When a Student Doesn't Qualify
By: Carmen Willings
Revised March 11, 2018
You may wonder what to do when the student's vision cannot be corrected to 20/20 but they are found to not meet the eligibility criteria for school based vision services. Other school personnel and/or specialists may be able to address the students unique visual and learning needs. A reading specialist may be contacted to work on reading and learning disabilities. An occupational therapist and a physical therapist may address concerns of eye hand coordination and vision perception difficulties.
Some students may be under the care of a developmental optometrist who has suggested the student participate in vision therapy. If a student is participating in vision therapy, these therapy sessions take place in a clinical setting under the direct guidance of an optometrist with homework activities to take place at home.
So how can the school support the student who's vision is not "normal" but does not qualify for school based vision services from a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. As stated above, the student may be eligible for other areas of school support (OT, reading specialist, etc.). Additionally, the school can provide the student with necessary accommodations. Accommodations should be based upon the assessment of visual skills by the optometrist (or ophthalmologist) and the anticipated classroom demands. The student's educational team should consider recommendations for current appropriateness and NOT as ongoing learning approaches or management techniques. Optometrists who support vision therapy expect student's vision to improve, therefore, if the student's vision improves, the student may not need accommodations for school progress.
Many developmental optometrists will provide the school with a checklist of accommodations the student may need with the accommodations they feel necessary circled or highlighted. As with any student, these accommodations can be provided without meeting the eligibility as a student with a visual impairment but data should be collected and maintained to determine whether the accommodations are needed.
The above list was developed by Roswell Eye Clinic, a member of the American Optometric Association, in Roswell, Georgia
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