Assessment Tools

Introduction

Most children and young people with a severe or profound visual impairment will usually have been identified by medical professionals and should be known to the SEND Teaching Support Team. Assessments will be selected to enable the Specialist Advisory Teacher of Children and Young People with a Visual Impairment to monitor their vision and progress.

Most children and young people with a visual impairment will be expected to make normal progress if they receive appropriate equipment and are receiving appropriate support.

If a parent or setting has concerns then the following are indicators that a child or young person may have a visual problem:

  • Holding a book close to the face.

  • Showing a disinterest in Big Book presentations.

  • Difficulties finding friends in class/playground.

  • Not responding to visual cues.

  • Lack of confidence in crowded/busy situations.

  • Difficulties reading text or finding details in pictures or delayed progress in reading.

  • Not able to see what is on the white board or a wall display.

  • Bumping into objects/people.

  • Poor hand writing or not able to write on the line.

If several of the above are identified the child or young person may have a visual impairment then consider the following actions:

  • Parents/carers to take the child to have an eye test.

  • Settings to ask parents/carers if there has already been contact with Ophthalmic Services with any available reports.

  • Ensure glasses are worn where prescribed and are clean.

  • Where a visual loss is confirmed that is not corrected by glasses please make a referral to the SEND Teaching Support Team by completing the Single Referral Form and pre CAF assessment.

Once an appropriate referral has been received, contact will be made with the family and setting by the Specialist Advisory Teacher of Children and Young People with a Visual Impairment from the SEND Teaching Support Team. They will offer advice and select assessments to enable vision and progress to be monitored. Below is the range of assessments which may be used.

 

Babies and Pre School Children (Early Years Foundation Stage)

With the parents' permission, the Early Support Development Journal for Children with a Visual Impairment may be used.

Information from parents, health visitors, nursery staff, and play activities are likely to inform the vision assessment.

Assessment of vision by the specialist teacher of children with a visual impairment will occur regularly, if appropriate, during the Early Years Foundation Stage.

 

Key Stage One (Years 1 and 2) and Two (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6)

Informal vision assessment will be used to monitor vision by the specialist teacher of children with a visual impairment. This is likely to include discussions with parents and school staff and the use of the functional vision assessments listed below.  It may include classroom observation.

Assessment of vision by the specialist teacher of children with a visual impairment will occur regularly, if appropriate.

 

Key Stage Three (Years 7, 8 and 9) and Four (Years 10 and 11)

Formal assessment and classroom observation may be used to monitor vision by the specialist teacher of children with visual impairment. This is likely to include discussion with the student, parents and school staff.  The assessments used may include some of those listed below.

Assessment of vision by the specialist teacher of children with a visual impairment will occur regularly, if appropriate.

 

Functional Vision Assessment

A visual impairment is any impairment of visual function sufficient to require special educational assistance.

Different means of assessment are used depending on a child's developmental age, level of vision and ability to co-operate and communicate.

When a child's vision is assessed, the following tests may take place:

  • A distance vision test

  • A near vision test

  • A field of vision test

  • A colour vision test

The near and distance vision is tested wearing glasses, if needed, and when using low vision aids, if appropriate.

 

For very young children or older children with communication difficulties the technique of preferential looking is used. The examiner observes the child's eye movements in response to a target placed in one half of an otherwise blank card, e.g. the Cardiff Acuity Test.

For older or more able children distance visual acuity can be assessed by picture recognition and matching, e.g. Kay Pictures. Children have to name, sign or match the symbols.

For children who can read a common test for distance vision is the Snellen Test Chart which consists of letters arranged in rows of different sizes.  A more accurate vision test uses the Crowded LogMAR Distance Acuity charts where every row has 5 letters.

See: http://www.ssc.education.ed.ac.uk/courses/vi&multi/vmay06a.html

Near vision for children who can read is tested using the Maclure Reading Test. This has reading material of varying difficulty appropriate for different ages.

Near vision for children not yet able to read acuity is specified for pictures or symbols equivalent to distant targets.  The Cardiff Near Test is suitable but it is not possible to extrapolate from an acuity value on these tests to a reading print size.  It is suitable for children from around 3 years old.

See: http://www.bibonline.co.uk/products/cardiff-test

 

Key Documents:

  • Cumbria County Council Children's Services SEN Handbook (new handbook will be loaded soon!)