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Low Vision Rehabilitation - Evidence-based Assessment, Treatment, and Interventions
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10/26/2019 to 10/27/2019
When: Saturday and Sunday, October 26 - 27
8:00am - 5:00pm
Where: RC Hospital and Clinics, Jr-Sr Conference Room
100 Healthy Way
Olivia, MN  56277
United States
Contact: Janna Schneider

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Instructors: Debra Sokol-McKay, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, CVRT, CLVT, CDE
and Dr. Stephen G. Whittaker, Ph.D., OTR/L, CLVT

CEUs: 7 contact hours per session; 14 contact hours total

 Presented in partnership with

Assessment and Treatment Strategies for Adults with Vision Loss

with Debra Sokol-McKay, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, CVRT, CLVT, CDE 

Course Description

This comprehensive workshop will provide participants with techniques and tools to identify, evaluate, and treat clients with vision loss. Participants will review low vision assessment tools and interventions that address practical home modifications, ADLs/IADLs, and mobility and fall prevention techniques. Hands-on experiential activities using vision simulators and videos will allow participants to more readily integrate what they have learned. In addition, participants will be provided with many evidence-based assessment tools and adaptive intervention techniques and resources to immediately begin their low vision practice. A demonstration table will be provided for further independent learning.

Course Objectives

•  Explain functional implications of each major eye disease.
• Describe major environmental modification principles and provide practical applications to each room of the house including stairs and other transition areas.
• Create a battery of standardized evidence based low vision assessment tools
• Identify adaptive techniques and tools in the areas of ADL, IADL, and mobility
• Describe fall prevention assessment tools adapted for the client with vision loss
• Discuss evidence-based fall prevention/balance improvement programs
• Integrate information learned through hands on experiences and videos

Low Vision Rehabilitation and Interventions for Neurological Dysfunction

with Dr. Stephen G. Whittaker, Ph.D., OTR/L, CLVT

Course Description

The student will learn how to evaluate and provide “first response” rehabilitation interventions when encountering “low vision” from neurological dysfunction including stroke, traumatic brain injury and concussion. I will teach “first response” interventions for visual acuity loss, and eye movement disorders. “First response” interventions are interventions that maximize vision or compensate for vision loss using resources available in medical rehabilitation settings. I describe how typical practice settings where a client can be referred for more advanced treatment. In this course, I describe more advanced treatments than can be provided in medical rehab settings for field loss and spatial neglect syndrome. The courses provide practical and immediately applicable information as well as a solid starting point for those who wish to specialize in low vision rehabilitation. The presentation will involve an interactive power point presentation, richly illustrated with graphic and video demonstration where you view the world through the eyes of people with different types of vision impairment. Advanced treatment involving specialized devices such as magnifiers, and non-sighted techniques involve an additional 30 hours of instruction available by an online self-study.

Course Objectives

Evaluation and Interventions
• Evaluate reading acuity, low contrast acuity and lighting, visual field, spatial neglect, perceptual
and oculomotor dysfunction relating to brain injury.
• Identify disabilities and psychosocial problems associated with spatial neglect.
• Provide advanced interventions to compensate for vision and cognitive impairment when implementing treatments for disabled reading, mobility, and ADL’s

Beyond the First Response
• Define “visual impairment”, “low vision” and “blindness” in terms of eligibility for services that
provide low vision rehabilitation.
• Name CMS documentation requirements for reimbursement
• Name organizations and other professionals involved in low vision and blindness rehabilitation
services to whom people with low vision should be referred,
• Describe how a therapist might obtain advanced certification as a low vision rehabilitation specialist

Registration Information

Who should attend this course: Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, Students

Registration Prices:
PT Member PTA Member Student Member PT Non-Member/
Other Professionals
PTA Nonmember Student Nonmember
One class $180 $145 $120 $220 $175 $140
Both classes $350 $280 $230 $415 $335 $265

Cancellations: Except for medical emergencies, cancellations two weeks before the course will be completely refunded, cancellations one to two weeks before the course will be refunded at the rate of 50%, and cancellations less than a week before the course will not be refunded. 

Questions: Please contact the MNPTA office with any questions at:
651-635-0902 or

Speaker Biographies

Debra Sokol-McKay, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, CVRT, CLVT, CDE has been a clinical occupational therapist for 35 years and is a private practitioner providing individual and group low vision rehabilitation services through a local center for vision loss. She co-authored a textbook Low Vision Rehabilitation:  A Practical Guide for Occupational Therapists. Ms. Sokol-McKay has presented almost 250 vision related courses, workshops, and presentations for various state, national, and international conferences and is adjunct faculty at Salus University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Temple University, and her Masters in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy from Salus. Ms. Sokol-McKay is Specialty Certified in Low Vision (SCLV) by AOTA, and served as a member of the AOTA’s national Expert Low Vision Practice Certification Panel, which wrote the AOTA’s standards for the SCLV and continues on the applicant review panel. She is also certified as a low vision therapist and a diabetes educator.

Steve Whittaker is a practicing occupational therapist and certified low vision therapist.  He has been involved in low vision rehabilitation for over 40 years as a researcher, educator and practitioner.  He is a former member of the Low Vision Subject Expert Committee of Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.  He has numerous scientific publications, has received grants from The National Eye Institute, NASA and lectures internationally.  With a doctorate in experimental psychology and post doctoral training in visual neurophysiology, Dr Whittaker began researching eye movements anomalies associated with macular degeneration at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) where he served as a researcher and educator for 20 years.  He currently provides outpatient services as an occupational therapist in the Philadelphia Area and co-authored Low Vision Rehabilitation: A Practical Guide for Occupational Therapists.  

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