Job Title: Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS), Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), Dual Trained
Department: Rehabilitation Services
Employee Status: Exempt Professional-Learned Professional
Reports To: Senior Director of Rehabilitation
Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Definition:
Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRTs) work with visually impaired individuals to reestablish or develop independent living skills. CVRTs are knowledgeable in methods of working with visually impaired individuals who are congenitally or adventitiously (acquired) blind or visually impaired.
The CVRTs 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. The instructor creates 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. CVRTs work with individuals of all ages.
Training is provided either in the consumer’s home or in an appropriate community setting as determined by the consumer’s needs. Individual or group lessons and 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. The CVRT may also assist the consumer in learning how to utilize low vision aids as employed for CVRT tasks.
Monitoring consumer’s safety and progress and evaluating the training environment are essential components of the CVRT job responsibilities.
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Definition:
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) work with 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). O&M specialist are knowledgeable in methods of working with visually impaired individuals of all ages.
The COMS completes 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 instructor creates 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. COMS work with individuals of all ages.
Training is provided either in the consumer’s home or in an appropriate community setting as determined by the consumer’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. The COMS may also perform sun lens evaluations as well as assist the consumer in learning to utilize distance low vision aids when traveling.
Monitoring consumers’ safety and progress and evaluating travel environments are also essential components of the COMS’ job responsibilities. COMS will demonstrate skills for establishing appropriate physical distances and maintaining a level of awareness for skill development, consumer safety, and the promotion of independence in travel environments.
COMS/CVRT provides rehabilitation services to enhance the independence of people who are visually impaired or blind. They also produce paperwork in accordance with the requirements of the NYS Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) and/or other funders. Perform assessments of consumer needs; prepares and implements a teaching plan for NYSCB, grant sponsored and non sponsored consumers.
COMS/CVRT work in the context of a multi-disciplinary team. This includes the sharing of information with other staff members involved with consumers and making referrals to other disciplines as required. The COMS/CVRT works 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 may 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 consumer rehabilitation objectives.
- Document consumers’ progress through the use of standardized reports submitted within the time frame required by NYSCB and/or other funders.
- Provide individualized and/or group instruction to consumers.
- Provide rehabilitation teaching training, i.e., meal management, home management, financial management, childcare, personal management, and communication skills.
- Provide orientation and mobility training, i.e., indoor mobility, sighted guide techniques, sidewalk travel, street crossing and use of public transportation.
- Design lessons that incorporate both CVRT and COMS goals when indicated. (Such as shopping trip to a grocery store).
- Maintain a schedule of appointments, seeing a minimum of three consumers a day four days a week, or the equivalent.
- Maintain Wednesday as an in the office day, see consumers only if all paperwork has been completed and submitted, and no meetings are scheduled with supervisor or administration.
- Close cases in a timely manner, within one quarter unless approved by the Senior Director of Rehabilitation.
- Submit all schedules, time sheets, contact hours, 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. Participates in team meetings and makes referrals to other service providers.
- Involvement in professional development activities from both a participant and presenter prospective.
- Serve VISIONS’ consumers in all 5 Boroughs of New York City; cases in Long Island or Westchester may occasionally be assigned if feasible to reach with public transportation.
- Maybe required to work evenings and weekends.
- Provide services during programs at VCB as assigned by the Senior Director of Rehabilitation.
- Participate in special projects/grant projects as assigned.
- Other duties as assigned
Education and/or Experience
COMS/CVRT must have a Bachelors or Masters degree in Blind Rehabilitation and be ACVREP certified in Rehabilitation Teaching and Orientation and Mobility. Certification must be obtained within one year of hire.
COMS/CVRTs are required to have computer/word processing skills or acceptable alternative to completing reports and case notes.