Specialized services include braille instruction, orientation and mobility, deafblind services, assistive technology, low vision training, speech, occupational, physical and aquatic therapies, and family support. CCVI also provides itinerant and consulting services to area school districts.
Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is defined as the ability to travel safely and efficiently within one’s environment. At CCVI, our Orientation and Mobility Specialists begin working on these travel skills by building good directional/positional concepts (in/out, up/down, left/right, etc), learning body awareness, purposeful movement and basic orientation, and by learning pre-white cane and white cane skills. O&M skills are essential for those with visual impairments in order to lead a fulfilling and independent life. Our O&M program is supported by the Union Pacific Foundation.
Braille is an essential component of the Expanded Core Curriculum, which are the additional skills blind and visually impaired children need in order to learn. Braille literacy plays the same role for visually impaired students that print literacy plays for sighted students. Recent developments in technology have allowed for many literacy materials to be made available through the use of screen readers and audio components. While these are helpful tools, listening to something being read is a much different task than actively reading the materials. Braille allows blind and visually impaired students to develop the essential skills of reading and writing, thus setting the stage for academic achievement, increased independence, and employment. As with many skills, early intervention and direct instruction is vital to ensuring visually impaired students have access to the tools they need in order to reach their highest potential.
Functional Vision Evaluation
Functional Vision Evaluations provide a baseline of information that starts the program off and provides a framework for the CCVI team to develop goals and interventions. Obtaining an accurate Functional Vision Evaluation is the foundation for planning an appropriate program for children with visual impairments. This is critical information to collect for both the home and school environments.
Most parents come to Functional Vision Evaluations hoping for information that helps clarify or explain the medical diagnosis. Simply hearing a diagnosis or measure of acuity (20/800 for example) does not yield enough meaningful insight to the majority of families. Parents want functional information that can be easily understood and subsequent strategies and suggestions they can implement.
Most evaluations take place at the Center with a specialized team from CCVI. During the screening visit and evaluation, parents can expect the CCVI team to gather background information such as the medical and developmental history of the child, as well as the vision behaviors that the parent observes at home. The team will employ a variety of techniques and incorporate specialized equipment and lighting to determine how and where in the vision field a child might see best, if at all.
Functional Vision Evaluations last approximately one hour. CCVI utilizes a play-based model of assessment for the infants and young children we serve. Observing infants and very young children during play can yield data that compliments, enhances, and adds to the information derived from formal assessments. The team will provide the family with a comprehensive report that details the observations made and describes strategies and modifications to address the concerns. We develop the best plans when our team partners with the family and any community providers.
Music therapy involves using music – singing; humming; making sounds with instruments by striking, strumming, plucking or blowing – to help children with special needs learn both functional and academic skills. Music therapy is not music class; it is not teaching children to sing in tune, to read music, or to play an instrument.
Music therapy at CCVI is taught by a board certified music therapist, who uses music interactively and purposefully to expose a child to new experiences and concepts. Music therapy is valuable for children with visual impairments because music can facilitate fine and gross motor skills, communication, academic skills (patterning, fostering memories), and address pre-academic skills such as attention span, anticipation, following directions, and improved mouth control for language and eating. Playing instruments and singing songs can incorporate both academic concepts with the songs themselves and encourage positive group participation.
Assistive Technology is recognized at CCVI as an invaluable tool for allowing our children more independence and interaction with their world, as well as improved academic success.