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Improving Education for Individuals with Visual Impairments.

VRT Program Course Descriptions

Required Courses

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.

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.

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.

VISN 630: Introduction to Visual Rehabilitation Therapy

Course Description: This course examines the functional implications of vision loss on primary activities of daily living, with emphasis in basic methodologies of Orientation and Mobility and Rehabilitation Teaching. Exploration of life skills essential to independence will be addressed with consideration to student and adult populations. Weekly lecture content will be enhanced by functional lab activities designed to give the student the opportunity to experience and critically assess the effectiveness of current methodology.

SPE-G 644 (VISN 631): Methods of Rehabilitation Therapy I

Course Description: This course is designed to provide the learner with hands-on instruction, independent learning and laboratory practice in the methodologies and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional vision rehabilitation therapist in the Personal Management / Recreation and Leisure areas of Independent Living Skills. This course will emphasize the utilizations of adaptive techniques and resources gathering, and will address skills that are applicable for adults and older adults as well as children and adolescents. Laboratory experienced with blindfolds and low vision simulators will provide each learner with the opportunity to practice recommended techniques and adaptations that will facilitate the teaching of selected Independent Living Skills to students, clients and consumers who are blind or having low vision.

SPE-G 698 (VISN 639): Practicum in VRT

Course Description: This course is for students who have completed course work and all prepracticum hours with both children and adults. Internships may be full-time or part-time, but must be completed in two semesters. Interns are required to keep an ongoing diary of their experiences along with a capstone portfolio documenting clinical requirements set by ACVREP, totaling a minimum of 350 hours.

SPE-G 645 (VISN 632): Methods of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy II

Course Description: This course provides an in-depth examination of assessment tools, resources and instructional methodology associated with the expanding area of communications and technology. The course builds upon the foundational courses to advance instructional competency in braille, low-vision handwriting, drawing and computer technologies.

Pre Practicum Requirements of this course:

This course has a concurrent pre-practicum communications and technology lab. A major component of the communications lab is to give students the opportunity to learn and experience instructional techniques through the use of blindfolds and low-vision simulators. After acquiring these skills, students will focus on teaching each other, then modifying the techniques for diverse populations. Students will meet for 10 sessions, totaling 60 contact hours throughout the semester. This field-based pre-practicum experience will be offered by an ACVREP-certified vision rehabilitation therapist and a made regionally accessible across the six NE states..

COUNSL 603: Foundations of Rehabilitation

Course Description: This course seeks to provide students with basic information about the process of rehabilitation and its history and philosophy. Discussions also focus on the organizational structure of the rehabilitation system, the counselor, and legal and ethical issues in the practice of rehabilitation counseling. 

COUNSL 612 Vocational Rehabilitation & Placement

Course Description: This course seeks to provide students with information about the total vocational rehabilitation process, including follow-up services. Topics include the referral process; eligibility criteria; comprehensive (medical, psychological, vocational) assessment; vocational training; and placement.

COUNSL 653: Perspectives in Cross-Cultural Counseling

Course Description: This course addresses the role of culture in counseling and psychology by looking both at history and at current issues. Discussions use an interdisciplinary framework to approach the question of counseling in a multicultural society. The course seeks to contribute to both the personal and the professional development of its participants.

Elective Courses

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.  There are no face to face classes.

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

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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