Instruction for Students Who are Visually Impaired
First Children School offers specialized services for students who are blind or visually impaired. We two full-time teachers of the visually impaired (TVI) on staff which has broadened our ability to provide individual and consultative sessions to our students registered with the Commission for the Blind. In addition to providing support to our teachers and therapeutic staff regarding the selection, position and illumination of materials, our TVIs are able to assist with the design of classroom environments that are conducive for students with cortical and other visual impairments.
An eye gaze system has been introduced by our occupational therapy department in conjunction with our TVIs. Our speech and language pathologists and physical therapists have also been involved with regard respectively to communication and positioning. The eye gaze system offers training for looking, tracking, and activation, as well as other purposes such as communication.
Elizabeth Clark Elizabeth is a school supervisor and a teacher for the visually impaired (TVI) at First Children School. She has been within the special education field for over ten years. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from New Jersey City University. She earned a scholarship to receive a master’s in the arts of teaching with a concentration and certification in special education and early childhood development P-3 from New Jersey City University and a master’s in education with a teacher of the visually impaired certification from the College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Elizabeth recently graduated from Seton Hall University’s Executive Cohort Program where she received her K-12 supervisor certification and Ed.S in executive leadership. She is also anticipating her Ed.D completion within Seton Hall University. Her area of research consist of establishing and implementing an instructional model for students who are multiply-disabled/blind & visually impaired. She is a member of the Jersey City Rotarian Club Golden Door Chapter where she continues to serve the Hudson County Community and a Kappa Delta Pi national honor society member. Her philosophy is to become a voice of advocacy as means to provide educational services to all students who are blind/visually impaired and multiply-disabled as well as to inform families of their educational rights as a support measure geared towards their child’s success.
Rachael Schupak is a teacher of the blind and visually impaired (TVI) at First Children School. In this role, she provides direct vision instructions to students, applies consultative measures with teachers for all material visual modifications and environmental adaptations, and adopts visual assessment driven reports during annual IEP meetings. She received her early childhood education P-3 degree and reading endorsement/specialist from Rowan University and earned her master’s degree in TVI at Dominican College. Miss Schupak is an enthusiastic practitioner of the visually impaired and a lifelong learner who continues to educate herself and others in the field of vision.
Specialized Services for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Direct Educational Services
Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) Instruction including Braille, assistive technology skills, and independent living skills
Services delivered by a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) in the most appropriate environment including resource room, pull-out, and push-in
Specialized Classroom Design
TVI support for our teachers and therapeutic staff regarding the selection, position, and illumination of materials
Classrooms designed to meet each student’s accessibility and safety needs
Use of eye gaze system for training in looking, tracking, and activation
Speech therapy assisting with communication
Care coordination across our multidisciplinary team
All assessments conducted by a TVI to determine each student’s visual abilities and needs
Functional Vision Assessments
Pre Braille Assessments
Learning Media Assessments
Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Scale Assessments
Collaboration between our multidisciplinary team and each student’s child study team to create a comprehensive IEP that includes academic, social and emotional, and functional activity goals
TVI participation in child study team meetings
TVI training and consultation for teachers, therapists, teaching assistants on effective strategies for working with students with VI
Parents/caregiver education and consulting to forge a continuum of care at home and at school
Accessible Learning and Assistive Technology
Implementation of the ECC educational modifications, materials, and techniques to meet each student’s individual needs coordinated by a TVI
Use of closed caption television (CCTV) for viewing text and images in a larger platform
Partnership with the Commission for the Blind to provide learning materials
Vision Skills Tutorials for Families by Rachael Schupak, Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Maintaining Visual Attention
Maintaining visual attention is an essential visual skill that all children should practice. In this video, families will learn what visual attention is, what the four quadrants are, and what strategies they can use to practice maintaining attention.
Shifting gaze also plays a role in getting children to build on communication skills such as making choices. In this video, families will learn about what shifting gaze is and how it ties in with maintaining visual attention and tracking.
Tracking is an important life skill that is needed to help children engage and respond to their surrounding environment. In this video. families will learn how to practice tracking with a child and what strategies can be used when working on this visual skill.