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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Blind and Visually Impaired (B/VI)

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms


Accessible Educational Material (AEM): Materials designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format.

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM): Refers to print instructional materials that have been transformed into four specialized formats (audio, braille, digital, and large print text). This term has been really replaced with accessible educational materials (AEM) in most places.

American Printing House (APH): American Printing House for the Blind is a nonprofit organization creating accessible learning experiences through educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind and visually impaired (B/VI). They provide materials in braille, braille labelers, braille toys/games, and tactile aids for learning at school and home.

Assistive Technology (AT): Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, or product which supports a child’s ability to do what they want to do. AT can be high tech, such as a screen reader or magnification device, or it can be low tech, such as object cues.


Blind or Visually Impaired (B/VI): The medical definition for legal blindness is a medical diagnosis of a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses. Blindness does not necessarily mean that there is no vision at all, many people who are blind can see lights and shapes. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) states that blindness or visual impairment is defined by a child’s school performance being negatively affected due to vision loss. For many people, it is a personal preference as to whether they want to be called blind or visually impaired.


Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS): A professional who instructs people who are blind or visually impaired to travel and navigate safely and independently. They support children at home, in schools, and in the community.

County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CBDD): A county agency in Ohio that provides supports and services to eligible persons with disabilities.


Department of Developmental Disabilities: A state agency that offers support across the lifespan of people with developmental disabilities, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) oversees a statewide system of supportive services that focus on assuring health and safety, supporting access to community participation, and increasing opportunities for meaningful employment.


Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC): The term expanded core curriculum (ECC) is used to define concepts and skills that often require direct specialized support with children who are blind or visually impaired (BVI) in order to provide opportunities for direct instruction in areas that other may learn incidentally through visual channels.

Early Intervention (EI): State-wide program that provides services to support the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of children with disabilities from birth to age three.

Educational Service Center (ESC): There are 58 educational service centers in Ohio that provide school districts with professional development, technology support, planning, student service supports, and administrative services to improve student learning, enhance quality of instruction, and expand equal access to resources. School districts contract with these ESCs for the specific services they need.

Evaluation Team Report (ETR): The educational assessment teams’ documented results, implications for instructions, and recommendations of a multi factored evaluation (MFE), which consist of a student’s strengths and needs. This report is used for special education eligibility determination and to plan an individualized education program (IEP).


Functional Vision Assessment (FVA): An assessment of how a learner uses their vision for everyday activities. A teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) will perform the assessment through a variety of tests, observations, and interviews with parents, teachers, and the learner. A person’s visual condition and abilities can change over time; therefore, the FVA needs to be repeated periodically.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA): A federal law which details the educational rights and requirements applicable to students with disabilities.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): A legal document which details a student’s special education program. Once a student qualifies for special education services, a designated team of required members must complete an IEP within 30 days of that eligibility. The document contains a present level of functioning, goals, objectives, and the specialized instruction and supports that the child needs. The document must be reviewed at least annually.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): An action plan detailing the supports and services that early intervention will provide to eligible young children with disabilities.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP): An action plan detailing the supports and services that a County Board of Developmental Disabilities will provide to eligible children and adults with disabilities.

Intervention Specialist/Special Education Teacher: A teacher with specialized training and knowledge in how to assess and instruct learners who benefit from additional or specialized supports and are receiving special education services. These teachers may also be referred to as a special education teacher.


Learning Media Assessment (LMA): An assessment to determine the literacy mode, or method of people who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI). Modes or methods may include reading large print, braille, or audio.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): Supports and services provided to meet the individual needs of each child in order to make an educational setting inclusive and accessible.


Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE): An assessment evaluating a student’s cognitive, emotional, social, physical, and academic development to determine whether the student qualifies for special education services. Specifically identifies a student’s strengths and needs.


Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI): A state level agency that informs policy, consults and collaborates, and develops and deploys best practices which includes providing resources, trainings, and support to families with children who have disabilities, and related professionals so that people with disabilities have the opportunity to live their best lives for their whole lives.

Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD): A statewide non-profit program which provides direct support to families and their children with disabilities. The Parent Mentor Program is part of OCECD.

Ohio Department of Education (ODE): A state agency which supports and manages school districts and education in Ohio.

Office for Exceptional Children (OEC): A state agency which provides leadership, assistance, and oversight to school districts and other entities that provide differentiated instruction for students with disabilities and gifted students.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD): State agency that provides services and support to Ohioans with disabilities to achieve quality employment, independence, and social security disability determination outcomes.

Occupational Therapist (OT): A professional who works with people to improve their fine-motor skills.


Parent Mentor (PM): A professional who is a parent of a child with disabilities specially trained to support and mentor other parents experiencing similar circumstances. They are employed through the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD) and provide guidance navigating special needs systems.

Prior Written Notice: A legal form, which is part of the individualized education program (IEP) process. It notes any changes to be made in your child’s IEP or evaluation team report (ETR).

Physical Therapist (PT): A professional who works with people to improve their gross motor or large muscle skills.


Response to Intervention (RTI): A multi-tiered (or three step process) approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.


Speech Language Pathologist (SLP): SLPs work to assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language development, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children.

State Support Team (SST): There are 16 regional state support teams in Ohio to provide coordination and support for common barriers in school improvement and services for low-performing students.


Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI): A certified teacher that provides assessment, instruction, and support to students who are blind/visually impaired and their educational team to enhance the student’s learning.


Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): A program designed to support individuals with disabilities with employment and daily living.