Bishop et al (1996) illustrates the definition of Visual impairment as elaborated by IDEA as an impairment in vision which, even after correction, severely affect educational performance of a child. The term generalizes both blindness and partial sight. Ability to see gives us unlimited access to learning of the surrounding world such as the faces of the people and the expression subtleties, how different things resemble and their sizes and the physical environment we are living including the coming hazards.
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A child with a visual impairment calls for immediate attention from the parents, professionals and the community. This is because much of the daily learning occurs through vision. Holbrook (1996) observes that loss of vision in a child if undetected, a child will delay in developing many important skills. Furthermore, the visually impaired children can virtually do all tasks and activities that children with good sight take for granted. According to Bishop et al (1996), the visually impaired children just need to learn to do the tasks and the activities using different materials or tools in a different way. In addition, the backbone of their learning should be listening, touching, tasting, smelling and moving among others. Therefore, the assistance from the family members, parents, caregivers, friends and the educators will be indispensable in the process.
The paper will discuss several goals and objectives of a 12 year old schooling girl child with severe congenital visual impairment and show how they will be implemented in the classroom. Furthermore, it will design and evaluate two individualized education goals that will meet the student need. Visual impairment and its associated disabilities will then be discussed in detail, highlight the salient complications and the financial effects and assistance in the education system. Lastly, the paper will discuss treatment and rehabilitation options and the appropriate educational interventions to address the situation.
Two individualized educational goals for a 12 year old schooling girl with severe congenital visual impairment
From the expert’s evaluation of the 12 year old girl, they found out that she had difficulty disengaging from her parents. She experiences distressed emotional condition and tantrum behavior when she is separated from her parents. Furthermore, she has difficulty in calming herself.
- Annual Goal: the student will increase her reading skills in the areas of word recognition to achieve her comprehension as measured by work samples.
- Apply background knowledge and her prior experience in stories interpretation
- Discriminate between fiction and fact
- Be able to recognize that the different parts-the beginning, middle and conclusion
- Be able to predict what comes next in a storyline
- Should make predictions and tell stories that were earlier read.
- Should be able to retell stories that were read aloud for example setting, identification of characters, problems and events sequence
- Annual Goal: The student will increase her skills of reading in the phonemics area to be able to comprehend as measured by running records.
- Demonstrate letter awareness by identifying letters
- Read or write words of high frequency
- Use redial, beginning and ending cues of letters in prediction of unknown words
- Be able to locate specific phrases, words, sight word and patterns of words in a familiar text
- Read books of predictable pattern
- Read self written and dictated texts
- Demonstrate basic understanding in all consonants, diagraphs, most blends and beginning vowels in understanding basic patterns and families.
Analysis of severe congenital visual impairment and its associated specific disabilities
According to Holbrook (1996), severe congenital visual impairment is a medical condition that is gotten from birth and has severe effect on development, growth, economic and social opportunities. The condition should therefore be detected at the earliest possible moment to commence an immediate treatment for prevention of deep amblyopia. Bishop et al (1996) observes that despite the fact that it is very difficult to measure the visual acuity of an infant, but it is still possible.
The causes of the severe congenital visual impairment can be prenatal, perinatal and postnatal. Holbrook (1996) points out that the congenital anomalies such as microphthalmos, anophthalmos, congenital cataract, coloboma, neuro-ophthalmos and infantile glaucoma lesions are the present causes at birth. On the other hand, cortical visual impairment, retinopathy of prematurity and ophthalmia neonatorium are gotten during the prenatal time (Bishop et al, 1996).
Salient complications as a result of visual impairments in students
According to Holbrook (1996), the salient complication of visual impairments in children include the following:
- Loss of concentration and attention
- Poor handwriting
- Dat dreaming
- Upset stomach
- Blurring during and after reading
- Get lost when reading
- Lack of retention in learning and reading
- Problems in respecting personal territory of other children
- Difficulties in solving problems
Bishop et al (1996) points out that the vulnerable areas to education and develepoment due to vision loss include :
- iNterpersonal communicatio skills
- Concept development
- Mobilty and orientation skills
- Academic development
Financial effects and assistance in the education system
There is need for the visually impaired students to learn same academic skills and subjects as their sighted peers although in adapted ways. Moreover, they must learn wide set of skills that are entirely vision related. According to Holbrook (1996), they include learning how to:
- Safely move independently
- Use designed assistive technologies for the visually impaired children
- Apply their residual vision which they possess efficiently and effectively
- If determined by the IEP, read and write in Braille
Although the financial effects are much, the educational assistance to the students should be made available at all times. Bishop et al (1996) lists some of the assistive technologies to the visually impaired students. They include the monocular, magnifier, computer accommodations i.e. the screen reader and soft ware’s for enlarging texts in a computer, slant board, note taking device, close circuit TV, calculator and taking book player.
Moreover, Holbrook (1996) adds that instructional accommodation use should be employed. These include:
- Note taking by peer partner
- Preferential seating
- Good lighting
- Print material contrast
- Large print texts
- Large print handouts
- Text reading system
- Books on CD
Rehabilitation and treatment
Rehabilitation and treatments does not fall in the education scope and are therefore left to the professional optometrists. Equipping the child with spectacle with mounted reading lenses is an example of educational rehabilitation method. Closed circuit TV system video magnifier is another rehabilitation device that magnifies image and enhance contrast (Holbrook, 1996).Other educational interventions for visually impaired students include use of enlarged prints on tests and handouts, recorded lessons and use of Braille (Bishop et al, 1996).
According to Bishop et al (1996), few surgical and medical options are available for treating of congenital anomalies; many affected children can still benefit from rehabilitation and low vision aids. Holbrook (1996) adds that congenital cataracts surgery should be done within the first four months after birth of a child. Primary posterior capsulotomy and anterior virectomy are required and then aphakic glasses made of implantation of secondary intraocular lens should be done at a later date.
Bishop et al (1996) suggest that infantile glaucoma treatment should be surgery followed by medication of anti-glaucoma. On the other hand Holbrook (1996) explains that retinopathy of prematurity is as a result of retinal vasculature proliferation in response to premature infant relative exposure. Therefore, first few weeks screening after birth can help in prevention of blindness. By chemotherapy, retinoblastoma can be managed. However, Bishop et al (1996) adds that enucleation will still be required
Appropriate educational interventions to address the situation
Students suffering from visual impairments do have distinct and unique educational requirements that are most met effectively through application of team approach of the parents, professional and the students. In order of the team to meet the unique needs of the students, the students must have books, specialized services and appropriate materials such the Braille as well as technology and specialized equipments for the assurance of equal access to the specialized and core curricula (Holbrook, 1996). This will enable them compete their peers effectively in school and society.
Bishop et al (1996) points out that there must be support services and wide range of program options so that the team of Individualized Education Program can chose the best placement in the environment that is least restrictive for every visually impaired individual.
Another educational intervention to address this problem is that there must be adequate preparation programs for the personnel to train the staff in provision of specialized services that address the non-academic and academic unique needs of the visually impaired students (Holbrook, 1996). Furthermore, ongoing development opportunities for specialized personnel should be in place for the staff working with the visually impaired students in addition to specialized education for parents.
Visually impaired students need a system of education that addresses all needs of the students, brings independence and is evaluated by each individual success in the community and school. Vision is very fundamental in the process of learning and is the basis upon education strategies is based. Visually impaired students can succeed in systems of education where appropriate services and instructions provided in a fully developed program by qualified staff to cater for unique educational needs of the students.
Bishop, V. E., & Bishop, V. E. (1996). Teaching visually impaired children. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.
Holbrook, M. C. (1996). Children with visual impairments: A parents’ guide. Bethesda, Md: Woodbine House.
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