Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)

Teachers of students with visual impairments (or VI teachers) are specialized teachers with unique competencies to meet the diverse needs of students with visual impairments. VI teachers work within the special education system, but address the unique needs of children with visual impairments. In addition to working with the children (usually in a one-to-one relationship), VI teachers work closely with other teachers, parents, other people and organizations in the community. VI teachers are specialists at translating medical information into educational practices.
VI teachers understand basic diagnostic information about vision, and visual impairments. They take information on a student's visual diagnosis, conduct a functional vision evaluation, and a learning media assessment. Based on those sources of information develop a plan to best teach the student and work with others to address instructional needs. These needs will include basic core curriculum and student-specific needs.

Orientation and Mobility Specialists (O&M)

We are a mobile society. With orientation and mobility training, people with visual impairments are able to travel safely, efficiently and independently. Orientation and mobility is about being able to respond to the questions: Where am I?, Where am I going?, and How am I going to get there?
O&M specialists help people move about their home, school, community and workplace with confidence. Orientation and mobility specialists (O&M specialists) work with adults and children.
As an O&M specialist you might:
  • Teach a young blind baby how to move towards her mother’s voice.
  • Teach a child with low vision how to interpret the sounds of traffic.
  • Teach a teenager how to use a cane when traveling in a crowded mall.
  • Coordinate with family members to teach a visually impaired person how to participate in a sporting event.
  • Teach a visually impaired a man who recently lost his vision how to find the most efficient and safe way to get to work, home, and community events.
  • Work with community planners on safe street crossings, public transportation issues and other community resources.
Orientation and mobility specialists work for school districts, rehabilitation agencies and hospitals. Many O&M specialists are self-employed, working as contractors for districts or agencies.
O&M specialists can be certified with a bachelors degree in orientation and mobility, a post-bachelors certification and/or with a masters degree.

Low Vision Therapists (CLVT)

Low Vision Therapists are specialists in understanding low vision and devices that can improve functional vision. They translate the medical information into functional information, with the use of magnifiers, telescopes, and techniques to maximize vision. Low vision devices may include a closed circuit TV, magnifiers for various purposes and how to use light to its best advantage. Low Vision Therapists work closely with doctors and are expert at teaching people how to use low vision devices.

Low Vision Therapists typically work within a doctor’s office or a rehabilitation agency.

As a Low Vision Therapist, you might:
  • Help a Grandmother use her low vision devices so she can see the pictures of her grandchildren.

  • Show how to use low vision devices so a father can read his mail and pay his bills.

  • Teach a young person how to use low vision devices to determine which bus will take them to work or college