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Return to a Process for Identifying Students with Deafblindness (Birth-22)

As a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, you are aware of the importance of vision for the child with a hearing impairment or deafness. Here are some things that you should investigate through parent and staff interviews and/or the student's records. (Adapted from the Deafblind Census of Texas Checklist)

  1. Does the student have a documented visual impairment meeting Texas eligibility requirements as cited in the Commissioner's Rules?
  2. Does the student have a vision loss in one eye only?
  3. Does the student have a documented syndrome, disease or disorder associated with vision loss?
    • Congenital Rubella Syndrome
    • CHARGE
    • Down Syndrome
    • Cerebral Palsy
    • Prematurity
    • Meningitis
    • Congenital cataracts
    • Prematurity
    • Hydrocephaly
  4. Does the student have a documented syndrome/disorder associated with a progressive vision loss?
    • Usher Syndrome
    • Leber's Congenital Amaurosis
    • Hurler's Syndrome
    • Glaucoma
  5. Does the student have a diagnosis of cortical visual impairment, which results in difficulties in processing visual information, from an ophthalmologist and/or neurologist?
  6. Does the student have a documented visual impairment of 20/70 or greater after correction in better eye or a loss in visual field?
  7. Is the student at risk for vision loss? Factors to alert to include:
    • Diagnosis of nystagmus (an involuntary rapid movement of the eye)
    • Diagnosis of untreated amblyopia (uncorrectable blurred vision due to disuse of the eye) after the age of 6 years?
    • History of untreated eye condition, such as cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye), during the first three years of life
    • Impaired occulomotor functioning resulting from strabismus (a deviation of the eyes so they are not simultaneously directed to the same object) or cerebral palsy or other neurological impairments
    • Prematurity
    • Caregivers/professionals who know the child suspect visual impairments because visual attending and/or visual examining behaviors are less than anticipated
    • Family history of vision loss
    • Childhood injuries especially blows to the head
    • Craniofacial anomalies
    • Drug or alcohol abuse of parent during pregnancy
    • Low birth weight


It's as simple as A, B, C!

There are three common areas to look for when determining whether a child has a vision problem. A simple A, B, C Checklist can help you along the way! Your job is to be a good observer of the child's eyes and activities. If you have any questions about the vision of a child, please talk to a teacher, a school nurse, or a doctor. Many vision problems can be corrected, if caught early. Be a vision detective and identify vision problems early!


Do eyes look normal?

  • Eyes turn in or out
  • Crusty or red eyelids
  • Different size pupils or eyes
  • Swelling of eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)
  • Drooping lid(s)
  • Any other observation about "eyes that just don't "look right"?


Teacher/Parent Observation

  • *Tilts head, covers or closes one eyes for critical seeing
  • Difficulty in keeping place while reading -a "finger" reader
  • Disinterested in activities involving critical seeing
  • *Excessive stumbling, awkwardness or daydreaming
  • *Holds printed material in unusual position
  • *Has (reported) difficulty seeing at night or in the dark.
  • Other behaviors the child does that seem to indicate vision problems.


Child's Statements or Your Observations that the Child Might be Experiencing Discomfort During Visual Tasks

  • Eyes hurt or blur while reading
  • Headaches when reading
  • Words move or jump about when reading
  • Double vision
  • Eye problem following a blow to the head
  • Cannot see the chalkboard
  • *Cannot see well at night or in dark situations
  • *Eyes hurt or bother child when in bright lighting
  • Other complaints or observations that might mean a child is experiencing discomfort during visual tasks

*Underlined items may be an indication of problems with field loss.

Reprinted from Vibrations Newsletter of Colorado Services for Children who are Deafblind, Winter 2000 Edition with adaptations by Region 12 Deafblind Stakeholder Committee.