Job Title: Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT), Orientation and Mobility Specialist (OMS), Dual Trained
Department: Rehabilitation Services
Employee Status: Exempt Professional-Learned Professional
Reports to: Senior Director of Rehabilitation and Outreach
Salary Range: $80,000-$85,000, commensurate with experience
Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Definition
Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (VRTs) work with blind and visually impaired individuals to reestablish or develop independent living skills. VRTs are knowledgeable in methods of working with individuals who are congenitally or adventitiously (acquired) blind or visually impaired.
VRTs complete diagnostic assessments to determine the individual’s current ability to carry out their daily activities and to assist in the development of realistic goals that will serve as the focus of lessons. They create individualized treatment plans that are structured according to the individual’s interests, needs and abilities. This includes prescription of adaptive equipment that will be needed by the individual to reach their established goals. VRTs work with individuals of all ages.
Training is provided either in the participant’s home or in an appropriate community setting as determined by the participant’s needs. Individual or group lessons may include: kitchen skills, communication skills, financial management, home management, personal management skills, keyboarding and Braille. Lessons will incorporate the use of adaptive equipment and use of residual vision as appropriate. VRTs may also assist the consumer in learning how to utilize prescribed low vision aids as appropriate.
Monitoring consumer’s safety and progress and evaluating the training environment are essential components of the job responsibilities of VRTs
Orientation and Mobility Specialist Definition
Orientation and Mobility Specialists (OMS) work with blind or visually impaired individuals to reestablish or develop independent travel skills. This is done through both assisting the individual to utilize sensory information to establish their position in the environment (orientation) and through the teaching of techniques for traveling safely from one point to another (mobility). OMS are knowledgeable in methods of working with individuals of all ages.
OMS complete diagnostic assessments to determine the individual’s current ability to travel independently and to assist in the development of realistic goals that will serve as the focus of lessons. The instructors create individualized treatment plans that are structured according to the individual’s interests, needs and abilities. This includes prescription of adaptive equipment that will be needed by the individual to reach their established goals. OMS work with individuals of all ages.
Training is provided either in the participant’s home or in an appropriate community setting as determined by the participant’s needs. Lessons may include orientation and travel within the home, travel within the building, sidewalk travel, street crossing skills, and travel on public transportation. Lessons will incorporate the use of adaptive equipment (such as a long cane and/or support cane) and the use of residual vision as appropriate. OMS may also perform sun lens evaluations as well as assist the participant in learning to utilize prescribed distance low vision aids when traveling.
Monitoring participant’s safety and progress and evaluating travel environments are also essential components of the job responsibilities of OMS. OMS will demonstrate skills for establishing appropriate physical distances and maintaining a level of awareness for skill development, participant safety, and the promotion of independence in travel environments.
VRTs/OMS provide rehabilitation services to enhance the independence of people who are visually impaired or blind. They also produce reports in accordance with the requirements of the NYS Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) and/or other funders. VRTs/OMS perform assessments of participant needs. They also prepare and implement teaching plans for NYSCB, grant-sponsored and non-sponsored participants.
VRTs/OMS work in the context of a multidisciplinary team. This includes the sharing of information with other staff members involved with consumers and making referrals to other disciplines as required. They also work in conjunction with the Occupational Therapist to provide optimal instruction to individuals with additional disabilities.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Essential duties and responsibilities include the following:
- Provide rehabilitation instruction.
- Consult with other professional staff to plan, coordinate and assess participant rehabilitation objectives.
- Document participant’s progress using standardized reports submitted within the time frame required by NYSCB and/or other funders.
- Provide individualized and/or group instruction to participants.
- Provide vision rehabilitation therapy training, e.g., meal management, home management, financial management, childcare, personal management, and communication skills.
- Provide orientation and mobility training, e.g., indoor mobility, sighted guide techniques, sidewalk travel, street crossing and use of public transportation.
- Design lessons that incorporate both vision rehabilitation and orientation and mobility goals when indicated, e.g., a shopping trip to a grocery store.
- Maintain a schedule of appointments, seeing a minimum of three participants each day four days a week, or the equivalent.
- Attend all scheduled in-person and virtual department meetings.
- Close cases in a timely manner (within one quarter) unless otherwise approved in advance by a supervisor. Complete closure reports within established guidelines.
- Submit all schedules, time sheets, contact hour reports, vacation requests and expense reports in a timely manner.
- Participate in staff in-service training and community conferences (when appropriate) to maintain proficiency in the use of methods and equipment to meet consumers’ needs. Participate in team meetings and make referrals to other service providers.
- Take part in professional development activities from both a participant and presenter perspective.
- 14. Serve VISIONS’ participants in all five boroughs of New York City; cases outside New York City (e.g., in Long Island or Westchester) may also be assigned as needed, and as appropriate.
- May be required to work evenings and weekends.
- Provide services during programs at VISIONS residential facility, VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB), as assigned.
- Work on special projects, grant projects and any other duties as assigned.
Education and/or Experience
VRTs/OMS must have a Master’s degree in Blind Rehabilitation and must be ACVREP certified in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy and Orientation and Mobility. Both certifications must be obtained within one year of hire or within one year of completion of VRT/O&M degree, whichever is later. Should possess computer literacy including word-processing, email, Internet, spreadsheet, mobile devices and data management skills. Knowledge of the Google Suite of products is a plus
$80,000-$85,000, commensurate with experience
Interested applicants should email their resume and cover letter to William (Bill) Hixson, Senior Director of Rehabilitation at email@example.com