By: Carmen Willings
Updated October 4, 2017
As part of the Functional Vision Evaluation, it is necessary to assess the students oculomotor skills. The technique used will vary depending on the students cognitive abilities but should include both informal observations and formal assessment of skills.
Fixation is the observed ability to direct a gaze and hold an object steadily in view. It is a foundation skill for all oculomotor behaviors. Assess if the student is able to localize by observing if the student is able to locate various size materials on surfaces at near. Assess if the student is able fixate by maintaining focus on faces or materials he is interacting with. To do this, present objects to the student at near and wait briefly until the student attends. Note if the student is able to hold a steady fix for two seconds; is able to maintain a fixation but for less than two seconds; or if they only show an awareness of the object, but do not visually fixate. Repeat the activity by presenting objects at midrange distance between 16 and 30 inches. Finally, informally observe if the student notices toys or other objects from 3 to 10 feet. Note distance, object, size, degree of contrast, lighting, and stationary vs moving. Determine if the student has an eye preference, static or dynamic.
Convergence is the ability to maintain fixation on an oncoming object. It is essential to stability of vision, depth perception and binocular vision. Lack of convergence will have a negative influence on reading, copying from board to paper, copying paper to paper, driving and participating in sports and other activities.
Tracking is the observed systematic use of the eyes to follow an object. Assess if the student can track, or follow the movements of pets, peers or teachers. Directly assess tracking skills by assessing if the student is able to track horizontal, vertical and diagonal movements. Note if movement or an auditory clue is needed to establish a visual fix prior to tracking. Note if the student is able to smoothly track the object with their eyes as it moves across midline or if the tracking is jerky. Note if the movement is not smooth, particularly when crossing midline or if the student is unable to track at all. Observe alignment problems and where they tend to occur. Note if the student visually tracks with only one eye. Note if he can track while holding his head still or if he needs to move his head to follow the movement of objects.
Eye movement, which allows a student to scan a broad array or follow a moving object, can be observed in activities that require horizontal tracking, such as watching a passing car, fish swimming in a tank, a football soaring through the air, or a moving character in a video game. Tracking is used in reading, copying from board, gross motor activities, and for driving a car. The smoothness of the tracking movement should be noted; some have a jerky tracking movement, while others track irregularly across their midline. Vertical eye movements can be observed as a student follows a bouncing basketball or the direction of a dropped object. The assessment should evaluate whether both eyes move together during tracking activities. Was the student able to maintain fixation throughout? Was fixation lost and regained? Did slowing the rate of movements improve performance? What adaptations improved the student's performance? May need to recommend using a line marker to keep place when reading.
Shift of Gaze
Shift of gaze is the ability to visually fix on an object, shift visual attention to another object, then return to the first object again. Assess the student's ability to shift their gaze between materials presented parallel and non-parallel. The student should be able to shift their gaze in less than 3 seconds. Note if the student has difficulty shifting their gaze in one direction or the other. Note if one eye shifts and the other does not, or if the student loses the object and then regains the object visually. Note if the student consistently ignores the object presented on one side or the other or if the student closes his eyes to shift or shakes head to do so. If the student has difficulty shifting their gaze they may have difficulty reading a line of print and shifting from one line to another. They may also have difficulty copying notes from one source (board or from book) to another.
Observe the students eye movements. Note if scanning is brisk, smooth, and thorough. Indicate if any areas are neglected. Assess if the student can scan to look for details within a picture book or textbook. Scanning is used to search for materials or follow the lines along the edge of materials (or scanning a bookshelf for a particular book or examining a painting in an art gallery). It involves horizontal, diagonal, vertical and circular patterns. Note whether the student typically moves both his head and eyes while tracking and scanning.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings