Blind Visually/Impaired Support Program
The Westmoreland Intermediate Unit facilitates and provides any needed specially designed instruction to any of its local school districts where a student’s visual impairment adversely affects their educational performance. This support is vital to the Local Education Agencies providing basic education programs to their students with visual impairments.
The teaching involves the following:
- Braille instruction
- Orientation and Mobility
- Specific competencies as outlines in the Expanded Core Curriculum such as compensatory academic skills, orientation and mobility, social interaction skills, recreation and leisure skills, independent living, career education, use of assistive technology relating to visually impaired, and visual efficiency skills.
The above skills assist the student in compensating for their vision loss. Specialized materials, assistance with acquiring and training the students in the use of the assistive devices for the visually impaired is provided. This facilitates their academic success in the regular general education curriculum.
The specialized services offered are as follows:
- Effective utilization of low vision
- Keyboarding and handwriting skills
- Orientation and mobility including a HOMES-BEST program
- Instruction in the use of assistive technology specific to visual impairments
- Obtaining and preparing textbooks and materials along with other specialized instructional materials in the appropriate medium for the students
- Braille instruction
- Acting as an integral part of the Transition Planning Team
All of the above skills are implemented so that each student can function as independently as possible and meet their educational needs and requirements in the least restrictive environment.
How is Eligibility for Services Determined?
Eligibility for services includes a referral and a comprehensive assessment by a multidisciplinary evaluation team. A written report detailing the student’s most recent eye examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist must be included with a student’s referral. As part of the evaluation process and Educational Functional Vision Evaluation will be conducted, a Learning Media Assessment may be done, and if needed, an Orientation and Mobility Evaluation.
All teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaired Support Program are certified by the State of Pennsylvania in the education of student with visual impairments.
The current staff includes:Amanda Winnor - Supervisor of Special EducationAlyssa Finley - Teacher of the Visually ImpairedMichele Jones - Teacher of the Visually ImpairedAmy Yurko - Teacher of the Visually ImpairedSharon DeVito - Classroom Assistant for the Visually Impaired