VT caseloads

Vision impairment – low vision and blindness – is a low incidence disability
in Australia. In Victoria there are around 500 students with vision impairments,
and perhaps 3000 across Australia.

Students with vision impairments are an extremely heterogeneous group

  • ages 4 to 18 years
  • grade prep to year 12
  • degree and kind of vision loss
  • range of cognitive abilities
  • additional disabilities
  • range of independence and motivation

Visiting teacher duties:

  • direct teaching of expanded core curriculum eg braille
  • assessment of vision function and learning media
  • program and curriculum planning
  • consultation with staff and families
  • ordering and distributing adapted/reformatted materials
  • applying for and implementing submissions for funding
  • liaison with other professionals within DET and with other organisations
    such as Guide Dogs Victoria
  • travelling safely from school to school while meeting a
    timetable schedule

Points to consider when determining caseloads

1. Type and quantity of service is initially based upon:

  • the information from EVAC including the ophthalmological
    report AND
  • the education officer’s functional vision assessment report conducted
    in the student’s school environment AND
  • the recommendations on program planning from the Program
    Support Group

2. No more than TWO academic brailling students assigned to a visiting teacher

3. Consideration given to travel times – distance in country areas, traffic
in city areas

4. Consideration given to types of programming offered in student’s school
(eg Special Schools)

5. Combination of direct and consultative services in each caseload

6. Where possible, the same visiting teacher should serve all students in one
school or one family.
NB With part time teachers and large numbers of students in some special
schools the former is not always possible and needs to be shared between
several visiting teachers.

7. Geographic locations are a consideration although students with vision
impairments frequently appear in sporadic and changeable distribution

8. Where possible, the specific skills and talents of the visiting teacher
should be considered

9. Students will have different levels and types of service at different
times in their school progression. Different types and levels of service
will change with the student’s changing needs eg transition to Prep and
to secondary school, VCE, permanent deterioration in functional vision

Calculating visiting teacher (vision impairment) caseloads

Direct teaching – the actual hours spent with a student per week, averaged
over a four week period

  • Weekly visits: 1.00/week, 2.00/week, 3.00/week, 4.00/week,
    5.00/week
  • Fortnightly visit: 0.50/week
  • Monthly visit: 0.25/week
  • Termly visit: 0.10/week over a 10 week term

Consultation time (complementing teaching time)

  • 2 or more times a week visits – 45 minutes/week
  • 1 visit/week – 30 minutes/week
  • fortnightly and monthly visits – 15 minutes/week
  • termly visits – 5 minutes/week
  • NB At secondary levels, the visiting teacher needs to be available to
    many more teachers and other school personnel

Braille transcription and translation

  • 2-5 hours per week depending upon the needs and level of student’s braille
    usage

Preparation time

  • 1/2 hour per student per week

Travel time

  • average kms per week over a four week period, divided
    by EITHER 40kph in city OR 60kph in country areas

Summary

Number of hours of direct service + consultation time + braille transcription
and translation + preparation time + network & other professional meetings
+ travel time = the number of hours a visiting teacher works excluding briefings
or professional development undertaken or delivered.

Category Vision acuity Functional vision Direct teaching Consultation Adapting material Preparation
1 Counting fingers to No light perception High functioning braille user. Uses specialised IT. 5-8 1-2 1-2 1-2
2 <6/60-1 Uses low vision aids/large print/audio/braille/computer technology
in combination
2-5 1-2 0-1 0-2
3  6/36-1 to 6/60 Uses low vision aids/large print and computer technology with specialist
software in combination. Has a deteriorating condition.
2-4 0-2 0-1 0-2
4  6/18-1 to 6/36 Uses magnification aides and computer technology with inbuilt access
technology. Has a deteriorating condition.
1-3 0-1 0-0.5 0-2
5 VI with additional impairment(s) Uses adaptive technology and large print or pictogram.
Using sensory program other than sight.
0-1 0-1  0-0.5 0-0.5

Adapted by Carolyn Mentiplay from APSEA guidelines for determining caseload
size for teachers of students with visual impairments by P. Anne MacCuspie.

See also: For visiting teachers – vision impairment