Vision and Orientation & Mobility Services
What is Vision Support?
Vision Support is a related service providing quality educational support by a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). The MCIU offers vision support services for children aged 3-21. A TVI travels to school buildings to provide services such as direct instruction to students, consultation with school personnel, and adaptation and preparation of materials. TVIs also focus on instruction related to the expanded core curriculum (ECC) to support students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind, and blind or visually impaired with additional disabilities.
Who is Eligible for Vision Services?
A student is eligible for vision support services as a result of a comprehensive evaluation process including FVE that documents a visual impairment that adversely affects their educational performance. This evaluation process may also include screenings or additional testing within the areas of Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) and Learning Media Assessment (LMA).
What is Orientation & Mobility (O&M)?
Orientation & Mobility (O&M) is a service reserved for individuals identified as blind or visually impaired who require direct instruction or consultative services by a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). The MCIU offers O&M services for children aged 3-21. The objective of O&M service is to ensure safe travel and movement in their school environment and community.
Who is Eligible for O&M Services?
A student is eligible for O&M services as a result of a functional orientation and mobility evaluation that documents a need for developing travel skills that are impeded by their visual impairment.
How to refer students for Vision and/or Orientation & Mobility
Students are referred for a Functional Vision and/or Orientation & Mobility Evaluation to determine eligibility by their local school district. All school age referrals should include the MCIU referral form, the student’s current IEP and ER/RR (if applicable) and an eye doctor report (if available). Vision and/or O&M services can be requested by a school district by submitting an MCIU referral form and including the student’s IEP, current ER/RR, and vision report (if available).
Children who are of Early Intervention age (3-5) can find more information in the Office of Early Childhood Services.
Vision Support Services
Functional Vision Evaluation
An evaluation is conducted by a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) to assess student’s functional vision performance to determine eligibility for vision services.
Vision Impaired Support – Direct/Consult
Vision Services (both direct and consultative) are provided per the student’s IEP. Direct services (individual/group) are provided by a TVI to address educational goals and needs specified within the students’ IEPs. Consultative services are provided by a TVI as a support to school personnel and may include material preparation, accommodations and modifications per the students’ IEP and/or 504 plan.
Orientation & Mobility Services
Functional Orientation & Mobility Evaluation
An evaluation conducted by an Orientation and Mobility Specialist to determine eligibility for O&M services. Pre-requisite: This evaluation is reserved for students who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind, and those with additional disabilities that include a vision loss.
Orientation & Mobility – Direct/Consult
Orientation and Mobility (both direct and consultative) are provided per the student’s IEP in the school and community environments. Direct services (individual/group) are provided by a COMS/ACVREP certified O&M Instructor/Specialist to address student specific goals in a variety of settings per the student’s IEP. O&M services are specific to students who are receiving vision support services.
Vision Technology Services
Vision SETT Meeting
Services of a specialist are available from MCIU to coordinate and lead SETT meetings for students with visual needs to determine and trial assistive technology devices that best meet the needs of the student.
Vision Technology – Direct/Consult
An observation and consultation can be requested for a vision technology specialist to support the educational team regarding various assistive technology being utilized by a student with visual impairment. Vision Technology may also be incorporated as a direct service in an IEP to provide direct instruction to a student on how to utilize assistive technology to access curriculum (screen reader technology, magnification software, braille note taking device, etc.)
Jill Christopher is a Program Administrator for the Hearing and Vision Programs at MCIU. Her career began as a Teacher of the Deaf after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Boston University. She spent 16 years as a teacher working with students of many ages (birth-21) using multiple communication modes (ASL/Bilingual-Bicultural to Listening and Spoken Language) and in various educational programs (Schools for the Deaf, Intermediate Unit classrooms, district mainstream).
She transitioned into Administration in 2016 and received her Special Education Supervisory Certificate from Penn State University. Jill co-chairs MCIU’s Deaf-Blind Resource Team (DBRT) which began in 2019 when MCIU was selected to participate in Pennsylvania’s Deaf-Blind Project. She is grateful for the opportunity to lead MCIU’s Hearing and Vision Programs and honored to work with an exceptional team of professionals who love working with children and share her passion of promoting and ensuring all students have access and resources to succeed in their educational environments.