SPED 532 01: Visual Impairment/Early Intervention

SPED 532 - Visual Impairment/Early Intervention

2023 Summer Syllabus, Section 01, CRN 9383

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

Times and Location

Instructor Information

Renae Bjorg

Email: renae.bjorg@und.edu

Office: 231 Centennial Dr. Stop 7189. Grand Forks, ND 58202-7189

2023 Summer Office Hours:
Tuesday 9:00-12:00 or by appointment. Please email the instructor with dates and times that work best for an appointment via phone or Zoom. Use the Zoom link and phone number located in Blackboad: “Faculty” tab.

Office Phone: 701-777-6760

Course Description

This course covers the purpose and principles of early intervention. It addresses the developmental needs of young children with visual impairments and effective strategies to meet those needs. It also covers the role of teachers of students with visual impairment in the early intervention program as well as key aspects of consultation, interdisciplinary collaboration, service coordination, and culturally sensitive family-centered services.

Learning Outcomes

The student will: 

  1. Distinguish variations in beliefs, traditions, and values across and within cultures and their effects on relationships among individuals with exceptionalities, family, and schooling (ICSI.1.K6; CAEP 1; InTASC 2) 

  2. Design multi-sensory learning environments that encourage active participation in group and individual activities ((BVI.1.K4, BVI.2.S1; InTASC 3; InTASC 7, InTASC 8) 

  3. Sequence, implement, and evaluate learning objectives based on the expanded core curriculum for individuals with visual impairments (BVI.3.S1, InTASC 7) 

  4. Develop strategies for teaching social, daily living, and functional skills within early childhood (BVI.5.K6; InTASC 8; ISTE 5; CAEP 1) 

  5. Use strategies to address the effects of visual impairment on the family and the reciprocal impact on the individuals’ self-esteem (BVI.6.S1; InTASC 1, InTASC 8) 

  6. Explain culturally responsive factors that promote effective communication and collaboration with individuals with exceptionalities, families, school personnel, and community members (ICSI.7.K4, InTASC 1, CAEP 1) 

  7. Imbed learning opportunities in everyday routines, relationships, activities, and places (ECSE.2.S3; InTASC 3; InTASC 7)  

Course Materials

Required Textbooks 

Chen, D. (Ed.). (2014). Essential elements in early intervention: Visual impairment and multiple disabilities (2nd Ed.). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.  

ISBN: 978—0-89128-488-8 paperback  

ISBN: 978-0-89128-654-7 e-pub 

ISBN: 978-0-89128-653-0 accii download 

Supplemental Materials: The Lessons (in Blackboard) contain various readings, websites, and videos. 

Ordering your textbook

Textbooks are available through the University of North Dakota Bookstore  

Directions for ordering: 

  1. Click on the University of North Dakota Bookstore link. 
  2. Click on the hamburger button (then textbooks) or the book icon to the left of “UND Bookstore”. 
  3. Program Select: “Main Campus and Distance Learning”
  4. Select Term by clicking the dropdown arrow.  
  5. Click on “Find Your Textbook and Course Materials” (the  
  6. Choose term: Summer 
  7. Select department: SPED 
  8. Select course: 532  
  9. Select section: 01”Find Materials for 1 Course. 

Technical Requirements/Assistance

Whether you’re taking courses in the classroom or online, it’s important to have the right technology and equipment.  Visit the UND Technical Requirements webpage for more information. Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) website for their hours, help documents and other resources.

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

In order to succeed in this course, at a minimum, you should be able to:

  • Navigate in and use basic Blackboard functions
  • Download and open electronic documents
  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents
  • Send, receive, and manage email

Course Logistics

Access and Log in Information

This course was developed and will be facilitated utilizing Blackboard. To get started with the course, please go to: http://blackboard.UND.edu and log in with your NDUS.Identifier, Username and Password. If you do not know your NDUS Identifier or have forgotten your password, please visit Your NDUS Account page on the UIT website.


Many services are available to UND students such as writing assistance from the UND Writing Center, free online tutoring from Smarthinking, and more. Visit the Student Resources page for more information. Students also have access to the UND Student Resource Site via Blackboard. It is recommended that you become familiar with the tools and tutorials within the site to better equip you in navigating the course.

Course Requirements/Expectations


Students are welcome to contact the instructor by email, phone, Zoom, etc. Expect a response within 24 hours M-F. If you would like to schedule an appointment, simply email the instructor and provide some dates and times that would work best for the meeting. Use the phone number and Zoom link (or provide a link if you choose a different means of communication), located in Blackboard “Faculty” tab.  

Required Technology 

All students enrolled in this course will use a course web site to complete course requirements. Thus all students must have ongoing access to the following technology to complete course requirements: a computer with audio capabilities, a modem, and access to the world-wide-web.  

If you experience issues or concerns with the Blackboard site or technology, please contact the “Live Help” by clicking on the link in BlackboardAll other course related concerns should be directed to the instructor. 


Assessment Summary

Course Requirements 

Assignment Due Date Requirements

All assignments are due by 8:00 am CT. 

Discussion board initial posts are due Thursdays by 8:00 am CT; responses to 3 peers are due Mondays at 8:00 am. Assignments are in blue in the table below. 


This course is set up by lessons. Each lesson has a “To Do List” that describes what you need to do for the lesson. The specific directions for each assignment are located in each lesson. You will need to upload your assignments in the lesson where the assignment is located. These will go directly to the Blackboard gradebook where I will be notified that they are ready for grading. Expect your work to be graded within one week of the due date. You may choose to work ahead however, assignments submitted early will not be graded until the due date. Assignments are due on Mondays by 8:00 am CT. Discussion board initial posts are due Thursdays by 8:00 am CT and a minimum of three follow-up posts are due Mondays by 8:00 am.  

Discussion Board #1 Biography (10 points) 

Discussion Board #2 Smith-Levin Family (10 points) 

Discussion Board #3 The TCI’s Story (10 points) 

Discussion Board #4 Sample Visual Exam Reports (10 points) 

Discussion Board #5 Early Communication and Young Children who have Vision Impairments (10 points) 

Discussion Board Rubric (5 at 10 points each) 

These are located in Lessons 1, 1, 3, 5, 7. 

1-3 Points 4-6 Points 7-10 Points

-Minimal response to the questions 

-Are rudimentary and superficial, there is no evidence of insight or analysis 

-Contributes no new ideas, connections or applications 

-Posting responds to the questions but does not stimulate further class discussion 

-Are generally competent, but the actual information seems thin and commonplace 

-Makes limited connections 

-Contains few ideas or applications 

-Posting fully addresses the questions and stimulates at least one substantial follow-up question 

-Deliver information that is full of thought, insight, analysis 

-Make connections to previous or current content or to real-life situations 

-Contain rich and fully developed new ideas, connections or applications 

Early Intervention Quiz #1 (10 points) 

Interactions between Young Children and their Caregivers Quiz #2 (10 points) 

Clinical Vision Assessment for Young Children Quiz #3 (10 points) 

Functional Vision Assessment Quiz #4 (10 points) 

Promoting Early Communication and Language Development Quiz #5 (10 points) 


Routine Based Ideas and Intervention Plan Assignment #1 (20 points) 

Early Intervention/Visual Impairment philosophy paper Final Paper (30 points) 

Course Grading

A - 100%-92%

B - 91-84%

C - 83-76%

D - 75-68%

F - 67% and below

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Week of Reading(s): Agenda/Topic: Due:
5/15 Introductions
Review Course Website
Review syllabus & schedule
Check out the Resources by clicking on the button on the left side of the screen
Discussion Board #1
Thursday May 18 - Initial Post
Monday May 22 - Respond to 3 peers
Watch Video clip: Smith-Levin Family: Max, Age 2, Bilateral Anophthalmia (located in Lesson 1)
Discussion Board #2
Thursday May 18 - Initial Post
Monday May 22 - Respond to 3 peers
5/22 Chapter 1 Early Intervention: Purpose & Principles
DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education
Early Intervention: Purpose & Principles
Watch: Early Intervention Educational Slideshow
Early Intervention Quiz - Monday May 29
5/29 Chapter 2 Interactions Between Young Children & Caregivers: The Context for Early Intervention
Hand under Hand & Hand over Hand
Case Study: The TVI’s Story
Interactions Between Young Children & Caregivers: The Context for Early Intervention
Discussion Board #3
Thursday June 1 – Initial Post
Monday June 5 – Respond to 3 peers
Take Interactions between Young Children & their Caregivers Quiz #2 DUE Monday June 5
Complete Formative Assessment
6/5 Chapter 3 Early Intervention Practices: Effective Strategies & Service Delivery
Technical Report #7 CLAS/Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate Services (located in Lesson 4)
Bread Routine (Located in Lesson 4)
Case Story: Shawana Routine Based Interview
Read Project TaCTICs Kennan
Early Intervention Practices: Effective Strategies & Service Delivery
Watch all 3 of the Early Intervention Routine Based Approach videos & complete Tasks
Assignment #1 Family Routines DUE Monday, June 14
6/12 Chapter 4 Clinical Vision Assessments for Young Children Clinical Vision Assessments for Young Children
Watch Video of Nora’s Story (located in Lesson 5)
Watch Video of Infant Screening (located in Lesson 5)
Watch Baby AJ’s Eye Exam Part 1 & 2
Take Clinical Vision Assessments for Young Children Quiz #3 DUE Monday June 19
Discussion Board Thursday – June 15 Initial Post Monday June 19 - Respond to 3 peers
SELFI (watch due dates) Complete SELFI (2 extra credit points
6/19 Chapter 5 Functional Vision Assessment & Early Intervention Practices
Fostering Self Determination
Functional Vision Assessment & Early Intervention Practices
Watch Video on Cortical Visual Impairment & Evaluation of Functional Vision
Take Functional Vision Assessment Quiz #4 DUE Monday June 28
SELFI (watch due dates) Complete SELFI (2 extra credit points
6/26 Chapter 8 Promoting Early Communication & Language Development
You Can Say that Again! Echolalia in Visually Impaired Children (Link located in Lesson 7)
Promoting Early Communication & Language Development
Watch Pre-Recorded Webinars Communication & Vision When Worlds Collide Part 1 & 2
Take Promoting Early Communication & Language Development Quiz #5 DUE July 10 Due to the holiday, you will have two weeks to complete this assignment.
Discussion Board Thursday – Initial Post July 6 Monday – Respond to 3 peers July 10
7/3 No Class
7/10 Infant Teacher of Visually Impaired: Roles & Responsibilities (Located in Lesson 8)
Early Intervention Guidelines
Take a look at Perkins Scout website
Infant Teacher of Visually Impaired: Roles & Responsibilities
Complete Early Intervention/Visual Impairment philosophy Final Paper
DUE July 10

Course Policies

Late Assignments 

Late assignments will be accepted after the due date but will receive a 1-point reduction in points, per day, unless prior arrangements have been made. Late assignments will be moved to the bottom of the grading list (grading will not be immediate). Expect a delayed time for grading if the assignment is submitted past the due date.  

Incomplete Grades 

It is expected that students will complete all requirements for a course during the time frame of the course. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, an incomplete grade may be assigned by the instructor when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor(See p. 36 (for undergraduate courses) or p. 227 (for graduate courses) of 2013-2015 UND Catalog for the complete policy statement.) 

College/Department Policies


Campus EmergencyIn the event of a major campus emergency, suspension, or closure, the course requirements, deadlines, and grading policies on the official syllabus are subject to change. You will be notified of such changes by email, using the email address you have listed in BlackboardPlease make sure that email address is correct. 

Dispositions:  Professional dispositions are formally and/or informally monitored throughout the teacher education programFaculty, instructors and/or cooperating teachers may request a one-on-one meeting with a teacher candidate to discuss areas of strength or concernsWritten documentation of this conference may be included in the candidate’s permanent fileSpecific procedures are delineated on the form, Professional Dispositions for UND Teacher Education.   

Disability Services for Students:  UND recognizes its responsibility for making reasonable accommodations/adjustments to ensure there is no discrimination on the basis of disability, as established under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (See p. 16 of 2013-2015 UND Catalog for complete policy statement.)  If you plan to request disability accommodations, you are expected to register with Disability Support ServicesFor more information, contact DSS or check the DSS web site at: http://www.und.edu/dept/dss/.   

Essential Abilities Requirements:  Essential abilities are academic performance requirements that refer to those physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the teacher education curriculum and the development of personal attributes required for professional licensure. The candidate must possess or be able to gain these abilities with or without reasonable accommodation. 

The essential abilities required by the curriculum are reflected by competencies in the following areas: 

communication, intellectual, behavioral, social, motor, and sensory. (Handbook for Student Teaching, p.17) 

Reasonable accommodations will be afforded to student teachers with disabilities as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990Students who can no longer perform the essential functions of teacher candidates must report that to the Director of Teacher Education and suggest any accommodations that they think will enable them to perform as teacher candidatesThe director will then determine if the suggested accommodations are reasonable or if there are any other reasonable accommodations that can be madeIf accommodations cannot be made, the students will not be able to remain in the teacher education program.  

College of Education & Human Development Academic Concerns and Grievance Process PolicyThe grievance process can be found on the web at http://education.und.edu/_files/docs/academic-concerns.pdf.   

It is the student’s responsibility to initiate and advance the grievance. 

For a grievance regarding the Teacher Education program requirements, students must be appeal directly to Dr. Anne Walker, Associate Dean for Teacher Education at 701-777-3162 or email her at anne.walker@und.edu. 

Scholastic HonestyStudents are expected to maintain scholastic honesty. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating on a test, plagiarism, and collusion. 

A. Cheating on a test includes, but is not restricted to: 

1. Copying from another student’s test. 

2. Possessing or using material during a test not authorized by the person giving the test. 

3. Collaborating with or seeking aid from another student during a test without authority. 

4. Knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting in whole or in part the contents of an unadministered test. 

5. Substituting for another student or permitting another student to substitute for oneself to take a test. 

6. Bribing another person to obtain an unadministered test or information about an unadministered test. 

            B. Plagiarism means the appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining 

     by any means another person’s work and the unacknowledged submission or 

     incorporation of it in one’s own work. This includes appropriation of another 

     person’s work by the use of computers or any other electronic means. 

C. Collusion means the unauthorized collaboration with another person in 

     preparing written work offered for credit. Instructors choosing to treat a case 

     of scholastic dishonesty as a scholastic matter have the authority to decide 

     how the incident of dishonesty will affect the student’s grade in the course. If,  

    before the drop date, an instructor is considering such action (or still  

    investigating a possible case of dishonesty), the instructor may, with the   

    concurrence of the dean of the course, place a hold on the student’s  

    registration to prevent the student dropping the course. If the student has  

   already dropped the course, the dean of the course may void that drop and have  

   the Registrar re-enroll the student in the class. (See p. 48 (undergraduates) and  

   p. 349 (graduates) of 2015-2016 UND Catalog for complete policy statements.) 

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties for the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter and will have little tolerance and/or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access and Opportunity, Disability Support, & Medical Services

The University of North Dakota is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class and your program, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) to engage in a confidential discussion about accommodations for the classroom and clinical settings. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS at the start of their program. More information can be obtained by email UND.dss@UND.edu or by phone at 701.777.2664.


UND is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment while providing quality learning experiences for our students. COVID-19’s continued presence within our UND community may necessitate changes in classroom management as the academic year progresses. As such, UND asks students and instructors to be flexible when necessary to promote a safe environment for learning. Please do not attend an in-person class or lab if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been directed by health professionals to quarantine or isolate. If you are not able to attend class or lab, please notify your instructor as soon as possible and discuss options for making up any missed work in order to ensure your ability to succeed in the course. If you will have an extended absence due to serious illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, you may request an absence notification through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Similarly, if your instructor is ill they may need to cancel class or temporarily move your course to online delivery to ensure that you are able to complete the course successfully.  Instructors may require students to wear masks in the classroom or in the laboratory as a preventative measure designed to facilitate uninterrupted classroom engagement and to facilitate health and safety in the classroom.   If your instructor does require masks in class or in a laboratory, you are expected to comply with that request.

UND also strongly encourages all members of the University community, including students, to get vaccinated, seek out testing when needed, and model positive behavior both on- and off-campus to foster a healthy and safe learning environment for all students. Individuals who would like to discuss disability accommodations regarding masks should contact the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at 701.777.2664 or UND.dss@UND.edu. Individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to a sincerely held religious belief should contact the UND Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 701.777.4171 or UND.EO.TitleIX@UND.edu.

Religious Accommodations

UND offers religious accommodations, which are reasonable changes in the academic environment that enable a student to practice or observe a sincerely held religious belief without undue hardship on the University. Examples include time for prayer or the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday. To request an accommodation, complete the student religious accommodation request form. If you have any questions, you may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Students who need assistance with academic adjustments related to pregnancy or childbirth may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or Academic Affairs to learn about your options. Additional information and services may be found at Pregnancy Resources.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to Donna Smith, Assistant Vice President for Equal Opportunity & Title IX and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, 102 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, UND.EO.TitleIX@UND.edu or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 230 S. Dearborn St., 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

If you or a friend has experienced sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171; donna.smith@UND.edu; or visit the Title IX webpage. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office if you or a friend has experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, pregnancy, marital or parental status, veteran's status, or political belief or affiliation.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual misconduct or of discrimination or harassment based on a protected class that they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you can find information about confidential support services on the Equal Opportunity & Title IX webpage..

UND Cares Program

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, however, some students may struggle or have issues that arise. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares Program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or different than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Today, the University of North Dakota rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate - presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and the Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognize that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeate this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the State of North Dakota - the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Additional Resources

It is my goal to foster an environment of mutual respect in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their stories, and learning about potentially heavy or personally relevant material. If, at any point, you feel like the information covered in this class elicits thoughts, feelings, or concerns that you would like to discuss further, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the UND Counseling Center (701-777-2127).

Further, if you experience extenuating circumstances, sexual violence, identity-based harm, or any other personal crisis during the semester, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can provide academic assistance and help you in this course, and put you in contact with the appropriate resources and services (if needed).