Visually Impaired Program

Exceptional Student Education Eligibility for Students Who Are Visually Impaired

Florida State Board Rule 6A-6.03014

SJCSD Program for Visually Impaired students provides specialized instruction in all areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum to eligible students, age birth through their twenty-second birthday. Special education services are provided by fully certified itinerant Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) in a variety of educational settings including consultative support or direct services in both self-contained and general education classes in accordance with individual education plans (IEPs). Orientation and mobility instruction is provided by a certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist both on campus and in the community, as determined by the IEP.

The definition of students who are visually impaired includes the following:

  • A student who is blind, has no vision, or has little potential for using vision
  • A student who has low vision
  • A student who has a visual impairment after best correction that adversely affects the student’s educational performance
  • A student who has been diagnosed with a progressive condition that will most likely result in a visual impairment or no vision after best correction 

Student Evaluation 

  • A completed SJCSD Eye Medical Form describing: etiology, diagnosis, treatment regimen, prognosis, near/distance, corrected/uncorrected acuity measures for left eye, right eye and both eyes, measure of field of vision, and recommendations for lighting levels, physical activity, aids, prescribed low-vision aids, or use of glasses or contact lenses, as appropriate
  • For children birth to five (5) years of age or students who are otherwise unable to be assessed, a medical assessment describing visual functioning shall be documented when standard visual acuities and measure of field of vision are unattainable
  • A comprehensive assessment of skills known to be impacted by visual impairment, which shall include, but is not limited to:
    • A functional vision evaluation that includes an assessment of skills known to be impacted by vision impairment that are aligned with the special skills referenced in Rule 6A-1.09401, F.A.C., and include assistive technology, compensatory skills, career education, recreation and leisure, sensory efficiency, self-determination, social skills, and independent-living skills
    • A learning media assessment
    • An orientation and mobility screening
  • A reevaluation shall occur at least every three (3) years and shall include:
    • A minimum of a medical eye examination within the last calendar year
    • A comprehensive assessment of skills known to be impacted by visual impairment as required for determining initial eligibility
    • If appropriate, any other formal evaluations addressed in the initial evaluation in accordance with Rule 6A-6.0331, F.A.C.   *The medical aspect of a reevaluation for students with bilateral anopthalmia may be waived by a written recommendation of a physician.

 Eligibility Criteria

  • A student is eligible for special education and related services if the following medical and educational criteria are met:
    • A licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist has documented an eye condition that causes an impairment as manifested by at least one of the following:
      • A visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye after best possible correction
      • A peripheral field so constricted that it affects the student’s ability to function in an educational setting
      • A diagnosis of visual impairment after best correction, or
      • A progressive loss of vision that may affect the student’s ability to function in an educational setting
    • The student needs special education as defined in Rules 6A-6.0331 and 6A-6.03411, F.A.C.

Expanded Core Curriculum

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) includes nine major areas as identified by the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, including those with multiple disabilities. The ECC is the body of knowledge and skills that are needed by students with visual impairments due to their unique disability-specific needs. Students with visual impairments need the expanded core curriculum in addition to the core academic curriculum of general education. The ECC should be used as a framework for assessing students, planning individual goals and providing instruction.

  1. Sensory Efficiency is the efficient and accurate use of vision, hearing and other senses for daily activities.
  2. Independent Living is independence in activities of daily living.
  3. Compensatory is access and success in the general education curriculum equal to sighted peer.
  4. Recreation and Leisure is the deliberate instruction of recreation and leisure activities for life long enjoyment.
  5. Orientation and Mobility is the safe, efficient and independent travel.
  6. Assistive Technology is a toll to access the classroom curriculum and expand the horizons of students.
  7. Social Interaction skills are the ability to establish and retain satisfying and fulfilling relationships.
  8. Self-Determination is the ability for people to control their lives, reach goals they have set and take part fully in the world around them.
  9. Career Education is the development of skills for future gainful employment.


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American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for Blind has spent nearly a century ensuring that individuals who are blind or visually impaired have access to the information, technology, education, and legal resources they need to live independent and productive lives.

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world’s largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.

Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI)
AER supports professionals who provide education and rehabilitation services to people with visual impairments, offering professional development opportunities, publications, and public advocacy

Braille Authority of North America (BANA)
BANA promotes and facilitates the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America. Through BANA online access is available to guidebooks, updates to code and rules, and especially provides information to the newest code updates – the Unified English Braille code.

Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library
The Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library is a free service for individuals who cannot use standard print reading materials as the result of a visual, physical, or reading disability. It is the largest library of its kind in the U.S., with a collection of more than 2.4 million items in braille and audio format, including cassette and digital recordings. In addition, the library also provides adaptive equipment, accessories, and other types of players on loan. Overall annual loans exceed 1.99 million items.

Childproofing Your Home for a Child with Vision Impairment

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Creating Accessible Kitchens for the Visually Impaired

Guide to Room by Room Repairs for Easy Accessibility for Disabled Loved Ones

Lighting In and Around the Home: A Guide to Better Lighting for People with Sight Loss

Florida Department of Education

Florida Department of Education – Florida’s Educational Opportunities for Students with Sensory Impairments

This pamphlet describes eligibility requirements for students with sensory impairments, services, and resources available to parents.

Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS)

325 West Gaines Street
Turlington Building, Suite 1114
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400

Main Number: (850) 245-0300
Toll Free: (800) 342-1828
Fax Main DBS Number: (850) 245-0363

DBS provides services to individuals of all ages whose primary disability is visual impairment to help them maximize their physical, vocational, social, and economic well-being. Services include vocational rehabilitation, counseling, guidance, parent training, and assistance in locating school and other community-based programs.

Florida Instructional Materials Center (FIMC)
FIMC is a statewide resource center designed to assist public and private schools in obtaining specialized materials for students with visual impairments. Established in 1972 by the Florida Legislature, FIMC-VI operates under the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services through a grant agreement with the School District of Hillsborough County.

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB)
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine is the state’s public school for eligible deaf/hard-of-hearing, blind/low vision, and deaf-blind preschool through 12th grade students. FSDB also offers a continuing education program. There is no tuition cost to families for eligible Florida residents.

Interested parents may contact the School’s Parent Services Office for information regarding admission Voice/TDD at (800) 344-3732.

How to Design a Sensory Garden for the Blind or Visually Impaired

Legal Requirements of Hiring a Person with a Visual Impairment

Maxi Aids

An online catalog of products for independent living. The catalog includes products for needs such as vision, hearing, mobility, medical, household, and computers.

National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)
NAPVI is a national organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities.

NAPVI provides leadership, support, and training to assist parents in helping children reach their potential.

National Eye Institute
Provides eye health information, research, and resources for individuals and families wanting to learn more about today’s research for tomorrow’s vision.

Prepare a Visually Impaired Child for Daycare

Setting Up the Home Office After Vision Loss

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
408 White Street
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Main Number: (386) 258-4444
Toll Free: (800) 741-3826
Fax: (386) 239-6108
Bureau Chief: Edward Hudson
The Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a place where people who are blind can reside temporarily while they learn to lead productive, self-sufficient lives. The Rehabilitation Center program incorporates instruction in a variety of independence skills, as well as case management, including home management, cooking, cleaning, personal care, labeling, orientation and mobility, Braille, access computer technology, adaptive equipment and devices, college prep, job readiness, home repairs, adaptation to blindness and many other skills that contribute to independence and the confidence to seek the highest level of employment possible.

Like all rehabilitation training provided to clients, the curriculum is intended to provide the skills to enable clients to remain independent in their homes, as well as to provide the confidence to seek their highest level of employment, regardless of the nature of the employment. Their ultimate employment goals are matched, as much as possible, to the clients own aspirations. Where possible, our curriculum and resources support the client’s progression to independence and full participation in the community, including employment. There is no cost to the individual for training or room and board. However center students are responsible for personal expenses.

Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida (VAVF)

VAVF members include volunteer consultants with expertise in specialized areas of braille and tape production. These consultants will do group training or assist individual groups with problem-solving in various areas of production. The group can provide information to persons interested in becoming certified in braille production.

Workplace Accommodations