It’s back to school season. What better time to discuss Visually Impaired Advancement’s (VIA) scholarship program? That’s right – we offer scholarships to qualifying individuals looking to launch their careers in the Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and Orientation and Mobility (O&M) fields. Our team is passionate about helping to support professionals who enhance the independence and happiness of those living with visual impairment.
Keep reading to learn more about our program, what TVI and O&M professionals do and why they’re so important to the visually impaired community, and how VIA can help launch your career in these areas.
About VIA’s Scholarship Program
At VIA, our commitment to the visually impaired community goes beyond providing rehabilitation, support, and social services. We believe in fostering the growth and development of professionals who play a crucial role in enhancing the lives of individuals with visual impairments. That’s why we’re especially proud of our scholarship program aimed at aspiring TVI and O&M specialists.
Why Giving Back Matters to Us
Before delving into the specifics of our scholarship program, let’s take a moment to understand why giving back to the community matters so much to VIA. Our organization is deeply rooted in the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life, regardless of their visual abilities. Through our various services and initiatives, we’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of dedicated professionals in the field of TVI and O&M. It’s our way of contributing to a more inclusive and empowered society.
The Importance of TVI and O&M Professionals
TVIs and O&M specialists are unsung heroes in the visually impaired community. They play a pivotal role in enabling individuals with visual impairments to live independently, learn effectively, and navigate the world confidently. To truly appreciate the significance of our scholarship program, let’s explore the roles and impact of these professionals.
The Role of TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired)
A TVI can make all the difference in the world for someone with visual impairment. But who exactly are these professionals, and what do they do?
What is a TVI? What Does a TVI Do?
A Teacher of the Visually Impaired, or TVI, is an educator with specialized training to support students with visual impairments. They work collaboratively with students, their families, and other educators to ensure that visually impaired students receive a quality education tailored to their unique needs. TVIs adapt classroom materials, provide instruction in Braille, and facilitate the development of essential life skills.
Educational Path for TVIs
Becoming a TVI typically involves earning a degree in education or a related field, followed by specialized coursework in visual impairment and obtaining relevant certifications. TVIs are skilled in using adaptive technology, Braille instruction, and creating accessible educational materials.
The Impact TVIs Have on the Visually Impaired Community
The impact of TVIs extends far beyond the classroom. They empower visually impaired students to excel academically and prepare them for a successful future. TVIs instill confidence, self-advocacy skills, and a love for learning in their students, laying the foundation for a lifetime of independence.
The Role of Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialists
Now that we know what a TVI is and does, let’s talk about Orientation & Mobility (O&M) specialists.
What is an O&M Specialist? What Does an O&M Specialist Do?
Orientation & Mobility (O&M) specialists are trained professionals who teach individuals with visual impairments how to navigate their environment safely and independently. They work with people of all ages, helping them develop orientation skills (knowing where they are) and mobility skills (getting to where they want to go).
Educational Path for Becoming an O&M Specialist
Becoming an O&M specialist typically involves a master’s degree in orientation and mobility, followed by certification through relevant organizations. O&M specialists are skilled in assessing an individual’s mobility needs, teaching proper techniques, and using adaptive tools to enhance independence.
The Impact O&M Specialists Have on the Visually Impaired Community
O&M specialists empower visually impaired individuals to explore the world around them with confidence. They enable individuals to travel independently, access public transportation, and participate in everyday activities. O&M specialists contribute significantly to enhancing the quality of life for the visually impaired.
Who Makes a Good Fit for TVI or O&M?
Anyone who is passionate about assisting those with visual impairments to live a full, happy life could be a good fit for the TVI or O&M path. And if you’re already working in the human services field, you might be a perfect fit for a career as a TVI or O&M specialist.
Human Service Professionals: A Great Start to a Career in TVI or O&M!
Human service professionals, with their dedication to helping others, possess many qualities that translate well into these roles. If you’re local to Buffalo/WNY and considering a career change, VIA has an exceptional opportunity for you.
Reasons to Pursue a Career in TVI or O&M
Wondering why you might want to consider a TVI teacher career or O&M specialist career in WNY? There are plenty of reasons to take a good look at this rewarding career path:
Meaningful Work that Gives Back to the Community
A career as a TVI or O&M specialist offers a profound sense of purpose. Every day, you’ll make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals with visual impairments, empowering them to achieve their goals and lead fulfilling lives.
Sustainable Career Choices
Beyond the intrinsic rewards, these careers offer stability and opportunities for growth. The demand for TVIs and O&M specialists is on the rise, making it a promising and sustainable career choice.
How VIA Can Put You Through School to Become a TVI or O&M Professional
Our commitment to fostering the growth of TVIs and O&M specialists is unwavering. VIA offers a scholarship program designed to fund the tuition of aspiring professionals in the field, provided they are in a human services field and ideally located in Buffalo or the wider Western New York region.
Our Tuition Program for Sponsored Students
Interested candidates may attend institutions in the regions including:
- University at Buffalo (UB)
- Buffalo State College (Buff State)
- D’Youville College
- Erie Community College (ECC)
- Daemen College (Dameon)
- Villa Maria College
This means that if you meet the criteria, VIA can help you achieve your dream of becoming a TVI or O&M specialist without the financial burden.
How VIA Can Help Your Career Beyond College
Our support doesn’t end with your graduation. VIA’s strong local connections in Buffalo/WNY can provide you with invaluable networking opportunities. Additionally, there may be job openings at our clinic, allowing you to kick-start your career while making a meaningful impact in the community.
About VIA of WNY
Visually Impaired Advancement: VIA has providing vision loss rehabilitation and support services to the Western New York Community for more than 100 years. Our vision loss therapists in Buffalo, NY can provide vision rehabilitation, tools, education, job training, and community support to help individuals live and work independently, in spite of vision loss.
We also operate a Low Vision Clinic in Buffalo where our Doctor of Optometry can perform a thorough vision evaluation, discuss your goals, and determine what kind of additional rehabilitation services could be beneficial to you along with standard treatment from your ophthalmologist or eye care professional. Our Low Vision Clinic can help with a variety of tasks and activities in everyday life, including:
- Reading small or standard print
- Recognizing faces
- Using a computer
- Watching television
- Identifying and organizing household items
- And more!
Our Mission & Dedication to the Visually Impaired Community
VIA’s mission is to empower individuals with visual impairments to lead independent, fulfilling lives. We are dedicated to breaking down barriers, fostering inclusivity, and providing the support necessary for the visually impaired community to thrive.
Contact VIA Today to Learn About Our Scholarship Programs & Start Giving Back to the Visually Impaired Community!
Interested in launching your TVI teacher career in WNY, or finding your purpose in an O&M specialist career? VIA’s scholarship program can make your dreams a reality.
Contact us today to learn more about our scholarship programs and take the first step toward giving back to the visually impaired community. Together, we can make a lasting impact and create a more inclusive world for all.