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Spring 2002 Table of Contents
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Stipends Available for Training as Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and Deafblind Professionals

The collaborative visual impairment (VI) preparation project in Texas provides stipend money to students wanting to become teachers of the visually impaired (TVI), orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists, and deafblind professionals in Texas. The stipends cover tuition, fees, books, and in some cases travel and living expenses. You must be a Texas resident to qualify.

TVIs are specially certified teachers who help visually impaired children (birth - 22 years) achieve their educational goals. They work as part of the educational team, to provide instruction in skills which are unique to visual impairments. Their goal is to help students achieve independence. TVIs work with children with visual impairments (low vision and blind), their parents, other educators, O&M specialists and community agencies.

A TVI's day might include:

Orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists train students how to travel independently, safely and efficiently in their home, school and community. As part of the educational team, O&M specialists help students know where they are in space, where they want to go, and how to get there. O&M specialists work with individuals who have visual impairments, birth through adulthood, in both educational and rehabilitation settings.

An O&M specialist's day might include:

Deafblind professionals work with students who are deafblind. As part of the educational team, deafblind professionals provide educational programming for these very unique children and adults.

Training information

University-based courses are offered either entirely over the web or in combination with interactive television systems at regional education service centers. Students usually take two classes each semester, including the summer. It is possible to attend Stephen F. Austin State University and take traditional on-campus classes. Full-time students can finish the program in one year and have part of their living expenses covered by the stipend.

Interested future TVIs in the Corpus Christi area may also participate in an alternative certification program. This program can be completed within a calendar year.

No degree?

Applicants without an undergraduate degree can get a bachelor's degree and certification as either a TVI or O&M specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University. This is the only undergraduate program in the state.

Bachelor's or Master's degree?

With at least a bachelor's degree, a person can complete certification as an O&M specialist, by taking courses through distance learning methods and spending one summer in a university training program at Texas Tech University or Stephen F. Austin State University.

Future O&M specialists take eight courses and complete an internship/practicum. It is necessary to plan on spending one summer on the university campus to complete six credit hours of instruction. It may also be necessary to travel to complete some of the internship/practicum. Stipends are available to help offset the cost of the required travel.

Future TVIs must have a classroom teaching certificate before completing Visually Impaired certification. Visually Impaired certification is available through Stephen F. Austin, Texas Tech University, or Region II Education Service Center's Teacher Preparation Program.

Future TVIs must either complete six courses and an internship or attend the Teacher Certification Program at Region II Education Service Center. TVIs may get emergency certified after completing Braille and one other course.

Who do I contact for more information?

Program-specific information

Region II Education Service Center
Ms. Joyce West
Phone: (361) 561-8524
E-mail: jwest@esc2.net

Stephen F. Austin State University
Dr. Dixie Mercer
Phone: (936) 468-1142
E-mail: dmercer@sfasu.edu

Texas Tech University
Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley
Phone: (806) 742-2345
E-mail: ibngs@ttu.edu

General professional information

Dr. KC Dignan
Phone: (512) 206-9156
E-mail: kcd@tsbvi.edu

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Last Revision: July 30, 2002