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IEP FAQs Pop-Up
Special Factors in IEPs

Question 6.

My child has very poor vision diagnosed as "partial sight." Does the IEP Team have to consider this as a special factor?

Answer

A visual impairment is defined as "impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance." The term includes partial sight and blindness.

The visual abilities of children with visual impairments differ. Some children have no functional vision and may learn through the tactual sense, including Braille. The IEP team must decide if your child needs to learn Braille.

Your child's vision may be corrected with glasses or he may be able to read and write print materials if they are modified. The IEP team must decide how your child learns. The IEP team should evaluate your child's reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media.

Refer to the Visual Impairment Checklist listed below in Additional Resources.

If your child has poor vision and needs eyeglasses to participate in special education, related services, or supplementary aids and services, the school must provide this assistive technology if the IEP team decides that he needs to use glasses to receive FAPE.

Because your child's needs change often, the IEP team should review your child's visual abilities often. The learning medium may need to be changed too.

Legal Resource

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs Chapter 7 - Special Factors in IEPs

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

IDEA

20 U.S.C.§ 1401(3)

20 U.S.C.§ 1412(a)(1)

20 U.S.C.§ 1412(a)(12)(b)(i)

20 U.S.C.§ 1414(d)(3)(B)(iii)

IDEA Regulations

34 C.F.R. §300.8(13)

34 C.F.R. §300.34

34 C.F.R. §300.105

34 C.F.R. §300.324(a)(2)(iii)

Commentary in 71 FR at 46581

Additional Resources

Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Visual Impairment Checklist
http://www.education.ne.gov/SPED/technicalassist/IEP DOCUMENT.pdf (page 20)

http://nichcy.org/schoolage/iep/meetings/special-factors/considering-visual

Learning Media Assessment
http://www.perkins.org/resources/scout/literacy-and-braille/learning-media-assessment.html

IEP Technical Assistance Guide (with links to training modules), Nebraska Department of Education

Transition Guide for Blind, Visually Impaired, Deaf-Blind Students, Nebraska Department of Education

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

AIM for Families

NIMAS Technical Assistance Center at CAST

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