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At Paradise Valley Unified School District’s vision department, we pride ourselves on being parent collaborators. Whether your child has just been diagnosed with a visual impairment or you face another big transition on your child’s journey, we strive to be a support and point of reference for your family.
Many parents of children with visual impairments as well as teachers with visual impairments have served in our vision department. This shapes our philosophy and expands our perspective on how we individualize your child’s educational plan.
PVSchools Vision Staff
Click on any Vision staff member's name to read their bio and find their email contact information:
- Caroline Dingwell
Earned a Bachelor’s degree from University College Cork, Ireland. After moving to Arizona, Caroline earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education as well as a specialization in teaching students with visual impairments. She has worked for the Paradise Valley Unified School District for 4 years. Caroline worked for the Foundation for Blind Children before that. Caroline is the parent of a child with visual impairment and understands firsthand the impact vision professionals can make on the life of a child and entire family.
Email Ms. Dingwell
- Peter Koskinen
One of the first Vision Teachers to work in the district. He helped establish and set up the foundation of the PVUSD Vision Program. He has worked in the district for the last 32 years. Growing up visually impaired, Peter has first hand knowledge of visual impairment. He also has an extensive education including an AA degree at GCC, a BA at San Diego State University and a MA degree at Northern Arizona University.
Email Mr. Koskinen
- Dina Mason
After Dina earned her Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in Early Childhood Development, she has worked with children from preschool age to elementary. Since 2008, Dina has been a part of the vision team in Paradise Valley Unified School District. She began her career as a Braille Tech Specialist. During this time, Dina returned to school at the University of Arizona for a master’s in Special Education along with a certification in teaching students with visual impairments. Dina has now been teaching in PVUSD since 2014.
Email Ms. Mason
- Dana Powell
Began her career as a middle school inclusion teacher upon graduating from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Cross-Categorical Special Education. In 2007, she received her master’s degree in Teaching the Visually Impaired, also from the University of Arizona. In 2012, Dana completed an Orientation and Mobility certification program and received her ACVREP credential. She has been teaching in the Paradise Valley Unified School District since 2007.
Email Ms. Powell
- Rick Volk
Began his career in 1974 as the first teacher of students with visual impairments in Naples, Florida. Since then, he has taught in Michigan, Illinois and Arizona, spending the past 32 years in this state. He received his bachelor’s degree in Teaching the Visually Impaired and a master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University and has attended both Florida State University and the University of Michigan for additional course work. He has been teaching in the Paradise Valley Unified School district since 2007.
Email Mr. Volk
PVSchools Vision Services
Learn more about qualifying for vision services and types of vision services by clicking on any of the following items of interest:
- Qualifying for Vision Services
Students who meet the definition of visual impairment will first receive a Functional Vision Evaluation (FVA) and Learning Media Assessment (LMA) administered by a PVSchools teacher of the visually impaired. (Read the definition and common traits of visual impairment.)
Additionally, an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) screen and possible evaluation will be completed to determine if this student would benefit from this type of training. These assessments will help to determine what specific school supports the student is eligible to receive in order to better access the classroom curriculum.
For more information on the special education and Individualized Education Program (IEP) evaluation process for vision services, visit the following resources.
- Types of Vision Services
The results of the student’s FVA and LMA will be reviewed at the MET/IEP meeting. At this time, the IEP team will develop vision-based goals and accommodations/modifications needed throughout the school day to ensure the student is able to access their curriculum.
Examples of Low Vision Services:
- Magnification device training: low tech (e.g., dome magnifier) and high tech (e.g., CCTV)
- Large print access: textbooks, handouts, and other materials
- Monocular training for classroom purposes (e.g., viewing the whiteboard).
- Low Vision Evaluations
The Paradise Valley Unified School District’s Vision Resource Program provides quality low vision evaluations to qualifying students at the Foundation for Blind Children’s low vision clinic. The student is then trained by a PVSchools teacher of the visually impaired to utilize the low vision devices prescribed during the evaluation in the classroom and community.
Examples of Blind Services:
- Braille transcription
- Braille textbooks and materials
- Tactile training
- Orientation & Mobility cane instruction
- Braille skills
- Orientation and Mobility
The Paradise Valley Unified School District provides O&M instruction to visually impaired students who require specific training in navigating their classrooms, school campus, and community environments. Purposeful and directed movement is taught to all students to ensure that the skills and techniques that enable them to safely travel in their daily lives and live as independently as possible.
Examples of O&M Skills:
- Human/sighted guide: utilizing another person to aid in travel
- Protective techniques: specific skills which provide added protection in unfamiliar areas
- Sensory awareness: gaining information about the world through hearing, smell, touch and proprioception
- Spatial concepts: realizing that objects exist even if not heard or felt, and understanding the
- Monocular training: reading environmental signage on campus and in the community
- Public transportation access: using community services to aid in advance travel (i.e., Valley Metro Bus, Dial-A-Ride, Light Rail, etc.)
- Searching skills: locating items/dropped objects or places efficiently
- Cane skills: using various cane techniques to clear one's path or to locate objects along the way
Vision Resources for Parents
If your child is a braille reader, dual braille/print reader, or an emergent braille reader, it is of great advantage to also become a braille reader. Here are some links to wonderful braille resources, including how to learn braille, where to obtain games in braille, gift ideas for braille readers, and even brailled chocolate:
- Visit the Hadley School for the Blind website.
- Shop products from Independent Living Aids, LLC.
- Visit the National Braille Press website.
- Visit the Wonder Baby informational site.
Educational Resources for Technology
As previously mentioned, technology has greatly contributed to leveling the playing field for our students. Our mission is to provide access to literacy, the Sciences, Math, skills related to independent living, recreational pursuits and career readiness to our students. Please start with this resource for technology: