Visual Impairments/Orientation & Mobility

Visual Impairments

Program Overview

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln prepares students to support excellent outcomes for individuals with visual impairments and their families. Our program is open to full- or part-time students.

Overview of Program Options

TSVI: We offer a training program for future teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs). Prospective scholars can apply for a master's degree program and/or an added endorsement program.

O&M: We offer a training program for future orientation and mobility specialists (O&Ms). Prospective scholars can apply for a master's degree program and/or an added endorsement program.

Dual: We offer a program that combines coursework for prospective scholars interested in becoming dual certified TSVI/O&M.

Visual Impairments

Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments

Teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs) work with IFSP and IEP teams to provide instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum and services to children and students with visual impairments, both blind and who have remaining vision. The TVI training program at UNL will teach future professionals to work with a variety of students in a wide range of settings, including home-based services.

Program Details

Program Option Credit Hours Program Length
Master's degree 36* 2-3 years
Endorsement 36* 2-3 years

*Credits may vary depending on previously completed coursework.

TSVI Core Courses

Course Number Course Name
SPED 846 Visual Impairments: Characteristics
SPED 847 Etiologies of Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 849 Braille I
SPED 851 Braille II
SPED 852 Instructional Methods for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 852A Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 853 Orientation and Mobility Introduction
SPED 875 Sensory Disabilities: Itinerant Teaching
SPED 897 Student Teaching

Scholars enrolled in the TSVI training program may be required to take additional coursework to meet the requirements of the master's degree and/or endorsement programs. An individual program of study will be developed for each scholar.

For More Information

Mackenzie Savaiano

Mackenzie Savaiano Associate Professor of Practice

Full Mackenzie Savaiano bio
Orientation & Mobility

Orientation & Mobility

Orientation and mobility specialists teach individuals who have visual impairments, both blind and who have remaining vision, the skills needed to travel safely and independently within their environment. The orientation and mobility program at UNL trains future professionals to work with a variety of clients ranging from early childhood through the aging population and in a wide range of settings, such as schools, rehabilitation centers and VA hospitals.

Program Details

Program Option Credit Hours Program Length
Master's degree 36* 2-3 years
Endorsement 36* 2-3 years

Credits may vary depending on previously completed coursework.

O&M Core Courses

Course Number Course Name
SPED 846 Visual Impairments: Characteristics
SPED 847 Etiologies of Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 848 Foundations of Orientation & Mobility I
SPED 850 Foundations of Orientation & Mobility II
SPED 852A Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 854 Basic Skills: Orientation & Mobility
SPED 859 Assessment in Orientation & Mobility
SPED 864 Advanced Skills: Orientation & Mobility
SPED 875 Sensory Disabilities: Itinerant Teaching
SPED 896 Clinical competency hours

Scholars enrolled in the O&M training program may be required to take additional coursework to meet the requirements of the master's degree and/or endorsement programs. An individual program of study will be developed for each scholar.

For More Information

Mackenzie Savaiano

Mackenzie Savaiano Associate Professor of Practice

Full Mackenzie Savaiano bio
Visual Impairments

Dual: TSVI and O&M

Orientation and mobility specialists teach individuals who have visual impairments, both blind and who have remaining vision, the skills needed to travel safely and independently within their environment. The orientation and mobility program at UNL teaches future professionals to work with a variety of clients ranging from early childhood through the aging population and in a wide range of settings, such as schools, rehabilitation centers and VA hospitals.

Teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs) work with IFSP and IEP teams to provide instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum and services to children and students with visual impairments, both blind and who have remaining vision. The TSVI training program at UNL will teach future professionals to work with a variety of students in a wide range of settings, including home-based services.

Program Details

Program Option Credit Hours Program Length
Master's degree 45* 3-4 years
Endorsement 45* 3-4 years

Credits may vary depending on previously completed coursework.

Core Courses

Course Number Course Name
SPED 846 Visual Impairments: Characteristics
SPED 847 Etiologies of Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 848 Foundations of Orientation & Mobility I
SPED 850 Foundations of Orientation & Mobility II
SPED 849 Braille I
SPED 851 Braille II
SPED 852 Instructional Methods for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 852A Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments
SPED 854 Basic Skills: Orientation & Mobility
SPED 859 Assessment in Orientation & Mobility
SPED 864 Advanced Skills: Orientation & Mobility
SPED 875 Sensory Disabilities: Itinerant Teaching
SPED 896 Clinical competency hours
SPED 897 Student Teaching

Scholars enrolled in the TSVI and O&M training program may be required to take additional coursework to meet the requirements of the master's degree and/or endorsement programs. An individual program of study will be developed for each scholar.

Visual Impairments

Graduate Certificate

Program Details

Program Option Minimum Credits Program Length
Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities 12 1-2 years

Students gain additional knowledge about low-incidence sensory disabilities (i.e., blindness and deafness).

Can be combined with endorsement courses, but the graduate certificate itself is not an endorsement.

Required Courses

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
SPED 846 Visual Impairments: Characteristics 3
SPED 872 Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Characteristics 3
SPED 860 or 861 (or 960) Early Childhood Special Education class 3
SPED 852 or 873 Instructional Methods for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments OR Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Content Methods 4 or 3

 

For More Information

Mackenzie Savaiano

Mackenzie Savaiano Associate Professor of Practice

Full Mackenzie Savaiano bio
Anne Thomas

Anne Thomas Assistant Professor of Practice

Full Anne Thomas bio
Visual Impairments

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete the program?
Most people who are working full-time complete the requirements in about two-and-a-half years, working around their employment.

Do I have to move to Lincoln?
No. Our programs were designed to allow you to continue to live in your home and teach or work full time. We provide fully online courses during the academic year (Fall and Spring). During summer we provide hybrid courses, and the in-person summer requirement varies for each program.

Will all my classes be taken online?
Fall and Spring courses are provided completely online. Summer courses have on-site requirements that vary for each program.

When should I apply?
There are three application deadlines each year:
January 15 – master's or endorsement – for a Summer or Fall start
May 1 – master's or endorsement – for a Summer or Fall start
October 15 – endorsement – for a Summer start

Email our Graduate Coordinator Jill England for more details about the admissions process. Apply online now!

Is tuition assistance available?
Occasionally, there is funding available. Check specific program tabs and contact a faculty member for more information.

Is there any special equipment that I will need?
Yes. Students may need to have access to the following pieces of equipment: slate/stylus, braille paper, braillewriter, abacus, and cane. More information is provided during the programs related to acquiring these materials.