NASP Member Exchange

Topic: Question about a student with visual impairment

1.  Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 9 days ago
Hi All,

There is a new student entering the school district this fall where I work, who has been previously diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, and a visual impairment, among other things. I am planning to conduct a full evaluation (cognitive, academic achievement, etc.), since the student has not had testing in over 3 years. We know the student requires enlarged font as an accommodation (18-20 point font). I was wondering if anyone has advice on how to conduct an evaluation for a student with these needs? Do you break standardization and provide a magnifier, like the CCVT (and note this in the report), or just note in the report that the results may not be accurate due to visual needs? Advice please!

Thank you!
-Jaci

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Jaclyn Levy, Psy.D., NCSP
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2.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 8 days ago
Some assessments come in large print format. I've personally used the large font Woodcock Johnson in the past. Reach out to your district vision specialist, as they can connect you with a free rental of the assessments you need. Hope this helps!

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Annie Stachowitz, Ph.D., NCSP
School Psychologist
South Sioux City Schools

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3.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 8 days ago
The woodcock-Johnson series are typically available in larger font for visual need students. When I checked last year, the IV hadn't yet been released, and so we used the III with cautions that it was an older test, norms, etc. You might even be able to find it online, but our district was able to get it free through our state school for the blind on loan.

Sent from my iPad




4.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 8 days ago
Hello,
I am a former teacher of the visually impaired, now a school and pediatric psychologist.  First let me tell you that there is a position paper on evaluating a children with a visual impairment...see www.aph.org   Next, see if you can get your hands on Marnee Loftin's Making Evaluations Meaningful (maybe thru your interlibrary loan).  Third, you want to contact and work with the teacher of the visually impaired and PT re: positioning.  Fourth, be aware that a number of children with CP have something called cerebral visual impairment -- if they have dorsal stream dysfunction they may struggle with visual clutter and shifting gaze stimuli to stimuli - you may need to look at spacing between letters, between lines, between images; if they have ventral stream dysfunction word retrieval may be an issue.  Changing the visual surface too quickly can impact function.  Visual fatigue can impact their ability to process what they see and response time.  CVI also is often associated with auditory processing issues.  I had a child that I had to present things in a very controlled fashion...so breaking standardization may be needed (of course not quoting scores) in order to examine processing of imagery.  So it is not the case that we enlarge things automatically - the TVI should have completed a functional vision assessment and learning media assessment - short him/her what materials you will be using.  Best of luck to you.  These are very interesting evaluations.  Also keep in mind that there are MANY caveats you will need to include - e.g., conservative estimates at best, breaking assumptions re:  comparable experiences to norm group, etc. etc etc.

PS...if any of you ever see children with a visual impairment where there is a question of autism - keep me in mind (it is an area of expertise...you can google autism and blindness and my name will pop up)

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Terese Pawletko, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychologist/Licensed Psychologist/Certified School Psychologist
self-employed
eliot ME
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5.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 8 days ago
Thanks, Terese, great response! ... the full link to the position paper on intelligence testing is http://www.aph.org/accessible-tests/position-papers/intelligence-testing/full/

Make sure salient details about visual functioning are included in your report and describe the accommodations used.  The scores can be cited as long as you can say that they are merely an estimate.  Interpret with caution.

Carol Evans, PhD
former teacher of students with visual impairments
school psychologist

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Carol Evans, PhD
School Psychologist
Tooele County School District
Tooele UTAH
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6.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 5 days ago

I work with low incidence students in our district as well as medically fragile children.  In many instances, evaluations are much better informed by the therapists and teachers that work with these students than by our standardized evaluations.  I believe these standardized evaluations usually measure what a student cannot do as opposed to what he or she can do, particularly when a student is in the bottom 1% of the curve or with multiple conditions which affect sensory and motor abilities. 

 

Given that premise, I wonder why we want to administer an IQ for a student who is already in an ESE program.  If they are receiving services through an IEP already, what information does a standardized evaluation offer that informs instruction?  If we are not adding to the information about a student that assists us in teaching him or her, then why evaluate with standardized measures?  This does not answer your question, other people already did that, but I would start with asking what can standardized testing add to the knowledge base of how to teach or serve the student.  If it does not, I would not waste the student's time. 

 

Dr. Valerie  Buckley

School Psychologist

Duval County Public Schools

1701 Prudential Drive

Jacksonville, FL  32207

(904) 858-3661

 

 




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7.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 8 days ago
I give the WISC-V digitally, so I air played it from my iPad to the white board for a visually impaired student and she had no problem seeing it. It did take both my intern and myself to administer it that way, one to give the directions at the board and the other to enter the responses on the iPad. I gave the pencil and paper format of Coding and Symbol Search and enlarged them to the font that is recommended for her. And then in my report made note of all the accommodations that we used.

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Wendy Paggioli NCSP
School Psychologist
Nayaug Elementary School
Marlborough CT
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8.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 7 days ago
Hello,
I have worked with similar students and have learned that starting with a functional vision assessment is helpful. A trained professional can assist you in determining the best options for access to learning materials as well as assessment materials. the recommendations from these assessments have sometimes resulted in assistive technology that supported the student and, at times, the whole classroom in a UDL way. For example, one student accessed work with the use of an ELMO and other students  gravitated toward it so they were allowed to join in. As a result the teacher began to routinely present information this way. Another student received an Onyx or magnifier which helped the individual magnify materials.
The CP diagnosis also signals to me that you may need to consider motor and/or mobility issues and an OT/PT can assist in setting up systems for the child for learning and assessment. I have used a student's magnifier in one case and projected materials with the ELMO in another...and, yes I always indicate any modifications in the report.

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Dr. Maria Reardon
Massachusetts
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9.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 4 days ago
I also often evaluate medically fragile, nonverbal and autistic children who often have individual aides assigned to them.  The teachers sometimes want the aides to be present during the testing to insure that the students perform at their optimum level.  My response  to these teachers that part of the evaluation is to see how the student performs with a new person.  Separating from their classroom and the familiar people in their environment and adapting to a new situation is a skill in itself.  Obviously evaluators should be sensitive to any thing that is interfering with a student's performance, but sometimes the "test" is can they handle the test!

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[Darrell] [Dwyer]
[School Psychologist]
[Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES]
[Yorktown Heights] [NY]
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10.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 3 days ago
I think I'd like to add one additional thought if I may. Cognitive tests are high stakes tests for students with significant disabilities. We make decisions about their capacity to learn based on the results. Many students are short changed by programs which assume that they can't learn because of an IQ test that they couldn't access well. If possible, I would consider putting every support in place that allows you to measure what the child is capable of learning and (more importantly) to form thoughtful recommendations about how to support that learning. The uniqueness in the way such a student responds to items may be surprising and complex. High tech, low tech and thoughtful administration is key. I. Would certainly look to the folks who know them well to assist in this complex process. I have read meaningful reports that supported a student's learning that contained few numbers and a great deal of observational data, summaries of the child's development, interviews with the child's team and family and (this is my favorite) observations about the student's response to instruction.

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Dr. Maria Reardon
Massachusetts
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11.  RE: Question about a student with visual impairment

Posted 2 days ago
I am happy to share a typical intro to my results section if that would be helpful - (Marnee Loftin and Carol Evans Position paper also has this information I believe (sorry Carol it has been a bit since I read it) - let me know ... I will reiterate that it is important to consider whether this student may have some form of cerebral visual impairment before you use any visual materials as it will impact presentation - and I would not be quoting any scores from any motor or visual perceptual tests that you give as the visual experiences and visual processing and life experiences are different from those individuals who are sighted (i.e., no visual impairment of any sort beyond corrected acuity).  I do look at how the child approaches any task as Dr. Reardon so aptly pointed out - we want to look at a child's approach to the materials, and testing the limits of function based on systematic accommodations or modifications (which again would nullify the scores).  I have often considered trying to submit something to NASP national conference...it may be time to do a paper and present video clips to show the range of function and accommodations.

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Terese Pawletko
Consulting Psychologist
self-employed
eliot ME
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