Teachers of the Blind and Partially Sighted work with all students individually to assess and develop instructional programs based on the child's impairment and needs. Because 80 percent of learning is based on visual information, the visually impaired child needs to be taught many compensatory skills in order to function and learn in all settings. Parents receive frequent information, support and opportunity to input and are allowed full participation in their child's education. Consultative services to classroom teachers and support staff as well as in-services are offered for school staff and students. The teacher works closely with the ophthalmologist to annually update the medical status of the child. The Vision Department acts as a liaison to link the families and school to agencies in the community that work with the blind and partially sighted. These may include the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Goodwill Industries, and the New York State Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
3-5 Years: Preschool Intervention
The preschool blind and partially sighted child is in need of specialized intervention skills as preparation for academic learning. These include pre-writing and reading skills, braille readiness, listening skills and adaptations of learning materials to enhance visual functioning. The services are delivered in the home, daycare or preschool setting.
5-21 Years: School Age Program
The school age child who is visually impaired is in need of ongoing assessment and direct instruction or consultation to enable the child to function in the overall activities of the school setting. It is the responsibility of the Vision Department to provide adapted materials that include the transcription of print text into braille, or large print text. Teachers in the Vision Department provide ongoing support to classroom teachers, staff, and family.
School Age services include the following:
Functional vision evaluations to be completed on an annual basis
Learning media assessments - To determine adaptations and instructions that will be needed to help the child meet academic expectations
When appropriate, instruction in reading and writing braille, and tactile graphics
Instruction in the use of low-vision materials (large print texts, special lined papers, adaptive measuring devices, adaptations and enlargements of classroom materials)
Instruction in the use of optical low-vision aids (magnifiers, telescopes, closed circuit televisions)
Instruction in the use of assistive technology materials (screen enlargement programs, voice output systems, braille computer technology, recorded materials)
to students who transition to the workplace and college