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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Blind and Visually Impaired (B/VI)

Steps from Screening to Service


Blind/visually impaired Birth to Age Three

Steps Who What State Agency Parts of the State Agency/System
Step 1: Screening Eye doctor, low vision specialist, hospital nurse, or school nurse Vision screenings are not required before age three. Parents are encouraged to have their children’s vision screened if they have concerns. Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Hospital, children’s hospitals, clinic, doctor’s office, or local school district
Step 2: After Screening Follow Up Comprehensive Eye Exam Eye doctor For children who did not pass the screening, the performer of the screening sends referral to the eye doctor, who performs in-depth evaluation, determines whether there is vision loss, makes diagnosis if needed, provides recommendations for treatment, and may refer the family to a specialist for glasses or low vision devices. Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Hospital, children’s hospital, clinic, center, or doctor’s office

Step 3: After Diagnosis

Eye doctor, pediatricians, family, early intervention (EI) provider Early intervention (EI) receives referral, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team determines eligibility and assesses the need for EI services to support functional outcomes based on the family’s priorities. EI evaluates and plans any needed supports/services for child’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) Early Intervention (EI) service providers

Step 4: After Early Intervention

Family, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team, and School team Individualized Family Service Plan(IFSP) team supports child’s transition into school. The school team conducts a comprehensive evaluation to determine the strengths and needs of the child. The team creates an Evaluation Team Report (ETR) and determines if specially designed instruction is needed, and if the child qualifies for special education services. A comprehensive evaluation is completed at least one time every three years for children who are eligible for special education services. Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Early Intervention (EI) providers and local school district

Blind/Visually Impaired School Age (3-21)

Steps Who What State Agency Parts of the State Agency/System
Step 1: Screening Eye doctor, low vision specialist, hospital nurse, school nurse, or pediatrician Performs required vision screenings as mandated by Ohio state law. Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Children’s hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, or local school district
Step 2: After Screening, If Did Not Pass Eye doctor, low vision specialist, hospital nurse, school nurse, or pediatrician For children who did not pass the screening, the performer of the screening sends a referral to the family, requesting further testing to be done by an eye doctor. Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Local school district, hospital, children’s hospital, clinic, center, or doctor’s office
Step 3: Follow Up Comprehensive Eye Exam Eye doctor An eye doctor performs an in-depth evaluation, determines whether there is vision loss, makes diagnosis if needed, provides recommendations for treatment, and may refer the family to a specialist for glasses or low vision devices. Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Hospital, children’s hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office
Step 4: Determining Eligibility and Services School team Once a request for an evaluation from a family member or school personnel is received, the school team conducts a comprehensive evaluation to determine the strengths and needs of the child. The team creates an Evaluation Team Report (ETR) and determines if specially designed instruction is needed, or if the child is eligible for special education services. The ETR is reviewed at least one time every three years for children who are eligible for special education services. Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Local school district
Step 5: IEP Development Individualized Education Program (IEP) team If the ETR team (see above) determined that the child needs specially designed instruction, the IEP team will create an Individualized Education Program. The IEP includes any necessary services, accommodations, modifications, and supports needed to access the curriculum. At age 14, as transition planning begins, students can be referred to OOD for services and those services incorporated into the IEP. The IEP is reviewed and revised at annually. Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Local school district

Step 6: Transition into Adulthood

Individualized Education Program (IEP) team (including the student), community service providers, state and community agencies Create student centered plan for transition into adulthood including employment, further education (such as college, or trade school), and independent living skills. At age 14, as transition planning begins, students can be referred to OOD for services and those services incorporated into the IEP. Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Local school district with support from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), and Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD)

Terms and Definitions

Accommodations: Grade level supports and services that allow learners access to the curriculum. Early Intervention (EI): Early Intervention known as EI, is a statewide system that provides coordinated services to eligible children below the age three with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) establishes EI programs in all 50 states. In Ohio, the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) serves as the lead agency for the EI program. EI services are typically provided in the child’s home or other community settings.

Evaluation Team Report: The report created after a comprehensive evaluation has been completed. It documents the current performance of the student, as well as strengths and needs of the student. The results in this document are used for special education eligibility determination and helps to plan an Individualized Education Program (IEP), if necessary.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): A team-developed written program that identifies therapeutic and educational goals and objectives needed to appropriately address the educational needs of a student with a disability, qualifying for special education services, ages 3 through 21 years.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A federal law that details the educational rights and requirements applicable to students with disabilities.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): The IFSP is a written plan for providing Early Intervention (EI) services to an infant or toddler with a disability and to the child’s family in Early Intervention.

Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD): A state agency that offers support across the lifespan to people with developmental disabilities and oversees a statewide system of supportive services that focus on ensuring health and safety, supporting access to community participation, and increasing opportunities for meaningful employment. In Ohio, DODD serves as the lead agency under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) for the state’s Early Intervention Program.

Ohio Department of Education (ODE): A state agency that is responsible for the education of students in Ohio.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH): A state agency that oversees practitioners of health/medical services and their patients. ODH physicians perform screenings and comprehensive eye exams for people birth through adulthood. ODH provides guidelines to school districts on required vision screenings.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD): State agency which partners with Ohioans with disabilities to achieve quality employment, independence, and social security disability determination outcomes.

Optometrist: A healthcare professional who provides primary vision care ranging from vision testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes.

Ophthalmologist: Typically known as an eye doctor, is a physician specializing in the treatment of diseases of the eye.

Transition: The time between two phases. This term is used in various situations. Early transition refers to the time when students are moving from home or early intervention services into the school system at age three for early childhood services. The secondary transition is the time when a school age student moves from school to post school activities. The secondary transition consists of a coordinated set of activities that may address, among others, the assessment, planning process, educational, and community experiences for youth with disabilities as they turn age 14. It is also, the period of time when a student exits the K-12 education system and is no longer eligible for school-based services. The student enters the “real world” where he may qualify for adult services.

Vision Screening: A screening of the ability to see selected images, pictures, numbers, and lights. The purpose of the screening is to quickly identify individuals with vision loss and refer them to an eye doctor for further testing.