VISION REHABILITATION SPECIALISTS
By: Carmen Willings
Revised May 15, 2019
Vision Rehabilitation Specialists, also called Independent Living Specialists, Living Skills Instructor, or Blind Rehabilitation Specialist, help adults who are blind or visually impaired in living independently in all of their environments and cope with the demands of everyday life. They focus on teaching clients in the following areas:
Rehabilitation specialists work with individuals in their homes, on college campuses, or in rehabilitation centers. When rehabilitation specialists work with individuals who have had a visual impairment from birth or childhood, they provide instruction as a teacher teaching new skills. When they work with individuals who have had recent vision loss, the goal is to help the individual regain the level of independence in performing tasks they had previously done using their vision.
Each state has an agency that oversees vision rehabilitation services. The agencies provide adult services and rehabilitation programs in the communities they serve. Certified instructors build custom plans of service based on the needs of each individual client who range in age from high school students to the elderly. Rehabilitation specialists should be invited to IEP meetings when the student is a Junior or Senior to assist the team in developing a transition plan for the student. The Vision Rehabilitation Specialist can assist in developing collaborative plans for the student. They can provide resources, support, and sometimes funding options for students and assist in helping the student meet post-school goals. They may offer or be aware of weekend programs or summer camps to help student's develop independent living skills.
You can learn more about VRT's at the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education professionals (ACVREP).
Transitions can be particularly challenging for students with visual impairments. As many vocational rehabilitation programs are facing budgetary cuts, it becomes even more important for schools to prepare students and take advantage of the opportunities available in school to best prepare them for their future. This page provides information on preparing students for their transition to college.
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