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High Technology Assessment Specialist


Centre for Sight Enhancement (Low Vision Services)

Effective Date: August, 2007
Grade: USG 7 Reports to: Administrator, CSE

General Accountability

The High Technology Assessment Specialist (HTAS) reports to the CSE Administrator and High Technology Assessment Co-ordinator (HTAC).  The incumbent provides high technology assessment services for the clinic under the direction of the HTAC as well as providing assistance to the CSE Administrator, low vision clinicians, residents and interns working in the low vision clinic. 

Nature and Scope

The School of Optometry Clinic provides a clinical facility for the education of Optometry undergraduates, graduate students and residents at the University of Waterloo. It also provides a comprehensive Optometric service to the general public through a University-based clinic. Approximately 30,000 patients are seen annually. Special populations are served through outreach projects around the region, across the country and throughout the world.


The Centre for Sight Enhancement (CSE) is a semi-autonomous clinical research and teaching facility within the School of Optometry. It is involved exclusively with activities related to the assessment and rehabilitation of visual disorders, visual impairments, visual disabilities and visual handicaps. The CSE has been designated by the Ontario Ministry of Health for the assessment and provision of high technology sight enhancement and sight substitution systems to visually impaired Ontario residents under the Assistive Devices Program (ADP). This Ministry program provides partial funding for these and other prescribed low vision aids.


The Centre for Sight Enhancement is an integral part of the overall teaching, research and clinical activities of the School of Optometry. Clinical low vision services within the CSE are provided by faculty optometrists with specialty training and experience in the low vision field. These "low vision clinicians" are assigned to the CSE low vision service by the School of Optometry Clinic Director who appoints a Head - Low Vision Services" to co-ordinate the clinical activities within the area. CSE support staff are available to assist with reception, intake, assessment, counselling, training, clerical support and follow-up activities in the area. These support services are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care


The provision of clinical low vision services at the Centre for Sight Enhancement has evolved into a highly sophisticated and complex process. Since its creation in 1984, the Centre has experienced a tremendous change in the profile of patients being seen and in the services that they require. A greater number of young and profoundly impaired individuals are now being seen with more complicated educational and vocational requirements. In response to these changing service demands, the CSE low vision service has adopted an effective multidisciplinary team approach for low vision rehabilitation. Optometric low vision services are supported internally by a Rehabilitation Counsellor, a Rehabilitation Worker, High Technology Assessment Specialists and clerical support and externally by a large assortment of community services. The CSE also interacts regularly with many advocacy and consumer support groups attempting to assist blind and visually impaired individuals.           


Following their clinical assessment, clients may require a supplemental low vision evaluation for high technology assistance.  The High Technology Assessment Specialist provides assessment services in the clinic which explore a variety of adaptive technologies for the blind and visually impaired.

When high technology devices are prescribed, clients often require familiarisation, training and direct supervision before they can use their systems effectively.  The High Technology Assessment Specialist would be responsible for providing or arranging these services for the client. The CSE maintains an extensive inventory of high technology low vision devices that are available for the assessment of clients.


An Outreach project to the Windsor area requires the HTAS to independently plan what equipment will be required, configure equipment for the visit, set up equipment on arrival and ensure that it is functioning well for the booked assessments.


The High Technology Assessment Specialist also provides technical support to the SEEPAC Program, advising the HTAC and other staff in the area about new devices that might be required. As new equipment becomes available the HTAS installs and configures new equipment in the assessment area.


The High Technology Assessment Specialist reports to the CSE Administrator together with all other CSE and SEEPAC staff positions.

Statistical Data

The SEEPAC annual contract with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care provides an annual budget of approximately 3. 1 million dollars (in 2007). As part of this contract, the High Technology Assessment Specialist would assess approximately 240 -270 clients annually, creating 200 - 250 authorizations for equipment for an approximate value of $700,000 which is not included in the annualized funding from the Ministry.

Specific Accountabilities

1. To perform high technology assessments, which explore a variety of adaptive technologies for the blind and visually impaired client.  These might include Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems, adapted computer systems and combined systems.

2. To keep appropriate clinical records describing all clients contacts.

3. To plan and prepare for high technology assessments during Outreach visits. 

4. To make recommendations about new equipment requirements and maintain a current and functional assessment area.

5. To provide occasional training and set-up support for high technology devices leased and purchased through the Assistive Devices Program at the CSE or client’s home. 

6. To perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time by the CSE   Administrator

Working Conditions