Blind / Visual Impairment
Students with visual impairments are those students who are blind or have low vision. The regulatory definition of visual impairment is "... an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance." This ranges from students who are totally blind or with minimal light perception, to students with functional vision, although less than the norm. For some students, visual impairment is their only disability, while others have one or more additional disabilities that will affect, to varying degrees, their learning and development.
The effect of a visual impairment on a student's development depends on the severity, type of loss, age at which the condition appears, and overall functioning level of the student. Less than 1% of all students in Pennsylvania are visually impaired. Students with visual impairments have complex and unique educational needs, which often require highly specialized services, equipment, and materials.
Vision impairment creates a filter that affects the student's ability to receive and give information, as well as to interact. Since vision is the primary sense upon which most traditional education strategies are based, these strategies need to be modified to reflect the student's visual, auditory, and tactual capabilities. Understanding the functional and educational effects of the visual impairment is essential to adjusting education strategies, as well as to the instruction and assessment processes.