Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments (CATIS)

Scope of Practice

A Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments, ("CATIS"), is a highly trained expert who specializes in working with individuals who are blind, visually impaired or who have functional visual limitations empowering them to achieve their life goals for education, employment, avocation and independence through the use of assistive technology.

CATIS engage in a comprehensive approach to vision rehabilitation addressing visual, physical, cognitive, and psycho-social aspects related to training and integration of existing and emerging technologies. Methods and strategies include the use of visual techniques, non-visual techniques (auditory and tactual), strategies and problem-solving skills through the use of various assistive technology ("AT") devices and solutions.

CATIS provide services in a variety of settings including: rehabilitation centers, hospitals, governmental rehabilitation agencies, private, non-profit agencies, workplaces, educational settings, assistive living facilities, senior living facilities, individuals' homes and/or community. Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialists function as members of an inter-disciplinary and intra-disciplinary team that may be comprised of, but not limited to, eye care, health care, rehabilitation and education professionals and other assistive technology professionals working with consumers and their families. Specific responsibilities of CATIS include interpretation of medical eye reports; analysis of medical implications for optimizing visual functioning; assessment of functional limitations; development and implementation of individualized and evidence-based objective-based learning and intervention programs; promotion of wellness; management of individualized case records; identification of local, regional and national resources.

Included in the CATIS Scope of Practice are the following:


  • Ensures the following during an evaluation:
    • The individual has received a clinical low vision evaluation (when appropriate)
    • Is using the prescribed optical systems
  • Conducts a thorough interview to determine the individual's goals (personal, vocational, educational), needs and desires
  • Conducts a task analysis to determine the specific tasks required to help the individual accomplish their goals for independent living, employment and education

Many of the tasks that the individual will need to accomplish will fall into one of the following categories:

    • Accessing printed information
    • Accessing electronic information
    • Performing written communication
    • Accessing mobile navigational information
    • Participating in leisure & recreational activities
    • Maintaining personal, business, and health records
  • Assesses any current hardware and software to determine if features are available that might assist the individual in accomplishing the desired tasks
  • Determines if the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills or can learn the skills necessary to successfully use the technology tool(s) to accomplish the desired task:
    • Sensory skills
    • Motor skills
    • Cognitive skills
  • Analyzes the information gathered and makes recommendations for specific technologies and instructional strategies necessary for the individual to have the greatest opportunity to achieve their stated goals



  • Guides individuals to make appropriate, informed decisions on the most appropriate and efficient toolsets based on their abilities, needs and goals
  • Applies learning styles and learning theory to suit the individual
  • Creates a training plan specific to individual's abilities, goals and needs
  • Instructs in integrating assistive technology, devices, hardware and software into daily activities that enhances daily life or the educational or work environment
  • Instructs in multiple ways via hands-on experience or lecture, (best practices for children and adult principles)
  • Instructs in home, classroom, other school environment, workplace or community
  • Adjusts scope, structure and pace of instruction based upon learning styles and capacity for new information
  • Adjusts scope, structure and pace of instruction based upon changes and advances in technology
  • Instructs in planning, implementation, and record keeping for short-term and long-term instruction
  • Instructs in local, regional and national assistive technology resources and teaches strategies for troubleshooting
  • Provides resources for further learning

Desktop and Laptop and Mobile Computing Environments:

Instructs in:

  • general computer configuration hardware and software basics and standard operating systems
  • built-in accessibility software options
  • third-party accessibility software
  • use of appropriate environmental modifications such as ergonomics, illumination and size control, speech output settings, tactual markings
  • orientation to a keyboard using tactual and/or visual cues
  • different input technology (keyboard only, keyboard and mouse, braille displays, voice recognition) related to productivity, recreation and special accessibility programs
  • maintenance and troubleshooting including updates, configurations, malware, anti-virus and exploration based on the ability, goals and needs of the individual
  • appropriate maintenance of assistive technology devices
  • AT solutions for various platforms


  • Configures and individualizes computers and portable devices as needed, including, but not limited to: installation of software; email functionality; account setup; folder management; disabling and removing unneeded and inaccessible third party software, and installation of antivirus software
  • Customizes Operating Systems for compatibility with AT and other third party applications
  • Installs and customizes various AT solutions to meet the required needs and goals for individuals
  • Configures systems and devices for remote training and instructional purposes as needed
  • Installs and removes computer components as needed such as hard drives, memory and sound cards
  • Connects peripheral devices and access points via technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Maintains and troubleshoots hardware and software solutions


  • Explores and reviews mainstream and AT hardware and software tools at every available opportunity through public beta testing, free trials, vendor online training
  • Explores assistive technologies that do not yet have training courses and manuals and develops use case and training materials for others
  • Knows the major publications, conferences and web resources related to assistive technology to update CATIS practice
  • Presents and participates in conferences and educational events on evolving technology
  • Develops network of tools to keep abreast of new developments in devices, software, services, and accessibility tools for individuals with visual impairment, mainstream technology and user-group communities (i.e. follow AT technology sources on social media)
  • Collaborates with software and hardware companies to promote accessibility
  • Learns accessibility features of mainstream electronic applications and devices
  • Participates in beta testing opportunities to promote access and partnerships

CATIS work with a diverse range of individuals of all ages, including individuals with congenital or adventitious vision loss and blindness. In addition to working with individuals with vision loss, CATIS' also provide individualized programs of instruction that target the specific needs of individuals with disabilities that are often paired with visual impairment including, but not limited to, those who are deafblind, or who have diabetes, multiple sclerosis, brain injury and age-related disabilities.

CATIS are committed to excellence in serving individuals who are blind or have low vision to facilitate independence, communication and successful outcomes for educational pursuits, avocational interests and gainful employment.