Visual Impairment Eligibility

  • Guiding Principles

    As with any eligibility decision, the question of eligibility for special education under the category of Visual Impairment is an important one. Special education can provide much needed supports and insight for students with disabilities. At the same time, the identification for special education can impact the ways a student experiences school, and the mindset of the learner and those around them.

    Visual Impairment (VI) refers to a condition which, even with correction, adversely affects a student’s educational performance. This term includes students who are partially-sighted or blind.

    Procedural Guidance

    The Columbia Regional Program (CRP) provides vital assistance and guidance in the eligibility process and providing service for students with a visual impairment.

    Contact your building Special Education Instructional Coordinator (SPED IC) to complete the CRP referral form

    The VI eligibility requires a medical eye report completed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. This report should include diagnosis and acuities, and should be included with the referral. CRP’s eye report form is recommended.

    Evaluation planning:

    • A teacher of the Visually Impaired is available on request from CRP to help with evaluation planning
    • Under procedures/tests the Consent to Evaluate form should list:
      1. Functional Vision Assessment: to determine how a child uses vision in functional, everyday tasks. Used to determine educational impact and guide IEP planning.
      2. Learning Media Assessment (for children age 3 and up): to determine the student’s primary learning/literacy medium.


    • Invite the CRP vision specialist as the professional who is knowledgeable and experienced in the evaluation and education of children with Vision Impairment unless the district has another professional with the requisite knowledge.

    In the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Visual Impairment is listed with the disability code #40


    Link to Columbia Regional Program Visual Impairment page

    Columbia Regional Referral Form

    Columbia Regional Eye Report Form