Stephen G. Whittaker, PhD, FAAO, OTR/L, CLVT, is an occupational therapist, certified low vision therapist and research Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry with a PhD in experimental psychology and post-doctoral training in visual science. For over 35 years, Steve has been teaching, doing research, and providing clinical services in low vision rehabilitation. He lectures internationally. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Steve was a member of the faculty at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) during which time he was principal investigator on National Eye Institute-, NIDRR-, and NASA-funded research on low vision and visual enhancement devices. He switched careers, earned his Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 2002, and now practices as an occupational therapist at MossRehab Hospital and consults in area private practices where he provides low vision rehabilitation services. He has served on the low vision subject matter expert committee of the Academy of Certification for Vision Rehabilitation Professionals (ACVREP) and participated in the writing of the certification examinations. His broad training in occupational therapy enables Dr. Whittaker not only to treat visual impairment across the lifespan but also a variety of neurological conditions as well. From his unique background, Dr. Whittaker has built the pragmatic approach of an occupational therapist on a foundation of over 40 years of research from many disciplines.
Mitchell Scheiman, OD, FCOVD, FAAO, is a nationally known optometric educator, lecturer, author, and private practitioner. He is the author of Understanding and Managing Visual Deficits: A Guide for Occupational Therapists. Dr. Scheiman has a long and close relationship with occupational therapists. He works closely with occupational therapists in his practice co-managing patients and has presented post-graduate continuing education courses to over 6000 occupational therapists. Dr. Scheiman is currently Dean of Research and Professor of Optometry at Salus University. He has written three books for optometrists covering the topics of binocular vision and vision therapy, pediatric optometry, and learning related vision problems and he has published over 165 articles in the professional literature. He is a Diplomate in Binocular Vision and Perception and a Fellow in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.
In the last 20 years he has spent the majority of his professional time as a researcher involved in randomized clinical trials. He was the national Study Chair of the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial that was completed in 2008, and the recently NEI-funded follow-up Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial study investigating changes in reading and attention after treatment.
Debra Sokol-McKay, OTR/L, SCLV, CDE, CVRT, CLVT, is a licensed Occupational Therapist in the state of Pennsylvania. She has a specialty certification in Low Vision through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and is a Certified Low Vision Therapist, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Low Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. Ms. Sokol-McKay received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and her Master’s in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in Elkins Park, PA.
Ms. Sokol-McKay has been a practicing occupational therapist for over 30 years and both a low vision therapist and a diabetes educator for over 15 years, is the second lead author of Disabilities Position Statement of the American Association of Diabetes Educator (AADE), and has presented at the AADE’s national conference many times. Ms. Sokol-McKay wrote the Occupational Therapy and Diabetes Fact Sheet for AOTA and co-presented AOTA’s podcast on diabetes. She has been a national speaker on low vision rehabilitation for Cross Country Education for the past 5 years.
Ms. Sokol-McKay was a member of the AOTA’s National Expert Low Vision Practice Certification Panel, which wrote the AOTA’s standards for specialty certification in low vision. Debbie is the current chairperson of the abstract reviewer committee of the national low vision Envision conference and a reviewer for the Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness. Ms. Sokol-McKay is also the author of peer-reviewed professional articles on low vision rehabilitation and/or diabetes self-management and has presented more than 20 times at national/international conferences of AOTA, AADE, Envision Conference, and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.