College of Education and Rehabilitation

Department of Blindness and Low Vision Programs

Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Program

Course Descriptions

Salus University is in the process of updating its curriculum and course description pages to reflect the College of Education and Rehabilitation's recent curriculum revision.  While the site is under construction, please contact cer@salus.edu for the latest updates.

700//501 Visual Impairment and Functional Implications

(Fall – 15 weeks) (3 semester credits) (online)
Addresses the anatomy and physiology of the eye including ocular development and development of the visual system.  Topical areas include learning to see, age related changes in the eye, innervations of the eye, basic optics, and medications with their side effects.  The course explores the functional visual implications of diseases of the eye, syndromes, and brain injury.  Learners observe primary and low vision eye exams, learn about prescriptions of low vision devices, and demonstrate the ability to interpret eye reports and discuss their functional implications.  The learner applies these topics to an individual's functional visual performance.

701/500 Foundations of Vision Rehabilitation and Education

(Summer – 10 weeks) (1.5 semester credits) (online)
A survey course representing disciplines dedicated to the education and rehabilitation of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The course introduces learners to history, definitions, legislation, referral processes, education and rehabilitation planning, procedures and resources (human, physical, and financial), cultural diversity, and learning theories related to the needs of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  Learners will explore professionalism and ethics as well as issues related to accessibility, privacy, confidentiality, and advocacy.

702/502 Assessment

(Fall – 5 weeks) (1 semester credit) (online)
An introduction to various types of assessments (e.g. psychological, educational, vocational, and physical) used to evaluate people with visual impairments and additional disabilities.  The course covers a variety of informal and formal screening, assessment, and evaluation methods, including alternative and statewide tests, observation, history taking, and interviews.  Additional assessments include outcomes-based, curriculum-based, and portfolio approaches. Learners discuss testing and assessment within an historical context including the development of standardized tests and their applicability for individuals with vision impairment.  Learners study general testing procedures such as reliability, validity, and test bias.  Learners examine their role and that of other professionals in the testing process, the interpretation of test results, and the importance of accurate and confidential record keeping.

703/503 Low Vision Assessment and Intervention 1

(Fall – 10 weeks) (2/3 semester credits)
Learners explore methods of assessing functional vision and strategies for enhancing visual performance without optical devices.  This course emphasizes theory and practice in the following assessment areas: functional visual acuity and fields and visual performance in everyday tasks for individuals with visual impairments, including infants, children, adults, and those with additional disabilities.

704/505 Low Vision Assessment and Intervention 2

(Spring – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Learners explore methods of assessing functional vision and strategies for enhancing visual performance with optical devices.  This course emphasizes theory and practice in the following assessment and intervention areas: visual efficiency, use of optical and non-optical devices, environmental features, and visual field enhancement techniques. Learners explore specialized topics such as visual intervention strategies for individuals with head injury, driving with low vision, implications of reading and writing with low vision, and state of the art low vision technology.

705/505 Low Vision Assessment and Intervention 1 & 2/3 & 4

(Summer – 5 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Provides learners with an opportunity to apply principles of low vision assessment and intervention through the use of case studies, role play situations, and practice with resources and devices.

706/507 Psychological and Social Dynamics of Visual Impairment

(Spring – 15 weeks) (1.5 semester credits)
Explores the psychosocial factors affecting the process of adjustment to visual impairment across the life span.  Through case analysis and consumer and family participation, learners explore a variety of issues related to adjustment including demographics, life stage, type of visual impairment, personality, self-concept, social support network, and the grieving process. The course also explores the impact of societal attitudes and stereotypes toward blindness and visual impairment. Learners are exposed to relationship building and effective communication skills strategies.  An overview of the range of psychosocial interventions is provided including resources for referrals.

707/508 Teamwork and Collaboration

(Spring – 5 weeks) (.5 semester credit)
Explores the ways in which professionals collaborate individually or collectively to address the needs of individuals with visual impairments and gives an overview of the types of teams, their composition, and team building strategies. Learners will discuss members’ roles, relationships, and responsibilities. Strategies to maintain effective team functioning, as well as resolving team conflict, are also covered.

708/509 Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities

(Spring – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Provides an introduction to a number of concomitant medical, social, and psychological conditions that may have an impact upon the provision of educational and rehabilitation services to children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.  The course explores functional implications of additional disabilities with emphasis on cognition, perception, communication, behavior, balance, and movement as well as medical conditions and health issues.  Learners will become familiar with a range of adaptive assessment and intervention strategies for individuals with visual impairment and additional disabilities.

709/510 Critical Analysis of Research (Masters only)

(Fall – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Learners acquire the tools necessary for becoming critical readers of research.  Learners become familiar with the basic attributes of quantitative methods of research, including experimental and non-experimental designs, and qualitative methods of research.   Research designs covered include true experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive, co-relational, single-subject, survey, ethnographic and case study approaches.  The course also presents a basic survey of statistical methods used in these approaches.

710/511 Functional Applications of Research (Masters only)

(Spring – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Teaches learners how to conceptualize and conduct research in their professional environments.  Learners investigate ethical research practices, the process for obtaining research approval at various institutions, and methods of data collection.  Learners use varied methods and tools, including computer software, to organize, analyze, interpret, and apply research data.  

711/512 Human Development Across the Life Span

(Spring – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Learners study the course of human development from conception through late adulthood.  Topics include normative changes in motor development, sensory motor integration, cognition, sensation and perception, physiology, and social development.  Special emphasis is placed upon the critical role of vision and the accompanying process of visual change across the life span.  In addition, demographic trends and an in-depth study of the network of services for older adults are provided.

713/516 Orientation and Mobility for Vision Professionals

(Summer – 5 weeks) (1 semester credit)
Addresses basic indoor orientation and mobility (O&M) techniques and teaching strategies for individuals who are visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, across the life span. This course provides the skills and knowledge to support the work of the O&M specialist.  Emphasis is on development of functional skills and concepts required for successful O&M, including efficient utilization of low vision and remaining sensory modalities for travel. Vision simulators and blindfolds are an integral part of the learning experience.

715/561 Braille Literacy: Assessment & Instruction

(Spring – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
Learners learn how to teach reading and writing with Braille as the literacy medium to children and adults, including those with additional disabilities.  The course covers how to assess reading and writing, programs designed specifically for teaching Braille reading and writing, and how to determine what approach to use with specific students.

716/562 Introduction to Assistive Technology

(Spring – 15 weeks) (2 semester credits)
In Introduction to Assistive Technology, learners are introduced to a wide variety of technology that assists people with visual impairments to access information.  Emphasis is given to computer technology.  The course provides hands-on experience with a screen reader and with a screen magnification program.  Issues related to legislation, financing, use or abandonment of technology by the consumer, assessment and instructional strategies for teaching technology are discussed.

717/563 Literacy Lab

(Summer – 5 weeks) (1 semester credit)
A hands-on course that provides learners with experience in designing a Braille literacy program for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Learners select from a variety of activities related to their program of studies (TVI or VRT) such as analysis of curriculum materials for teaching reading to children or adults, performance of a learning media assessment, teaching the use of a Braille note taker, teaching the use of a labeling code such as Fishburne or Moon. This course also requires students to pass a performance assessment in the use of the Perkins Brailler, slate and stylus, and Braille transcription software in producing materials.

740/580 Principles of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy

(Fall – 10 weeks) (1 semester credit)
Provides an introduction to the general aspects of the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy process, including interviewing skills, assessment techniques, and lesson planning.  The course emphasizes comprehensive vision rehabilitation therapy assessment and instructional strategies that include the principles of adult learning theory.  Learners are provided with opportunities to observe adults and older adults with vision impairment who are receiving rehabilitation instruction in adaptive living skills in center- and community-based settings.

741/581 Independent Living Skills for Vision Rehabilitation Therapists

(Summer – 10 weeks) (4 semester credits)
Provides learners with hands-on instruction and laboratory practice (with vision simulators and blindfolds) in the methods and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional Vision Rehabilitation Therapist in the following independent living skill areas: home management; personal management; recreation and leisure, and diabetic management and adaptive diabetes care.  Classes emphasize the utilization of instructional objectives as a foundation for lesson planning and the role of adult learning theory in the rehabilitation process.

742/582 Communication Skills for Vision Rehabilitation Therapists

(Summer – 10 weeks) (1 semester credit)
Provides learners with hands-on instruction and laboratory practice (with vision simulators and blindfolds) in the methodologies and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional Vision Rehabilitation Therapist in the following communication skill areas: handwriting and note taking; typing and keyboarding; calculation skills, including the abacus; listening and recording skills in a variety of formats, and adaptive and generic labeling.  Classes emphasize the utilization of instructional objectives as a foundation for lesson planning and the role of adult learning theory in the rehabilitation process.

743/680 VRT Fieldwork

(Upon completion of all coursework) (1/2 credit)
Provides students with an initial exposure to agencies, professionals, and practice methods in the field of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy.  Learners begin to apply the competencies they have acquired in didactic and laboratory experiences to individuals in a variety of service delivery systems.  Learners work at fieldwork sites under joint on-site and University supervision.  On-site supervisors are expected to provide direct, consistent observation and feedback, as well as meet regularly with learners to discuss their activities, responsibilities, and the supervisor’s ongoing assessment of learner performance. 

744/681 VRT Internship

(Upon completion of Fieldwork) (4/6credits)
Provides learners with the opportunity to engage directly with clients and consumers who are blind or visually impaired during 400 contact hours and 14 weeks of learning experience.  Learners apply the competencies they have acquired in didactic and laboratory experiences to individuals in a variety of service delivery systems.  Learners participate in observation, direct client/consumer contact, meetings with staff, and other special projects during the assigned internship days.  Learners will also have opportunities to identify and work cooperatively with selected community resources to ensure the application of a full range of holistic Vision Rehabilitation Therapy interventions.  All internship sites and supervisors meet the certification criteria of the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

745/682 VRT Comprehensive Examination

(Upon completion of program) (1 semester credit)
The Comprehensive Exam is administered by the Program Director to evaluate learner’s knowledge and application of competencies addressed throughout their graduate studies at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.  It may include written and/or oral responses to exam questions as well as demonstrations of knowledge and skills.

779/560 Literary Braille Code 

(Fall – 15 weeks) (2 semester credit)
Learners write contracted Braille using the computer keyboard, Perkins Brailler, and the slate and stylus, and become proficient at reading and proofreading Braille. The course also includes an overview of Nemeth Code and of the Braille Formats Code

780  Honors Research   (optional)

(Any Semester) (1 semester credit)
An optional course that provides students with the opportunity to participate in designing, conducting, analyzing and reporting a research study.  Students eligible to participate in Honors Research must have received highest possible grades in Critical Analysis of Research and Functional Applications of Research or comparable courses from other institutions of higher education.  In addition, students must secure the commitment of an advisor to the research project, support of the research professor and other faculty.

781 Internship Supervision

(Any semester) (1 semester credit)
Supervisors of internships for the University may earn one semester credit for contributing to the professional preparation of the College of Education and Rehabilitation interns.