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


General/Regular Education Classroom Teacher

The general education teacher (sometimes referred to as the regular education teacher) is responsible for all students in their classroom. The main roles of the general education teacher are to plan, coordinate, schedule, and evaluate curriculum and instructional outcomes within a secure and positive classroom environment for all students, including those with disabilities. The general education teacher collaborates with all members of your child’s school team and participates in your child’s individualized education program (IEP) meetings if your child qualifies for special education services. General education teachers can implement accommodations detailed in your child’s IEP and provide student data to the school team to identify the student’s areas of strengths and challenge.

The teacher collaborates with the teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI), intervention specialist (IS), and other members of the school team. They may also consult with a TVI or IS about creating/requesting Accessible Educational Materials (AEM). AEM provides access to literacy and learning for students who are B/VI.

School districts can request funding for AEM through the Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials (AT&AEM) Center at OCALI through the Federal Quota Program.

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Want to learn more about the general education teacher?
See Specific Roles of General Educators in Serving Students with Disabilities and their Parents (Project IDEAL)

Intervention Specialist or Special Education Teacher

These two terms, “intervention specialist,” and “special education teacher,” refer to the same professional. In Ohio, the term intervention specialist is used. An intervention specialist is specifically trained to teach students with disabilities. They may teach in general education classrooms, resource rooms, or in self-contained classrooms. Intervention specialists are knowledgeable about the general education curriculum, modified curricula, and intervention strategies to support instruction in academics and behavior. They know the content of each learner’s special education program and make accommodations and modifications to provide access to educational content, instruction, and assessments. In particular, intervention specialists may collaboratively plan with their general education peers, and collaboratively implement accommodations for students with disabilities. Intervention specialists and general education teachers often teach together, and this is referred to as co-teaching. In this situation, it is important that both teachers have access to every student's records which may include medical information related to a child’s vision or technology. With this information, the two teachers can co-plan in order to co-serve their students.

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Want more general information about special education teachers?
See Specific Roles of Special Educators in Serving Students with Disabilities and their Parents.

Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)

A teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) is a licensed intervention specialist or special education teacher with credentials specific to teaching skills important for children who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI). They perform important assessments, such as the functional vision assessment (FVA), learning media assessment (LMA), and expanded core curriculum (ECC) assessments. These assessments are explained in other sections of this guide. TVIs use assessments to develop and provide direct instruction for students who are B/VI. Instruction may include how to use braille, operate assistive technology (AT), perform daily living skills, and engage in the ECC (an optional curriculum that focuses on essential non-academic skills). They work with the school team to acquire accessible educational materials (AEM) and adapt the environment to encourage student independence. TVIs will provide consultation and support to family and school team members. The TVI is a key participant in your child’s individualized education program (IEP) team.

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Want to learn more about the role of the TVI?
See The Central Role of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments