A vision rehabilitation therapist (VRT) is a professional who specializes in working with individuals who have a vision loss. It is usually a Master’s level professional, who is most likely certified through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) as a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT).
Although your optometrist, ophthalmologist and low vision doctor are always your primary sources for medical information related to your vision and health, a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist usually works through your state’s rehabilitation services network, through a state agency or non-profit agency. This means that in most instances you may refer yourself or family member directly, without first going through your doctor. Services are often provided at no-out-of-pocket cost or on a sliding scale. Funding for vision rehabilitation services is usually provided through a mix of federal and state dollars.
Check out Hadley’s presentation by Ed Haines, CVRT to get a better idea of the role a vision rehabilitation therapist plays for individuals experiencing a vision loss or low vision, “The Vision Rehabilitation Therapist: Your Advocate for Independence,” and the Hadley Presents interview with VRTs Kendra Farrow and Steve Kelley, “Guide to Vision Rehab.”
For more detailed information about what a VRT does check out the following resources:
Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI), one of the largest professional organizations for VRTs;
Association of Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (AVRT) formerly known as the Mid Atlantic Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers;
Chegg Career Spotlight on Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, highlight vision rehabilitation therapy as a career;
Vision Aware’s Vision Rehabilitation Services page, describes the wide range of services consumers may find helpful with a vision loss.
To learn about college prep programs for vision rehabilitation therapists go to the AER website at http://aerbvi.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=105
Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Appreciation Week falls on the week of Anne Sullivan’s birthday, April 14th, to celebrate one of the most renown vision rehab professionals. Anne Sullivan was trained as a Home Teacher, the name of the profession at the time she first started working with Helen Keller.
Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Ed Haines describes the profession in the Hadley Institute podcast Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Advocate for Independence
Best Practices from the Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center OIB-TAC addresses the role of certified vision rehabilitation therapists (CVRT)
How to Become a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist (Study.com) offers a good general overview of how to become a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist.
The Vision Rehab Podcast provides information for individuals new to vision loss and vision rehab services and is available on the Amazon Echo, “Alexa, play Vision Rehab on TuneIn,” or from the Google Home, “OK Google, play Vision Rehab Podcast.”