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VISUALLY IMPAIRED SUPPORT

Visually Impaired services are a special education service or a related service, as defined by Federal Regulations of IDEA of 2004. Visually Impaired services may be provided to a student who qualifies with an identified visual impairment and whose progress in the general education curriculum is impacted by their visual impairment. An itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) is a highly qualified professional who travels to each of the campuses within the districts to provide instruction and consultation for students with visual impairments. This is an instructional position, as opposed to a related service or vision therapy.

Visual impairments include disorders in the sense of vision that affect the central vision acuity, the field of vision, color perception, or binocular visual function. The American Medical Association defined legal blindness as visual acuity not exceeding 20/200 in the better eye with correction, or a limit in the field of vision that is less than a 20-degree angle (tunnel vision). Legal blindness may be caused by tumors, infections, injuries, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular impairments, or myopia. Visual disabilities vary widely.


Roles and Responsibilities of the Teacher of Visually Impaired Students

  • Provide specialized instruction and services required to meet the unique educational needs of students with visual impairments.
  • Possess the skills and abilities necessary to provide and coordinate specialized instruction for students with visual impairments.
  • Assist students, parents, special and general education teachers and paraeducators, and the student's sighted peers in:
    • understanding the unique educational needs and learning characteristics of students with visual impairments
    • becoming aware of services and support available from local problems for students with visual impairments
    • acquiring information regarding local, state and national resources for the education of students with visual impairment
    • interpreting the students with visual impairments specific eye condition, the educational implications of the visual impairment, and the results of functional vision and learning media assessments
    • consulting regularly with the general education classroom teacher, other regular and special education personnel, parents, and others to coordinate programs and services for the student with a visual impairment
  • Assure that large print or Braille texts, supplementary materials, educational aids and equipment needed by the student with a visual impairment, and the general and/or special education teacher, are provided in a timely manner to ensure the student's maximum participation in all classroom activities.
  • Provide assistance to the general education classroom teacher and/or special education teacher in academic subjects and activities of the classroom that, as a direct result of the student's visual impairment, require adaptation for the student.
  • Provide initial and ongoing assessment:
  • Consult with the assessment team to determine appropriate testing materials and modifications needed
    • assist with assessments with needed
    • interpret assessment results when needed
  • Conduct functional vision/learning media assessments/and ECC assessments and produce written reports.
  • Attend IEP meetings for students with visual impairments.
  • Maintain ongoing contact with parents to assist them in the development of a realistic understanding of their child's abilities, progress and future goals.
  • Provide in-service training programs for school personnel and students and education for parents regarding the needs of students with visual impairments and adaptations and services for students with visual impairments.
  • Provide instruction in the development and maintenance of skills to meet the student's unique educational needs in the following areas, as indicated in the IEP:
    • low vision and visual efficiency skills
    • concept development and academic skills
    • daily living skills
    • career and vocational education skills
    • communication skills (including Braille reading and writing as appropriate)
    • social/emotional skills and abilities
    • sensory motor skills
    • technology

To refer a student with a visual impairment for Visually Impaired Support services:

  • Complete a Vision Impaired Support Referral Form (see below)
  • Attach documentation of visual impairment from an optometrist and/or ophthalmologist (eye specialist)

Mail to:

Visually Impaired Support Program
Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8
Attn: Barbara Cassel, Supervisor
609 Georgian Place
Somerset, PA 15501

Once the referral and documentation are reviewed by the team, you will be contacted regarding further permissions needed to proceed with an evaluation.

Vision Impaired Support Request for Services


RESOURCES

Parent Resource Packet
American Foundation for the Blind
American Printing House for the Blind
PATTAN