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Blind/Visual Impairments

Our philosophy is based on the premise that children with visual impairments are first of all children with the same basic needs as all other children. One of the primary concerns of a teacher of the blind/visually impaired (TBVI) is to ensure proper placement, access and program adaptation for students who are blind/visually impaired.

Licensed TBVI will participate as part of the team throughout the screening, assessment, educational planning and programming for any students with a qualifying visual impairment. The TBVI will serve as a resource to all team members including parents, administrators, classroom and resource teachers, and support staff.

The itinerant TBVI travels to the students' assigned schools to provide direct and/or consultative special education services relating to vision loss. The field is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified teachers and any special education license teacher desiring a challenging and rewarding career should contact one of us for more information.

  • Students ages 0–21 who have been medically diagnosed as having a visual impairment and show an educational need
  • An acuity of 20/60 or less in the child's best eye with correction
  • A visual field of less than 20 degrees
  • A degenerative condition that will cause a significant vision loss, such as Runnins Pigmentosa (RP), Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH), glaucoma, juvenile macular degeneration or retinopathy of prematurity
  • A serious temporary loss due to patching, accident, injury, etc.

Behaviors that could signify a vision problem

  • Shows sensitivity to light
  • Squints to see things close or far away
  • Turns or tilts head to one side to see better
  • Rubs eyes a lot
  • Blinks often when reading or watching TV
  • Closes or covers one eye to see things close or far away
  • Stares at lights for long periods of time
  • Has trouble locating or picking up small objects
  • Has crusty eye lids, red and water eyes, or frequent styes
  • Eyes do not move together
  • Eyes are crossed
  • Frequent, severe headaches

Materials and resources that may be available:

  • Educational materials in Braille, large print or audio formats
  • Specialized instructional materials and adaptive equipment

Services are individualized for each student based on his/her educational needs.

Services may include:

  • Instruction in the reading and writing of Braille
  • Support in assistive technology, including proper use and care of equipment
  • Daily living, socialization, and communication skills
  • Development and use of residual vision
  • Orientation and mobility (travel) skills
  • Provide resources, information, and materials to teachers and parents
  • Assist in the coordination of interaction between agencies
  • Serve as an IEP member to help develop appropriate and realistic goals and objectives
  • Support to families through ECSE facilitators

Michelle Schull, 507-389-6012
Kristi Portugue, 507-389-5086
Meridith Tietz, 507-389-1889
Erin Toninato, 507-389-1914