Nancy Sullivan, OT
The Vision staff provides specialized education instruction for students who are visually impaired, blind, or deaf-blind by ensuring access the WPS curriculum and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. In addition, the vision department supports student success through the implementation of the Expanded Core Curriculum for visually impaired, blind and deaf-blind learners and community based educational experiences. The Teacher of Visually Impaired Students (TVI) has the following roles and responsibilities:
- Provides initial and ongoing assessment, conducts functional vision/learning media assessments and produces written reports.
- Delivers direct instruction in specific skills and educational areas directly related to the unique needs of visually impaired, blind and deaf-blind learners.
- Assists the student, parents, special and regular education personnel and the student’s sighted peers in understanding the unique educational needs and learning characteristics of visually impaired students, interpreting the visually impaired student’s specific eye condition, the educational implications of the visual impairment, and the results of functional vision and learning media assessments.
- Provides Braille texts, supplementary materials, educational aids and equipment needed by the visually impaired student and the classroom teacher to ensure the student’s maximum participation in all classroom activities. Appropriate educational materials may be prepared or adapted by the TVI, a teaching assistant under the direction of the TVI, or they may be obtained from educational, clerical, or transcriber services.
- Provides assistance to the classroom 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.
- Provides in-service training programs for school personnel and students and education for parents regarding the needs of visually impaired or blind students and adaptations, programs, and services for these students.
- Facilitates the transition of the student from school to post school activities through work with parents, teachers, community resources, and state agencies.
Consideration for Teacher of Visually Impaired or Orientation and Mobility Support:
Students are determined eligible according to the DESE criteria for Sensory Impaired; Vision and the impairment interferes with the student’s ability to make effective progress in the general curriculum as determined by the Team through the evaluation process. For a student to be assessed by a Teacher of Visually Impaired or Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, he or she must have an eye report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist documenting acuity loss with best correction.
If you suspect that your child needs Teacher of Visually Impaired or Orientation and Mobility services ask your child’s teacher, school administrator or school nurse about how to initiate the screening process.
Teacher of the Visually Impaired – responsible for assessing and providing direct instruction to students who are visually impaired or blind in areas specific to their needs as visually impaired or blind learners. Teachers of the Visually Impaired are also responsible for making recommendations for appropriate accommodations and assisting the classroom teacher with those accommodations to ensure that students who are low vision, blind or visually impaired have access to the school curriculum and the school community and are educated in the least restrictive environment.
Orientation and Mobility Specialist – responsible for assessing and providing direct instruction to students who are visually impaired, deaf-blind or blind in areas specific to their needs as visually impaired or blind learners. Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) are also responsible for making recommendations for appropriate accommodations and assisting the classroom teacher with those accommodations to ensure that students who are low vision, deaf-blind or blind have access to the school community and the community at-large. The COMS provide direct instruction in skills that fall directly under transition related goals.
Instructional Assistant – support the instruction of all students by reinforcing lessons with individual students and small groups of students. Tasks and duties are assigned and directed by the classroom teacher and other professional staff.