Image of hands on braille with pointer fingers extended reading

This year Concordia launched the Special Education Visual Impairment program. It is the sole visually impaired teaching licensure program in the state of Wisconsin.

The Braille course is in full swing.

Concordia graduate students are midway through their first course in Braille. Special education teachers, specifically those for the visually impaired, make a dramatic difference in the lives of students.

This year Concordia launched the Master of Science in Education-Special Education with Visual Impairment licensure program. It is the sole visually impaired teaching licensure program in the state of Wisconsin.

Students began by taking a visually impaired prerequisite course over the summer. They are now enrolled in Braille I. In January, they begin Braille II. These two Braille courses offer specialized content in multisensory experiences, translation, and teaching students who may be visually impaired. Concordia’s graduate education courses typically run on an 8-week schedule, but these courses require 12 weeks of intense study.

“It is like learning a new language,” says Wanda Routier, Director of Graduate Special Education Program. “It is, of course, a lot of work for students who are also working full time, but the course is going very well.”

Of course, dedication and hard work pays off. A teacher trained in special education makes a huge positive impact in the lives of those they work with.

Graduates have to pass a state test for proficiency in braille to receive the teaching license. Concordia is preparing them for this test. In addition to Braille, students also learn orientation and mobility skills.

Students in the program are practicing teachers.

All of the students in the program are practicing teachers. They are all teaching visually impaired students this year on an emergency license. Wisconsin lacks qualified teachers and Concordia was identified as an ideal higher education partner to offer the program.

The visually impaired track is one of three tracks that fit within Concordia’s MS in Special Education. Students in the VI program have the choice to earn either just the TVI license, or may obtain their MS in Education-Special Education with a specialization in visual impairment.

In addition to the TVI specialization, Concordia’s Master of Science in special education program offers specializations in:

  • Cross categorical special education – Wisconsin DPI 2801
  • Early childhood special education – Wisconsin DPI 1809
  • Visual Impairment – Wisconsin DPI 1825

Learn more about the master’s program here.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.