Vision Impairment

Eligibility for SESA Vision Impairment Program

Eligibility requirements for services are taken from the State of Alaska's Special Education Handbook. Children need to qualify under "visual impairment." To be eligible for special education and related services as a child with a visual impairment, a child must have:

  • an acuity of 20/70 or poorer in the better eye with correction, or a visual field restriction of 20 degrees, even with correction; or
  • a physical eye condition that affects visual functioning to the extent that specially designed instruction is needed; and
  • require special facilities, equipment, materials, or methods.

Services provided by SESA Vision Impairment Program

The SESA highly qualified, vision impairment educators support in the following areas of need:

  • Provide functional vision exam.
  • Assist with the development and implementation of student's IEP/instructional programs.
  • Recommend intervention strategies.
  • Demonstrate and/or teach specialized strategies to local school personnel, parents, and community.
  • Assist district in obtaining specialized instructional materials and /or in adapting available material/equipment.
  • Provide interagency liaison.
  • Provide topical in-services and workshops.
  • Provide orientation and mobility training of student and support staff.

To be able to provide individualized support we complete a functional vision exam. The functional vision evaluation component entails a review of the student eye exam records from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, a review of records of previous functional vision evaluations, a discussion with staff of the visual strengths and weakness exhibited by the student, and finally a formal session of observation/ evaluation. How does the student function in various lighting conditions? How does contrast and color affect a student's ability to see? Does distance make a difference to the student? Are there any problems with depth perception, figure-ground, or visual complexity? What size print is most effective for a student when they are looking at a price tag? When they are reading a social studies book? The functional vision evaluation will help make the information from doctors eye exam in a controlled office setting useful in the school, home, and outdoor settings.

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