- Visual Impairments - Project IDEAL
- ISBN 13: 9781843123958
- for students who are blind or visually impaired
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Macquarie University. Murdoch University. With regard to degree of vision, the student population includes persons who are totally blind or persons with minimal light perception, as well as persons with varying degrees of low vision. For some individuals, blindness or visual impairment is their only disability, while for others, blindness or vision impairment is one of several identified disabilities that will affect, to varying degrees, learning and social integration.
Visual Impairments - Project IDEAL
For example, some children who are blind or visually impaired also have hearing, orthopedic, emotional, or cognitive disabilities. In addition, persons with similar degrees of vision loss may function very differently. A significant visual deficit that could pose formidable obstacles for some children may pose far less formidable obstacles for others. This is because adaptations to vision loss are shaped by individual factors, such as availability and type of family support and degree of intellectual, emotional, physical, and motor functioning.
Therefore, in addition to the nature and extent of vision loss, a variety of factors needs to be considered in designing an appropriate educational program for a blind or visually impaired child, and these factors could change over time. The challenge for educators of blind and visually impaired children, including those with other disabilities, is how to teach skills that sighted children typically acquire through vision. Blind and visually impaired students have used a variety of methods to learn to read, write, and acquire other skills, both academic and nonacademic.
For example, for reading purposes, some students use braille exclusively; others use large print or regular print with or without low vision aids. Still others use a combination of methods, including braille, large print, low vision aids and devices with computer-generated speech, while others have sufficient functional vision to use regular print, although with difficulty. In order to receive an appropriate education under Part B, it is generally understood that students who are blind or visually impaired must be provided appropriate instruction in a variety of subjects, including language arts, composition, and science and mathematics.
ISBN 13: 9781843123958
However, in order to be educated in these subject areas effectively, blind and visually impaired children must be taught the necessary skills to enable them to learn to read and to use other appropriate technology to obtain access to information. It also is very important for blind and visually impaired children, including those with other disabilities, who need orientation and mobility services, to receive appropriate instruction in orientation and mobility as early as possible. Providing these children with needed orientation and mobility services at the appropriate time increases the likelihood that they can participate meaningfully in a variety of aspects of their schooling, including academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular activities.
Once these individuals are no longer in school, their use of acquired orientation and mobility skills should greatly enhance their ability to move around independently in a variety of educational, employment, and community settings.
These skills also should enhance the ability of blind and visually impaired students to obtain employment, retain their jobs, and participate more fully in family and community life. This policy guidance contains an explanation of the provisions of Part B of IDEA as amended by the IDEA Amendments of and Department regulations that address public agencies' obligations in educating blind and visually impaired students.
Statements that utilize the word "should" constitute guidance and do not mean "must," and are not intended to impose any new requirements that go beyond the requirements of the applicable statutory and regulatory provisions explained below. Under Part B, each State and its public agencies must ensure that a free appropriate public education FAPE is made available to all children with specified disabilities residing in the State in mandatory age ranges, and that the rights and protections of Part B are afforded to those children and their parents.
FAPE includes, among other elements, special education and related services that are provided at no cost to parents, under public supervision and direction, that meet State education standards and Part B requirements, that include an appropriate preschool, elementary, or secondary school education in the State involved, and that are provided in conformity with an individualized education program IEP that meets Part B requirements. Consistent with this obligation to ensure FAPE, the Part B regulations also provide that the services and placement provided to a child with a disability under Part B must be based on all of the child's identified special education and related services needs, and not on the child's disability.
Before the initial provision of special education and related services to a child with a disability under Part B, a full and individual initial evaluation must be conducted in accordance with 34 CFR Secs. This includes information provided by the parents, to assist in determining 1 whether the child is a child with a disability, and 2 the content of the child's IEP, including the extent to which the child can be involved and progress in the general curriculum, and for a child of preschool age, to participate in appropriate activities.
An evaluation under Part B must assess the child in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, "health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities. An assessment of a child's vision status generally would include the nature and extent of the child's visual impairment and its effect, for example, on the child's ability to learn to read, write, do mathematical calculations, and use computers and other assistive technology, as well as the child's ability to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.
For children with low vision, this type of assessment also generally should include an evaluation of the child's ability to utilize low vision aids, as well as a learning media assessment and a functional vision assessment. For children who are blind and for children who have low vision, consistent with the new statutory requirement regarding braille instruction, the assessment of vision status generally would be closely linked to the assessment of the child's present and future reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media.
This information would be used by the IEP team in determining whether it would be inappropriate to provide a blind or visually impaired child with instruction in braille or the use of braille. As required for children with other disabilities, appropriate assessments of blind and visually impaired children, including those with other disabilities, also must address each child's ability to be involved and progress in the general curriculum, the same curriculum as for nondisabled children.
This information could be obtained, for example, from an assessment of academic performance that would focus on the child's ability to learn to read, including reading comprehension, and to learn composition, science and mathematics, and computing. As part of the evaluation process, it is especially important to address a blind or visually impaired child's ability to be involved and progress in the general curriculum, the same curriculum as for nondisabled children, particularly in situations where the child has other disabilities.
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This is because of the relationship of the evaluation to the child's IEP, which focuses specifically on participation in the general curriculum offered to nondisabled students, including the need for any supplementary aids and services, other accommodations, modifications, or devices to facilitate the blind or visually impaired child's involvement in the general curriculum. This information is needed regardless of whether a child will be educated in a regular classroom or in a separate classroom or school.
Because of the importance for some blind and visually impaired students of acquiring the skills necessary to access information, additional assessments may be necessary to determine whether a child should receive specific instruction in listening skills. Possible assessments for this purpose could include assessments of hearing, general intelligence, or communicative status. A child's need for orientation and mobility services and the appropriate method or methods for acquiring the requisite skills also should be assessed, and this generally would be accomplished through an assessment of motor abilities, as well as vision and communicative status, which should be conducted as early as possible.
This is especially important because parents and organizations representing the interests of blind and visually impaired individuals have reported that, in some instances, these students are not receiving appropriate orientation and mobility services and that appropriate evaluations of their needs for these services are not being conducted. In all instances, the results of all assessments administered to the child, including those administered to determine the child's needs resulting from one or more disabilities other than blindness or visual impairment, must be considered as the child's IEP is developed.
for students who are blind or visually impaired
The IDEA Amendments of make a number of significant changes to the Act's IEP requirements, which are applicable to all disabled students, including blind and visually impaired students. The IDEA Amendments of clarify that each child's IEP must 1 relate the child's education to the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum, the same curriculum as for nondisabled children, and 2 address unique needs arising out of the child's disability or disabilities. The IDEA Amendments of also require that IEPs for disabled children, including blind and visually impaired children, contain a statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term objectives.
With regard to these criteria for developing annual goals, IEP teams for blind and visually impaired children must ensure that those children can appropriately access the general curriculum offered to nondisabled children, and that unique needs relating to the child's blindness or visual impairment or other identified disabilities are addressed. In addition, once the child's initial need for braille instruction has been met, the IEP team should periodically make a determination of the child's ability to be involved and progress in the general curriculum, and the extent to which continued intensive braille instruction and other accommodations would be needed.
The IDEA Amendments of include specific requirements regarding including children with disabilities in general State and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations and modifications in administration, if necessary. Also, if the IEP team determines that a child will not participate in a particular assessment or part of an assessment, the IEP must include a statement of why that assessment is not appropriate for the child, and how the child will be assessed.
Consistent with the emphasis in the IDEA Amendments of on relating the child's IEP to the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum, IEP teams must ensure that blind and visually impaired students, including those with other disabilities, receive appropriate instructional accommodations and modifications. Providing appropriate instructional accommodations and modifications will help prepare these students to participate in State or district-wide assessments of student achievement with appropriate accommodations or individual modifications in test administration.
The IDEA Amendments of also require the development of guidelines for use of alternate assessments, which are used if an IEP team determines that an individual child cannot participate in regular assessments, even with appropriate accommodations or individual modifications in test administration.
In addition, if the purpose of a test is to measure a student's ability to read, States need to be able to test to determine whether blind or visually impaired students, whose primary reading medium is not standard print, can read, whether by providing them with a braille or large print version of the test, or through some other means, as appropriate.
Public agencies must ensure that students are invited to attend IEP meetings if the participation of the student would be appropriate. For IEP meetings involving transition services, there are additional requirements. The Part B regulations provide that the public agency must invite a student with a disability of any age to attend his or her IEP meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of either the student's transition services needs, the statement of needed transition services for the student, or both. In these situations, if the student does not attend the meeting, the public agency must ensure that the student's preferences and interests are considered.
If another agency would likely be responsible for providing or paying for needed transition services, the public agency must ensure that a representative of that agency is invited to the meeting. The public agency must ensure that the child's IEP team 1 reviews the child's IEP periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the child's annual goals are being achieved, and 2 revises the IEP as appropriate. An IFSP, the written plan for providing early intervention services under Part C of IDEA to an infant or toddler with disabilities and his or her family, may serve as the IEP for a child with a disability aged 3 through 5 or at the discretion of the State educational agency, a 2-year-old child with a disability who will turn age 3 during the school year.
For this to occur, the IFSP must contain the material described in section of the Act, and must be developed in accordance with Secs. The following two factors are particularly relevant for blind and visually impaired students. One of the most serious concerns voiced by parents of blind or visually impaired children and their advocates, as well as by adults who are blind or visually impaired, is that the number of students receiving instruction in braille has decreased significantly over the past several decades.
As a result, these individuals believe that braille instruction is not being provided to some students for whom it may be appropriate. Braille has been a very effective reading and writing medium for many blind and visually impaired persons, and knowledge of braille provides numerous tangible and intangible benefits, including increased likelihood of obtaining productive employment and heightened self-esteem. The IDEA Amendments of , therefore, include a specific provision with regard to instruction in braille and the use of braille and state:.
The IEP team must This statutory provision requires IEP teams to make provision for instruction in braille or the use of braille, unless it is determined, after appropriate evaluations of the child's reading and writing needs, that this instruction is not appropriate for a particular child. Decisions about instruction in braille and the use of braille must be made on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the individual needs of a particular child.
In developing IEPs for children with low vision, even for those with a high degree of functional vision, IEP teams also must consider evaluations of the child's need for instruction in braille and the use of braille, and must make provision for such instruction unless it is determined, after appropriate evaluation, to be inappropriate for the child.
Glass apparatus can be marked with tape to indicate measurement lines. Hot plates are a good alternative to using a Bunsen burner if a heat source is needed West Virginia University Power cords should be kept as close as possible to the outlet and secured on the floor or ceiling with tape to insure free movement of all students in the lab Dion et al. Braille yardsticks and rulers are available as well as containers adapted for measuring liquid volume.
Also available from supply houses are adapted time-keeping devices and weighing systems with large print, tactile, and voice output. Students with visual impairments can be paired with sighted students in the laboratory setting Ross and Robinson The student with visual impairments could mix and measure materials used during the lab as the partner describes the reactions.
Both students should share in the responsibility of recording measurements and reactions properly. The student with visual impairments needs to be an active partner in the laboratory, not just a record keeper.