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Winter 2002 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)
By Jean Robinson, Family Specialist, TSBVI, VI Outreach
Your child may be the only student, or the first student, in your school district with a visual impairment. It is critical for you to be informed, so you can share information about your child's unique needs with the professionals on his or her educational team. As a member of that team, one of your roles is to gather information and bring it to the table.
There are specific additional requirements in developing an IEP for a student with a visual impairment. The Full Individual Evaluation (FIE) must include an eye report by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. To meet minimal compliance with federal regulations, state law, and State Board of Education rules, the following information must be addressed: visual acuity (Exact measure of corrected visual acuity at distance and near in each eye should be noted. The eye specialist must state if exact measures cannot be obtained, then give a best estimate.); visual field (exact measure or best estimate of visual field); diagnosis (type of visual impairment); prognosis; statement of severity of loss (i.e., the student has no vision or has a serious loss after correction). The (FIE) must also include a Functional Vision Evaluation (FVE) conducted by a certified Teacher of the Visually impaired (TVI) or a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS), and a Learning Media Assessment (LMA) developed by a certified TVI.
At every IEP or IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan for children under the age of three) meeting, a document such as the "Supplement for a Student with a Visual Impairment" should be discussed. This will describe in detail the arrangements made for instruction in braille, large print, orientation and mobility, compensatory skills, and access to special media. It also addresses strategies for instruction in daily living/self help skills, social skills, career readiness, auditory/listening skills, and self-advocacy.
The following checklist was developed in Pennsylvania by The National Agenda for Blind and Visually Impaired Youths Including those with Additional Disabilities. It incorporates some of the unique needs of students with visual impairments. These items are not appropriate for every student but should be considered for all students. You may also want to read "The Core Curriculum for Blind and Visually Impaired Students, Including those with Additional Disabilities," by Dr. Phil Hatlen, Superintendent at TSBVI. It can be found at http://www.obs.org/napa/goal8.htm. From there you can link to the "Parent IEP Checklist for Expanded Curriculum Topics to Consider for Inclusion in Your Child's IEP" (shown below), or go directly to http://www.obs.org/napa/parentchecklist.htm.
Developed by National Agenda - Pennsylvania
The National Agenda for Blind and Visually Impaired Youths, Including Those With Additional Disabilities
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Last Revision: July 30, 2002