Division on Visual Impairments


A quarterly newsletter from the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Visual Impairments containing practitioner tips for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and other professionals.

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Page 32 of 39

32 VIDBE - Q Volume 63 Issue 1 Brief History The university's O&M program began in 1972 and was initially funded by the Texas Blindness Agency under a three - year grant designed to train specialists to work with people who are blind. The grant was expected to fulfill the need for O&M specialists across Texas. This underestimation of need has led to continual operation of SFA's program for 46 years and counting. Later, state legislators and field leaders encouraged the establishment of a program to train teachers of the visually impaired at SFA. A major change occurred with a partnership between SFA, the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Texas Tech University that helped establish TVI certification programs at both universities. The entities worked together un der the leadership of Drs. Phil Hatlen, Allen Koenig and Dixie Mercer to establish program curriculum and standards. TSBVI and the two universities still collaborate on issues of legislation and advocacy with TSBVI continuing to provide support and leaders hip through partnerships and the innovative mentor program developed through their outreach department. SFA's O&M p ro g ram is nationally a ccre d it e d b y the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired University Review Committee. The VI p ro g ram works with the T e x a s E du c a ti o n A g e n c y and is accredited through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Our graduates, both TVIs and O&M specialists, are employed across the U.S. and internationally.

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