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Will my child have the same education as other children if they are visually impaired?

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Under the American Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), visually impaired children are entitled to a "free and appropriate public education." This doesn't mean that you should simply send visually impaired children off to school and hope for the best. You will need to ensure that your child gets the support she needs to learn and flourish. Here are some suggestions:

  • Your pediatrician should arrange for your family to be involved in an early intervention program to assess needs further, which might include modification of the environment, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.
  • Talk to teachers and administrators at your child's school. Make sure that they understand your child's special issues and that accommodations are being made in the classroom. Additionally a special team may be assigned to develop an IEP and ensure your child’s needs are being met.
  • Get a second opinion from a learning specialist if you aren't comfortable with your child's learning environment.
  • Check in with your child and your child's teachers often to make sure that he or she is thriving at school and that appropriate support is in place to meet your child's needs.

SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control web site: "Vision Impairment." American Academy of Ophthalmology web site, "Children's Eye Health and Safety" and "How Often Should I Have My Child's Eyes Screened?" National Information Center on Children and Youth With Disabilities web site, "Vision Impairments." American Foundation for the Blind web site, "Your Rights as Parents." American Federation for the Blind web site, "How Babies Learn," "Setting Limits and Building Confidence," "Education: What Families Need to Know," and "Living With Vision Loss." Prevent Blindness America web site, "Signs of Possible Eye Problems in Children," and "Guidelines for Children's Vision Health." Nemours Foundation web site, "Your Child's Vision." Blind Babies Foundation web site, "Unique Needs of Children With Visual Impairments" and "Pediatric Visual Diagnosis Fact Sheet."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on March 12, 2018

SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control web site: "Vision Impairment." American Academy of Ophthalmology web site, "Children's Eye Health and Safety" and "How Often Should I Have My Child's Eyes Screened?" National Information Center on Children and Youth With Disabilities web site, "Vision Impairments." American Foundation for the Blind web site, "Your Rights as Parents." American Federation for the Blind web site, "How Babies Learn," "Setting Limits and Building Confidence," "Education: What Families Need to Know," and "Living With Vision Loss." Prevent Blindness America web site, "Signs of Possible Eye Problems in Children," and "Guidelines for Children's Vision Health." Nemours Foundation web site, "Your Child's Vision." Blind Babies Foundation web site, "Unique Needs of Children With Visual Impairments" and "Pediatric Visual Diagnosis Fact Sheet."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on March 12, 2018

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When does visual impairment in children require specialized education?

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