A student is eligible for a special program for the visually impaired if the following medical and educational criteria are met:
There is a documented eye impairment as manifested by at least one of the following:
- A visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye after best possible correction;
- A peripheral field so constricted that it affects the ability to function in an educational setting;
- A progressive loss of vision which may affect the student’s ability to function in an academic setting or,
- For children birth to five (5) years of age, bilateral lack of central, steady, or maintained fixation of vision with an estimated visual acuity of 20/70 or less after best possible correction; bilateral central scotoma involving the perimacula area (20/80-20/200); bilateral grade III, IV, or V Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP); or documented eye impairment as stated above.
There is a documented functional vision loss which:
- Inhibits optimal processing of information through the visual channel; and
- Requires the use of specialized techniques, textbooks, materials, or equipment.
Vision screening is done solely for the purpose of referring students to an ophthalmologist or optometrist for further evaluation. A medical eye report shall take the place of a vision screening report.
Screening shall be in accordance with Section 402.32, Florida Statutes. In addition students being considered for exceptional student programs, excluding gifted and homebound or hospitalized who may be screened on a referral basis, shall receive vision, hearing, speech, and language screenings prior to being considered for eligibility.
The minimum evaluations necessary for determining eligibility shall include:
- A medical eye examination describing: etiology, diagnosis, treatment regimen, prognosis, near/distance, corrected/uncorrected acuity measures for left eye, right eye and both eyes, measure of field of vision, and recommendations for lighting levels, physical activity, aids or use of glasses, as appropriate. For children birth to five (5) years of age, a medical assessment describing visual functioning shall be documented when standard visual acuities and measure of field of vision are unattainable.
Documented observation of functional vision to include daily living skills and mode of reading by a teacher of students with visual impairments or an appropriately trained diagnostician, and
evaluation of developmental or academic functioning.
- Additional information including vocational and orientation and mobility evaluations may be gathered to assist in determining the appropriate educational program and necessary environmental adjustments for the students.
- Reevaluation shall occur at least every three (3) years and shall include evaluations in accordance with paragraph (4)(a) of this rule. The medical aspect of reevaluation for students with bilateral anophthalmia may be waived by a written recommendation of a physician.
An array of specialized services/instruction are available based on the individual needs of the student. These educational aids include (but are not limited to) braille instruction, accessible textbooks in braille, large print, and/or digital format; access to low vision materials and strategies. Support service may include use of low vision devices, specialized equipment and assistive technology, career/technical education skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure activities, self-determination skills, social interaction skills, and orientation and mobility instruction (when appropriate).
The district shall make available the professional services needed to support the program. These shall include registration of all students for services of the Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Handicapped.
- Provision of specialized textbooks, learning materials and equipment
- Cooperative planning with the Division of Blind Services, including parent involvement activities