally seen in children who are provided intervention based on a systematic approach relating to the key characteristics of CVI.

August 16
Narbethong in the news.

​Did you see the recent Department of Education News item featuring Narbethong?

Orientation signs lead school in the right direction.


For students with vision impairment, adequate signage can significantly increase student independence in getting around school.

Narbethong State Special School has recently developed a new set of signs that will enable students to find their way around school more easily.

"Orientation and Mobility O&M is about knowing where you are in an area and moving purposefully so that you can get where you want to go safely" Ms Angela Hallam Acting Head of Curriculum, Narbethong State Special School said.

"As part of our curriculum, students learn O&M to develop their understanding and increase access to their learning environments.

"We have recently designed and installed brailled, tactile and high-contrast signs around the school to assist students with orientation and mobility and devel​op a common language for spaces and places, particularly classrooms.

"We decided on the theme of 2D shapes to add a numeracy element to the language and learning.

"These signs were placed in areas where students who are in wheelchairs would also be able to reach them and use them effectively.

"We are holding a "treasure hunt" for students to explore the new signs and learn the new room names and will use sensory and environmental clues about where the signs are."

June 19
Welcome to Narbethong's New Blog Page!

This page will be used to share information related to a particular subject area. Check this space to keep up to date with all our news.


Anita (Website Administrator)


 About this blog

Narbethong School Blog

Welcome to Narbethong's new blog page. Check this space to keep up to date with news on a wide variety of topics.