National Instructional Personnel Shortages For The Visually Impaired

Michelle Arquines
Wikipedian Assignment
Foundations of Special Education

Category: Visual Impairments
Topic: Adapting Instruction

Article link:

Personnel Shortage and Caseload Management of Students with Visual Impairments. Sharon Summers; Laurel Leigh; Jennifer Arnold. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness; Oct 2006; 100, 10; ProQuest Education Journals. Page 593.

This short article discusses the critical national shortage of education personnel that specialize in assisting the visually disabled. The shortfall includes the following alarming statistics:

• Currently there are approximately 1,300 O&M (orientation & mobility) instructors employed nationally for students with visual impairments. The current need is for over 10,000. Shortfall = 8,700
• Currently there are approximately 6,700 teachers nationally of the visually impaired. The current need is over 11,000. Shortfall = 5,000
• Each year only 400 people nationally enter the field of education for the visually impaired.
• Current ratio of students to teachers for the visually impaired is 14:1. Current ratio of students to O&M instructors is 72:1.

The article offers some solutions to the national shortage in instructors for the visually impaired:

• Enhance recruitment to attract quality instructors to the field of education for the visually impaired and O&M
• Enhance instructional training programs and credentialing to include training in curriculum unique to the visually impaired
• Enhance funding to provide adequate educational opportunities for instructional preparation for the visually impaired
• Conduct surveys of caseloads in order to provide an acceptable number for instructors to be able to continue delivering high-quality instruction