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O&M VISSIT: Orientation and Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas

o&M vissit logo

The O&M VISSIT: Orientation & Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas is designed to guide orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists in determining the type and amount of itinerant O&M services to recommend for students on their caseload. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) committee will typically rely upon the O&M specialist for this recommendation. This scale supports the O&M specialist in quantifying information for the IEP committee. It is hoped that the O&M VISSIT will provide guidance so that all students with visual impairments get the benefit of an appropriate amount and type of O&M service.

For questions, please contact Rona Pogrund at

Acknowledgements

Members of the Service Intensity Subcommittee of the Texas Action Committee for the Education of Students with Visual Impairments who developed the O&M VISSIT include:

  • Rona Pogrund, Texas Tech University, Chair
  • Chrissy Cowan, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach
  • Shannon Darst, Texas Tech University
  • Kitra Gray, Region 10 Education Service Center
  • Tracy Hallak, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Cyral Miller, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach
  • Michael Munro, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Heather Munro, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Cecilia Robinson, Region 4 Education Service Center
  • Mary Shore, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach
  • Christopher Tabb, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach

Logo credits:

  • Logo Concept- Timothy Henderson and Francia Cotrone
  • Logo Design- Ben Pogrund

Electronic scale: Stephanie Isbell, Region 11 Education Service Center

Website: Jim Allan & Stacey Rayos, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Outreach

o&M vissit logo

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.

o&M vissit logo

  1. Collect and review all relevant and current O&M and vision-related evaluations completed for the student. This should include a current O&M evaluation, observation and interview data, FVE/LMA, and ECC evaluation information.
  2. Fill in the name of the student, date of scale completion, and name of the O&M specialist completing the scale at the top of the first page of the scale.
  3. Begin with the O&M Skill Area column. Read each O&M skill area and subsection, if there are any (e.g., PURPOSEFUL MOVEMENT: Motor Skills, Basic Skills, and Cane Skills).
  4. Work from left to right for each O&M Skill Area to fill in a value (0, 1, 4, 7, or 10) for both columns (Direct Instruction from the O&M Specialist and Educational Team Support/Collaboration) to indicate level of student need. You must enter one of these five numbers for each O&M Skill Area on the scale.
  5. At the bottom of each column on each page, add the values and put the column total for that page in the boxes labeled PAGE TOTAL for Direct Column, and PAGE TOTAL for Educational Team Support Column for each page if you are entering scores by hand on a paper copy. If you are entering scores on the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the numbers entered will automatically add up at the bottom of each page for you.
  6. Add the values for each column from the PAGE TOTAL boxes on each page and enter the number in the boxes labeled Column Subtotalat the bottom of the last page of the scale for both Direct Instruction Column Subtotal (box A) and Educational Team Support Column Subtotal (box F) (see sample below) if you are entering scores by hand on a paper copy. If you are entering scores on the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the numbers entered will automatically add up at the bottom of each page for you.

SCORING INSTRUCTIONS - DIRECT INSTRUCTION COLUMN

  1. For the Direct Instruction column, determine whether or not Transition is a contributing factor to the student's educational needs to be addressed by the O&M specialist. If the student is making a significant transition, write '+10' in the Contributing Factor: Transition box (box B) under the Direct Instruction Column Subtotal (box A). If transition is not a factor, write '0' in box B (see sample below).


COLUMN SUBTOTALS

Direct Instruction Column Subtotal

Educational Team Support/ Collaborative Consultation

A

 

F

 

Contributing Factor: Transition

B

 

G

 

Contributing Factor: Medical Status/Condition

C

 

H

 

Contributing Factor: Time-Intensive Instruction

D

 

I

 

Additional Areas of Family Support Total

 

J

 

TOTAL

E

 

K

 

 

  1. Next, determine whether or not Medical Status/Condition is a contributing factor to the student's educational needs to be addressed by the O&M specialist. If the student has medical issues that would increase the student's need for O&M direct service, write '+10' in Contributing Factor: Medical Status/Condition box (box C). If medical status/condition is not an issue, write '0' in box C. If the student has significant medical issues that would decrease the student's capacity to receive O&M direct service, write

'-10' in box C. (see sample below)

  1. Next, determine whether or not Time-Intensive Instruction is a contributing factor to the student's educational needs to be addressed by the O&M specialist. If the student has time-intensive instructional needs that would increase the student's need for O&M direct service, write '+10' in Contributing Factor: Time-Intensive Instruction (box D). If time intensive instruction is not a factor, put '0' in box D
  2. Add the four values from box A, box B, box C, and box D. Write the score in the 'TOTAL' box (box E) for the Direct Instruction column if you are completing the scale by hand on a paper copy. If you are entering scores on the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the numbers entered will automatically add up at the bottom of the page in the 'TOTAL' box (box E) for you. (see sample below)

SCORING INSTRUCTIONS – EDUCATIONAL TEAM SUPPORT/COLLABORATION COLUMN

  1. For the Educational Team Support column, determine whether or not transition is a contributing factor to the student's needs for team support from the O&M specialist. If the student is making a significant transition requiring team support, write '+10' in the Contributing Factor: Transition factors box (box G) under the Educational Team Support Column Subtotal (box F). If transition is not a factor, write '0' in box G (see sample below).
  2. Next, determine whether or not the student's medical status or condition is a contributing factor to the student's needs for team support from the O&M specialist. If the student has significant medical issues that would increase the educational team support/collaboration needed from the O&M specialist, write '+10' in Contributing Factor: Medical Issues box (box H). If not, write '0' in box H. If the student has any medical issues that would decrease the O&M specialist educational team support/collaboration service need, write '-10' in box H (see sample below).
  3. Next, determine whether or not Time-Intensive Instruction is a contributing factor to the student's needs for team support from the O&M Specialist. If the student has significant time-intensive instructional needs that would increase the educational team support/collaboration needed from the O&M Specialist, write '+10' in Contributing Factor: Time-Intensive Instruction box (box I). If time intensive instruction is not a factor, write '0' in box I (see sample below).
  4. Complete the Additional Areas of Family Support (AAFS) Table that follows the scale total section by adding a value to each of the five listed areas of need for family support. Add the values and get the subtotal for the AAFS Table (box J). Enter the AAFS subtotal in box J at the end of the scale if you are completing the scale by hand on a paper copy. If you are entering scores on the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the numbers entered will automatically be entered into box J for you (see sample below).
  5. Add the five values from box F, box G, box H, box I, and box J. Write the score in the 'Total' box (box K) for the Educational Team Support/Collaboration column if you are completing the scale by hand on a paper copy. If you are entering scores on the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the numbers entered will automatically add up at the bottom TOTAL box for you (see sample below).
  6. Using the totals found on the O&M VISSIT Scale, refer to the INSTRUCTIONS FOR

DETERMING RANGES FROM SCALE TOTALS that follows the scale.

Instructions for Determining Ranges from Scale Totals

 



COLUMN UBTOTALS

Direct Instruction Column Subtotal

Educational Team Support/ Collaborative Consultation

A

(Example:  161)

F

(Example:  30)

Contributing Factor: Transition

B

(Example:  +10)

G

(Example:  0)

Contributing Factor: Medical Status/Condition

C

(Example:  -10)

H

(Example:  0)

Contributing Factor: Time-Intensive Instruction

D

(Example:  +10)

I

(Example:  10)

Additional Areas of Family Support Total

 

J

(Example:  10)

TOTAL

E

(Example:  171)

K

(Example:  50)

 

After determining the total Direct Instruction need in Total box E, transfer the score in box E to the corresponding value on the range of recommended direct service time for the score on Recommended Schedule of Service Minutes - Direct Service Time in Column 3 if you are entering the information by hand on a paper copy. If you are using the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the total score from box E will automatically go into Column 3 on the Direct Service Time Scoring Sheet. Choose an exact recommended amount of service time that will best suit your student's needs from the range of suggested service time in Column 2 on the row in which the total score falls and enter that number in minutes per week in Column 4. Write a brief explanation about why you chose this amount of service time below the chart. Include a justification of this recommendation based on the student's need scores from the O&M VISSIT scale. See example below:

RECOMMENDED SCHEDULE OF SERVICE MINUTES for ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY SERVICES- DIRECT SERVICE

DIRECT SERVICE TIME

TOTAL (box E) from direct service column

YOUR Recommended AMOUNT OF DIRECT SERVICE TIME

(MINUTES PER WEEK)

Score on rubric

Range of suggested

service time

 

 

210 +

240 or more minutes/wk

 SAMPLE

 SAMPLE

185 - 209

180 - 240 minutes/wk

 SAMPLE

 SAMPLE

167 - 184

120 -180 minutes/wk

 (Example: 171)

 (Example: 120- minute/ week)

Example explanation: Student needs to have at least 2 hours of direct instruction a week because of needed instruction in purposeful movement, concept development, assistive technology, and critical thinking.

After determining the total Educational Team Support need in Total box K, transfer the score in box K to the corresponding value on the range of recommended team support/collaboration service time for the score on Recommended Schedule of Service Minutes - Educational Team Support/Collaboration scoring sheet in Column 3 if you are entering the information by hand on a paper copy. If you are using the electronic pdf version of the O&M VISSIT, the total score from box K will automatically go into Column 3 on the Educational Team Support/Collaboration Time Scoring Sheet. Choose an exact recommended amount of service time that will best suit your student's needs from the range of suggested service time in Column 2 on the row in which the total score falls and enter that number in minutes per week in Column 4. Write a brief explanation about why you chose this amount of service time below the chart. Include a justification of this recommendation based on the student's need scores from the O&M VISSIT See sample below.

Recommended Schedule of Service Minutes for ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY SERVICES - Educational Team Support/Collaboration

Educational Team

Support/Collaboration Time

TOTAL (box K) from the educational team support/

collaboration column

YOUR Recommended AMOUNT OF EDUCATIONAL TEAM SUPPORT/COLLABORATION SERVICE TIME

(MINUTES PER WEEK)

Score on rubric

Range of suggested service time

 

 

47 – 57

30 - 70 minutes/wk

 SAMPLE

 SAMPLE

40 – 46

15 - 30 minutes/wk

 (Example: 50)

 (Example: 15 minutes / week)

Example explanation: O&M SPECIALIST will consult with student's team for 1 hour per month (equals 15 minutes / week).

RECOMMENDED SCHEDULE OF SERVICE MINUTES for ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY SERVICES

DIRECT SERVICE TIME

TOTAL (box E) from direct service column

YOUR Recommended AMOUNT OF DIRECT SERVICE TIME

(MINUTES PER WEEK)

Score on rubric

Range of suggested

service time

 

 

EXAMPLE: 56-69

EXAMPLE: 30-45 minutes/wk

60

30 minutes/wk

210 +

240 or more minutes/wk

 

 

185 - 209

180 - 240 minutes/wk

 

 

167 - 184

120 -180 minutes/wk

 

 

118 - 166

90 - 120 minutes/wk

 

 

101 - 117

75 - 90 minutes/wk

 

 

81 – 100

60 - 75 minutes/wk

 

 

70 - 80

45 - 60 minutes/wk

 

 

56 - 69

30 - 45 minutes/wk

 

 

23 - 54

20 - 30 minutes/wk

 

 

0 – 22

0 - 20 minutes/wk

 

 

BASED on a 2400-minute/per week system---

2400 minutes in a school week (includes a 7 hour, 15-minute school day, plus 45 minutes for lunch [lunch time can be used for instruction])

2400 min per week = 480 minutes per day available for instruction

 

Explanation and Justification for Recommended Amount of Service Time

Explain how the minutes per week will be distributed (e.g., 30 minutes, 3 times per week = 90 minutes per week; one hour per month = 15 minutes per week, etc.): ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

If recommended service time as indicated by the O&M VISSIT does not match the IEP team's decided amount of service time, please state the factors or reasons why this discrepancy occurred.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Recommended Schedule of Service Minutes for ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY SERVICES - Educational Team Support/Collaboration

Educational Team

Support/Collaboration Time

TOTAL (box K) from the educational team support/

collaboration column

YOUR Recommended AMOUNT OF EDUCATIONAL TEAM SUPPORT/COLLABORATION SERVICE TIME

(MINUTES PER WEEK)

Score on rubric

Range of suggested service time

 

 

EXAMPLE: 69-80

EXAMPLE: 110-150 minutes/wk

70

120 minutes/wk

112+

600 or more minutes/wk

 

 

101 - 111

450-600 minutes/wk

 

 

91 - 100

300 - 450 minutes/wk

 

 

81 - 90

150 - 300 minutes/wk

 

 

69 - 80

110 - 150 minutes/wk

 

 

58 - 68

70 - 110 minutes/wk

 

 

47 – 57

30 - 70 minutes/wk

 

 

40 – 46

15 - 30 minutes/wk

 

 

27 – 39

10 - 15 minutes/wk

 

 

14 - 26

5 - 10 minutes/wk

 

 

0 – 13

0 - 5 minutes/wk

 

 

BASED on a 2400-minute/per week system---

2400 minutes in a school week (includes a 7 hour, 15-minute school day, plus 45 minutes for lunch [lunch time can be used for instruction]);  2400 min per week = 480 minutes per day available for instruction

Explanation and Justification for Recommended Amount of Service Time

Explain how the minutes per week will be distributed (e.g., 30 minutes, 3 times per week = 90 minutes per week; one hour per month = 15 minutes per week, etc.): ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

 

If recommended service time as indicated by the O&M VISSIT does not match the IEP team's decided amount of service time, please state the factors or reasons why this discrepancy occurred.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

o&M vissit logo

For each student, the O&M specialist will complete and/or review current evaluations (O&M, FVE/LMA, ECC, and other relevant evaluations), including present levels of functioning.  The O&M specialist will use evaluation results to complete the O&M VISSIT.

It is the underlying assumption that, prior to completing the O&M VISSIT, a thorough evaluation of student needs has been conducted.

The O&M VISSIT has three columns: 

  • O&M Skill Area
  • Direct Instruction from the O&M Specialist
  • Educational Team Support/Collaborative Consultation

The first column (O&M Skill Area) lists the areas to be addressed.  The remaining two columns are categories in which a value (number) representing individual level of student need for O&M service will be assigned to each O&M skill area and subsection.  The values and value labels are:

0 = no need (no need at this time)

1 = low need (occasional support and maintenance of skills)

4 = medium need (needs skills but lower priority, generalization and fluency development)

7 = high need (priority-complete mastery of introduced skills)

10 = intense need (acquisition of new skills)

The descriptions of these values are listed under each type of service on the scale to help guide these choices.  These two types of service are:

Direct Instruction from the O&M specialist that will typically be recommended for those areas that require the specialized skills of the O&M specialist to help a student acquire or maintain skills.  Examples may include instruction in O&M-specific technology, critical thinking and problem-solving strategies, sensory efficiency, specific self-determination and self-advocacy skills, etc.  The value assigned will depend upon such issues as:

  • Student need for acquisition or maintenance of skills
  • Skill complexity (e.g., how to use tactile map vs. an electronic GPS device)
  • Student learning style
  • Student and family priorities
  • Age-appropriate programming

Educational Team Support/Collaboration is the time needed by the O&M specialist to share strategies, materials, environmental modifications, and medical information and to model and monitor instructional techniques with the educational team, including family members.  The value assigned will depend upon such issues as:

  • Experience level of team members
  • Complexity of adaptations needed
  • Presence of paraeducator, interpreter, or intervener
  • Number of staff who are interacting with the student

Contributing Factors

There are three factors that merit separate consideration in determining the intensity of services to be recommended.  Contributing factors are variables not addressed by evaluation of the student's present levels in O&M that may increase or decrease the numerical value of the intensity of service.  These factors include: 

Significant Transition

Transition means a significant change in educational setting or instructors that may increase the need for O&M services (+ 10 points) (e.g., from home to school; from ECI to preschool; campus change; from school to homebound setting; from school to higher education, vocational placement, or community settings, etc.). 

Significant Medical Status or Condition

A student’s medical status or condition may increase (+10 points) or decrease (-10 points) suggested O&M service intensity.  A significant change in vision, including a sudden accident, may result in an increase in need for O&M services.  On the other hand, the student’s medical situation such as fragility, stamina, chronic seizures, increased immune deficiency due to cancer treatment, and/or deteriorating health may limit the student's ability to receive O&M instruction even though there is a need, which results in a decrease in need for O&M services at a specific time.  

Time-Intensive Instruction

Time-intensive instruction is a contributing factor to the student's educational needs to be addressed by the O&M specialist. The O&M specialist should add points (+10) to reflect an increase in need of a student who has time-intensive instructional needs related to O&M.  Time-intensive instruction may include bus lessons, skills needed by someone with very recent total vision loss, or lessons that require a longer period of time to accomplish multiple objectives like traveling to a grocery store and shopping for a long grocery list. 

o&M vissit logo

One of the requirements of an orientation and mobility specialist working in an itinerant service delivery model is to recommend the type and amount of O&M service for each student. This decision is often made in a variety of ways, but this recommendation is critical in ensuring student success. There are two types of service provided to students with visual impairments:

  • Direct instruction from the O&M specialist, and
  • Support for others on the educational team, including other special education and general education teachers, paraeducators, family members, related service providers, other school personnel, and community partners.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that instructional goals be based upon evaluation of present levels of performance (United States Department of Education, IDEA, 2004, [§300.320(a)(1)]. The Service Intensity Subcommittee of the Texas Action Committee for the Education of Students with Visual Impairments embarked on a journey of creating a tool that connected itinerant TVI service recommendations to Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) programming based upon student need as demonstrated in the results of student evaluations, the VISSIT for TVIs (Pogrund, Darst, & Munro, 2015). With the success of the VISSIT for TVIs, the subcommittee was asked to create a similar tool for O&M specialists.

Evaluation, instruction, and collaboration in the ECC area of Orientation and Mobility are the primary roles for an O&M specialist. Therefore, the O&M VISSIT was developed around the scope and sequence of orientation and mobility skills. Evaluation for students with visual impairments related to O&M includes all relevant evaluation results, including results from the student’s current O&M evaluation, evaluation of other areas of the ECC, functional vision evaluation, and learning media assessment.

Based on evaluation results, an O&M specialist will use the O&M VISSIT to determine the recommended amount and frequency of O&M services. For the purposes of this scale, services are defined in two separate categories. The first type of service addressed on the O&M VISSIT is direct intervention from an O&M specialist. The second type of service addressed by the tool is collaborative consultation from the O&M specialist with members of the student’s educational team, including family. A student may have a very high need in some skill areas of O&M, but some team member other than the O&M specialist may be providing the service to meet this need (e.g., concept development may be an area of high need for the student, but the TVI and special education teacher could be providing the majority of the services in this area.) Family support needs are crucial for ensuring carryover and generalization of orientation and mobility skills, and they are included as a separate element in the scale.

The O&M VISSIT will help develop recommendations for the amount of time for O&M instructional services (direct and collaborative consultation) per individual student. The O&M VISSIT does not consider any other factors other than student need. Other factors that might impact overall O&M specialist workload are not addressed by the O&M VISSIT. These workload factors include material preparation, travel distances between schools, number of IEP meetings, or case management time.

Based on an initial validation study conducted in 2017, it was determined at that time that the O&M VISSIT is a moderately valid and moderately reliable tool that can be used to recommend amount of service in O&M for students with visual impairments.

*Prior to using the O&M VISSIT, go to Frequently Asked Questions, as you may find answers to many of your questions here.