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Serena Speaker, OTR, SCLV

My quest for knowledge regarding vision began after I became a certified vestibular/balance therapist. I knew that vision was a huge component of balance but wanted to know what else it influenced besides balance.

As a non-traditional student I enrolled in the distance learning UAB Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation program offered through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I graduated from the 5 semester program in 2011.

Q: What does vision influence?

A: "In completing the certificate program, I found that asking what does vision NOT influence would be a better question. This program gave me the skills and confidence to begin a private OT low vision practice in rural Texas as a sole provider. I am privileged to see people with all types of low vision diagnosis including brain injury and even returned to UAB in spring of 2015 to take another advanced class on treating persons with vision impairment from brain injury. I have helped numerous clients to accomplish visually guided tasks and remain in their own home. The reward these clients gave me is fabulous."

Q: Can you explain the transition from student to instructor?

A: "This certificate has allowed me to develop CEU of 1 to 6.5 hours that I present to a variety of organizations in Texas. I even presented at the national Envision Low Vision Conference in 2015. This certificate continues to inspire me to increase my knowledge and stay current on low vision research. I have found the low vision list-serve for graduates of the program to be invaluable for networking especially since I am a sole practitioner in an isolated area."

Q: Where has this certificate taken you?

A: "As a mature therapist I can continue to use these occupational therapy low vision skills for as long as I want. This program will enhance and grow your OT skills beyond anything that you can imagine. I am so grateful for this program that is designed for the working clinician in an age of distance learning. Go and grow beyond your expectations!!"