Identification of Students with Visual Impairment
Early identification is extremely important because early intervention will be most effective. Sometimes it is unclear whether a child has a vision problem or not. Physical signs of vision problems include eyelids drooping over one or both eyes, or eyelids that do not completely cover the eyes when the child closes them. If a child has a clear squint, has jerky eye movements, or has eyes that do not move together, parents should see a pediatric ophthalmologist. Other signs include:
- Not looking at others in the eyes
- Reaching in front of or beyond an object
- Holding objects very close or very far to see them
- Turning or tilting his head when he uses his eyes
- Continuously pushing or poking his eyes
- Looking above, below or off to one side of an object, rather than directly at it
- Bumping into objects and having a lot or trouble seeing at night
- Feeling for objects on the ground instead of looking with her eyes
After the identification of visually impaired students under three, parents should begin working with an early childhood interventionist. Young children who are visually impaired are eligible for early intervention services, which can help a family through the child’s first few years of life. Early intervention for students with visual impairment is vital in enhancing social, physical, and intellectual development.
When a child who is over three, he will qualify for special education services if the visual impairment impacts his education. Parents should contact their school district's special education office to locate services for their child. A child with visual impairment may qualify for services from teachers of students with visual impairment, an orientation and mobility specialist, a physical therapist, a speech therapist, or a psychologist, depending on individual needs. Children with visual impairment should also be provided with modifications and accommodations in an inclusive classroom.