Special Education Services
Plano Independent School District
Visual Services FAQ
What are functional
vision and learning media assessments?
The functional vision evaluation assesses how well a student is able to
use both near and distant vision to complete tasks in a variety of environments.
It is conducted by a professional who is certified in the education of
students with visual impairments or a certified orientation and mobility
instructor. The evaluation includes recommendations concerning the need
for a clinic low vision evaluation and an orientation and mobility evaluation.
The learning media assessment determines the student's best sensory channel
for learning. It examines the need for large print, Braille or tactual
materials, or auditory materials such as taped books.
How is a referral made?
A referral to vision services is part of the special education process.
Vision services are an instructional service, and the student must demonstrate
eligibility for services through assessment (described above) and a demonstrated
need. The process within Plano ISD requires that the campus complete the
Central Support Services Referral Form which will give the Vision Services
team the information it requires to do an assessment. The campus must
also request the Interagency Eye Report from the student's eye doctor.
This report must be less than 12 months old. This report must be received
before the functional vision and the learning media assessments can be
completed. The functional vision and learning media assessments must be
completed prior to any additional special education assessments.
What is Orientation and Mobility?
Orientation and Mobility is a field of instruction, which teaches systematic
techniques of travel and spatial awareness to those students who are blind
or visually impaired. A referral for an O&M assessment may be made
by the teacher of the visually impaired if he/she feels that the student
is having difficulty traveling safely either inside or outside the school
What is a clinical low vision evaluation?
Specially trained ophthalmologists or optometrists perform a clinical
low vision evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the
student's potential to function visually and to determine if low vision
devices such as telescopes and magnifiers and/or services will improve
the student's use of vision in daily life. The evaluation is a lengthy
one and may not be appropriate for very young children.