Texas Tech University - B/VI
Olaya Landa-Vialard is a National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities and Helen DeVitt Jones fellow in her first year of doctoral studies in the College of Education Special Education Program at the Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Visual Impairment at Texas Tech University focusing on Blindness/Visual Impairments with a minor in Educational Psychology. Her research interests include developing a program with curriculum and psycho-educational assessments for bilingual students with blindness/visual impairments, determining how having a first language other than English affects the rate and proficiency of Braille acquisition and application in an English immersion educational setting and how that translates into the rate of English cognitive academic language proficiency levels for educational progress and success, and updating current as well as developing new psycho-educational assessments for students with blindness/visual impairments with additional disabilities.
Olaya holds degrees from Sam Houston State University in English (BA) and the University of Houston in Elementary Education Curriculum and Instruction (MEd). She also holds educational certifications in Bilingual Education, English/Language Arts, English as a Second Language, Special Education, Educational Diagnostician (University of St. Thomas), and Teacher of the Visually Impaired (Texas Tech University).
Olaya has been an educator for sixteen years, seven of which have been spent as the Lead Bilingual Educational Diagnostician for the Program for Students with Visual Impairments in Houston ISD, the 7th largest school district in the nation and the largest school district in Texas which serves 16,000 students in special education approximately 300 of those children are students with blindness/visual impairments. She is a leader in the Evaluation Division of the Office of Special Education Services and performs a range of duties in serving students with disabilities. She not only conducts evaluations, but also provides policy guidance for Houston ISD's Evaluation Division while working intently in the implementation of Section 504 to ensure students with visual impairments have equal access to the curriculum, assessment opportunities, and building facilities. HISD’s Evaluation division consistently relies on her knowledge in working with children, her patience in contested cases, and her expertise in the assessment of students with visual impairments
Olaya also serves as a private psycho-educational consultant to educational service centers as well as school districts across the state of Texas including Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In addition, she also provides in-home and community based training to families and students to assist with enhancing generalization of skills for the students she works with between the school and home environment. She has secured an A+ for Energy Grant for “VISIONS of Energy” a project for students with visual impairments and was honored for the "Creativity Award," bestowed upon her by the University of Houston - Clear Lake and is a member of Texas Educational Diagnostician Association (TEDA), Texas AER and CEC.