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KC Dignan, PhD

Introduction

Whether called “certification” or “credentials” or “licensure,” each state establishes standards for assuring the public that educators (including related service providers) meet minimum qualifications. While the standards vary from state to state, each VI professional will need to meet the requirements for that state.

Assumptions

  • Districts and programs have access to their state’s requirements for certification of educators.
  • Administrators have access to a certification specialist. This specialist may be employed by the district or at a regional service center. The specialist may or may not work in the human resources office.
  • District administrators may be less familiar with the organizations that certify O&M specialists. Information about those organizations is included below.

How are VI teachers certified?

VI teachers are certified by the state in which they work. Most states offer a credential that addresses the specific needs of children with visual impairments. Those few states that do not require a VI credential may require professional development in visual impairments.

States usually issue certifications for teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs). O&M specialists are certified by national organizations, similar to PTs and OTs.

How are O&M specialists certified?

Although some states certify O&M specialists, most are certified through one of two organizations. O&M specialists may be certified through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). More information about O&M certification can be found at ACVREP’s Web site, www.acvrep.org. The National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) is the other certifying organization for O&M specialists. More information about can be found at www.nbpcb.org. 

How is VI certification affected by “highly qualified” under IDEA and NCLB?

NCLB requires that all teachers who deliver direct instruction to students with disabilities in core academic subject areas must meet the state’s requirements for the grade level and/or content area they are teaching. Special educators who are the teacher-of-record in core subject areas (responsible for the student’s grade) must meet the requirements for special education and the assigned content area. The educational setting, (whether resource room or itinerant) is not a factor.

Unless responsible for issuing a grade, when a VI professional is fully certified, she or he is considered to be “highly qualified.”

Both NCLB and IDEA require that all educators be “highly qualified.” Although there is a slight variance between the two laws, the definitions are coordinated. The specifics of “highly qualified” for each content area (including certifications in disability-related disciplines) are determined by each state. However, in general, when a person meets the criteria for full certification under that state’s statutes, she or he is considered “highly qualified” for the purposes of IDEA.

Regardless of assignment or instructional setting, the VI teacher needs to meet highly qualified standards under IDEA. However, not all VI professionals are required to meet NCLB standards. NCLB standards must be met if the following two conditions are true:

  • The VI teacher is responsible for direct instruction (including instructional design and student evaluation), and
  • The course is considered to be a “core academic subject.”

The following four examples provide further clarification. The VI professionals in these situations are exempt:

  • VI teachers who are considered “co-teachers” and work within the regular classroom. In this case, the general education teacher is responsible for the design and evaluation of the instruction.
  • The VI teacher who provides consultation to assist in adapting the curriculum, using behavioral supports or interventions, and accommodations. He or she is considered a consultant and is exempt.
  • VI professionals who provide direct instruction, but in non-core academic subject areas, such as expanded core curriculum areas (social skills, orientation and mobility, using low-vision devices, just to name a few) are not required to meet the NCLB “highly qualified” standard.
  • O&M specialists are not teachers. Depending on state licensure standards, they may not be affected by NCLB requirements. Please check your state’s requirements. (Texas professionals can reference tea.texas.gov)

What types of competencies do teachers certified in visual impairments (TVIs) need?

Specific programs of study will depend on the state’s certification requirements, training options (whether VI or O&M), and other additional factors. States will organize competencies in different ways and use various descriptors. The Council for Exceptional Children has published performance standards for many special educators, including the area of visual impairments. These standards are highly regarded and may have affected your state’s requirements.  (www.cec.sped.org/content/navigationmenu/professionaldevelopment/professionalstandards/)

VI teachers are certified by states. While organization and specific requirements differ, most address similar competencies.

While state standards vary, basic themes emerge. Below, are basic competencies as developed by professionals in visual impairments. Although a state may organize competencies and skills in endless variations, it is anticipated that the foundational constructs will be limited and still similar to the listing below.  A sample set of competencies in visual impairments (including detailed knowledge and skill sets) is included in Chapter 10: Performance Evaluation for VI Professionals

Competent teachers of students with visual impairments including those students with additional disabilities understand and apply knowledge of the domains listed below.

  • Basic characteristics and needs of students with visual impairments
  • Strategies for assessing and instructing in the expanded core curriculum (ECC). The ECC is the educational domains, which are unique to students with visual impairments. The ECC includes braille, self-determination, low-vision devices, orientation and mobility, and other domains.
  • Formal and informal assessments and evaluations, and how to use resulting data and other information to make service and programming recommendations and to apply in the development of students' individualized education programs (IEPs) and individualized family service plans (IFSPs)
  • Strategies for planning instruction in the school, home, and community environments to facilitate optimum student achievement, including efficient use of assistive technology to access the core curriculum (or to meet general education standards)
  • Skill in promotion of students' development of concepts and skills for academic achievement, social interaction, and independent living
  • Strategies for effective communication communicate and collaboration with other professionals in a variety of settings
  • Foundations of the VI profession, including pertinent legal requirements and ethical considerations relating to students' education, and strategies for continued expansion of professional knowledge and skills
  • Reading and producing contracted and uncontracted literary braille and Nemeth Code
  • Preparing students for a successful transition to adult careers or vocations

Note: Adapted from the Texas State Board for Educator Certification, available for download at http://tinyurl.com/7v9y8bl  

In what areas are O&M specialists trained?

A certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS) provides sequential instruction to individuals with visual impairment in the use of their senses to determine their position within the environment, and in techniques for safe movement from one place to another. The two certifying organizations have different training philosophies; however their professional domains are equivalent. Certified O&M specialists are proficient in the following domains:

  • concept development, including spatial, temporal, positional, directional, and environmental concepts, as well as body image concept development
  • motor development, including motor skills needed for balance, posture, and gait, as well as the use of adaptive devices and techniques to assist those individuals with multiple disabilities
  • sensory development, including visual, auditory, vestibular, kinesthetic, tactile, olfactory, and proprioceptive senses, and the interrelationships of these systems
  • residual vision stimulation and training
  • human guide techniques
  • protective techniques
  • locating dropped objects and other search strategies
  • specific travel and cane techniques
  • soliciting and declining assistance
  • problem solving
  • instruction in the use of low-vision devices
O&M specialists are certified by one of two national organizations. More information can be found: www.ACVREP.org or www.NPBCB.org

What is required to maintain certification for VI professionals?

VI teachers

Most states now require that teachers certified in visual impairments (TVIs) renew their certification and require additional professional development to do so. Check with your state’s education service center and/or regional certification agency for specific details.

O&M specialists

Certification for O&M specialists (COMS) must be renewed every 5 years. In order to maintain that certification, specialists must submit information as required by either the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP; www.ACVREP.org) or the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB; www.nbpcb.org).

Can VI professionals be emergency certified?

VI teachers

Based on IDEA 2004, states may no longer offer emergency, temporary, or other “partial permits.” Some states do offer probationary certificates, licenses, or their equivalent. Contact your state’s department of education for details.

O&M specialists

There is no emergency, temporary, or probationary certification of any kind for orientation and mobility specialists. All O&M specialists must be fully certified before they can deliver services.

What about VI professionals who are certified by other states?

VI teachers

Moving from state to state is becoming less of a problem for teachers certified in visual impairments. There are many ways to determine the validity of a certification from one state to another. Two primary sources are

  • a state’s department of education Web site, and
  • the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC).
For more information contact your state’s department of education, or NASDTEC at www.nasdtec.org

NASDTEC is a collective of state education agencies (SEAs) responsible for educator certification. NASDTEC publishes both a directory and a Web site with information about certification requirements and availability by state and/or country. (Please check with your local certifying organization for a copy of or information from the directory, or visit the Web site at http://www.nasdtec.org.)

The University of Southern California has also developed a “certification map.” This interactive portal provides general certification information, and links to additional information about every state’s certification processes. It does not include any specific information about specific certificates. However, that information can be retrieved through the link to the specific certifying agency. (See http://certificationmap.com.)

O&M Specialists

O&M certifications are national, not state, certifications. However, each SEA will determine which certification they accept. It is possible that your state will only accept certification from one organization, such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification (NBPTS), or the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). Check with your state’s education agency to verify requirements.

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This document is intended to be used as a companion to the PDAS (or other district appraisal system) and provides information specific to professionals working with students with visual impairments.  It is assumed that administrators will have the same expectations for excellence for professionals in visual impairments as other educators regardless of the instructional setting, existing disabilities and/or age of the student.

Orientation and mobility (O&M) is a related service that is provided from birth through 21 who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities.  These students have been identified through evaluation as needing O&M instruction by a certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS).

The ultimate goal of this instructional programming is to assure that students with visual impairments are safe and efficient when moving in their homes, schools and communities as required in IDEA.  Instruction may include, but is not limited to:

  • sensory and concept development (the basic building blocks of orientation),
  • purposeful movement,
  • self-directed (independent) travel,
  • use of assistive technology (canes, optical and GPS devices),
  • public transportation and
  • street crossings.

Prior to observation, ask your certified O&M specialist (COMS) to provide the following:

  • copy of weekly/monthly schedule and lesson plan(s) for observed student(s)
  • copy of O&M evaluation
  • copy of goals from the IEP or IFSP (used with infants)
  • copy of O&M PLAAFP and progress reports
  • copy of behavioral assessment/plan, if applicable
  • copy of self-assessment completed by COMS
  • caseload  overview (number of students, disabilities, location & amount and frequency of service)
  • a copy of current certification, since O&M certification is not issued by TEA/SBEC

Key points to look for when applying the performance evaluation to your COMS

Domain I: Active, Successful Student Participation in the Learning Process

  • Opportunities for student problem solving are fostered throughout the lesson.
  • The ability to engage in critical thinking, be self-directed and connect current and previous learning will depend on age, the disability and developmental level of students.  Objects, tactile symbols, vocalizations interpreter and/or assistive technology may be used by the student.
  • Certified O&M specialist (COMS) checks for understanding and provides meaningful feedback.

Domain II: Learner-Centered Instruction

  • Instructional strategies occur in home, school and community environments as per IDEA.  The lesson documentation should reflect this diversity.  The evaluation observation may also be away from the school.
  • Pacing may vary.  Processing time depends on cognition, prior experiences, communication or alertness.
  • Technology used during O&M instruction may include optical devices, GPS devices, tactile maps and may include some technologies used in classroom settings.
  • Safety concerns were primary to the lesson and self-directed and independent travel was encouraged.

Domain III:  Evaluation and Feedback on Student Progress

  • Progress is noted in the system used by school district.
  • COMS documents student academic and functional performance during or following the lesson
  • COMS infuses functional problem solving skills in all lessons.
  • COMS reviews the lesson and provides feedback on progress directly to the student.

Domain IV:  Management of Student Discipline/Instructional Strategies/Time/Materials

  • In unstructured teaching environments (grocery stores, malls, airport), the O&M specialist should be prepared with:
    • alternate discipline techniques that address students’ unique needs and promotes self-discipline and follows the IEP and district policies.
    • a plan that addresses unusual and unforeseen situations that may arise in the community, such as changes in the weather, construction and encounters with other members of the public.
  • Self-directed learning and discipline will look different when working with infants or those with multiple disabilities. 
  • Instructional materials used with students on O&M lessons may include GPS systems, canes, adapted canes, toys, tactile maps, recording devices and optical devices.

Domain V: Professional Communication

  • Review the portfolio/evaluation reports supplied by the instructor.  The language used should be understandable by all readers.
  • The majority of professional communication for orientation and mobility specialist will be with other members of the educational team, including the student, family and members of the community.
  • Professional communication includes modeling and training of other team members.
  • COMS is able to explain, in easily understandable terms, the functional implications of the content of the lesson as it relates to the student’s future outcomes for safe, self-directed and independent travel.

Domain VI:  Professional Development  

  • Relevant professional development activities within a district may be limited, thus an O&M specialist should be allowed to attend trainings beyond district boundaries.
  • COMS should balance professional development that is specific to O&M and that reflects characteristics of his or her caseload (e.g. early childhood, autism, multiple impairments).

Domain VII:   Compliance with Policies, Operating Procedures and Requirements

  • COMS follows district and campus procedures to sign students out and obtain district vehicle.
  • COMS signs in/out from campuses as per expected procedures.
  • COMS are itinerant and serve students on multiple campuses.  Participation in whole-school routines may vary by campus.

Domain VIII:   Improvement of Academic Performance of All Students on the Campus

  • O&M is a related service and focuses on functional performance.  As such, it is not required to be aligned with TEKS.
  • Student attendance and availability will impact student progress.  COMS communicates issues with either attendance or availability to the campus staff and IEP committee, including family members.
  • COMS provide functional instruction.  Modifications and adaptations of materials and instruction for students with visual impairments may happen beyond the classroom and/or school environment.

For additional information on best practice standards see link Educating Students with Visual Impairments in Texas:  Guidelines and Standards (June 2010)  www.tsbvi.edu/attachments/EducatingStudentswithVIGuidelinesStandards.pdf

Developed by a collaboration of VI professionals and administrators from the Professional Preparation Advisory Group (PPAG) and the Texas School for the Blind Outreach Department. 

Toolbox Editor's Note: A deafblind intervener is a separate class of paraprofessional.  The position has been recognized by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Office for Special Education Programs (OSEP), and the National Coalition on Deafblindness. Professional standards and practices have been developed and reviewed by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).  National credentials are being sought from Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

Below is a suggested job description that was developed by administrators, parents, paraprofessionals, and VI professionals. For more information about interveners, contact a member of the Deafblind Outreach Team at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired or search the website: www.tsbvi.edu.  Additional information is available in Interveners in the Classroom: Guidelines for Teams Working with Students Who Are Deafblind from the SKI-HI Institute: http://www.tsbvi.edu/Outreach/deafblind/intervener-guidelinespdf.pdf

Job Title

Intervener for students

Major Responsibilities and Duties

An intervener is a staff position designated to provide direct support to a student with deafblindness for all or part of the instructional day, as determined by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). The decision to designate an intervener is based on the level of support needed by a student to participate effectively in his/her instructional environment(s) as described by the IEP. The intervener works cooperatively with parents and a variety of direct service providers and consultants including: classroom teachers; teachers of children with hearing impairments, visual impairments, or severe disabilities; speech therapists; occupational and physical therapists; orientation and mobility instructors; and other professionals, as well as paraprofessionals.

Rationale

A child who is deafblind needs to have the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with a person who will consistently be available to interpret the world for the child. The child must have continual access to a person who communicates effectively so that the individual can develop a sense of trust and security that will enable the child to learn. Many students with deafblindness require extensive and novel modifications to an existing educational model. The services of an intervener can be used to individualize the process. An intervener serves as a bridge to the world for a child who has deafblindness.

Supervisory Structure

Works in a team model and is directly supervised and evaluated by administrative and disability-specific staff (staff with expertise in visual and/or auditory impairments)

Qualifications

Completion of a 2-year program of studies in the area of intervener for deafblind preferred

Examples of Key Duties

  • The intervener's specific duties will be individualized according to the needs of the child and the profile of the current educational placement. Typically, duties may include:
  • Primary responsibility is to provide direct support to a student with deafblindness during all or part of a school day as part of an educational team, and as indicated in the student's IEP
  • Follows the student's IEP and the modifications and instructional techniques recommended by related service staff
  • Becomes proficient in students' individual communication methods and strategies
  • Creates instructional materials as needed
  • Accompanies and supports the student during community-based instruction
  • Visits or provides instruction in the student's home as deemed appropriate by the IEP committee
  • Maintains communication between home and school, and keeps a daily log of information about the student and his/her activities
  • Participates in IEP meetings and student staff meetings Participates in the assessment of the student and in the preparation of IEPs, progress reports, behavior plans, data collection, and other documentation for program monitoring
  • Participates in site-based, regional, and statewide training in the area of deafblindness
  • Collaborates in a team model on issues related to deafblindness

Work Attitudes

  • Feels comfortable working in close physical proximity to students while frequently using touch to communicate with and instruct students who are primarily tactile learners
  • Demonstrates frustration tolerance, emotional maturity, stability, and ability to perform under stress
  • Shows ability to exercise good judgment, cooperation, tact, and discretion in dealing with the student, family, and others
  • Shows interest in developing additional knowledge and skills
  • Follows team decisions, established policies and procedures, and designated lines of communication and authority

 

Qualifications

Minimum Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Experience with children with disabilities is preferred

Special Knowledge/Skills/Abilities

  • Use of literary and Nemeth braille for reading, writing, and translation purposes
  • Vocal quality coupled with the articulation skills and ability to correctly read tests, worksheets, books, and other assignments which must be put on tape for the students’ use
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs, such as those used for word processing
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Typing and keyboarding skills (50 wpm)

Office Skills

  • Take, understand, and relay phone messages to teachers
  • Produce necessary documents
  • Produce VI office forms
  • Know teachers’ schedules and how to contact

General Job Description

Assist the VI professional in providing for the physical and instructional needs of students with visual impairments in education settings.  The goal is to facilitate instruction and interaction with the environment; act as a bridge to independence, not a barrier.

Major Responsibilities and Duties

  • Uphold and enforce school rules, administrative regulations, and state and local school board policy
  • Assist students who have physical disabilities according to their individualized needs, including transferring to and from wheelchairs, lifting, or positioning
  • Assist students who have physical needs, including personal care needs, such as feeding, bathroom needs, and personal hygiene
  • Assist in managing the behavior of students and in crisis intervention, including restraining disruptive or dangerous physical behavior as needed
  • Assume responsibility for learning and adapting to each student’s special physical, communicative, and emotional needs
  • Work with individual students or small groups in accordance with plans developed by the VI staff
  • Keep the instructional staff (VI, O&M, and others) informed of any special needs or problems of individual students
  • Assist the teacher in preparing instructional materials and classroom displays
  • Assist in inventory, care, and maintenance of equipment
  • Assist the teacher in keeping administrative records and preparing required reports
  • Provide orientation and assistance to substitute teachers
  • Assist in the maintenance of confidentiality of student records
  • Participate in staff development training, faculty meetings, and special events as needed
  • Demonstrate interest and initiative in professional improvement
  • Create an environment conducive to learning and appropriate to the physical, social, and emotional development of the students
  • Use acceptable communication skills to present information accurately and clearly

Equipment Used

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Tactile and braille production equipment.

Working Conditions

  • Cognitive Demands
    • Reading
    • Effective oral and written communication skills
    • Emotional control under stress.
  • Physical Demands/Environmental
    • Frequent standing, stooping, bending, kneeling, pushing, and pulling
    • Regular heavy lifting
    • Exposure to communicable diseases.

***Paraprofessionals are generally shielded from personal liability for acts occurring within the scope of their employment under Texas Education Code 22.051.  Protection is also available under the state common law doctrine of official immunity.

 


 

The foregoing statements describe the general purpose and responsibilities assigned to this job and are not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills that may be required.

                                                                                                                                            

Approved  By                                                                                                 Date

                                                                                                                                               

Reviewed  By                                                                                                Date

Qualifications

  • Education/Certification
    • High school diploma or GED
    • Valid Texas educational paraprofessional certificate desired, but not required.
  • Special Knowledge/Skills/Abilities
    • Ability to work well with children with disabilities, especially children with visual impairments
    • Ability to follow verbal and written instructions
    • Knowledge of general office equipment.
  • Experience
    • Have ____ [insert number] of years of experience working with children and/or have college credit with some emphasis on child growth and development or related areas

Major Responsibilities and Duties

  • Assist the VI and campus staff with modifications and supplemental services necessary for educational needs of students with visual impairment
  • Provide technological assistance and/or training to teaching staff or other appropriate personnel
  • Prepare materials and equipment to be transferred to appropriate campuses as needed and according to VI program procedures
  • Make photocopies, complete required forms, and perform other clerical tasks for VI staff as requested
  • Assist students, teachers, and other staff members as appropriate and according to state and district guidelines
  • Attend appropriate, approved staff development training and VI staff meetings
  • Assist in the ordering, dissemination, and return of braille, large type, audio materials, and assistive technology equipment
  • Maintain VI program equipment and make arrangements for necessary repairs, adhering to appropriate VI and district procedures
  • Maintain appropriate communication with the VI program supervisor and staff, other district personnel, and agencies
  • Maintain a current work schedule, providing copies to the VI supervisor, VI staff, and campus secretary

Evaluation

Accurate and timely work to be evaluated by VI professionals and special education administration in accordance with provision of school board policy.

Qualifications

Minimum Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Experience with children with disabilities is preferred

Special Knowledge/Skills/Abilities

  • Use of literary and Nemeth braille for reading, writing, and translation purposes
  • Vocal quality coupled with the articulation skills and ability to correctly read tests, worksheets, books, and other assignments which must be put on tape for the students’ use
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs, such as those used for word processing
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.

Office Skills

  • Take, understand, and relay phone messages to teachers
  • Produce necessary documents
  • Produce VI office forms
  • Know the schedules for the VI professionals and how to contact them

General Job Description

The job duties of the paraprofessional are to be accomplished under the supervision of and to the specifications of the appropriate VI professional staff. They work in conjunction with general and special education teachers, and

Major Responsibilities and Duties

  • Answer phones
  • Complete reports, forms, and other documents
  • Contact schools to relay messages
  • Keep daily schedules of VI teachers and O&M specialists
  • Inventory and distribute materials and equipment
  • Maintain and file program records
  • Update student directory
  • Maintain current forms
  • Arrange for repairs of equipment
  • Distribute mail
  • Make photocopies
  • Secure and maintain office supplies

Other Duties

  • Make home visits, with VI professional(s) as necessary
  • Deliver materials and equipment

Material Preparation

  • Braille, record, or enlarge textbooks, workbooks, worksheets, and diagnostic tests that are not available through state agencies
  • Prepare tactile maps and graphs as needed for instruction and testing
  • Acquire and implement any necessary updates in computer technology as it applies to braille and large print production

Evaluation

  • Accurate and timely work, evaluated by VI professionals and special education administrator(s) in accordance with school board policy.

Required Qualifications

  • High school diploma
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs, such as those used for word processing
  • Excellent keyboarding skills
  • Ability to learn and demonstrate understanding of braille

General Job Description

  • Assist the VI professional(s) in the provision of brailled and other adapted materials

Major Responsibilities and Duties

  • Prepare adapted materials in a timely fashion as needed by students, classroom teachers, and VI professionals
  • Provide adapted materials using a variety of techniques, including recorded texts, tactile maps, graphics, and braille
  • Work with students on braille-related activities under the direction of a VI professional
  • Operate and assist students in the operation and maintenance of specialized equipment such as braillers, keyboarding equipment, electronic scanners, and personal computers
  • Consult with classroom teachers to provide accurate and appropriate adapted materials
  • Carry out basic braille formatting for literacy, foreign language, and Nemeth code rules, except when modifications are requested by the VI teacher to accommodate braille reading ability of individual students
  • Interline student brailled materials
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and ability to produce special braille formats
  • Provide braille output with a variety of braille systems, including braille translation software or comparable electronic rapid braille-production systems, and braillewriter
  • Order and maintain inventory of equipment and VI program materials
  • Remain current in computer technology as it relates to braille production, and interfacing with the student’s braille-related assistive technology

Evaluation

  • Accurate and timely work to be evaluated by VI professional and special education administrator(s) in accordance with school board policy.

Required Qualifications

  • High school diploma
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs, such as those used for word processing
  • Excellent keyboarding skills
  • Ability to learn and demonstrate understanding of braille.
  • Successful completion of, or willingness to complete a braille transcription training program

General Job Description

  • The braillist/tactile materials specialist for children with visual impairments provides braille embossed materials as determined by the VI teacher and the classroom teacher
  • Major Responsibilities and Duties
  • Supply braille classroom materials for the current and upcoming years, including:
    • textbooks for all subjects
    • teacher-made materials
    • pictorial layouts
    • math and science notations
    • workbooks for all subjects
    • tactile maps and graphs
    • music notation
    • foreign languages
  • Work with students on braille-related activities under the direction of a VI professional
  • Maintain inventory for VI department, including
  • brailled materials
  • ordering and maintaining equipment (and ensuring equipment is in working order)
  • library of braille (tactile) materials
  • Order and maintain the supply of office products
  • Coordinate delivery of brailled (or other tactile) materials to the appropriate schools
  • Supervise clerical assistants, where appropriate, in the areas of:
    • material output
    • professional responsibilities
    • instruction
    • operation of computer systems
    • use of software
    • braille formatting
    • use of brailling equipment
  • Attend workshops/seminars for continuous upgrading of services and equipment
  • Carry out braille basic formatting for literary, foreign language, and Nemeth code rules, except when modifications are requested by VI teacher to accommodate braille reading ability of individual students
  • Remain current in computer technology as it relates to braille production, and interfacing with the student’s braille-related assistive technology

Professional Standards

  • Complete job duties in a timely and effective manner
  • Maintain an organized work area

Evaluation

  • Reports to VI professional.
  • Accurate and timely work to be evaluated by VI professional and special education administrator in accordance with school board policy.

Required Qualifications

  • High school diploma
  • Ability to type a minimum of 50 words per minute
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to learn and demonstrate an understanding of braille

General Job Description

The braillist/tactile materials specialist for children with visual impairments provides braille embossed materials as determined by the VI teacher and the classroom teacher. This position serves teachers of and consultants for children with visual impairments.

Major Responsibilities and Duties

  • If braille is a new skill, participate in a designated braille production program, such as that available through the Library of Congress, Hadley School for the Blind, or North Vista Community College in San Antonio Texas, or other program designated by the school district
  • Transcribe materials including books, workbooks, testing material, and classroom work for students with visual impairments, including tactile maps and graphs
  • Maintain accurate records of all transcriptions
  • Maintain a properly labeled electronic files on all materials, which should be retained for future use
  • Manage time to ensure that materials are available when needed by VI professionals or other team members
  • Make necessary adaptations of materials for students with visual impairments in conjunction with VI teacher
  • Use a variety of techniques to make tactile graphics as directed by VI professionals
  • Remain current in computer technology as it relates to braille production and interfacing with the student’s braille-related assistive technology.
  • Order and maintain an inventory of supplies needed for performance of job duties
  • Maintain a resource file for locating alternative sources of braille materials
  • Coordinate with VI professionals and/or classroom teachers to prepare transcribed materials during the summer
  • Help with activities for the ongoing maintenance of the program for students with visual impairments.

 Professional Standards

  • Complete job duties in a timely manner
  • Maintain an organized work area.

Evaluation

  • The coordinator of the program supervises this position.
  • Accurate and timely work to be assessed by VI professional and special education administration.
  • Evaluation to be performed in accordance with school board policy.

Required Qualifications

 

Preferred Qualifications

  •  Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree
  • Certification from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP)
  • Experience with school-aged children
  • Experience with children with multiple impairments
  • Experience working as part of a team

General Job Description

 Assist students with visual impairments to achieve maximum independence through instruction in safe, efficient travel within the home, school, and community.  Services also include instruction in compensatory skills including daily living skills, self-advocacy, and recreation or leisure skills as related to orientation and mobility and self-determination. Community-based instruction is assumed and is a critical component of the orientation and mobility program.

Major Responsibilities and Duties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  Participate in the referral and assessment process of visually impaired students
  • Conduct evaluations of the orientation and mobility needs of visually impaired students.  Areas of evaluation may include:
  • concept development:
    • spatial–positional
    • temporal
    • environmental
  • body image and movement
  • orientation to the environment
  • techniques of effective and safe travel
  • use of low-vision devices
  • sensory development
  • self-advocacy
  • personal safety
  • efficient use of vision for travel
  • Participate on the IEP committee
  • Assist in developing appropriate IEP goals and objectives
  • Recommend any modifications to program or specialized services needed based on the visual impairment
  • Develop and implement an instructional plan based on identified student needs
  • Provide direct O&M instructional services to students with visual impairments and consultation to school staff, peers, and community
  • Order, distribute, and maintain canes and low vision devices related to travel
  • Team with vision teacher and other instructional and related services personnel
  • Consult with and advise school personnel on design and provision of safe efficient environments
  • Provide direct instructional services to students with visual impairment in evaluation areas.

Evaluation

 Supervisor (typically Director of Special Education) will conduct the performance evaluation.  Individual(s) knowledgeable in visual impairments should complete evaluation.