Yu-Pin Hsu, EdD, MS, OT, SCLV
Robin Akselrud, OTD, OTR/L
Linda Gerra, EdD
Bernie Pestio-Noguero, OT
.15 AOTA CEUs/1.88 NBCOT PDUs/1.5 AOTA contact hours
Vision is our primary information gathering system. About eighty percent of all learning occurs through the vision. For children, visual impairment often has a profound impact on their development, learning, behavior and areas of occupation.
This program provides an overview of the visual system and describes the varied impact of visual impairment on children’s achievement of developmental milestones and their function in daily activities. Approaches are presented for assessing vision and visual skills through information gathering, observation, and basic assessment of visual function. Strategies are also provided for addressing the impact of visual impairment on early motor development, cognitive and sensory processing skills, and self-care skills.
The program contains four parts:
Introduction to Visual Impairment in Children
The Impact of Visual Impairment on Development, Learning and Areas of Occupation
Conducting a Basic Pediatric Vision Assessment
Strategies to Address Visual Impairment in Occupational Therapy
Downloadable handouts and links to additional resources are included throughout the program.
After completing the program, you should be able to:
Define key terminology and describe the basic process of vision
Describe the different types of visual impairments in children
Understand factors that affect children’s functional vision
Understand the profound impact of visual impairment on child development, areas of occupation and behavior
Understand the progression of the developmental milestones and the way in which they are impacted by vision
Observe, gather information, and conduct a basic pediatric assessment of functional vision
Identify strategies for addressing the impact of visual impairment on development in children
Understand the importance of early screening, assessment and intervention for children with visual impairment
List resources and technology that is available for children with visual impairment and their families
About the authors
Yu-Pin Hsu has over fifteen years of experience in a variety of clinical settings including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, neurological disorders, and performing arts medicine. For the majority of this time she dedicated her practice to vision rehabilitation, earning a graduate certificate in low vision rehabilitation from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008, and a specialty certification in low vision from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2013.
While she was a part-time occupational therapist at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, Dr. Hsu developed their low vision rehabilitation program. For the past ten years she has also been on the staff of Lighthouse Guild to develop and conduct low vision training for health professionals. In 2017, Dr. Hsu became an assistant professor in the Occupational Therapy Program, School of Health Professions and Human Services at Hofstra University and has also been an adjunct professor at the Manhattan School of Music for eighteen years, where she teaches musicians how to avoid injury while practicing. She is a frequent speaker on vision rehabilitation topics for vision and healthcare profession students, and at state and national professional meetings and conferences.
Dr. Hsu holds a Bachelor and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Education from Columbia University in New York.
Robin Akselrud has fifteen years of experience in a variety of clinical practice areas. She is a certified early intervention provider and has worked in several treatment settings, including schools, home care for medically fragile infants and children and hand therapy and splinting for infants and toddlers.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Akselrud is an Assistant Professor and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator in the MSOT program at Hofstra University since 2017. She has also served as an adjunct professor at LIU Brooklyn, York-CUNY and at Touro College for the past seven years.
In 2011, she founded an OT outpatient facility, Forward OT PLLC for both children and adults in Brooklyn. In 2018, Robin also established the OT program at a primary care facility for an underserved community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn- ParCare Community Network.
Dr. Akselrud is currently the Leadership and Management Coordinator for the AOTA Home and Community Health Special Interest Section. Robin has presented her research at the 2018 AOTA conference in Salt Lake City and at the 2018 AOTA Education Summit in Louisville. Her publications include “Advocating for Occupational Therapy in Preparation for the Patient Driven Groupings Model”, SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 2019, 4(2), 14-17 and “The value of home health occupational therapy practitioners in home modifications”, SIS Quarterly Practice Connections,2019, 4(1), 17–19.
Dr Akselrud holds a Master of Science from Touro College in Bay Shore, NY and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT.
Linda Gerra is an expert in the field of blindness and visual impairment, specifically the education of children and young adults. She has worked in all educational settings and has consulted with families, professionals, school districts, programs, and agencies on how to provide appropriate education for children with visual impairments and/or multiple disabilities, and is certified in Special Education, Visual Impairment and Blindness, and Supervision and Administration in Special Education.
Dr. Gerra is currently Director of Family Support Programs at Lighthouse Guild where she oversees a Parent Support Network which supports families in their challenges of parenting a child with unique needs. She also runs several programs supporting parents in areas of education, advocacy, and parent rights. In the past, she was Principal of Lighthouse Guild’s School and Director of the Preschool and Early Intervention Program. During this time she was an early intervention provider, special education teacher, evaluator, professional development coordinator, and college professor (curriculum and teaching, visual impairment, and parent support).
Dr. Gerra received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood from Wheelock College and a Doctorate in Blindness and Visual Impairment from Teachers’ College, Columbia University.
Other key contributor
Bernie Pestio-Noguero was an occupational therapist from 2005-2018 in Lighthouse Guild’s school for children aged 5-21, all of whom were visually impaired with multiple other disabilities. A graduate of StonyBrook University, Ms. Pestio-Noguero has been a practicing occupational therapy for almost 20 years. She has also worked with other school-aged children with sensory processing issues, including ADHD and autism, to integrate them into regular education. She is also certified in Braille 1. Ms. Pestio-Noguero is currently an occupational therapist with the New York City Department of Education.