Vision services are coordinated by the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), a full-time position within the education department. Vision services include initial screenings and Functional Vision Assessments, teaching of visual and compensatory skills, and assistance in environmental adaptations.
Screenings and Functional Vision Assessments are conducted with input from family and/or residential staff, classroom and therapeutic team, and community vision professionals (optometrists and ophthalmologists). Based on these findings, recommendations for vision services are put forth to a student’s Committee on Special Education.
The delivery models and strategies for vision services vary with the wide range of needs within the identified students. Some sessions are conducted in the controlled environment of the vision room. Other sessions are “push-ins”, meeting with the student in the classroom, gym, playground, or at the lunch table. Whenever possible, functional skills are addressed in their natural settings.
Environmental accommodations and adapted materials like iPads, environmental control units adn switches, tape playback machines, and other technology are necessary for some students to participate in classroom academics. Compensatory skills such as Braille instruction, keyboarding and abacus skills are provided as appropriate. Many students have a diagnosis of Cortical Visual Impairment. These students often require stimulation of the visual pathways via opportunities for viewing and interacting with specific materials in a setting that is free of distractions.
The TVI meets regularly with the classroom team and related service therapists to ensure continuity in student programming. Cognitive, language, and motor skill development is incorporated into vision session instruction. Orientation and mobility skills, including human (sighted) guide technique and the use of a cane/Adapted Mobility Device, are reinforced during sessions with the TVI.
Additionally, the TVI oversees and orders materials from the Federal Quota Account and interfaces with the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped to meet the students’ needs. Consultation regarding adult consumers with vision impairments served by the agency is available upon request.