Special Education

Students with Visual Impairments


To help in your planning the vision resource teacher may obtain three types of assessment.

Visual Acuity

  • When testing for acuity the ophthamologist or optometrist determines the finest detail the student's eyes can see.

Visual Fields

  • These tests determine the student's degree of central and peripheral vision. The ophthamologist or optometrist will determine when these tests are necessary.

Functional Vision

  • This is an indication of how the student is using his/her vision. Tests are usually administered by the vision resource teacher and are:
  • conducted in real life situations;
  • dependent upon information from parents, school personnel, specialists, and the student;
  • good indicators of useful vision;
  • helpful in determining appropriate adaptations to materials and environment;
  • helpful in determining practical value of specialized skills, technology and magnification aids; and,
  • a basis for developing a program of visual-efficiency training.

From the assessments the vision resource teacher creates a profile of the student's visual skills which affect learning and performance in school, at home and in the community. This profile conveys a picture of "how" the student sees, and will assist you and your school based team in developing an individual education plan (IEP) and in adapting your teaching strategies. Sample charts to guide discussion of the functional vision of your particular student are on pages 12 and 13.

Students with vision loss also can have more than one complicating impairment which affects learning (e.g., hearing and vision loss, cerebral palsy and vision loss). The vision resource teacher will coordinate the assessments and assist you in planning and developing appropriate teaching strategies. It is important to keep in mind that development is an even slower process where there are multiple complications which interfere with the student's learning.