Visual Impairments

What is a "Visual Impairment?"

According to State of Florida Administrative Code Rule 6A-6.03014(1)(a-c), the definition of students who are visually impaired include students who are blind, have no vision, or have little potential for using vision and students who have low vision. The term visual impairment does not include students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual perceptual and/or visual motor difficulties.

Program for the Visually Impaired

The Visually Impaired Program provides specialized instruction in all areas of the curriculum to eligible students from birth through their twenty-second birthday. Special education services are provided by fully certified itinerant Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) in a variety of educational settings including consultative support or direct services in both self-contained and general education classes in accordance with individual education plans (IEPs). The determination of the type of VI-related services provided by a TVI or Orientation & Mobility Specialist, as well as the schedule of services, is decided by the IEP team. Students who receive consultative services will generally be seen on a monthly basis by the appropriate VI professional(s). Orientation and mobility instruction is provided both on campus and in the community and is provided by a certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

Orientation and Mobility

Orientation skills address knowing where one is located and is going. Mobility skills address how one gets where one wants to go. Orientation and Mobility instruction is the specialized instruction for individuals with a visual impairment to assist them in developing appropriate travel skills in order to move safely and efficiently in their environment as independently as possible. These skills are taught by an Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

Although the definition above is short, the O & M instructor’s responsibilities are very important and numerous. They are one of the corner stones in supporting and helping the visually impaired student reach the goal of independence.