Bio: Taan Shapiro
One day in my 10th grade English class, my teacher assigned a research paper on whatever we wanted to write. As a long time woodwind player, the idea of teaching music to people who are blind popped into my head. And, like any idea, I explored the answer. It was at this moment in 1998, the dawning of the Internet, I wrote my first e-mails. One of whom was the late Bettye Krolick, a published author on this very topic and the other e-mail was to a teacher of music at Texas School for the Blind. They both advised that I start my career as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI).
Subsequently, I completed my high school community service project at the Cleveland Sight Center working in their pre-school. I spent two summers working at the Cleveland Sight Center summer camp too.
From 2000-2005, I went to school in Michigan and got my BS from Eastern Michigan University as a TVI. I then moved to Boston, MA where I began working first as a classroom TVI, then itinerant and back-and-forth as the jobs were available.
It was in 2006 that I received my first student who was both visually impaired and he had severe multiple disabilities. I remember the early days of not knowing what to do, how reach the student and what to even teach. I slowly began to talk to other providers on the student's team. I read and tried out many learning activities. I knew I had connected with the student when one day I walked into his classroom, he heard my voice and in his best approximation said, "circle" all the while jumping for join in his customized wheel-chair. It was then I fell in love with children who are visually impaired with severe multiple disabilities.
From 2007-2008, I completed my MEd in orientation and mobility at University Massachusetts Boston. After district-wide layoffs, I decided to change directions and teach special education abroad in Mukono, District Uganda.
Upon returning to Boston in 2012, I worked for four years at Perkins School for the Blind as a classroom teacher in their Lower School program. Needing another change of scenery and professional challenge, I moved across the county and was the sole itinerant TVI for a district in the Seattle-area. I continued to build my craft with children who are visually impaired with severe multiple disabilities. And, in another leap of geographic faith, I moved to San Francisco where I am continuing to be an itinerant TVI all the while building a voice to share my practices more broadly in the country.