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FAQs about O&M VISSIT

PURPOSE

1.  Q: Can the O&M VISSIT be used for all students who receive O&M evaluations, and require service, as well as those currently on my caseload, including those with multiple impairments, with deafblindness, or who are medically fragile and/or may have limited travel abilities? How about with infants and toddlers?
A: The O&M VISSIT is designed to determine the appropriate type and amount of orientation & mobility services needed for any student who, because of his/her visual impairment, requires O&M services (direct and/or consultation services) including infants and toddlers and those with multiple impairments, who are medically fragile, who have deafblindness.
2.  Q: Is the O&M VISSIT to be used as a caseload/workload analysis tool?
A: No. The O&M VISSIT is only a part of a workload analysis process to determine appropriate caseload size because the O&M VISSIT does not take into account all the issues related to workload (e.g., planning and travel to lessons). The O&M VISSIT only determines type and amount of service needed by individual students.

HOW TO USE THE O&M VISSIT

3.  Q: Can professionals who are not Orientation and Mobility Specialists fill out the O&M VISSIT?
A: No. The O&M VISSIT must be completed by an O&M specialist who has the specific knowledge and skills to quantify the levels of service intensity of orientation & mobility training. It cannot be completed by other members of the educational team such as a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) who is not trained as an orientation and mobility specialist.
4. Q: How often should the O&M VISSIT be completed? When might I complete the O&M VISSIT?
A: The O&M VISSIT should be completed prior to any determination of service type and amount. It should be completed after a thorough O&M evaluation has been conducted, and at least annually, prior to any IEP or IFSP meeting where O&M services will be addressed, so that the O&M specialist can have valid data which supports recommended type and amount of services for the student.
5. Q: How time-consuming is the O&M VISSIT?
A: Once you are familiar with the O&M VISSIT and have collected the needed evaluation data, the time needed to complete the scale is approximately 30 minutes per student. With increased use, the process will become faster.
6.  Q: How do I determine the intensity of student need?
Gather data from the O&M evaluation and/or progress reporting/monitoring and then use the O&M VISSIT to rate the amount of need in each skill area and obtain a total score. The O&M VISSIT itself is not to be used for the O&M evaluation. You will use other evaluation tools and strategies first, and then complete the O&M VISSIT based on your findings to come up with recommended service time.
7.  Q: Do I have to complete an O&M evaluation to complete the O&M VISSIT?
A: Yes, before an initial O&M VISSIT can be accurately completed, an O&M evaluation, as part of the FIE process which includes FVE/LMA/ECC evaluation data, must be completed. Then, annually, the O&M specialist can use IEP progress monitoring along with observation/collaboration to complete the O&M VISSIT to determine continued level of service type and intensity.
8.  Q: In the directions, you mention that the O&M specialist will complete and/or review current evaluations prior to 
completing the O&M VISSIT. Are observations of student performance and interviews with family members, the 
student, and other team members considered as evaluation data?
A: Yes. Observation and interview data should be part of any evaluation process including the O&M and ECC evaluations, as well as other relevant evaluations. All current evaluation data may be used in considering student needs when completing the O&M VISSIT.
9.  Q: When identifying the intensity of service need, can I use a number besides the choices provided (0, 1, 4, 7, 10)?
A: No. The O&M VISSIT is being validated based on the use of these numbers to accurately determine type and amount of services needed. Please only use the choices provided.
10. Q: Does the supporting information for each category and subsection provide a comprehensive list of items that should be considered for that item?
A: No. The descriptions of the skill areas and subsections provided in the O&M VISSIT are not comprehensive. These descriptions are examples offered to assist the O&M specialist with an understanding of the skill areas and/or subsections.
11.  Q: Do I have to answer each of the subsections under the various O&M Skill Areas? Do I have to put answers in      every box of the O&M VISSIT?
A: Yes! To be valid, all sections of the O&M VISSIT must be addressed. In some cases, a score of zero may be entered to indicate that the item does not represent a current area of need.
12.  Q: Why are the Contributing Factors and Additional Areas of Family Support added to the scale? Do I have to complete these sections?
A: Yes. There are some factors that may impact the individual student's service. These additional contributing factors may add to or decrease the recommended time to meet student needs, but they may not be identified in the O&M evaluation. If these factors do not apply to a particular student, you will put a '0' (zero).
13.  Q: Why were additional contributing factors not included in the Contributing Factors section?
A: There are many factors already built into the O&M VISSIT that should be considered as you determine need for an individual student. These might include age of onset of the visual impairment, behavioral concerns, cognitive level, and the effect of additional disabilities. You do not need to add or subtract points for these factors because the scoring system for direct instruction and educational team support/collaboration (0, 1, 4, 7, 10) should reflect individual student characteristics through the identification and prioritizing of needs.
14.  Q: Why are the suggested service times in minutes-per-week increments? What if I want to see my student a certain number of minutes per month?
A: In order to maintain consistency in the way that time is reported, the O&M VISSIT needs to express recommended service time in minutes per week. It does not make recommendations on how these minutes are divided up across the month. For example, if you get a score of 70-80 for direct service, which converts to a service time range of 45-60 minutes per week, the service time could be delivered at the rate of two, 30-minute long sessions each week if that works best for the student.
Or, if you get a score of 27-39 for collaborative consultation, which converts to a service time range of 10-15 minutes a week, the service time could be delivered at the rate of one hour per month or two 30-minute sessions per month. However, amount of time per session should be based on student need (e.g., time on task, goals/objectives) and not on teacher/school convenience. If you are used to thinking in terms of hours of service, you would convert the time to minutes per week.
15. Q: What do I do with the O&M VISSIT document once I have completed it?
A: Since the O&M VISSIT is used to help the O&M specialist determine the type and amount of services provided for students, it should be included in the student's educational records.

EFFECT ON PROGRAMMING

16. Q: How can I use the O&M VISSIT to help me better serve the students on my caseload?
A: The O&M VISSIT will provide quantitative data to help O&M specialists determine the appropriate type and amount of services for students on their caseloads. The O&M VISSIT may be shared with other team members and administrators to document that recommendations for service intensity were based upon a systematic process.
17. Q: Should the value of intensity reflect the services I am currently providing?
A: No. The O&M VISSIT should NOT be used to necessarily justify your current level of services but should be used as a predictor and recommendation for the appropriate type and amount of services needed by individual students.
18. Q: What if the O&M VISSIT indicates the need for more service time than I am currently able to provide?
A: After you have completed the O&M VISSIT on each student, use this information to conduct a workload analysis and present this data to your administrator to determine if additional staff is necessary to meet the needs of your students.
19. Q: Should a student who has direct services also have time allotted for Educational Team Support/Collaboration?
A: YES!!! All students who receive direct instruction will require collaborative consultation services to provide information, identify areas of need, monitor and reinforce skills, and support all team members, including TVIs and families.
20. Q: Sometimes travel time to an O&M instructional location is needed. How does the O&M VISSIT factor this time into the rating scale?
A: Travel time is included in the elements of the O&M VISSIT and is considered part of the total direct service time indicated in the IEP paperwork. For example, if travel is needed to a particular intersection, this time should be included in the amount of service recommended for the student. If the O&M specialist is working on lessons that require additional travel time to and from a lesson site (e.g., bus travel) or is working intensively with a student (e.g., one who is newly blinded), then the Time- Intensive Instruction Contributing Factor can be used to add additional weighting to time needed. Travel between students and schools is not counted as service time.
This travel is part of the workload of an O&M specialist and is not included as student need in the O&M VISSIT.
21. Q: What if my student has a high need in one skill area, but someone other than the O&M Specialist will be providing the services?
A: The O&M VISSIT should be used ONLY to determine services that will be provided by the O&M specialist. If your student has a high need in an area that will be provided by another team member, perhaps the support/collaboration in this area may be higher, or the results will show that little or no time of the O&M specialist is needed for a particular area because it is being addressed by others on the team.
22. Q: What if my student has so many needs that it would take more than a year to address them all?
A: Each IEP should be designed to meet identified, measurable annual goals. Recommendations for O&M specialist service should similarly address annual student achievement. The IEP committee may need to identify priorities so that programming can be focused and progress can be made. Addressing too many needs at one time can impede progress because of inconsistent/intermittent instruction.
23. Q. Why are Communication - Expressive and Receptive Areas – included on the O&M VISSIT?
These items are identified in this scale as an area of need in the instruction of orientation and mobility skills. This specialized application is not intended to replace the role of the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). An O&M specialist may need to collaborate with the SLP to identify specific needs and strategies.
Specifically, the O&M specialist may need to use strategies to facilitate the use of receptive language related to student safety (e.g., stop, wait, turn, etc.) or following directions. Expressive language, again, is only that related to O&M such as being able to get assistance when needed or to make a purchase in the community.

DEFINITION OF TERMS USED

Guide technique – Guide technique is the current term used for a mobility system where a traveler who is blind is led by another person, previously known as sighted guide or human guide. 

Dot patterns - Dot patterns (and intensity of dots) are not to be confused with braille. This term describes patterns that are used in maps to differentiate between areas or sections.

Haptic perception Haptic perception refers to the way a person can gain information about his or her environment through touch. For the O&M VISSIT, haptic skills include recognizing landmarks and clues through tactile signals, pressure on the skin, or temperature changes. It also includes the ability to recognize the size and shape of objects through touch.

Behavioral state - the range of level of arousal from deep sleep to hysteria that may vary throughout the day.

Soft skills - Soft skills are considered by many to be abilities that help individuals get and keep employment. These skills include how employees relate to and interact with other people: creativity, teamwork, abstract thinking, problem solving, multi- tasking, communication, perseverance, initiative, responsibility, goal setting, flexibility, and effort. For the O&M VISSIT, soft skills involve the instruction and support of the development of these skills by the O&M specialist in various settings and ultimately in the workplace.

Agency support – Agency support is related to the services that may be provided to students with visual impairments from private, state, or national organizations or agencies. For this scale, training by the O&M specialist to develop the purposeful and effective use of the supports that may be available is part of instruction in independent living skills.

Social skills – Social skills are skills needed for positive interactions with others such as manners, initiating a conversation, gestures, body language, listening skills, etc. They include the generalization of skills other vision professionals may teach but that may be implemented during and through O&M training in natural environments.