Visual impairment is considered a Regional (“low incidence, high need”) disability. The Visual Impairment (VI) Program through Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District (LBL ESD) provides family focused, early intervention home-based services for children who are birth-3 years. School age services are provided to students in their educational setting which includes both preschool-based services for children three to five years old and primary/secondary services for students Kindergarten through 21 years old. Depending on the student’s educational needs, services can range from direct instruction to consultation for instructional staff. Students may be served in their neighborhood school or at a center site where other vision impaired students attend. Regional services for children experiencing visual impairments are designed to enhance their educational success by providing information, materials, instruction and support to school staff.
Who is Eligible?
When a student is identified as having a vision deficit, a multidisciplinary team including the parent(s), VI Teacher, district representatives, etc., first meet to review documentation and decide if a referral for VI services or evaluation is appropriate. Parent(s) or school staff may initiate this process. If the team agrees, an evaluation is completed by the VI Teacher and any other related specialists. After the evaluation, the team meets to review results and determine if the student qualifies for special education under the eligibility of Visual Impairment (VI).
Criteria for Regional vision services changed on July 1, 2019. “Visual Impairment” means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Visual impairment includes partial sight, total blindness, limited visual acuity after correction, restricted visual field, and progressive eye conditions.
To qualify for Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District (LBL ESD) Cascade Regional Vision Program services, the student must meet the state eligibility requirements for vision impairment which include:
- A vision examination by a person licensed to practice optometry or a physician who specializes in ophthalmology. It should indicate whether:
- Vision impairment is uncorrectable by medical treatment, therapy or lenses; or
- Examination results are inconclusive, and the child demonstrates inadequate use of residual vision;
- A functional vision assessment conducted by a Visual Impairment Teacher, that includes residual visual acuity or field of vision; and
- The vision impairment, even with corrections, has an adverse impact on the child’s educational performance or child’s developmental progress and the child or student must need special education services as a result of the disability.
Oregon Administrative Rule 581-015-2180 https://oregon.public.law/rules/oar_581-015-2180
Who Provides Vision Services?
- Licensed Visual Impairment Teachers
- Orientation and Mobility Specialists
Direct services may be provided to the student by the specialist through any combination of placement options. Direct services target the Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) goals and objectives within the student’s Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individual Education Program (IEP). Children eligible for services may receive direct instruction in the following areas from Regional specialists:
- Compensatory skills, including braille instruction and communication modes
- Instruction in any of the following expanded core curriculum skills: assistive technology, independent living, self-determination, recreation and leisure, sensory efficiency, career education, social interaction
- Low vision instruction
- Orientation and mobility
- Transition training
Related Services provide support so the student is able to achieve their other IEP SDI goals.
- Self-advocacy skill development
- Evaluation to determine impact of vision loss
- Functional vision evaluation
- Braille and large print production
The purpose of the consultative services is to closely monitor student needs/progress and to facilitate a successful inclusion experience. Services would include:
- Equipment loan library
- Curriculum adaptation
- Resource library
- Adaptive technology/materials
- Parent education
- Consultation to the general education teacher(s) and other appropriate school staff
- Monitoring student’s academic and social progress
- Assessing and assisting with student needs for special and/or adaptive equipment and materials
- Classroom/staff orientation and in-service
- Participation as a team member on the IFSP or IEP team
- Formal classroom observation of the student
- Deafblind services if necessary