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Evaluating Students With Visual Impairments

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a teacher, you are sometimes involved in evaluating students for visual impairments and using findings to write meaningful IEPs. This lesson discusses the evaluation process for visual impairments.

Why Evaluation Matters

Marion is a fourth-grade teacher in an inclusive setting, where children with special needs learn alongside typically-developing peers. Over the course of the last several years, Marion has taught several students with visual impairments, or different difficulties involving sight and processing visual information.

Lately, Marion has become more interested in the evaluation process related to identifying visual impairments. She realizes that getting a student evaluated properly is a key step toward getting them the interventions they need and learns that there are many different kinds of vision assessment available.

She starts to learn as much as she can about different evaluations and assessments that can be used to diagnose a variety of vision impairments.

Functional Vision Evaluation

First, Marion learns about something called a functional vision assessment. Marion discovers that this is an assessment that is used to evaluate whether a person has a visual impairment that will affect their ordinary functioning.

Functional vision assessments are conducted by teachers of students with visual impairments or sometimes specialists in orientation and mobility. The assessment evaluates vision in the following domains:

  • how a child uses vision for tasks that are near their eyes, closer than 16 inches away
  • how a child uses vision for intermediate tasks, between 16 inches and 3 feet away
  • how a child uses vision for distant tasks, more than 3 feet away

Usually, as Marion learns, a functional vision assessment occurs over the course of time.It involves a review of the child's records and history as well as observations, interviews with the child and teacher, and more formal tests.

The formal tests are used to evaluate:

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