What is Vision Rehabilitation?  Moving Beyond Vision Loss

This article was written by Elly du Pre, Executive Director of the Florida Agencies Serving the Blind.  I met Elly at a recent Vision Serve Alliance conference.

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In Part One, Vision Rehabilitation is explained as a service provided to all age groups by specific agencies, with a link provided to those agencies in Florida.  In Part Two, the term Vision Rehabilitation is used to refer to an occupation, a career for professionals who work with visually impaired people who are served at those agencies.

This article explains the specific training that is provided by licensed Teachers of the Visually Impaired, certified Vision Impairment Specialists and other professionals in schools, and in the independent nonprofit members of Florida Agencies Serving the Blind.

  • Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT) work primarily with adults, teaching new ways to do everyday tasks with limited vision or no vision. Essential to independent living, these activities include safe and healthy meal preparation, coins and money identification, proper medication use, cleaning, laundering and  matching clothing, paying bills, shopping, braille or various magnification aids, fall prevention, personal hygiene, eating skills, and recreation and leisure activities, etc.*
  • Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVT) often work closely both with optometrists who specialize in patients with low vision and with CVRTs. CLVTs teach the use of magnifiers prescribed by low vision optometrists, plus magnifying technologies and the use of glare-reducing lighting and high-contrast materials to maximize the use of a person’s remaining vision.  When remaining vision is not sufficient to acccomplish tasks efficiently or safely,  then adaptive techniques taught by CVRTs are incorporated.*
  • Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) teach visually impaired individuals to use their senses of hearing, touch, balance and any remaining vision along with magnifiers and white canes or dog guides to travel safely indoors and outdoors, arrive at their destinations, and avoid falls.*
  • Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialists (CATIS) teach people who are blind, visually impaired or have other functional visual limitations to use assistive technology for personal and/or work-related activities. The technology includes smart phones, braille or speech-based notetakers, and computers with special software that reads aloud the content of the screen or magnifies it.*
  • Teachers of the Visually Impaired are licensed by the State to teach school children up to age 21 the skills they need to succeed in school alongside sighted children. TVIs work in public schools, schools for the blind and in private nonprofit agencies. The skills children with vision impairments need to learn include braille, use of magnifiers and other low vision tools, use of computers and other technology.   They also need to acquire additional skills that sighted children learn by observation but visually impaired children need to be taught, such as social skills, self advocacy, self-care, simple meal preparation, safe travel skills, and pre-vocational skills so the children can develop goals about future careers.
  • Licensed counselors, case managers, rehabilitation counselors for job preparation and attainment, and vocational assessment specialists, early intervention specialists for babies, and/or occupational therapists/physical therapists also are part of a comprehensive team.

Do you need to find a local agency who provides this training?   Click here:  https://beyondvisionloss.org/florida-agencies-serving-the-blind-locations/

Do you want to know more about these careers?  Call the Florida Agencies Serving the Blind:  305-898-2636.

*Thank you to www.acvrep.org for definitions of the scope of practice of each certified professional field.

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