• Visual Impairment

    What's Required

    The local educational agency (LEA) must ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled (34 CFR 300.114(a)(2)(i) and 20 USC 1412(a)(5)(A).

    The LEA must ensure that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily (34 CFR 300.114(a)(2)(ii)and 20 USC 1412(a)(5)(A).

    The LEA must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services (34 CFR 300.115(a) .

    The ARD committee must specify the appropriate instructional arrangement/setting as set forth in 19 TAC 89.63(c).

    What We Do

    Continuum of options:

    • general education classroom with consultative support from a teacher of the visually impaired
    • general education classroom with direct instructional services from a teacher of the visually impaired
    • a combination of general education and self-contained special education classes with consultative and/or direct instructional services from a teacher of the visually impaired
    • self-contained special education classroom with the consultative and/or direct instructional services from a teacher of the visually impaired
    • residential placement - Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

    Components of services for students with Visual Impairment:

    • determined by the ARD/IEP Committee
    • based upon individual needs of student
    • may Orientation and Mobility (O&M) as determined by the ARD/IEP Committee
    • may include services from a Braille specialist
    • may include technology support
    • expanded core curriculum

    Personnel have knowledge and competencies in the following areas:

    • extent to which significant visual loss impacts access to the general curriculum, social skills and skills for daily living
    • specially designed instruction
    • accommodations and modifications
    • technology supports including use of Braille, magnification and travel training

    Orientation and Mobility Services

    What's Required

    Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is a very important component in the spectrum of services provided to students with visual impairments. In addition to the general education that all students receive, students with visual impairments, starting at birth, also need the Expanded Core Curriculum to meet needs directly related to their vision disability (NASDSE, 1999, p. 70). O&M is one of the related services within the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with visual impairments. Movement, independent or supported, is critical for learning. Orientation & mobility (O&M) is recognized in IDEA 20​04 as a related service, which may be required to assist a student with a visual impairment to benefit from special education. Orientation and mobility specialists provide instruction to students whose visual impairment has adversely affected their ability to travel. It is a necessary skill in the achievement of independence. "Orientation" is the ability to know where one is and how to get to a desired location. It includes body awareness concepts, spatial concepts, and environmental concepts. "Mobility" is the ability to safely navigate from one's present location in the environment to one's desired location in another part of the environment. It includes skills such as guide technique, self-protective techniques and cane skills 34 CFR § 300.304(c)(4) requires that "the student is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability" and34 CFR 300.304(c)(6) requires that "the evaluation is sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the student's special education and related services needs".

    What We Do

    Referral Process for students with vision loss

    • An evaluation of orientation and mobility skills by a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) must be completed, along with the evaluation by a teacher of students with visual impairment (TVI), when establishing initial eligibility as a student with a visual impairment.
      • The Eye Medical Report should indicate whether the student has no vision or a serious visual loss after correction, or a progressive medical condition that will result in no vision or serious vision loss after correction .A Functional Vision Evaluation (FVE) analyzes how a student actually performs visually in a variety of environments, including familiar and unfamiliar environments, in different lighting conditions, and requiring the use of both near and distance vision.
    • Input from both a TVI and a COMS ensures consideration of all aspects of functional use of vision.
    • The Functional Vision Evaluation (FVE) must include recommendations concerning the need for an Orientation and Mobility Evaluation, to determine whether there is a need for specific instruction to ensure safe and efficient movement and travel in the home, school, and community .
    • Input from a COMS during the FVE provides informed decision-making regarding the need for an O&M evaluation.
    • An Orientation and Mobility Specialist teams with the VI teacher when a functional vision evaluation is performed, thus ensuring that all students with visual impairments are appropriately screened for this related service.

    Service Delivery Models

    • The types of service delivery models available include:
      • Monitoring/Consultation
      • Direct
      • Integrated
    • The ARD/IEP committee determines the appropriate service delivery model and the frequency and duration of services based on the evaluation and recommendation from the O&M specialist.