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Evaluating Key Skills for Students with Low Vision

kid with hand on matching skills page

Natalie Barraga once said, “The more you look, the more you see.” Her groundbreaking research decades ago revolutionized instruction and accommodations for students with low vision. In fact, prior to her work, Functional Vision Assessments detailing how a student uses their remaining vision didn’t exist.

APH promoted Natalie’s work then and the legacy continues now. Given the educational shift that the majority of students with visual impairments are now served alongside typically developing peers within naturally occurring contexts, it’s appropriate that the original Program to Develop Efficiency in Visual Functioning undergo a facelift.

In October 2019, the revised product Barraga Visual Efficiency Program (BVEP) launched as a new APH product. From an educator’s perspective, this tool is the perfect addition to a professional’s assessment kit. Not only is the use of vision within naturally occurring routines addressed in the program, but this product includes the Perceptual Skills Evaluation.

As a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, having access to a Perceptual Skills Evaluation is pivotal for a variety of reasons.

  • Because about 40% of the human brain is dedicated to vision (Gordon Dutton), it’s important to remember that we don’t see with our eyes; we see with our brain. (Paul Bach-y-Rita)
  • Visual access to instruction may be unattainable even for students with 20/20 vision, due to visual perception difficulties.
  • While visual perception skills may be looked at by other therapists or diagnosticians using specific tools, the Perceptual Skills Evaluation is designed for students with Visual Impairments. It begins with very simple tasks, which include the use of objects, pictures, and graphics (symbols).
  • This product helps educators sharpen their collaboration skills by working closely with other school team members, as opposed to working in a silo.

Technical support for using this product is also on the horizon, as the APH Hive will soon include a course detailing its use. “Bee” on the lookout for From Evaluation to Instruction Using the Barraga Visual Efficiency Program.

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