Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU220 – India’s First Assistive Technology Center (Samuel Matthew), iPhone 6s Rumors, Grad Certificate in AT, Typing Braille on your iPhone with iBrailler NotesAugust 14, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”AM087 – ATP Credential from RESNAJanuary 25, 2013In “Accessibility Minute”ATU410 – ICanConnect with Belva Smith CATISApril 5, 2019In “Assistive Technology Update” Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.243-01-22-16 – CATIS Low Vision AT Certification Program – Jay StitelyShow notes: www.acvrep.org | 520-887-6816Audrey Busch www.ATAPorg.org——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——JAY STITELY: Hi, this is Jay Stitely, Chairman of the CATIS, Certification of Assistive Technology Instructional Specialists, with the Academy for the Certification of Vision Education and Rehabilitation Professionals, and you’re listening to Assistive Technology UpdateWADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 243 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on January 22 of 2016.Today we have sort of a special episode. We have Jay Stitely who is the chair of the CATIS SME ACVREP, the alphabet soup that we will untangle. It’s all about certification of assistive technology specialists who are working in the field of vision and blindness.Before we jump into that interview, we’ve got a quick update from Audrey Bush, our representative on the Hill talking about federal issues in Washington DC. We hope you’ll check out our website at www.eastersealstech.com, give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124, or shoot us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project.It’s time for on the Hill with Audrey. Audrey Busch is the director for policy and advocacy for the Association of assistive technology act programs. In her update, she lets us know how the power of politics is impacting people with disabilities and their use of assistive technology. Learn more about Audrey and her work at ATAPorg.orgAUDREY BUSCH: This is Audrey Bush, policy director for the Association of assistive technology act programs, coming to you with your monthly Washington update. Congress returns to Washington after the holidays with ambitious New Year’s resolutions. Organizing themselves as the second session of the 114th Congress begins, Congress sees a busy few months ahead. This session more or less concludes on July 15 as it is a presidential election year. Therefore because of congresses New Year’s resolutions, that they will make time for real, detail appropriations work this year, speaker of the house Paul Ryan is already pushing for 12 fiscal 2017 spending bills to hit the house floor for consideration by mid to late March. This is an extremely tight timeline, far more aggressive than in past years. This means that there is much to do and quickly. The appropriations process seems to likely be the first priority for Congress this year, and possibly they will also add criminal justice reform to that list. Giving Congress is clear focus, prepare for quick action once the president’s proposal for FY 2017 is released on February 9, which is typically the second step of the budget process following the president’s address to the state of the union, which took place on January 12. Speaking of the state of the union, President Obama did give his last address in which he departed from the traditional course. In past years, the president had outlined an aggressive policy agenda for the year ahead; however, this year he opted to present for questions to Congress and American citizens to ponder what America will look like in the next five years. The president asked what more should governments do to provide an economic fair shot to the middle-class; how can technological innovation best be harnessed next; how can America lead on the global stage without playing the role of the world’s policeman; and how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us and not with worst. When answering his last and final question, the president of oyster deep regret that the Rinker in Washington has only worsened under his presidency and vowed to do all he could to change this during the year ahead. While a typical state of the union includes a myriad of requests from the president that pair well with his policy agenda, this year he really only focus on a few specific requests that were far from bold or politically partisan. Among these were action on issues surrounding drug additions, specifically to heroin; action on criminal justice reform; and been shot requests for support to find a cure for cancer. As the president often does with large issues, he tasked Vice President Joe Biden to head up this effort. The theory is that Biden would be most effective given that his son, a former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, recently passed away with brain cancer. With reasonable bipartisan requests coming from the White House this year, and speaking of the house Paul Ryan also seeking a more moderate tone in Congress, the president is more likely to get his last and final wishes. Once the state of the union was complete, GOP members traveled to Baltimore in order to begin their two day retreat, which is an annual opportunity for the party to strategize and set it agenda for the second session of the 114th Congress. Democrats will also have their own retreat at the end of this coming week, therefore causing two consecutive weeks where there is probably little legislative progress. But that being said, as soon as the presidential race against to heat up, so will work in Washington, and as Congress will soon begin to consider funding bills for 2017, and additionally pushed through several other bills of significance that can be used on the campaign trail this year. So stay tuned for future updates as this year Congress will be moving quickly and each day will count.WADE WINGLER: I like to think that everybody who works in the field of assistive technology knows what they are doing. I think a lot of people probably do feel like they know what they are doing. But there are times when certification makes a difference between thinking that and maybe actually showing that. Recently across my news feeds I’ve seen a thing called the CATIS, even with more of a bit soup here, CATIS SME Committee at the ACVREP. With all those letters I will need some help sorting those out, so I’m very happy today to have Jay stately joining me, who is the chair of the CATIS SME Committee at the ACVREP, to talk with us about certification of folks who do assistive technology in the field of low vision. First of all, J, welcome to the show.JAY STITELY: Thank you very much. I really do appreciate it. You touched on a couple good pieces there. Let me try to get through the soup first.WADE WINGLER: Let’s do the alphabet soup.JAY STITELY: First of all, ACVREP stands for the Academy for the certification of vision rehabilitation and education professionals. I always have to stop and think about that myself. Even though I was on the board for six years, you get caught up with the acronym just because of the length of the name. It is a certifying body for orientation and mobility specialists, vision rehabilitation therapists – formally known as rehabilitation teachers – and then low vision therapist. All of them have certifications. We are now – this is something that has been needed in the field and has been tried within the field over the last 20 plus years to try and figure out a way to create a certification for people who provide assistive technology to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. So we came up with CATIS which stands for certification of assistive technology instructional specialists. SME stands for subject matter experts. We just abbreviate that. There goes the alphabet soup.You touched on something about certification. It is important. I think that, having just come out of a rehab center for knee replacement, I wanted to know that that physical therapist that was training me or working with me was certified and that she had met all of her boards and all of her tests, which indicated that she had a good base of knowledge. That’s what we are doing with a certification. It is the minimal competency to be an assistive technology instructional specialist.We’ve got 12 people on the committee, and they range from people who have been in the field for many years, some that have been only in the field for two or three years. They were present state agencies, federal/private agencies. I was very pleased that we actually had somebody who only has a high school education, because there is a large number of people who happen to be blind or visually impaired who are now hired and being paid as assistive technology instructors. As part of it, as we will discuss later, we have eligibility criteria going on for everybody with a high school diploma to a Masters, because we recognize that especially for many private agencies, the person who is blind or visually impaired may or may not have had an Associates or bachelors or Masters. In many areas, they’ve been the backbone who has provided that instruction and gotten many other individuals up and going with their technology and have opened that sense of independence that assistive technology offers to the Internet, email, to Facebook, even just writing, word processing and many other areas, and has opened in many cases jobs for these people and a chance to move forward off of SSI or SSDI. We really felt strongly that we needed to recognize and give that particular group an opportunity to get certification. It’s all part of the eligibility.Our process at ACVREP is first of all your scope of practice. What is that you actually do? I mentioned that we’ve been trying to work on this for the last different groups to try to put something together over the last 20 years. One of the things we kept running into is do you break it down into just a large print specialist, to somebody who teaches speech? Do you break it down into instructional or assessment or people who do just the hardware, the configuring of the equipment? The dozen people who are involved in the process said, well, at one point or another you do all of those things. You assess, you instruct, you can figure that computer. Then we added an extra area, and that was for exploration. The whole message is technology is always changing, so what are you going to do as a professional to keep learning and you keep changing with the times of the computers. When we came up with the scope of practice, we looked at assessment, instruction, configuration, and exploration. So that’s all the things you do as part of the job. We broke all of those down into appropriate certification type terms. There is a whole thing with that you have to follow with this.Our next area was our body of knowledge. What do you need to know to be able to do those tasks that you just laid out in the scope of practice? What is your knowledgebase? We listed all of those things that people had to know to be able to then provide training and tasks at the minimal competency level.Once we get those in place, then we have our eligibility criteria. This is where we have quite a table organized, and it’s all available on ACVREP.org. Look under certifications and look for CATIS. It shows all of this information I’m talking about. People are more than welcome to send comments. Our formal comment period ends on Monday, January 18, but we will still be accepting comments past that because we want to be sure that we are finding out what people who are out there who are doing the jobs, if they are in agreement with what we thought or did you miss something, please let us know. I just hope that because of the cross-section of people that we do have, I think we covered it pretty well. We started the eligibility criteria — you may have only a high school diploma. In that situation, you would have to show that you have some 4000 hours of direct service time with individuals who are blind or visually impaired teaching them that technology over the last five years. Basically what that requires is kind of a resume that shows where you have been working, that show that that is what you have done, and then a letter from your supervisor or the director of the agency, whoever might be your supervisor, indicating that yes this person has accrued these 4000 hours. You don’t have to show a table of January 1 through January whatever, I worked. No. You also have to demonstrate that you have gotten 30 hours of assistive technology training or courses that you may have taken. That could be courses for JAWS, courses through organizations that provide certificates. It’s a mean of documenting that, yes, you are indeed. When we talk about assistive technology, we are talking about people who are blind or visually impaired. That’s where the certification is being directed at.I’ve kind of gone over a whole range of things there.WADE WINGLER: Know, but that’s a lot of good stuff. As I had a chance to look at the proposed standards, I noticed that not only did you talk about the education and the experience, you also talked about specific skills and even ethics that would be required for somebody who is going to be considered for the certification process. Is that right?JAY STITELY: Absolutely. Ethics are a critical part of all of the certifications that ACVREP has.WADE WINGLER: That’s important stuff. We all want to assume that folks are acting ethically, but I think blocking that in as part of the certification is important. I know there is a lot of stuff that is still emerging and that the certification is not available just quite yet. How far along in the process is the ACVREP? What status is the certification at right now?JAY STITELY: I would classify it as the midpoint because we had to get all of those things I laid out that I shared with you and your audience. We had our 30 days of public comments for individuals in the profession to make comments. Now we are moving to the next section, which is where we are going to actually creates the test. ACVREP has an organization called Cryotronics, and they guide us in test development. Our next steps are going to be evaluating the comments and integrating where appropriate into our existing documents. Then we have to create what they call blueprints. The blueprint we will list out all of the different categories, and we will send it out to the profession, the people who are already doing the job of assistive technology instructor. We will need their input to figure out how important are the various categories that we’ve broke this down to. That will help shape what questions need to be that part of the test. Then once we get that piece, then we do our seminar to teach us how to write questions for the 12 that are in our group currently. Then we start writing questions.The group, I can’t say enough about the group of professionals that have been involved. We started this process back in late February, early March, and we had it completed by the end of November. We were meeting weekly for two hours each week, and we only missed, I think, four Mondays and that time span. That everyone can make it every week, and we understood that, but we shared the information back out, get feedback every time. Now we are moving into the test creation phase after the blueprint goes out.One of the ways we are approaching to be able to have the test to be meaningful is create scenarios. I have Student A who has macular degeneration and has some tremors in his fingers so sometimes their typing is not as accurate as it could be. There may be a couple more pieces to this. What would you recommend for this individual? Or maybe eye conditions, they are 20/300, typically can read print at a six inch viewing distance when the print is a half inch high. Something of that nature. Then you have a list of programs, a list of answers, and they may be as simple as four multiple-choice just listing products, or maybe you want to use accommodation of large print and speech. By creating the scenarios, I think that’s going to help us to be able to cover a wide range of areas. The tests will be accessible to people who are blind or low visual. We thought that was a must in this one.WADE WINGLER: You don’t want to be the guy that forgot that.JAY STITELY: Exactly. Cryotronics has been very good to work with, with the program. They are very good about creating and getting the test to be accessible. When things come up, they are very open and making changes. It’s been a good relationship with that organization.WADE WINGLER: That’s good. I love the idea that you are looking at situational questions because I think those probably will do a good job of being answerable and reasonable and something that is applicable and will make sense based on the experience that folks might have. We are running short on time for the interview, but there are a couple of questions I want to make sure we really get to. I know that there are still question marks and things that are happening to be determined, but if someone is listening in our alleys and thinks that’s up my alley, I’m interested in becoming certified and learning more about that, what are you guys projecting in terms of when might certification be available, how much might it cost, how would they pursue an application?JAY STITELY: We have a couple of things going. Our goal is that the test would be available in the fourth quarter of this year, so October/November is our goal. That will be the beta testing. For someone who already has a certified COMM O&M specialists, or a CVRT, or a CVLT, any of those who already have one of those certifications and are doing the work, and as a look at the eligibility criteria list that is up on ACVREP.org, as they look at that, if they want to apply, they are more than welcome to apply for the beta testing. Anyone is welcome. The beta testing is at a reduced rate. Don’t hold me to it, but it’s right in that $220 range if I remember it correctly. Full test price to get you indeed eligible in your transcripts and all those different pieces is $475, if I remember it correctly. To be able to be part of the beta test group, you have some nice incentives.Our goal is to have it early in the fourth quarter to be available for beta testing. If you pass the beta test, you are certified. It doesn’t matter that it’s beta or the real test. We have to have a beta test to be able to normalize the test so we can set the appropriate path/failed score.WADE WINGLER: That makes a ton of sense. This interview is probably going to release on the 22nd which is really after the public comment closes, but what can people do right now to help people move this forward? If they are excited you want to get involved now, before the beta test is available, what would you recommend? And what contact information? Hit us with the website again or anything else to help people take action today.JAY STITELY: ACVREP.org is the website. Kathy Zeider is at [email protected]; she is the president of ACVREP. You are more than welcome to contact her more the staff person. I apologize; I don’t have her email in front of me because I always talk to Kathy. We have a certification specialist in the office. The phone number, if you’re that person who likes to talk to someone, is 520-887-6816. Kathy is number 3, and I think the specialist is number 2.WADE WINGLER: I will pop the website and the phone number in the show notes so people have that there as well.JAY STITELY: Great. Even after the 22nd, if you want to add comments, we are still open to them. That email address will still be available and stay open for a couple of weeks after the 18th, that it closes. We realize it went out over the holidays and some people may not have gotten back through their email yet till this weekend.WADE WINGLER: Jay Stitely is the chair of the CATIS Committee at the ACVREP, has been our guest today and has really shared a lot of great information about how they are creating their certification for folks who want to do training in the area of assistive technology, low vision, and blindness. Figure some of for being with us today.JAY STITELY: I am very pleased to have been. Thank you very much for your interest. Please continue doing the good work you guys are doing there in Indianapolis.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to EasterSealstech.com. Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.