*The RCSD partnerships across the province are being eliminated by the provincial government as of September 1, 2020. As a result, the information on this page will no longer be valid. The website is being maintained for one year to allow partners to continue to access the resources*
Consultant Service for Children/Youth who are Blind or Visually Impaired
The CA RCSD partnership, which is the only funder of this service in the area, finances 1.4 FTE consultants to support children/youth who are blind or visually impaired (BVI). The Educational Consultant for the Blind and Visually impaired (BVI) provides consultation largely to school staff regarding programming to support a child or youth with vision loss. This might include recommendations for educational resources, accommodations and adaptations. The consultant might
- make recommendations for modifications to the classroom, school and, possibly home environment;
- help interpret vision reports for school staff (and parents);
- assist with the identification of, access to and use of resources and appropriate assistive technology; (Note: The RCSD partnership is unable to supply equipment or technology for students.)
- support programming provided by other professionals (ex. Orientation & Mobility, assistive technology);
- recommend accommodations, adaptations and modifications to the student’s overall academic programming;
- support and provide guidance with specific goals in the student’s IPP;
- provide recommendations for accessing/adapting materials in order for the student to achieve instructional outcomes;
- provide strategies for the student’s programming in the areas of
- social skills
School Visits from the BVI Consultant
Services for students with Low Incidence needs are consultative in nature, and are based on the identified needs of the student within the school setting as well as the capacity of the adults to support the child/youth.
When and how often does a BVI Consultant visit a school?
There is no regular schedule or specific number of visits. The consultants provide programming recommendations, strategies, and training for school staff and frequently these recommendations and strategies are on-going throughout the year and from year to year so even annual visits are not always necessary. The BVI Consultant and the school staff will discuss the frequency of visits to the school and contacts with the school depending upon:
-the needs of the child/youth (i.e. on-going consultation is necessary because the child regularly attains the goals established so frequently needs updated programming suggestions)
-a request by the school or family for a follow up visit because strategies/recommendations
- are not clearly understood and further explanation is needed.
- have been consistently implemented over time but child/youth is not responding.
- have been consistently implemented but are out-dated as there has been a significant change in the needs of the child (i.e. new equipment, deterioration of condition)
- the capacity of the adults in the school to support the child,
- the overall caseload of the consultant.
Visits for Transition Planning
The September programming for a child/youth typically begins the previous year as part of the transition planning. It is the responsibility of schools to engage in transition planning. As much as possible, the BVI consultants will attend scheduled transition planning meetings as requested. Schools are strongly encouraged to plan early if they wish the BVI Consultant to attend transition meetings as the consultants are shared among 10 school authorities as well as private schools.
Visits in September
The consultation continues from year to year so initial visits by the BVI consultants are not always necessary (or possible given the large caseloads) every September or, in some cases, even every year. Consultants’ suggested goals and strategies from the previous year which are included in the student’s program plan and the student record must be reviewed and typically will continue into the next school year.
Priorities for the BVI consultant visits in the fall are
- a significant change has occurred with the child’s condition or circumstance that affects the student’s functional abilities (home, medical equipment, etc.) and/or there is a new question/issue to be addressed,
- a new referral,
- new school.
Note: When students move to a new grade, it is expected that the new year’s teachers will familiarize themselves with the program recommendations by consulting with the previous year’s teacher, the student record and/or the specialty teacher.
*This website is a record of a constantly evolving partnership. It is as accurate as possible at any given time and will be regularly updated to reflect changing processes and information. However, be advised that there may possibly be a lag updating the website with the most current information and processes.