SERVICE DELIVERY MODELS
By: Carmen Willings
Each student who is blind or visually impaired has their own unique learning needs. The type of service should reflect a student's need for specialized instruction at a specific time in his development. This may change as the student progresses through his education. Some students may require a residential or special school specifically designed for students who are blind.
The majority of students with visual impairments can be best served within their local school system. Depending on the students needs, they may need a consultation model, an itinerant model or to receive more intensive services in a resource room at a magnet school for students with visual impairments. In order to help students reach their fullest potential, schools should provide a full array of options to assure appropriate placement of each student.
The Itinerant Model
Students in the general education program or those assigned to a self-contained classroom for students with multiple disabilities may require itinerant direct services from a teacher of the visually impaired. The time that the itinerant TVI spends with the student should be based only on the time required to meet the special education goals identified in the IEP and may vary from daily instruction to biweekly or weekly instruction. While some skills are best addressed in the general education classroom, others require privacy or a quiet environment.
Teaching techniques to enhance vision should not be taught in isolation. It is important to look at what the needs and activities of the student are in school and in their everyday life that are affected by their visual performance, and teach to those tasks. The TVI will make suggestions for appropriate environmental and material adaptations.
The Resource Room Model
The Resource Room model is designed for students who require daily support from a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). In this model, students attend a school that has been designated as a “magnet” school for students of their similarly aged with visual impairments who need daily contact with a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI). A TVI is based at the magnet school in order to be accessible to the students and their teachers throughout the school day.
Students are assigned to a general or special education classroom for most of the school day. Students attending these magnet resource classrooms have intensive instructional needs related to their visual impairments. The amount of time spent in the VI classroom will vary among students, based on their unique needs. They will typically spend part of each day receiving instruction in the areas of the core curriculum and support that facilitates their academic progress. Although the TVI is not an academic tutor, the TVI may spend time ensuring that the students understand concepts introduced in academic courses. Some students will receive instruction in ways to access academic subjects, such as reading or basic mathematics, in this room to build a strong foundation upon which future leaning can occur.
The TVI has more opportunities in this model to observe students in a variety of situations, including classrooms, bus lines, the cafeteria, and the playground providing them with more opportunities to assess the students skills and areas of needed instruction throughout the day. Since they are available to students and general education teachers throughout the school day, they can provide immediate assistance to teachers who are uncertain how to include students with visual impairments in the curriculum by helping these teachers adapt materials or modify instruction or by teaching classroom activities that cannot be easily adapted in other ways.
Finally, students in a VI magnet school have more opportunities to meet and frequently interact with other students who have visual impairments. Through planned and unplanned activities, they can discover issues they may have in common and solutions to problems related to their visual impairments. This model allows older and more fluent braille readers the opportunities to mentor younger students.
The primary disadvantage of the VI magnet school model is that students may not attend their home schools and therefore may not attend school with their siblings and other children in their neighborhoods. Because of the geographic distances between their homes and the school, students may find it impossible to attend planned or impromptu after-school or evening activities, and parents may be challenged to feel part of the school community and to participate in parent-teacher activities or school advisory committees.
The Consultation Model
Students who receive consultation require minimal, or no, direct services from a TVI. In the consultative model, the service is provided to the adults that work with the student on behalf of the student with a visual impairment. In this model, the TVI provides intermittent observations of the student within their educational environment to determine if they are receiving the most appropriate adaptations to their materials, environment and instruction and to collaborate with teachers and therapists. Possible scenarios where the consultation model are appropriate include:
When providing consultation, the TVI should:
Additional Service Intensity Resources...
The VISSIT: Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas is designed to guide teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) in determining the type and amount of itinerant TVI services to recommend for students on their caseload. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) committee will typically rely upon the TVI for this recommendation. This scale supports the TVI in quantifying information for the IEP committee. The goal of VISSIT is to provide guidance so that all students with visual impairments get the benefit of an appropriate amount and type of service. I have found this tool to be the most reliable and accurate.
The Michigan Department of Education (DOE), through a task force of TVI's throughout the state of Michigan, developed a Vision Severity Rating Scale and a Vision Severity Rating Scale for Students with Additional Disabilities that has been very helpful in determining the amount of services a student needs. Since a students needs and level of support they need changes over time, the assessment should be done at least every three years as part of the re-evaluation process to determine the appropriate amount of service. The Michigan DOE has also developed an Orientation and Mobility Severity Rating Scale and an Orientation and Mobility Severity Rating Scale for Students with Additional Disabilities.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings