Visual impairment and Orientation & Mobility services
A child with a visual impairment is defined as a child with vision that adversely affects their educational performance, even with correction. The Copper Country Intermediate School District (ISD) has personnel and systems in place to help students in our local schools who have such visual impairments.
If it is known or suspected that a child has a visual impairment, including blindness, the Copper Country ISD Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired will conduct a Functional Vision Assessment and a Learning Media Assessment. The Functional Vision Assessment will provide the local school and parents with information about what the student is able to see and how they are using their vision. The Learning Media Assessment will provide information on the best instructional medium to be used to support the child–print, auditory, tactile (braille) or some combination. The information obtained through these evaluations will be used to determine eligibility and appropriate services.
The Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired assists in determining and obtaining classroom equipment and materials necessary for the student with visual impairments to learn. These materials may include magnifiers, audiobooks, text-to-speech or speech-to-text software, large print, braille, etc. The Teacher Consultant also provides the classroom teacher with information regarding the specialized strategies needed to teach a student who is blind or visually impaired, including necessary room modifications and lighting changes.
Orientation and mobility are also essential parts of the curriculum in the overall delivery of services to children with visual impairments. A Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist is available to support concept development, motor development, sensory skills, and environmental and community awareness. For example, if a child is visually impaired with minimal additional disabilities, orientation and mobility services might include cane travel. The white cane is used by travelers all over the world to allow visually impaired persons to confidently walk to wherever they are going.
The federal government has assigned Oct. 15 as White Cane Safety Day to recognize the independence and skill of people who use white canes. It’s also a reminder that laws in all 50 states require drivers to yield the right of way to people with white canes, even when they’re not on a crosswalk.
Visual impairment is considered a low incidence disability, meaning that it occurs rarely or in low numbers. However, the Copper Country ISD still has a dual certified Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired and Operations & Mobility Specialist on staff who provides services to any eligible student at any of our 13 local school districts. This specialist works with visually impaired students to help them reach their full potential. Since children who are visually impaired quite often have additional disabilities, ISD personnel also work together to coordinate the services that a child needs to succeed in school.
The Copper Country ISD has certified and trained staff to help all students with disabilities no matter how high or low the incidence of the disability.