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Improving Education for Individuals with Visual Impairments.

O&M Program Course Descriptions

Required Courses

VISN 601: Physical & Functional Aspects of Visual Impairment

Course Description: The student is introduced to the structure and function of the main systems of the human body and to those chronic conditions which may affect these systems. Emphasis will be placed on disabilities most frequently seen in conjunction with visual impairments and how the combined impact will affect instruction for individuals with visual impairment. Having covered these areas, each of the sensory systems will also be explored with the mechanics of locomotion and psychomotor factors influencing mobility.

Most materials for this course will be available on-line. The resources below are recommended.

All texts can be purchased directly from the publisher using the links above. Please order the format that best suits your needs.

VISN 602: Education of Students with Visual Impairments

Course Description: This course examines the philosophical, historical and legal foundations of special education services for students with visual impairments, and gives an overview of the wide array of services and resources available to the students with visual impairment. Topics include legislation, service systems, roles and responsibilities of specialized service providers and the impact of visual impairment on child development. 

 

VISN 604: Visual Functioning

Course Description:In this fully on-line course, the sessions are designed to provide a basic understanding of the physical structures of the eye and their functions, an understanding of pathologies that affect the visual system and how they impact visual functioning. Topics include: structures of the eye, ocular optics, basic brain anatomy and development of vision, and functional implications of common eye diseases.

Note: There are no face-to-face session for this course.

All texts can be purchased directly from the publisher using the links above. Please order the format that best suits your needs.

SPE-G 621: Introduction to Disabilities

Course Description: The focus of this course is to provide a foundation in the field of special education. Students will explore philosophical, historical, and sociological issues related to this area. Federal and state legislation will be presented (The Individuals with Disablilities Education Act- 97, No Child Left Behind Law, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973). Critical issues and controversies will be highlighted. Both typical and atypical development will provide a framework for understanding disabilities. The required curricular, behavioral, and social interventions that are associated with identified disabilities will be explored. How to facilitate and support placement in the least restrictive environment will be discussed, as well as strategies for enhancing student outcomes. Specific concerns relative to linguistic and racial background and their impact upon special needs placement and interventions will also be explored. The critical role of parents will be emphasized.

VISN 605: Implications of Low Vision

Course Description: This course is designed to train professionals to work with individuals who have low vision in both rehabilitation and educational settings. Through selected readings and presentations on the theoretical and practical aspects of low vision, participants will acquire a solid knowledge base; and become comfortable with various low vision concepts and methods for integrating visual needs and adapted equipment within an educational/rehabilitation environment. In addition, small group activities, case studies, and simulation will be incorporated throughout the course to provide students with the practical application of skills and techniques learned.

SPE-G 623 (VISN 640): Psycho-social Aspects of Visual Impairments

Course Description: This course will investigate the psychosocial aspects of vision loss. Coping techniques and issues of self-esteem will be explored along with principles of self-determination. Other topics include the psychosocial aspects of personal life management such as orientation and mobility, use of volunteers, sexuality, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychosocial issues specific to people from diverse cultures will also be addressed.

SPE-G 643 (VISN 614): Instructional Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments Including Those with Additional Disabilities

 Course Description: This course examines and explores the unique educational needs of children with visual impairments and children with visual and multiple impairments as well as techniques for instruction related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings from ages 3-22. Topics include program planning for core and expanded core curriculum, adaptive techniques, and diverse communication systems. This course requires a field-based placement/pre-practicum requirement.

VISN 625: Methods of Orientation and Mobility

TThis course examines the foundations of learning and teaching Orientation and Mobility. A weekly on-line lecture will provide an introduction to the principles of concept development, spatial orientation, and environmental analysis as these topics relate to independent travel by individuals who are visually impaired.

All texts can be purchased directly from the publisher using the links above. Please order the format that best suits your needs.

SPE-G 671 (VISN 642): Technology for Children with Visual Impairment and Multiple Disabilities

Course Description: This course will assist students in understanding how technology can provide access to communication and to the curriculum for children who are visually impaired with additional disabilities including deafblindness.  Students will explore a spectrum of assistive technology from simple technology to high tech and develop a framework to identify features to meet the educational needs of this population.  Methods of using assistive technology to support curriculum will be explored and demonstrated through the creation of customized computer activities using current multimedia authoring programs. Strategies for integrating assistive technology into the classroom in both self-contained and inclusive settings will be discussed.

SPE-G 612 (VISN 621): O&M Assessment: Children

Course Description: This course is an instructional strategies course and applies foundations and methods to the specific populations of pre-school, elementary, and transition-aged children. Assessment tools are introduced and applied, with an emphasis on development of the students' abilities in observational skills, information gathering, and task analysis in the development of specific objectives and lesson design for instructing children. Methods in team instruction, consultation, and itinerant teaching are examined. Competencies for the course will be integrated into both classroom and field-based experiences.
Pre-Practicum O&M Assessment: Children
This is a field-based experience which provides the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and learn observational and assessment strategies through direct student contact. The field site options will include experience with children, and the opportunity to diversify the experience between infants, preschool, school-aged, and transitional students. This course requires daytime participation to acquire a minimum of 15 hours of instructional experience. This must be taken concurrently with SPE-G 612 (VISN 621): Pre-prepracticum: O&M Assessment: Children.

Elective Courses

SPE-G 623 (VISN 640): Psycho-social Aspects of Visual Impairments

Course Description: This course will investigate the psychosocial aspects of vision loss. Coping techniques and issues of self-esteem will be explored along with principles of self-determination. Other topics include the psychosocial aspects of personal life management such as orientation and mobility, use of volunteers, sexuality, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychosocial issues specific to people from diverse cultures will also be addressed.

VISN 646: Introduction to Audiology and the Human Auditory System

Course Description: This course will cover the nature of sound and how humans perceive it. Sound in the environment and how sound is used by humans to move through their environment will also be explored. Topics include the basics of sound, anatomy and physiology of the auditory system with an emphasis on function, common disorders of the auditory system and how these disorders are manifested. The principles of basic audiology and how to understand and relate to the audiologist provide a foundation for hearing both clinically and functionally. Students will learn hearing aid technology and the application of that technology to various auditory disorders in a functional sense.  

Texts: All required readings are provided within the course. 

SPE-G 672 (VISN 643): Foundations of Research in Visual Impairment

Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to basic research design and methods used in special education, especially in the area of visual impairments. Students will learn to critically analyze research literature and will have the opportunity to design a small-scale research proposal. Due to the unique challenges investigators face when researching issues in the area of visual impairments, this course will discuss many of the obstacles the student may encounter when working in the area of low incidence disabilities. Modules will include: research methodologies and approaches, participants, as well as analysis of data

SPE-G 697 (VISN 647): Early Intervention and Visual Impairment

Course Description: This course is designed to give students an overview of Early Childhood Special Education with a focus on children with visual impairments. Students will examine typical as well as atypical child development and many of the characteristics of visual impairments.  Students will also examine the impact a visual impairment can have on a child’s cognitive and social development. The course will also focus on basic medical and prenatal care issues. This course is designed to acquaint students with a sampling of assessment practices and the need for early intervention in order to meet the developmental and social/emotional needs of young children and infants with visual impairments. The course materials will be presented via Modules and lectures, which must be completed in numeric order. There will also be weekly discussion board questions that will be utilized as an integral part of the Learning Modules.

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