A student with visual impairment is one whose visual functioning is not sufficient for the student to participate with ease in everyday activities. The impairment interferes with optimal learning and achievement and can result in a substantial educational disadvantage, unless adaptations are made in the methods of presenting learning opportunities, the nature of the materials used or the learning environment. It is not intended to include students described as having visual perceptual difficulties unless they have a visual loss.
With appropriate support services, most students with visual impairments can be educated in the classroom. Many visually impaired students can follow the curriculum with only minor adaptations in content or methods. When necessary, however, the curriculum should be modified to reflect individual needs. The Teacher of the Visually Impaired provides support to students and schools in this area.
School District No. 20 has on its staff a part-time Teacher of the Visually Impaired. The teacher serves in an itinerant role and provides consultative services to visually impaired students in the regular classrooms and resource rooms.
Specific duties of this position include: teacher in-service on the problems of the visually impaired student (including the adaptation of materials, use of visual aids and technological devices), program development for visually impaired students, parent/school/community liaison, referral service to the local specialists in vision. The Teacher of the Visually Impaired should be an ongoing member of the specific student's IEP team.
IDENTIFICATION, PLANNING AND PROGRAMMING
The student's educational requirements and any special measures that are to be taken in order to help meet those requirements must be documented in a formal Individual Education Plan.
In developing the Individual Education Plan the following needs must be considered in addition to the provincial curriculum:
1. orientation and mobility skills
2. visual skills
3. specialized skills in reading (e.g., Braille, taped books, enhanced print, CCTV)
4. specialized skills in Mathematics (e.g., Abacus, Nemeth Code)
5. specialized technology
6. daily living skills
7. study skills and note-taking strategies
8. concept development
9. social skills
10. transition (including elementary to secondary, secondary to post secondary and vocational planning)
Students meeting the medical criteria outlined in the Ministry guidelines by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthoptist or BC Children's Hospital should be referred to the Teacher of the Visually Impaired using the Hearing/Vision Referral Form. If a medical assessment does not confirm visual impairment but signs and symptoms continue the student should be referred to the Learning Assistance Teacher for a visual perception assessment.