Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Awareness Week will be observed this year the week of April 12-18, 2015 to honor Anne Sullivan’s birthday, on April 14th. Anne Sullivan was the teacher who worked so closely with her student, Helen Keller, to develop the skills she would later use as an international lecturer and advocate for individuals with vision and hearing loss.
Sullivan, a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, began working with 7 year old Helen, in 1887, as a Home Teacher, one of the original occupational titles for the profession now called Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT). Today’s VRTs as in Sullivan’s career, may be found in a center-based program, where students, young and old, come to a centralized location for training, or the VRT may travel to the student’s home or community for training.
The profession of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy most often requires a Master’s level education, and additional certification (CVRT) from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).
For well over a century, this profession as Home Teachers, Rehab Teachers, and now Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, has provided the primary rehabilitation skills training for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. VRTs work with clients on the following skills:
- adaptive daily living skills;
- communication (including braille when needed);
- maximizing remaining vision with low vision devices;
- using assistive technology (AT) such as computer and tablet screen readers or magnifiers;
- adaptive leisure activities and sports.
Most often VRT clients are adults who have experienced a vision loss acquired through diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, etc. or from an accident. Referrals may come from doctors, or clients may refer themselves through local state or nonprofit agencies. Often VRT services are provided at no out-of-pocket cost. To find a VRT near you use the Vision Aware Directory at http://www.visionaware.org/directory.aspx.
To download a copy of this as a large print press release, go to http://www.lowvisiontech.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/vrt_pr_2015.doc