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8: Students Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
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- 8.1: Definitions of Blindness and Low Vision
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) uses the term visual impairment and defines it as the following.Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness (IDEA, Part B, Subpart A § 300.8(c)(13)(2004)).
- 8.2: The History of Blindness and Low Vision
- In the United States, the education of students who were blind or had low vision began in the early 19th century. The Perkins School for the Blind, founded in 1829, was the first school for the blind in the United States.
- 8.3: Prevalence of Blindness and Low Vision
- Among students receiving special education services, less than 1% are identified as having a visual impairment (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020).
- 8.4: Causes of Blindness and Low Vision
- Blindness and low vision have many different causes affecting different parts and functions of the eye, including optical defects, ocular motility disturbance, and external and internal problems of the eye (Smiley et al., 2022).
- 8.5: Characteristics of Students who are Blind or Have Low Vision
- The characteristics of students who are blind or have low vision vary based on age of onset and severity of vision loss. For example, children born with congenital blindness may experience developmental delays without appropriate intervention.
- 8.6: Identifying Students Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
- Different professionals are involved in identifying vision loss and treating vision problems, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who identify and treat eye problems, prescribe medication, and perform surgery.
- 8.7: Chapter Questions and References