St. Mary's County Public Schools maintains a full continuum of services and supports for students with visual impairments ages birth through age twenty-one. All students with a visual impairment will gain access to the curriculum using the same rigorous standards as their sighted peers. In order to achieve this outcome, each student will receive:
- Comprehensive assessment and evaluation to determine the educational implication of a visual impairment. All students will receive a Learning Media Assessment as a part of the evaluation process;
- An Individualized Education Program (IEP) to address compensatory strategies to the learning environment as well as adaptation of the Maryland State Curriculum (SC); and
- Instruction within the core curriculum (SC) and extended core curriculum (Braille, orientation and mobility, visual efficiency, technology, optical devices, study skills, self advocacy skills, activities of daily living, physical education, concept development, vocational counseling, leisure and recreation, and transition). Areas of instruction are based on the unique needs of the students and related to educational impact as stated in the student’s IEP.
- Teachers and/or parents report vision concerns to school nurse who then conduct a screening.
- School staff works together with family and ophthalmologist or optometrist to determine if a vision impairment exists.
- If a visual impairment has been identified, the educational team meets to determine if vision testing is needed. If needed then, vision evaluations are completed to determine how the impairment significantly impacts the student’s ability to gain information from his or her learning environment.
- The IEP team meets to review the results of all assessments and other relevant information to determine eligibility for the program.
- If eligible, an individual education plan is developed and implemented.
- Data is continually collected throughout the IEP cycle in order to make appropriate decisions about students and how they will best succeed.
For more information about our program or the referral process, please contact:
Supervisor of Special Education
301-475-5511 ext. 32206
Helpful Website Links:
1. American Federation for the Blind
2. Resources from The Maryland School for the Blind
3. Visual Disabilities Guide for Students