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Blind and Low Vision

Professional assessment:

An eye report from an optometrist or ophthalmologist that indicates a significant field loss, or visual acuity is 20/70 or worse after best correction in the better eye

Classroom documentation:

Information about student’s vision is obtained from student, parent(s)/guardian(s) and school personnel.

Educational assessment:

A functional assessment (visual or tactile) at the student’s school


Itinerant Vision Service and Orientation and Mobility Specialists Services:

Students in TCDSB schools whose vision is worse than 20/70 (after best correction in the better eye), or who have a visual field of less than 20°, are entitled to some form of support for their vision-related needs.
The level of support depends on the severity of the eye condition and the results of a Functional Vision/Tactile Assessment that is conducted by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Vision Program.  Once signed consent and medical documentation have been received by the Vision Program, the student is assessed within three to four weeks.
Depending on the needs of the student, Itinerant Vision Teachers can teach blind students how to read and write in braille, and they can help students with low vision learn to maximize their remaining vision to access the curriculum.
A large part of what Itinerant Vision Teachers do is help classroom teachers develop appropriate teaching strategies and accommodations for learners who are visually impaired.
The Vision Program also employs Orientation and Mobility Specialists who are certified to teach students who are visually impaired to travel within and to and from school independently and safely, with or without a white cane or dog guide.
Students who are visually impaired rely heavily on assistive adaptive technology to access the curriculum.  
Vision Program staff can teach students how to use, for example, a laptop computer with screen enlargement program and/or speech output, a braille embosser (printer), a scanner, a portable braille note-taking device, and a global positioning system (based on assessed need).
Advances in assistive technology have helped students who are visually impaired access the curriculum with greater speed and independence.
If there are additional academic needs (identified or otherwise) that are not due to the visual impairment, the Special Education Teacher at the school may provide resource support for the academic needs.
Collaboration between the B/LV, Regular Class, and Special Education Teachers is imperative.

Blind and Low Vision Intensive Support Program (ISP)


Students placed in a Blind/Low Vision Intensive Support Program:

Ø  are identified with Blind/Low Vision exceptionality due to significant vision loss at a TCDSB IPRC
Ø  are assessed as needing Braille as a primary literacy medium due to a significant loss of vision/blindness that requires modification and/or accommodation to the degree that a setting with a lower student teacher ratio is required
Ø  are assessed as requiring Orientation and Mobility training to develop safe, age-appropriate travel skills within the school environment