The VIISA (Vision Impaired Inservice in America) Project was developed to provide inservice training to early intervention and early childhood personnel serving young children, ages birth to five, with blindness and visual impairments. Two courses are offered in this project. The first focuses on working with infants and toddlers, and the second focuses on working with preschoolers in center-based settings. Through both courses, participants become familiar with intervention strategies and materials appropriate for use with this population of children in all areas of development and programming. They also learn about the other agencies and service providers in their state that can be of help to them.
Both courses combine onsite sessions with home-study assignments where participants apply what they learn with actual children on their current caseloads with vision loss. Participants are provided with written feedback from the instructor. Opportunities for follow-up to training are offered later.
The project has developed an extensive resource manual which addresses programming needs in communication/language, motor and orientation/mobility, vision, tactile/braille readiness, daily care, social, concept development and play, assessment and program planning, and psycho-emotional support for families. Instructor manuals and other materials have also been developed for use with each course. A management manual for implementing states is also made available.
The VIISA Outreach Project assists states in putting together a team of state instructors who conduct VIISA training for their own state. A national VIISA instructor who works for the Outreach Project works closely with this state training team through their first course series. Costs are shared by the project with the state. States also have the option of incorporating a small mentoring piece into their training.
For more information about the project contact Elizabeth (Morgan) Dennison at 435/797-5593 or e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org