Assessment of Young Children with Visual Impairments

Assessment is a critically important step in the developmental progress of a young child who is blind or visually impaired. Understanding a child's abilities and the nature of cognitive, visual, or other sensory impairments is foundational knowledge for creating an education plan. This section contains introductory information on assessment,  as well as specific instruments, such as developmental checklists and vision screening tools.
Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.

Assessment Strategies and Considerations

Future Reflections (1989), National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Doris Willoughby offers specific ideas for the assessment of children with a visual impairment, including adaptations of existing instruments, as well as observation of the child in activities of daily living.
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This page presents a brief overview of vision-related and developmental assessments.
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Find out the purpose of assessments and learn more about some of the different types.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Deborah Gleason, Regional Coordinator of the Hilton/Perkins Program, provides guidelines to determine how a child learns most effectively, how adults can support this learning, and what environmental conditions are best.
Foundation for the Junior Blind Infant Family Program
This article lists developmental skills that may be delayed in young children with visual impairment and offers strategies for intervention.

Assessment Tools and Developmental Checklists

Lighthouse International
The Assessment Compendium is "a guide to assessment instruments" for "clinicians who evaluate students with visual impairment or multiple disabilities." They are researched and evaluated for their merit and utility, and indexed by age and area of assessment.
Communication Matrix
This is "an assessment tool designed to pinpoint exactly how a child is currently communicating" and to assist in creating communication goals. This user-friendly online version is aimed at parents whose children have severe multiple disabilities; available in English and Spanish.
Aimed at parents, with clear, nonclinical language. This is a compilation of three different developmental scales for evaluating social/emotional, communication, cognitive, fine motor, and gross motor development.
Pennsylvania Department of Education
This checklist is divided into separate domains and arranged in developmental sequence from birth to six years.  Skill areas include cognitive, language, compensatory, self-help, fine motor, and gross motor (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This 4-page RTF worksheet is divided into different skill areas (motor, self-help, cognition, etc.), with columns for assessment, IFSP and materials.  It is a useful organizational tool in identifying and addressing the needs of infants.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This chart has one section of tests that are specific to visual impairment and one section that is not.  Information is provided on each type of test, including a list of  its strengths and weaknesses.

Vision and Hearing Screening

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Karl R. White discusses the importance of early detection of hearing loss; available in English and Spanish.
Early Identification of Hearing and Vision Loss is Critical to a Child's Development
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article by TSBVI Outreach staff, Gigi Newton and Kate Moss, explain the critical need to identify vision and hearing loss as soon as possible.  A list of syndromes, diseases, and conditions is included.
IDA News, 2000.
Deborah Chen provides "questions that early intervention service providers can use to guide their review of medical records, their interviews with families, and their systematic observations of infants."
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Dr. Virginia Bishop explains the vision screening process and provides a parent questionnaire.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Dr. Virginia Bishop offers practical guidelines for professionals who do vision screening with young children.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This vision screening RTF document includes sections on general history, possible signs of visual impairment, vision screening procedures, and criteria for referral to an ophthalmologist.


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