Blind/Low Vision Resource Services and Outreach Programs
Specialist Teachers of the Blind from the Vision Resource Services and Outreach Programs department at the W. Ross Macdonald School provide services for students who are blind/visually impaired including those with additional exceptionalities. These services are free for those students who attend (or will be attending) publicly funded elementary and secondary schools*. Consultants use a collaborative approach involving observation and consultation with the multidisciplinary team.
We offer the following services:
- Preschool Services (including referral packages)
- School age services (including referral package)
- Workshops and/or Professional Development (including request package)
- Short Term Programs (including calendar and application forms)
*a fee for service (+ prorated travel expenses) is available for students attending First Nations Community Schools or Private Schools.
Student focused consultations
In order to access consultative services for specific students the following information is typically requested:
- Referral form signed by parent/guardian
- Medical report including a current ophthalmology report
- Any other reports considered pertinent
Consultants typically will spend from one-half to one full day in the classroom. A brief meeting between the teacher and the consultant prior to student observation will provide the consultant with information of the teachers’ concerns. It is typical for consultants to:
- Gather and collect data while observing the student
- Observe and record the student’s interactions with peers and staff
- Withdraw the student from the classroom
Following the visit a summary report is written. Consultants are available to attend team meetings in order to share recommendations and observations.
Our consultants are specialists in the field of blindness and low vision. Their experience and training has qualified them to address the needs of students with vision loss where specialized methods and techniques are necessary for learning and development.
Educational Consultants provide:
- Functional vision assessments of students,
- Interpretation of medical reports regarding vision,
- Learning media assessments, assistive devices assessments to determine eligibility for the Special Equipment Amount (SEA),
- Orientation and Mobility consultation and needs,
- Programming suggestions for visual needs,
- Programming suggestions for learning media needs and special equipment needs.
Other services to School Boards include presentations and workshops to provide information about the educational implications of visual impairment and the coordination of professional development at the W. Ross Macdonald School for teachers, consultants and other professionals serving students who have a vision loss in Board settings.
These presentations can include:
- Classroom Strategies for teaching students with a visual impairment
- Assistive Technology
- Impact of various visual disorders
- Simulation workshops
- Learning Strategies
- Orientation and Mobility
- Learning Strategies for students who are blind/visually impaired with additional exceptionalities
- Activities of Daily Living
- Essential Skills
We also provide clinic days for the Early Intervention Program where families and children are served. Children’s visual and developmental needs are assessed.