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VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

Authorities:  34 CFR Part 300; Texas Education Code; 19 TAC Chapter 89
 
 
 
  FEDERAL AND STATE REQUIREMENTS
The child must be assessed in all areas of suspected disability.
The local education agency (LEA) must comply with the EVALUATION PROCEDURES framework.
In Texas, the group of qualified professionals that determines whether the child is a child with a disability and the educational needs of the child is the child's ADMISSION, REVIEW, AND DISMISSAL COMMITTEE.
For the child from birth through two years of age with a visual impairment, an individualized family service plan meeting must be held in place of the admission, review, and dismissal committee meeting; and the LEA must comply with the AGES 0-5 framework.
A person who is appropriately certified as an orientation and mobility specialist (COMS) must participate, as part of the multidisciplinary team, in evaluating data used in making the determination of the child's eligibility as a child with a visual impairment.
A COMS must participate in any reevaluation as part of the multidisciplinary team, in evaluating data used to make the determination of the child's need for specially designed instruction.
 
EVALUATION PROCEDURES
Information from a variety of sources must be considered by the multidisiplinary team that collects or reviews evaluation data in connection with the determination of the child's disability based on visual impairment in order to determine the need for specially designed instruction and must include:
  • A medical report by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist that: 
    • Indicates the visual loss stated in exact measures of visual field and corrected visual acuity at a distance and at near range, in each eye; or
    • If exact measures cannot be obtained, the eye specialist must so state and provide best estimates of the visual loss; and
    • Should also include a diagnosis and prognosis whenever possible and whether the child has:
  • No vision or a visual loss after correction; or
      • A progressive medical condition that will result in no vision or a visual loss after correction.
  • A functional vision evaluation by a certified teacher of children with visual impairments, or a COMS that includes: 
    • Performance of tasks in a variety of environments requiring the use of both near and distance vision; and
    • Recommendations concerning the need for a clinical low vision evaluation;
  • A learning media assessment by a certified teacher of children with visual impairments that includes:
    • Recommendations concerning which specific visual, tactual, and/or auditory learning media are appropriate for the child; and 
    • Whether there is a need for ongoing evaluation in this area; and
  • As part of the full individual and initial evaluation, an orientation and mobility evaluation performed by a COMS in a variety of lighting conditions and a variety of settings including in the child’s home, school, and community and in settings unfamiliar to the child.
 
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
A child with a visual impairment is one who has been determined to meet the criteria for visual impairment.
The term visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the child's educational performance, and includes both partial sight and blindness.
  Last Updated : Mon, May 16, 2022