Tony’s Case Tony, 2nd grade, has been referred for Special Education Services because he appears to have difficulties with visual tasks, holds his book close to his face, uses his finger as a guide when reading and appears to be clumsy. He trips over and bumps into things and walks hesitantly. Before Tony is eligible Special Education Services, there are pre-referral strategies that need to be conducted to see if Tony even qualifies for service and if so which ones.
The pre-referral strategies that are appropriate are to find out more about Tony by talking to his parent(s) and get more information and understanding about his situation/condition, (does he wear glasses and when was the last time that he saw the optometrist, when did they begin to notice his conditions/symptoms regarding his eyesight) as well as get more information about his behaviors, strengths and weaknesses within the classroom settings from his teachers (when did the teacher first notice the behaviors in the classroom and what RTI’s has the teacher implemented with Tony to help with resolving the problem, have the problems regressed over time). According to Amber Keafer (2015), who has 25 years working in the fields of human services and health care administration, states the characteristics of visual impairment as • Misjudge of distance • Holds books to close to their face or might use their finger to follow along when they read so that they don’t lose their place when reading. • Children that do not walk well actually have problems with their vision (p 8).
Since Tony is apparently experiences the above behaviors, I believe that he would qualify for Special Education Services under the vision impairment category of IDEA because IDEA states that a vision impairment qualification is: “that even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness” (Center for parent information and resources, 2012). Tony’s vision seems to aversively impact his education as he appears to struggle with simple tasks as bumping into things and walking hesitantly as this would affect him walking in the classrooms and in the hallways, cafeteria, restrooms and into other students.
The are some formal/informal assessments that need to be conducted to obtain evidence about Tony’s eyesight and to see if he qualifies for services are • Peripheral visual field: Peripheral vision is the ability to see movement or objects outside of the immediate line of vision. Field loss is measured in degrees. For example, if a child has a 20-degree field loss, his/her visual field does not extend through a complete 180 degrees left to right. • Reading level and speeds: An informal reading inventory indicates the grade level at which a child is reading as well as how fast s/he is reading in comparison to her/his peers.
• Current print functioning: The functional vision assessment should state the child’s primary mode of reading, whether it is regular print, large print, optical devices, or braille. Examples of both near and distance information: The assessment report should include examples of environmental features such as faces, signs, and travel cues the child can see and at what distance the child can see each feature. • Light sensitivity: Light sensitivity has implications for how the student performs in a variety of illuminated settings. Children with diagnoses such as albinism or achromatopsia are significantly affected by higher levels of illumination and often perform tasks better under less illumination. There are also visual conditions for which additional lighting is necessary. For a majority of visual conditions, glare will adversely affect visual functioning. Convergence: Convergence is the necessary inward movement of the eyes in order to focus on a near object.
• Eye movements: Eye movements of children and youth refer to the ability to track a moving object in vertical, horizontal, oblique, and circular directions. Such eye movements are used when reading, copying work from the whiteboard, playing sports, and driving.. Eye preference: Eye preference is a term used to describe the eye a person prefers to use for accessing his/her visual environment. Although not always, the preferred eye is often the eye with the better acuity. • Muscle balance: Muscle balance is a term used to describe the alignment of the eyes and how they move together.
Proper alignment is needed for the eyes to work together. In addition, proper muscle balance is essential for the ability to converge. • Depth perception: Depth perception is the ability to distinguish an object’s solidity and its position in space relative to other objects not in the same plane. • Visual efficiency: Visual efficiency refers to how well a child completes tasks that require a visual skill. • Recommendations: Recommendations are typically statements that reflect suggestions from the teacher for students with visual impairments about programming and how to make successful adaptations and accommodations. (American Foundation for the blind, 2015).
If Tony was found to be eligible for Special Education Services under the visual impairment category, then there would need to be some goals written for his IEP to help him be successful in the educational setting. Some of the goals in Tony’s IEP might contain orientation and mobility GOAL: Tony will demonstrate visual efficiency techniques for O&M, 80% of the time. Detect and identify different objects and /or features Identify approximate size and direction of objects and or feature from self Other goals would contain visual functioning. GOAL: Tony will independently use visual functioning/ strategies /devices to complete school tasks 80% of the time.
Move self to/request close view of materials presented at a distance Use large print texts, test and classroom materials Utilize strategies for maximizing visual efficiency to complete classroom tasks positioning materials, highlighting, using a line marker, peer reader. GOAL: Tony will use a magnifier to complete school assignments 80% of the time. Store and retrieve the aid in a safe and appropriate manner Use a systematic scanning method for tracking lines of print. An Occupational Therapist (OT) would take him around the school building to assist him in learning how to effectively become familiar with the environment and to improve his orientation and mobility skills so he could transition from location to location around the building.
A 1:1 para-educator to help assist mobility when needed would be a service that Tony would need in his IEP. Keeping Tony in the regular classroom benefits the other students and him because the general education students get the opportunity to be integrated with students that have a disabilities and then Tony will get to be around students that are non-disabled. All the students will be able to learn from each other. That will make the classroom diverse and “can change the negative attitude and misconceptions people have of the blind and low vision. This will allow the students to appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses” (Mendy, 2014).
A Special Education Teacher needs to build a rapport with the family members so that they can insure that Tony’s educational needs are being met away from the school. The Special Education Techer, also, needs to be in contact with the general education teacher to make sure that they are teaching the expanded core curriculum. Since both the regular education teacher and the Special Education classroom teacher have a central role in Tony’s education, it’s important for both teachers’ to remain in close contact about the best ways of meeting Tony’s individual needs within the classroom. The Special Education teacher can be a support to the family in meeting their needs by providing resources to outside agencies for families of children that have a visual impairment.
Since Tony has a visual impairment, the teachers will need to implement individual instructional strategies such as object permanence. Spence and Capt (1994) found that it is critical first to gain the visual attention (of sighted children) before introducing the task. Pasnak and Pasnak (1987) found that attention and interest are best maintained by varying the objects to be concealed and the covers used. They also found that it is important to name the object before concealment and again when asking children to locate it. If all of these strategies are implemented, correctly, then Tony should be able to improve his visual tasks in the classroom and enhance his chance of being successful with his education.