Arne Duncan says #1 Priority is Early Intervention why does New York not provide early VRT and O&M to children who are blind?

Memo in Support A. A.3597 (Lupardo)/S.03558 (Griffo)

AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the licensing of licensed orientation and mobility specialists and licensed vision rehabilitation therapists

Arne Duncan U.S. Secretary of Education and Mayor de Blasio have repeated called Early Intervention the #1 most important factor in improving outcomes for our nation’s children and New York’s children. Without licensure of O&M and VRTs the New York state Health Department does not recognize or hire these professionals, thus, New York fails to provide free and appropriate  public education to infants, toddlers, and preschool children who are blind and visually impaired. How can you stand by and watch another generation of children fail because of your failure to act?


We know that these critical services enable children with visual impairments to enter school ready to learn. We have known this for decades. But, New York is playing politics with their lives- their future is at stake.


Senate Passes the Bill!!

Thank you Joseph Griffo! We can breath easier again – the Senate passed the bill to license vision rehabilitation professionals in the State of New York. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

During these last few days of the session; we must convince A/M Glick to move the bill out of her committee!

Please write and email a letter of support to me: – I will make sure it gets to the right people!

Sample letter:

I am a teacher of learners with visual impairment (TVI).  OR I am an OT, OR I am a Parent.

 I work closely with and collaborate with vision rehabilitation therapists VRT and/or orientation and mobility specialists O&M .

 We each bring our unique expertise and competencies to enable students with vision loss to succeed.

 I refer to VRT and O&M professionals  for services for my students with vision loss. 

 VRT’s and O&M professionals work with students in the home, community and neighborhood environments where I cannot provide the services, training and skills that they do.

 They also take over when the student graduates or someone loses vision as an adult or senior.

 Sometimes the general public, parents and  even government personnel who are uninformed believe we all do the same things.

 Licensure will enable children with vision loss to get the appropriate referrals and services from the appropriately trained and credentialed professionals.

 Licensure will go a long way to make it clear who is qualified to provide which services.

 I support licensure for VRT and O&M professionals.



Please Keep the Pressure On!

Your calls and letters are making the difference in getting VRT and O&M licensure this year! Check out the Bill online- both have been updated with the new language about OTs!!

Thanks Steve Malito and Nancy Miller!!


May 5 Lobby Day Talking Points



Lobby Day Form

Lobby Day Form

Sign up sheet for Lobby Day May 5


Poughkeepsie Journal Op Ed on difference of long canes and walking sticks

Poughkeepsie Journal Op Ed on difference of long canes and walking sticks

photo of the opinion page of the Poughkeepsie Journal article

Hunter College #2 on Princeton Review’s 100 “Best Value Colleges” List

Hunter College, CUNY was named the #2 “Best Value Public College in 2010,” according to the Princeton Review and USA Today. This was the second year in a row in which the College was recognized with this distinction. In 2013, Hunter is listed as one of the top 20 most affordable colleges.

Full-time graduate tuition for New York residents is approximately $440 per credit hour. Out-of-state students pay about $750 a credit. About 80 percent of students are able to secure FAFSA aid. New York Teachers are eligible for State Tuition Support through the Intensive Teacher Institute. New York City residents may be eligible for NYCDOE tuition support.

Hunter offers preparation in: Teachers of Learners with Visual Impairments (TVI), Orientation and Mobility (O&M) and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). The VRT and O&M Programs can be completed via distance learning; both require on-campus attendance in the summer semester (15 day labs with available low cost housing). The TVI Advanced Certificate program also can be completed via distance learning.

Hunter’s Programs in Blindness and Visual Impairments graduates are respected and sought after by employers across the country. For more information about Hunter College Programs in Blindness and Visual Impairments and scholarship availability contact Professor Rosanne K. Silberman or 212-772-4740. Application deadline has been extended to April 1 for these programs.

Hunter Program website:

Videos: For more information about the ITI TVI and ITI O&M programs watch:

For more information on the Hunter Combined Master’s Degree in RT and O&M program watch:

Websites: Blind and Visually Impairment –

For more information about NYSED TVI/O&M Grant Support: See Brochure: