VISION SERVICES - Special Education

Saint Paul Public Schools Program for
the Blind/Visually Impaired
Our Population
Vision students are considered a “low incidence” population.
St. Paul Public Schools Vision Program currently serves
approximately 200 students in 15 school districts throughout
the east metropolitan area, ages birth through 21.
Service Model
The itinerant service model permits the Vision Program to
adjust staffing to accommodate changing vision needs within the
Resources can be pooled to meet the need for Braille, specialized
equipment and assistive technology.
Assistive technology devices can follow students across district
lines to those districts served by St. Paul’s Vision Program.
All districts benefit from the collection of skills brought to the
team by the 14 licensed vision staff and the 4 additional support
staff, including 2 full-time braillists.
Itinerant services are designed to support students in the least
restrictive environment.
Vision Teachers do not have building assignments, but are
assigned based on the enrollment sites of the students.
Vision Teacher
Vision Teachers provide both direct
and indirect service specifically related
to the student’s vision needs.
Direct Service
Direct service instruction is provided when appropriate in the “expanded core
curriculum areas” (ECC) identified by the National Agenda for Blind and
Visually Impaired Children and Youth. These instructional areas encompass
but are not limited to: Braille reading and writing, abacus, slate and stylus,
assistive technology, tactile discrimination skills, organizational skills,
independent living, social skills and self-advocacy. These are generally
provided within the individual classroom setting.
Assistive technology
Braille writing devices and
Indirect Vision
Program Services
Indirect services are also provided to students, including assistance with the
adaptation of curriculum materials, assisting student, staff and parents in
understanding the functional implications of the visual impairment and selfadvocacy strategies, and the provision and maintenance of assistive technology
These students do not require direct instruction in the expanded core
curriculum areas.
In addition….
Vision Teachers participate in screening, referral and evaluation of students
identified as having a possible qualifying visual impairment
Participate in child study meetings
Conduct evaluations to determine eligibility
Write evaluation reports in a collaborative manner with other team members.
Attend the IFSP/IEP Team meetings
Participate in the writing of goals/objectives, adaptations, testing
accommodations and progress reporting
Ensure all state and federal mandates are met on the IFSP/IEP in regard to
vision regulations
Participate throughout the year in team meetings to address the ongoing
needs of the student as they relate to the visual impairment.
Assist in ensuring the correct form of tests are available to the student at
testing time.
Proctor standardized tests for Braille users.
Related Services
In addition to services from a Teacher of the
Blind/VI, the Vision Program also provides
Related Services of Orientation and Mobility
and Personal Management.
Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and Mobility is the process of teaching children who are blind, deaf-blind or have low
vision to travel as independently as possible, using safe and efficient techniques, beginning with
familiar environments and expanding to community settings later on.
Services begin in late infancy (reaching for toys, pulling to stand, etc.) and are offered through age
21. O&M Instructors remain involved throughout the student’s educational experience,
particularly during periods of transition from one school site to another.
O&M Instructors join the educational team through a request from the Vision Teacher.
O&M Instructors evaluate students for travel needs and participate in writing the IFSP/IEP.
They provide direct instruction in all relevant areas of travel including pre-cane and cane use,
orientation to new learning environments, indoor and outdoor travel skills, route planning and use
of public transportation and/or other means of transportation (e.g. Metro Mobility, local
O&M Instructors also provide indirect instruction to students which includes in-service to staff
and peers on sighted guide techniques, consultation with staff and parents, and assistance in
efforts to obtain a Minnesota ID and/or limited mobility card, etc.
Orientation and Mobility
Personal Management
The Vision Program also provides assistance
with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)
through a Personal Management Instructor.
Personal Management provides…
Evaluation and instruction to meet the student’s
needs in areas of independent living including
skills in eating, cooking, self-care, dressing,
organization and labeling of clothes, use of
time/calendar, money identification and
Direct instruction in classes such as Industrial
Arts, Creative Arts and Family and Consumer
Science (FACS).
Personal Management
Transition Specialist
A Transition Specialist is also on the Vision
Program staff to assist with transition needs in the
areas of independent living (recreation/leisure,
community participation and home living) jobs and
job training and post-secondary options.
The Transition Specialist…
Evaluates students in the areas of transition and participates in
the development and writing of the IEP.
Assists the student, family and educational team in transition
planning including the development of appropriate goals and
objectives specific to vision needs, including providing
opportunities for students to explore the areas of transition.
Assists in touring new programs that would meet individual
Assists in developing mentors, summer work-sites and job
Serves as a liaison with counselors from State Services for the
Transition Specialist
Support Staff
The Vision Program also receives the
support of a Clerk Typist, an Educational
Assistant and 2 on-site, full-time Braillists.
Why do we need those eye reports?
visual impairment and the likelihood it will
improve or worsen.
ACUITIES: The clarity with which the student
sees with each eye, both eyes together, at
distance and at near. This is represented in
fraction form, e.g. 20/20, 20/60, 20/200…
VISUAL FIELDS: Does the student have a
visual field loss?
Criteria in Item A
MN Rule 3525.1345
Medical Documentation
Medical documentation of a diagnosed visual impairment by a licensed eye
specialist (preferably an ophthalmologist) which establishes one or more of
the following conditions:
1) VISUAL ACUITY of 20/60 or less in the better eye with the best
conventional correction;
a) estimation of acuity is acceptable for difficult-test- pupils; and
b) for pupils not yet enrolled in kindergarten, measured acuity must be
significantly deviant from what is developmentally age-appropriate.
2) VISUAL FIELD of 20 degrees or less, or bilateral scotomas; or
for example, progressive cataract, glaucoma, or retinitis pigmentosa; and
Criteria in Item B
Functional Evaluation
…functional evaluation of visual abilities conducted by a licensed teacher of the
visually impaired that determines that the pupil:
has limited ability in visually accessing program-appropriate educational
media and materials including, for example, textbooks, photocopies, ditto
copies, chalkboards, computers, or environmental signs, without
has limited ability to visually access the full range of program-appropriate
educational materials and media without accommodating actions including,
for example, changes in posture, body movement, focal distance, or
demonstrates variable visual ability die to environmental factors including,
for example, contrast, weather, color, or movement, that cannot be
controlled; or
experiences reduced or variable visual acuity due to visual fatigue or factors
common to the eye condition.
Referral Process
Prior to making a referral to the Vision Program:
the School Nurse obtains the eye information from the eye care specialist.
The Vision Program’s Lead Teacher is generally the initial contact for
the Vision Teacher cannot begin evaluation until the vision
report/information is received. It is possible that after receiving the
information, the student will not meet eligibility and will not proceed into
Obtaining the eye report information takes an unspecified amount of time.
Therefore, avoid moving the student into evaluation until the Vision Teacher
has the ophthalmologic information and has indicated the student meets the
medical eligibility criteria. If the evaluation procedures are initiated before
this time, the evaluation process could extend beyond the 30 day limit.
Evaluation includes…
Review of most recent
ophthalmologic information
Interview of student, parent
and teacher(s)
Learning Media Assessment.
Evaluation of print size
capabilities and focal distance
at the near and intermediate
ranges, using standardized
and non-standardized
assessment tools.
Evaluation of distance
Need for Assistive
Technology, including low
vision aids.
Upon completion of the functional vision
evaluation the student will be identified as:
1) ineligible for vision services
2) eligible for vision services. Direct/indirect,
and a vision teacher assignment will be made
St. Paul Public Schools Vision