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Meet Andrea Regier, Teacher of Students with Vision Impairments

Here in Harvey County, Andrea Regier, Teacher of Students with Vision Impairments, works with nearly a dozen students each week. With passion and purpose, Andrea enjoys serving students from birth to age 21 across school districts within the Harvey County Special Education Cooperative.

Andrea's caseload is diverse, with 11 students seeing her on a daily or weekly basis, while others benefit from her services on a monthly basis. She divides her time with Newton USD 373, USD 440 Halstead and USD 460 Hesston, working closely with the Harvey County Infant/Toddler Program to intervene early in life for students born with vision impairments.

A common misconception regarding Andrea’s low vision students is that they have no sight. In reality, all her current students have some degree of vision impairment, with 90% of them reading large print for their studies. Two students are currently learning Braille, emphasizing the spectrum of abilities and needs within her caseload.

Cortical vision impairment, or CVI, is a brain-based condition affecting 12 out of her 18 students. To accommodate their unique learning needs, she transforms spaces within the district, creating environments with specific lighting and tactile prompts for learning. Her knowledge in auditory spelling and verbal communication is important as she helps her students navigate the challenges of processing information with limited visual input.

Born and raised in Canada, Andrea's journey to becoming a low vision teacher took a unique turn. Initially considering a career as a speech-language pathologist, she found her calling when she got a summer job creating tactile diagrams for Braille science textbooks. With a graduate degree in Special Education from the University of North Dakota, Andrea has dedicated 17 years to her role, starting as a paraeducator before her current position in Newton.

Andrea's commitment extends beyond the classroom, actively advocating for funding to enhance resources for students with vision impairments.

You’ll often find her wearing black intentionally to provide optimal contrast for her brain-based students. Tools for her job include magnifiers, glare reduction options, tablet magnification systems, lightboxes, and a long list of APH products to facilitate teaching and learning.

In April, Andrea is scheduled to speak to the Newton Lions Club all about her vision program and ways they might support her students.

This spring, Andrea looks forward to connecting her students with the broader community, including a statewide gathering of students with vision impairments in Wichita and a trip to the new Michael R. Rhodes Wetlands Park which uses QR codes to explore different bird species and their calls. She looks forward to creating some informal big/little relationships between her older and younger students with similar visual impairments.