VIISA Course II: Preschoolers with Vision Impairments in Center-Based Settings



Applications are now being accepted for the course: Serving Preschoolers with Vision Impairments in Center-Based Settings. Please note application deadline of October 9, 2020.


The purpose of this course is for participants to gain and develop skills in understanding the unique needs of infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired. This training will cover topics related to the unique needs of preschoolers with vision loss, including: observation, assessment, the IEP process, intervention techniques, use of appropriate methods, curricula and materials in teaching skills in all developmental domains, developing the use of all senses, meeting the child's needs in the group setting, socialization, school readiness, early literacy and orientation and mobility. The course combines self-studies, homework assignments, and two three-day sessions with course instructors. See announcement (below) for more details.


Dates: November 18-20, 2020 and April 14-16, 2021
Location: first session (November) will be virtual; second session (April) will be virtual or held at MSB, TBD



Mandy Clayton

Deaf-Blind School Support Specialist



Hand In Hand: Understanding Deafblindness for Education Teams



This course, totaling seven days throughout the academic year, provides instructional strategies and practices specific to the education of students with dual sensory loss. The course combines three instructional sessions, follow-up mentoring provided by a specialist in the field of deafblindness and the development of a student profile.


The target audience for this course is the educational team of a student with a combined vision and hearing loss (dual sensory loss), the student’s parent(s), teachers, classroom paraprofessionals, therapists, Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Interpreters and Interpreting students. 


Dates: November 5-6, 2020 (Registration closed; rescheduled date from the 2019-2020 HIH)

Location: Course will be held virtually. Connection details to come.

Times: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm (CST)




Megan Burgess

Deaf-Blind Project Coordinator, Missouri Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Project



Communication, Gestures and Literacy

March 2021 – Registration coming soon!

This session is premised on the belief that ALL individuals with deaf-blindness DO communicate—not that they all can learn to communicate. The workshop will focus on practical strategies that families and educational teams can implement to facilitate growth in the direction of conventional communication, including the incorporation of comprehension and expression with gestures. The presenter will provide communication partners with specific strategies to help enable a learner’s more active engagement in family and school activities and begin to focus instruction on emergent literacy skills.

Susan M. Bashinski is a Professor of Special Education, Director of graduate programs in Education, and Interim Dean of the Graduate School at Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri. She has more than 40 years’ experience working with learners who experience multiple disabilities, including deaf-blindness.

The body of Susan’s work is grounded in educational practice. She not only has a passion, but believes also a professional responsibility, to conduct pragmatic research and to work diligently to try and translate research findings into effective everyday practice—and then share those through the classes she teaches and workshops she presents for families. Rescheduled for March 2021.


For more information, please contact Jane Herder at or 314-6330-1582.



Jane C. Herder

Director Outreach/Deaf-Blind Project



INSITE: In-Home Sensory Intervention Training and Education

2020-2021 INSITE information Coming Soon!


A curriculum model of home intervention for infants, toddlers, and preschool aged children who have a visual impairment and may have other multiple disabilities, including deafblind.  The INSITE model and training is for Parent Advisors for home visits.  This curriculum includes the following areas: communication, hearing, vision, cognition, motor impairments, and developmental resources.


2020 Instructions for Becoming a Parent Adviser
2020 IFB MSB Parent Advisors
2020 IFB MSB Parent Advisors (highlighted)
Registering for Missouri BUYS (MoBUYS)



Melissa Moore

Lead Parent Advisor/Family Engagement Coordinator



Intervener Training

Interveners—specially trained paraprofessionals who work one-on-one with students who are deaf-blind—are greatly needed in Missouri. Interveners help schools meet the challenge of providing students with deafblindness the access to information they are unable to gather via vision or hearing. An intervener works one-on-one with a student, facilitating communication and supporting concept development.


If you are interested in becoming an intervener, Missouri Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Project (MoDBTAP) offers distance learning training and coaching opportunities. MoDBTAP utilizes the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Modules, combined with monthly online coaching, to help prepare paraprofessionals to become interveners. These Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules are a national resource designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students (ages 3 through 21) with deafblindness who are being served in educational settings. Topics covered include building a trusted relationship, concept development and active learning, self-determination, communication principles, and developing social skills. A $50/module stipend is available for paraprofessionals currently working with a student registered with the MoDBTAP Student Census.


Additionally, teachers, administrators, and other related staff working with a student with deafblindness may participate in “Deafblindness and Intervener Awareness Training,” a two-month, self-paced study of the basics of deafblindness and the role of an intervener. A stipend is available upon successful completion of the 4-module training.


For more information, please contact Mandy Clayton at or 314-633-1553.


OHOA Registration 2020 fillable PDF

Deafblindness and Intervener Awareness Training Info and Registration




Mandy Clayton

Deaf-Blind School Support Specialist



Unified English Braille Code

To find more information on Unified English Braille Code, please visit


Coursework Leading to Certification as Teacher of the Visually Impaired

TVI and OM programs breakdown

Training and Certification (undergraduate and graduate)

AER is proud to announce a new scholarship for grad student applicants studying for a career in the field of Orientation & Mobility or Teachers of the Visually Impaired. The three $2,000 scholarship winners will be announced in the Fall of 2020.


Deadline for submitting applications is August 31, 2020, and scholarship recipients will be notified on or around October 2020.


Refer to the application for eligibility criteria. The deadline for consideration of the 2020 Scholarship is August 31, 2020. All application materials must be submitted to the AER office no later than August 31. Download the application by clicking here.


Considering a degree program?

The following college and university programs have successfully completed the accreditation process and have earned the distinction of “AER Accredited.” Each of these personnel preparation programs has demonstrated adherence to high quality standards that lead to a valuable academic experience; and the competencies needed for employment and certifications.


Lighthouse for the Blind-St. Louis Tuition Reimbursement Program

The Tuition Reimbursement Program was developed for individuals who are specializing in the field of service to persons who are blind or legally blind. This program is for college students in their senior year in an undergraduate program, OR a graduate student OR a paraprofessional that is currently employed and working in the field.


Please see Lighthouse for the Blind Tuition Program


So you want to be a TVI/OM?


AER Accredited Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Programs


AER Accredited Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Programs


AER Accredited Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) Programs


Deafblindness Programs