What are Itinerant Vision Services?
These are the services that children with visual impairments receive in school to access their curriculum. It’s called “Itinerant” because the teacher drives from school to school and works with each student individually. The people who provide these services are called
“Teachers of the Visually Impaired”.
What Training do Teachers of the Visually Impaired have?
Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) complete a university training program. University programs can be completed on either an undergraduate or graduate level. Course work should include physiology of the eye, principles of education, Braille (both literary and math Braille codes), low vision, technology, methods of teaching, and implications of other handicapping conditions. Once the university program is complete, graduates must submit their transcripts to the Department of Education and take additional state testing to be Certified as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.
Who Should Receive Services from a Teacher of the Visually Impaired?
IDEA is the governing law that determines all special education services. According to IDEA all children with a visual impairment should be evaluated to determine the need for instruction by a TVI. The TVI will conduct a “Functional Vision Assessment” and a Learning Media Assessment”. This evaluation will determine if the individual demonstrates difficulty in accessing the curriculum and what their best method of learning is (print, tactile, or auditory). The amount of residual vision, or their cognitive level, is not as important as how they use that vision and what method of learning is the most effective for them.
What do Students who Receive services from a Teacher of the Visually Impaired learn?
The TVI is providing compensatory instruction. This instruction will allow the student to participate in the curriculum of the classroom with their peers. The goal is for student to be able to fully participate in the regular classroom curriculum. The amount of direct instruction from the Teacher of the Visually Impaired becomes less as the student gains the necessary compensatory skills. A high school student may only need occasional resources and adaptations of materials if they have received consistent services from the time they entered school. For children who lose vision later, intensive instruction may last longer or be more frequent to help them return to full classroom participation as quickly as possible. Sample skills that a child might be introduced to at various ages are:
introduction to literacy concepts (reading aloud, print/Braille books) introduction to math concepts (manipulatives, 1:1 relationships), tactile skill development, visual scanning, tracking
Preschool – expansion of literacy concepts, introduction to Braille or print, introduction to magnification, expansion of math concepts, introduction to abacus (counting line) adaptations of curricular materials into proper format
expanded Braille/print concepts, expanded abacus, assessment of readability of their own print for low vision children, introduction to slate and stylus (for Braille learners), introduction to computer technology, expanded use of magnification technology, adaptations of curricular materials into proper format
expanded Braille concepts for literacy and mathematics, expanded use of magnification, creation of a signature, introduction to self-‐advocacy related to vision needs, expanded use of all technology, adaptations of curricular materials into proper format.
Middle School/Junior High
expanded Braille concepts for literacy and mathematics, expanded use of magnification, expanded use of self-‐advocacy related to vision needs, expanded use of all technology, adaptations of curricular materials into proper format.
expanded Braille concepts for literacy and mathematics as needed for higher level math/science courses, expanded use of self-‐advocacy related to vision needs, expanded use of all technology, expanded use of slate and stylus (for Braille learners), adaptations of curricular materials into proper format.
Children with Additional Disabilities
the impact of various positioning on functional use of vision, creating a learning environment that maximizes use of residual vision, functional use of Braille/print/tactile symbols as needed by student, adaptations of curricular materials into proper format.
For those children enrolled in school districts without a teacher of the visually impaired, The Foundation's Itinerant Program will provide, under contract, an itinerant vision teacher, who will focus on providing the specialized instruction and materials needed by the child in order to be successful in school. Today, FBC serves over 30 school districts throughout Arizona.