This program specialization prepares teacher candidates to work with children/students who are blind and visually impaired. Candidates may choose from two tracks. Track 1: Candidates prepare to serve children, ages birth through five, in home-based and preschool settings. Track 2: Candidates prepare to work in specialized classrooms or inclusive/itinerant settings with students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Visual Impairments specialization provides a range of coursework that includes instruction in: the Unified English Braille code, Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments and the Expanded Core Curriculum for students who are blind or visually impaired to provide candidates with a knowledge base to support their students in the development of social skills, pre-academic and academic success.
The Utah State Board of Education grants teaching licenses. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are recommended for licensure. The program requires completion of the teacher education core in special education and a sequence of specialization courses in the visual impairments field of study. The teacher education core has been designed to provide the student with skills in essential areas of assessment, instructional design and management, behavior management, collaboration, curriculum, and legal issues in special education.
Specialization courses expand upon the skills and methods that have been introduced through the teacher education core. The courses introduce specific educational strategies that are effective for particular student populations. Each program has been structured to develop the required skills through hands-on, practical learning opportunities; therefore, the program provides multiple field-based experiences. Such experiences within the program area gives students the opportunity to observe, question, test, and modify different instructional techniques under the guidance of a trained cooperating teacher and department faculty.