by Carmen Willings Updated April 9, 2020 If you have never worked with an individual with a visual impairment before, you may wonder who the professionals are that work with and support that person and what exactly they do. Depending on the age of the individual, they may work with a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments or a Vocational Rehabilitation Instructor. The person who has a visual impairment may be referred to other specialists such as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist or a Low Vision Specialist, and you may wonder what their roles are. School age individuals may also need the support of a braillist or a paraprofessional and you may be curious about their role. This area will link you to pages that will answer these questions as well as questions you may have about becoming a vision professional.
Whether you know or have worked with someone who is blind or visually impaired, you may be interested in how you can become a vision specialist. There is currently a shortage of Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) as well as Orientation & Mobility Specialists (O&M) and Rehabilitation Specialists in the United States. This page provides information on how you can join the rewarding field and become a vision specialist.
There is currently a national (and international!) shortage of vision professionals. Are you ready to join the rewarding field of serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired? This page provides a list of Colleges and Universities that have vision programs as well as links to their sites for specific information on each program.
Those unfamiliar with the field of visual impairments and blindness may wonder who a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments is and what they do. This page explains the role and responsibilities of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments.
The TVI may determine that the student also needs to be evaluated by an Orientation & Mobility Specialist (O&M). This page provides information on the role of O&M Specialists and the skills they may work on.
Every individual who is legally blind or visually impaired with any usable vision should receive a low vision evaluation where they may be prescribed low vision devices that will optimize their vision. This page will provide you with more information on the role of the Clinical Low Vision Specialist and what takes place during the evaluation.
Vision Rehabilitation Specialists provide instruction and support to adults who are blind or visually impaired so they may be independent in all of their environments. This page describes the role of the rehabilitation specialist.
A Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments, ("CATIS"), is a new area of certification in the field of visual impairments. Learn more about CATIS on this page.
Support personnel can assist professional staff in providing necessary services to meet the educational needs of students with visual impairments. Paraprofessionals and braille transcribers (braillists) are the most common support personnel available to educational teams. This page describes their roles.
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The mission of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments is to provide all persons involved in education students who are blind or visually impaired with the necessary resources to help each student become successful members of their communities and to equip those in the visual impairment field with resources to meet the wide range of needs of the students they serve.