Developmental Disabilities

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Vision/Hearing

Techniques for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairment - Assessments

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Informal Assessment

by Alycyn Ferrell and Sharon A. Raver

Because formal assessment instruments leave much to be desired, inerventionalists frequently turn to informal tools to assess infants with visual impairments. Hart (1983) and Ferrell (1985; 1989) use a prerequisite skills approach that examines general themes in development and stresses the interaction of all domains.

Functional Vision Assessments

Since Barrage (1964) first demonstrated that children could be taught to use their residual vision, any vision or light perception the child may possess, specialists working with infants with visual impairment include in their assessments procedures to evaluate how infants use their vision. These components are usually included in functional vision assessments.

  • Pupillary response: to determine how the pupils respond to light and how much control the infant has over the environment.
  • Muscle balance: to determine whether or not the eyes work together.
  • Visual fields: to determine if the infant has a full field of vision
  • Fixation: to determine if the infant can attend in all parts of the visual field
  • Tracking: to determine the eyes’ ability to move together in various directions and to sustain fixation on a moving target
  • Unusual head posture and eye movement; to record atypical behaviors that might suggest visual field losses or muscle imbalance.
     

These components must be evaluated together for an accurate diagnostic assessment of the child’s vision. 

In 1989, Dr. Turben received funding that enabled the Cleveland Sight Center to initiate the first large-scale, family-centered Children's Services Program in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Turben worked for Lake County Early Intervention Collaborative Group in 1988-89 as the consultant who prepared the County Needs Assessment and assisted the collaborative in the preparation of the 1988-89 Lake County Early Intervention Collaborative Plan, which launched family collaboratives as a network of families with children who had disabilities.
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