Skip To Main Content

Search Panel

Schools Menu

Vision Services

What is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired?

A Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) has received specialized training in the education of students with visual impairments, skills specific to visual impairment, and accessibility needs. They provide services for students with visual impairments ranging from low vision to blindness. These services can include specially designed instruction, preparation of accessible materials, and training for school staff on student needs.

What Training Does a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) Receive?

A teacher of the visually impaired is a certificated teacher with an endorsement in special education and additional training from an accredited college or university in the education of students with visual impairments. Many TVIs have a master’s degree in special education.

What Does Teacher of the Visually Impaired Do?

We empower students with visual impairments to lead their most independent lives through access to education and their environment.

A TVI teaches a series of subjects known as the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). The ECC is a set of areas in which students may require specially designed instruction due to their visual impairment. Some areas of the ECC are

  • Compensatory skills (braille, reading tactile graphics, abacus, large print access, use of magnifiers)
  • Assistive technology (screenreading software, magnification software, digital magnification, other digital and analog tools)
  • Self-determination and self-advocacy
  • Sensory efficiency (using hearing, touch, smell, taste, and any functional vision effectively)
  • Independent living skills (non-visual and low vision strategies for daily living tasks)

The TVI works closely with other members of a student’s team to make sure that vision needs are met when planning programming. For example, a TVI may collaborate with the speech language pathologist in choosing tactile objects or visual icons for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

What is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist?

Certified Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialists have received specialized training to teach students who are blind or who have low vision the techniques needed to determine their position in space and safely navigate their environment. The O&M Specialist's training emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for teaching safe and efficient independent travel within realistic learning environments. O&M Specialists collaborate with classroom teachers, parents, and other service providers who are involved in the students’ educational program. Students must meet criteria for Vision Services to qualify for O&M Services. 

What Training Does an Orientation and Mobility Specialist Receive?

O&M Specialists will have a Master’s Degree in Orientation & Mobility. Certified O&M Specialists (COMS) are certified through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals, or ACVREP, & ongoing professional development in O&M is required to maintain certification.

What Does an Orientation and Mobility Specialist Do?

The Orientation & Mobility Assessment and Instructional Program are individualized to meet the current and future needs of each student based on their functional, cognitive, and physical abilities. Any may include the following:

  • Concept Development, e.g. body awareness, directional/positional awareness 
  • Sighted Guide Techniques                                                                                          
  • Functional use of remaining vision and use of remaining senses                                                                    
  • Use of low vision aids related to travel skills               
  • Residential travel & travel within business environments                                              
  • Procedures for crossing streets                                                                         
  • Environmental awareness                                                            
  • Self-protective techniques                                                             
  • Orientation skills                                                                                                          
  • Long White Cane skills                                                                
  • Skills to solicit assistance from the public                                      
  • Use of public transportation                                                                                              

Local Resources

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) 

http://www.wtbbl.org/

 

Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) 

https://www.wssb.wa.gov

 

Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) 

http://www.dsb.wa.gov

 

Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) 

http://www.acb.org/affiliate-washington 

 

Jack Straw Cultural Center, Seattle, WA 

https://www.jackstraw.org/program/youth-education/blind-youth-audio-project

 

Arts & Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA), Seattle, WA 

--Provides audio description at selected arts performances 

Jesse Minkert, aviaboss@artsvia.org 

 

Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA):   

http://nwaba.org 

 

Washington Sensory Disabilities Services (WSDS)  

https://www.wsdsonline.org/blind-low-vision

 

Vision Loss Connections 

http://www.visionlossconnections.org/ 

 

Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind 

http://seattlelighthouse.org/ 

 

National Federation of the Blind, Washington Chapter 

https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/washington

 

Seattle Art Museum (SAM) ACCESS Program 

http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/accessibility 

 

Special Education Technology Center (SETC) Lending Library 

https://www.specialedtechcenter.org/services/lending-library/lendinglibrary/ 

 

National Resources

Understanding the Expanded Core Curriculum

Family Connect for parents of children with visual impairments

Paths to Literacy and Paths to Technology for students who are blind or visually impaired

Career Connect for jobseekers with visual impairments

Seedlings Braille Books for Children

 

Contact Information:

Orientation & Mobility Specialist:  Sarah Zachariah zacharias@issaquah.wednet.edu

Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

425.837.5674

 

Teacher of the Visually Impaired: Jennifer Soltis  soltisj@issaquah.wednet.edu

Schedule: Monday – Friday

425.837. 5674