of Children with Visual Impairments or Blindness

Assessment is a critically important step in the developmental progress of a young child who is blind or visually impaired. Understanding a child's abilities and the nature of cognitive, visual, or other sensory impairments is foundational knowledge for creating an education plan. This section contains introductory information on assessment,  as well as specific instruments, such as developmental checklists and vision screening tools.

Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.

Assessment Strategies and Considerations

Assessing Motor Skills in the Visually Impaired Child
Future Reflections (1989), National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Doris Willoughby offers specific ideas for the assessment of children with a visual impairment, including adaptations of existing instruments, as well as observation of the child in activities of daily living.

Assessments for Infants and Toddlers
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This page presents a brief overview of vision-related and developmental assessments.

Assessment for Preschoolers
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Find out the purpose of assessments and learn more about some of the different types.

Infant Assessment/IFSP/Materials Worksheet
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This 4-page RTF worksheet is divided into different skill areas (motor, self-help, cognition, etc.), with columns for assessment, IFSP and materials.  It is a useful organizational tool in identifying and addressing the needs of infants.

Observations of Learning Styles of Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments or Deafblindness: Using Information About How Children Learn to Plan Effective Intervention
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Deborah Gleason, Regional Coordinator of the Hilton/Perkins Program, provides guidelines to determine how a child learns most effectively, how adults can support this learning, and what environmental conditions are best.

Visual Loss Considerations in Developmental Assessment
Foundation for the Junior Blind Infant Family Program
This article lists developmental skills that may be delayed in young children with visual impairment and offers strategies for intervention.

Assessment Tools and Developmental Checklists

Assessment Compendium
Lighthouse International
The Assessment Compendium is "a guide to assessment instruments" for "clinicians who evaluate students with visual impairment or multiple disabilities." They are researched and evaluated for their merit and utility, and indexed by age and area of assessment.

Assessment Tools and Resources for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments
Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments
This annotated bibliography compiled by Deborah Gleason of Perkins School for the Blind includes a detailed description of each assessment tool, with information on where it can be purchased. (Microsoft Word Document)

Communication Matrix
This is "an assessment tool designed to pinpoint exactly how a child is currently communicating" and to assist in creating communication goals. This user-friendly online version is aimed at parents whose children have severe multiple disabilities; available in English and Spanish.

Development Charts for Blind & Visually Impaired Babies & Children
This is a compilation of three different developmental scales for evaluating social/emotional, communication, cognitive, fine motor, and gross motor development.

The Oregon Project Skills Inventory
This checklist is divided into separate domains and arranged in developmental sequence from birth to six years.  Skill areas include cognitive, language, compensatory, self-help, fine motor, and gross motor.

The Oregon Project for Visually Impaired & Blind Preschool Children: Skills Inventory
Pennsylvania Department of Education
This 20-page document shows the correlation between Pennsylvania's Early Learning Standards and the Oregon Project Skills Inventory.  It identifies areas where there is complete or partial coverage of various skill areas. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Selected Assessments That Are Used For Young Children Who Are Visually Impaired
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This chart has one section of tests that are specific to visual impairment and one section that is not.  Information is provided on each type of test, including a list of  its strengths and weaknesses.

Vision and Hearing Screening

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Karl R. White discusses the importance of early detection of hearing loss; available in English and Spanish.

Early Identification of Hearing and Vision Loss is Critical to a Child's Development, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
This article by TSBVI Outreach staff, Gigi Newton and Kate Moss, explain the critical need to identify vision and hearing loss as soon as possible.  A list of syndromes, diseases, and conditions is included.

Identifying Vision and Hearing Problems in Infants with Disabilities
IDA News,27(3), 1-3. 2000.
Deborah Chen provides "questions that early intervention service providers can use to guide their review of medical records, their interviews with families, and their systematic observations of infants."

Preliminary Vision Screening
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Dr. Virginia Bishop explains the vision screening process and provides a parent questionnaire.

Some Tips on Vision Screening
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Dr. Virginia Bishop offers practical guidelines for those who do vision screening with young children.

Vision Screening for Young Children:  Early Intervention Programs
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This vision screening RTF document includes sections on general history, possible signs of visual impairment, vision screening procedures, and criteria for referral to an ophthalmologist.