Prior to commencing your child’s educational journey, it’s vital to determine their learning requirements and the most effective learning approach. Assessment, which is the formal procedure for identifying an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in a specific area, lies at the heart of instruction. It enables the development of a tailored educational program.

Importance of Specialized Assessment

Your child will undergo some specialized assessments that relate specifically to their eye condition. These are generally conducted by the teacher of students with visual impairments and are required by the federal law governing special education. Becoming familiar with these assessments and the information gathered from each of them will help you understand the particular recommendations made by members of your child’s educational team. Recommendations for services for your child should be based on needs as determined through assessment.

Your permission is required for your child to be assessed. To determine if an assessment will serve your child’s needs, it is important to ask questions of any professional who seeks your permission to test or observe your child. Find out:

  • The purpose of the assessment
  • Who will be conducting the assessment, and whether this person is certified to work with students who are blind or low vision
  • How the information will be used
  • Where you can learn more about the specific test and the procedure used

After an assessment, keep in mind that you should get a copy of any report and recommendations produced, and save this material for your files.

After reviewing the assessment report, ask the person who conducted it any questions that you may have. Assessment reports should contain the information gathered from any tests and recommendations for addressing any needs your child may have, required adaptations or equipment, and effective instructional strategies.

Assessment for Students with Blindness or Low Vision

The teacher of students with visual impairments conducts two crucial assessments that shape your child’s educational program. The functional vision assessment (FVA), which evaluates your child’s use of any available vision. The learning media assessment (LMA), which examines how your child utilizes other senses to acquire information. This assessment identifies the most effective methods for teaching reading and other skills.

In addition to these specific assessments, children with blindness or low vision need other specific assessments. An orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment determines if your child needs training in navigating their environment. An assistive technology assessment, used to identify the most beneficial assistive technology for your child.

Other Assessments

Your child may receive assessments unrelated to vision. This includes developmental evaluations for skills like rolling over, sitting, and talking. Additionally, school districts usually require psychological or psychoeducational tests during special education evaluations.

The psychological evaluation typically include intelligence tests. These tests form part of the routine assessment and do not suggest any issues with your child’s thinking or mental stability. Instead, they aim to offer a comprehensive description of your child’s learning abilities and requirements, aiding the educational team in determining the necessary specialized services. If your child has other disabilities, they may require additional assessments, such as a hearing test or a speech and language assessment.

Considerations for Assessments

In most school systems, psychologists and assessors often lack experience with visually impaired students, who are fewer in number than those with other disabilities. Moreover, many standard assessment tests don’t cater to the needs of visually impaired children. For instance, these tests may require picture responses or rely on atypical developmental patterns.

Therefore, involving the teacher visually impaired students becomes crucial. They can offer suggestions for appropriate assessment procedures and assist with result interpretation. As a parent, you play a vital role in your child’s educational team and can provide valuable insights if you have assessment concerns.

Various materials used to determine functional vision.

Functional Vision Assessment (FVA)

The functional vision assessment (FVA) is for children with low vision. It is an assessment of how a child uses their vision in everyday life, so it is usually not […]

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A student writing what is displayed on an enlarged screen.

Learning Media Assessment (LMA)

The teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) conducts the learning media assessment. The results are used to determine which senses your child uses most to get information from the […]

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