VIISA and INSITE
The Blind/Visually Impaired Division at the SKI-HI Institute includes two projects: INSITE, and VIISA.
Project INSITE began in 1981 to meet the needs of young children with vision impairments and multiple disabilities (including hearing loss) and their families. A service delivery model, curriculum manual, and training model were developed to address the needs of this population of children.
Project VIISA began in 1990 to meet the needs of young children with blindness or vision impairment without other disabilities and their families. A curriculum manual and training model were developed to address the needs of this population of children.
VIISA has a course that focuses on working with infants and toddlers in early intervention home-based programs and a course on preschoolers in center-based settings.
Both the VIISA and INSITE projects continue to work with new states to put into place these programs and training models as well as to provide ongoing support to states already using the programs. Keeping a strong network of trainers updated in their skills and refreshed with new, more current training materials makes for better services to children in the long run and programs that are long lasting. Each year, project staff offer a training session to states wanting to have new state trainers trained. That will be taking place June 2019 in Wisconsin with the State School for the Blind hosting it.
Even though the VIISA and INSITE curriculum manuals have older copyright dates, the training materials are being updated each year. The INSITE checklist has been updated and an electronic version is being developed. It should be ready some time Fall 2020.
If you are interested in learning more about INSITE and/or VIISA training, contact Bess Dennison at: email@example.com. You can also look at our training calendar to see where trainings are taking place.
U of U EIBVI Credential
A birth to three credential in vision is being offered through the University of Utah (U of U) in Salt lake City. VIISA staff have been involved in developing some of the courses. Students may register for campus or contract courses. Students who register for campus courses as a non-matriculated student may count up to 9 credit hours toward a Master’s degree once admitted to the Department of Special Education. Contract courses CANNOT be used toward a degree at the U of U in Utah. (Contract courses are available at the 5000 level only and the cost is $400 for three hours and $350 for two hours.) They can be counted toward a Blind and Visually Impaired endorsement (Birth to 5). Utah students are eligible to apply for a Baby Watch Credential (Birth to age 3) with a Baby Watch Vision endorsement upon successful completion. Baby Watch oversees all early intervention programs in the state of Utah. Out-of-state students may take the contract courses that are available in a distance format using a program whereby they participate live on computer using high speed internet. There are texts, readings, assignments and tests for each course. These distance courses are in bold below.
SP ED 5435/6435 Early Literacy for Young Children with Visual Impairments (2) Fall
SP ED 5960 A to Z Braille: Uncontracted Braille for Reading Partners (1)
SPED 5432/6432 Ocular Disorders & Examination Techniques for Early Childhood Special Educators (2)
SP ED 5495/6495 Understanding the Brain and CVI (2) Fall
SPED 5462/6462 Introduction to Orientation & Mobility for Young Children with Visual Impairments (1) (short term summer course)
SPED 5490/6490 Instructional Strategies for Young Children with Visual Impairments, Birth to Five (4) winter
SP ED 5700/6500 Student Teaching: Visual Impairments (Birth to 5)(6) OR
SP ED 5710/6710 Student Teaching: Young Children with Visual Impairments (Birth to 3) (3)
Total 15-18 hours
For more information on the program, the courses and costs, contact Chris Bischke who heads the vision teacher preparation programs at the University of Utah. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Elizabeth Dennison at email@example.com.