Special Education: Visual Impairment

Program Type: Major
Program Level: Graduate
Department:

The School of Education at USC Upstate is proud to offer the only Master of Education in Visual Impairment Program in South Carolina. This program is designed for teachers who are already certified. With 50 percent of current teachers of students with visual impairment expected to retire within the next three to five years, it is a perfect time to consider becoming a teacher of students with visual impairments.

The Master of Education in Visual Impairment Program is shaped and aligned with the School of Education's core values and disposition and the standards set by the Council for Exceptional Children. The SC Department of Education requirements for endorsement in visual impairment have also been embedded into the program. Candidates in the program are typically full-time teachers from across the state. Thus, the two-year program offers live classes at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind in the summer and distance learning classes in the fall and spring.

Program of Study for VI PDF Document

For more information, please contact Dr. Tina Herzberg, 864-503-5572.

" I had always dreamed of getting my master's degree, but I could not figure a way to do it. The visual impairment program at USC Upstate allowed me to achieve my dream . It was a wonderful opportunity. I wanted to make a difference in the someone's life and I feel that being a teacher of the visually impaired gives me the chance to impact a child's life and future. I am so grateful."

- Kathy Goodwin '11, 
Teacher at South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind

For more information, visit the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

  • Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

    1. Students demonstrate an understanding of how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities.

    1.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of how language, culture, and family background influence the learning of individuals with exceptionalities.

    1.2 Students use understanding of development and individual differences to respond to the needs of individuals with exceptionalities.


     2. Students demonstrate the ability to create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments for individuals with exceptionalities to be active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination.

    2.1 Students collaborate with general educators and other colleagues to create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments to engage individuals with exceptionalities in meaningful learning activities and social interactions.

    2.2 Students demonstrate an understanding of use motivational and instructional interventions to teach individuals with exceptionalities how to adapt to different environments.

    2.3 Students demonstrate an understanding of how to intervene safely and appropriately with individuals with exceptionalities in crisis.


    3. Students demonstrate the ability to use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.

    3.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the central concepts, structures of the discipline, and tools of inquiry of the content areas they teach, and can organize this knowledge, integrate cross-disciplinary skills, and develop meaningful learning progressions for individuals with exceptionalities.

    3.2 Students demonstrate an understanding of the use of general and specialized content knowledge for teaching across curricular content areas to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.

    3.3 Students demonstrate the ability to modify general and specialized curricula to make them accessible to individuals with exceptionalities.

    4. Students demonstrate the ability to use multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions.

    4.1 Students demonstrate the ability to select and use technically sound formal and informal assessments that minimize bias.

    4.2 Students demonstrate the ability to use knowledge of measurement principles and practices to interpret assessment results and guide educational decisions for individuals with exceptionalities.

    4.3 Students demonstrate the ability to collaborate with colleagues and families use multiple types of assessment information in making decisions about individuals with exceptionalities.

    4.4 Students demonstrate the ability to engage individuals with exceptionalities to work toward quality learning and performance and provide feedback to guide them.


    5. Beginning special education professionals select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies (15) to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities.

    5.1 Students demonstrate the ability to consider an individual’s abilities, interests, learning environments, and cultural and linguistic factors in the selection, development, and adaptation of learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities.

    5.2 Students demonstrate the ability to use technologies to support instructional assessment, planning, and delivery for individuals with exceptionalities.

    5.3 Students demonstrate familiarity with augmentative and alternative communication systems and a variety of assistive technologies to support the communication and learning of individuals with exceptionalities.

    5.4 Students demonstrate professional use of strategies to enhance language development and communication skills of individuals with exceptionalities.

    5.5 Beginning special education professionals develop and implement a variety of education and transition plans for individuals with exceptionalities across a wide range of settings and different learning experiences in collaboration with individuals, families, and teams.

    5.6 Beginning special education professionals teach to mastery and promote generalization of learning.

    5.7 Beginning special education professionals teach cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills such as critical thinking and problem solving to individuals with exceptionalities.


    6. Beginning special education professionals use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.

    6.1 Beginning special education professionals use professional Ethical Principles and Professional Practice Standards to guide their practice.

    6.2 Beginning special education professionals understand how foundational knowledge and current issues influence professional practice.

    6.3 Beginning special education professionals understand that diversity is a part of families, cultures, and schools, and that complex human issues can interact with the delivery of special education services.

    6.4 Beginning special education professionals understand the significance of lifelong learning and participate in professional activities and learning communities.

    6.5 Beginning special education professionals advance the profession by engaging in activities such as advocacy and mentoring.

    6.6 Beginning special education professionals provide guidance and direction to paraeducators, tutors, and volunteers.


    7. Beginning special education professionals collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences.

    7.1 Beginning special education professionals use the theory and elements of effective collaboration.

    7.2 Beginning special education professionals serve as a collaborative resource to colleagues.

    7.3 Beginning special education professionals use collaboration to promote the well-being of individuals with exceptionalities across a wide range of settings and collaborators.

     

  • Benefits:

    • Collaborative effort of the SC Vision Education Partnership
    • Offers a variety of clinical experiences at schools to apply learning skills
    • Approved by the SC Department of Education
    • SC School for the Deaf and Blind makes summer housing available at no cost
    • Courses offered through distance delivery and on campus
    • Small class sizes
    • Prepares you to effectively meet the educational needs of students with visual impairments
    • Comprehensive and culturally responsive program of study, including braille, orientation and mobility, and assistive technology

    What Other Students are Saying...
    "The staff at USC Upstate, especially Dr. Tina Herzberg, have gone above and beyond to make my entrance into the program and this career field a smooth transition. From assistance with registering to answering questions about specific eye conditions or evaluations, they have always been hepful, informative, and uplifting.  I have attended two other USC campuses and the folks here at USC Upstate are the best!"  

          Heather Green, Teacher for the Visually Impaired
          Sumter School District 17

    "Dr. Herzberg ensures that the coursework thoroughly prepares you!  It makes me feel confident in my role as a Teacher for the Visually Impaired."

          Denise Cohen '12, Teacher in Charleston

  • Louis Database of Accessible Materials

    www.louis.aph.org
    The Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired contains information on nearly 200,000 titles in accessible formats including braille, large print, sound recording, and electronic files.

    Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

    www.aerbvi.org
    AER is an international membership organization dedicated to supporting the professionals who work in all phases of education and rehabilitation of children and adults who are blind and visually impaired. 

    South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB)

    www.scsdb.org
    SCSDB provides services statewide for individuals who are deaf, blind or sensory multidisabled, their families and the professionals who work with them.

    Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired  (TSBVI)

    www.tsbvi.edu
    TSBVI’s website offers resource to parents of children with visual impairments and professionals who serve them. The site includes downloadable braille materials, a quarterly newsletter, and tools for teachers.

    Braille Bug Site

    www.afb.org/braillebug
    The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) created the Braille Bug® web site to teach sighted children about braille.

    American Printing for the Blind (APH)

    www.aph.org
    The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.

    American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

    www.afb.org
    The American Foundation for the Blind is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss.

    American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

    www.aapos.org

    The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus offers easy-to-understand information about eye conditions for patients, their families, and the professionals that serve them.