Learners with visual impairments benefit from educational experiences that take into account their unique learning needs that require the acquisition of knowledge and skills in alternative ways including tactile, visual, and auditory.
Candidates are expected to demonstrate competence in assessment and instruction to promote functional literacy in braille, print, and auditory methodologies and to design educational environments utilizing the most appropriate media and technology to promote learning.
Students with visual impairments are a heterogeneous population, requiring the availability of a wide range of curricular and placement options in order to foster participation in the home, school, and community in ways that meet the particular needs of individual learners.
Candidates are expected to demonstrate skills in collaborating with an array of professionals as well as families in order to facilitate learner participation and growth within the context of their educational experience.
Competencies to instruct learners with visual impairments must address individual needs across a broad age range (birth to 22 years), a variety of visual conditions (mild visual impairment to total blindness) including cerebral visual impairment as well as learners who have visual impairments and multiple disabilities.
Candidates experience a program that combines intensive didactic training for specific skill acquisition along with fieldwork to promote these competencies.
Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity is emphasized throughout the program in didactic course work and field experiences.
Candidates are expected to participate in field assignments that include diverse populations, and issues related to the effects of cultural and linguistic differences are infused throughout the curriculum.
Methods to promote access to the Core Curriculum and instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum must be addressed in programs for learners with visual impairments.
This includes an array of areas including compensatory skills to access the core curriculum, functional academics, communication modes, orientation and mobility, social skills, independent living, recreation and leisure, career education, transition beyond high school, assistive technology, sensory efficiency, and self-determination. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the ability to provide appropriate assessment and differentiated instruction in these areas using a variety of techniques to promote competencies for a range of learners leading to active participation in school, home, work, and community environments.
- The program emphasizes an individual differences approach to developmental issues related to visual impairments, looking at both learner characteristics and environmental circumstances in order to develop appropriate instructional strategies. Candidates are expected to demonstrate knowledge and skills regarding the effects of adventitious and congenital visual impairments as well as the impact of various conditions on learning and development given the unique life circumstances of each individual.
- Families and social networks have a profound impact on the social-emotional development of learners with visual impairments across age ranges that must be taken into account in any educational program. Candidates are expected to demonstrate competencies, emphasized throughout the program, related to understanding the effects of visual impairment on family dynamics and social interaction as well as techniques to promote effective interaction with families.