What is a Visual Impairment?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 6.8% of children younger than 18 years in the United States have a diagnosed eye and vision condition and 3% of children younger than 18 years are blind and visually impaired. Visual disability is one of the most prevalent disabilities disabilities among children.

According to IDEA’s definition, visual impairment is defined s including blindness means an impairment in vision that even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The World Health Organization (WHO), classifies visual impairment as occurring when an eye condition affects the visual system and one or more of its vision includes both partial sight and blindness

Classifications

The World Health Organization uses the following classification based on visual acuity in the better eye:

  • 20/30 to 20/60- mild vision impairment
  • 20/70 to 20/160- moderate visual impairment
  • 20/200 to 20/400- severe visual impairment
  • 20/500 to 20/1,000- profound visual impairment
  • More than 20/1,000- considered near-total visual impairment
  • No light perception- considered total visual impairment or total blindness
Types of Visual Impairment
  • Strabismus– a condition when the eyes do not align with each other (crossed eyes)
  • Congenital cataracts– a clouding of the eyes natural lens present a birth.
  • Retinopathy of prematurity– a blinding disorder that affects prenatal infants that are born before 31 week of gestation.
  • Coloboma- a condition where normal tissue in or around the eye is missing at birth.
  • Cortical visual impairment– a visual impairment that occurs due to brain injury.
Signs of Visual Impairments
  • Appears “clumsy” in new situation
  • Shows signs of fatigue or inattentiveness
  • Does not pay attention when information is on the chalkboard or reading material
  • Is unable to see distant things clearly
  • Squints
  • Eyes may appear crossed
  • Complains of dizziness.
Causes

The causes of childhood blindness or visual impairment is often caused by Vitamin A deficiency which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Other causes include genetics, diabetes, injury and infections such as congenital rubella syndrome and chickenpox before birth.

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)

Cortical Visual Impairment in children is attributed to brain dysfunction rather than issues with the eyes. Causes included hypoxia, traumatic brain injury, neonatal hypoglycemia, infections and cardiac arrest.

 

 

References

World Health Organization (WHO)

www.cdc.org

Early Intervention Training Resources

The following training resources are from the Center for Parent Information and Resources:

Key terms to know in early intervention– Parent Center Hub. 6-page pdf document

Identification of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities– reviews the process by which schools identify that a child has a specific learning disability

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)– the module includes 1 sideshow presentation, trainer’s guide, speakers notes and 2 handouts

Introduction to Procedural Safeguards- Part C of IDEA designed to protect the rights of parents and their infant or toddler.

The basics of early intervention– Includes a 64-page trainer’s guide in PDF or Word format

Screening, evaluation and assessment procedures– Module 4

Material and Resources from the CDC:

Autism Case Training– Web-based continuing education introductory course on autism.

Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome-PDF format including resources on the topic

Specific Special Needs Topics:

Getting to know cerebral palsy- training resource in pdf format for facilitators

Supporting the student with Down syndrome in your classroom– created by Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan.

Teaching Special Needs Individuals Temperature Taking

In some residences and group homes, individuals are being monitored for COVID19 by daily temperature readings. People with disabilities are probably used to getting their temperatures taking each time they are seen by their physician. In these challenging times, why not teach the skill of taking one own’s temperature. It is a basic independent living skill to learn.

 

Using a digital thermometer would probably be the most effective and it is also easy to read. teaching thermometer reading affects the following skill:

  • Attention Skills
  • Follow Directions
  • Follow 2-step commands
  • Personal Care
  • Self-advocacy skills

Prerequisite skills

  • understand cause and effects
  • able to understand numbers
  • focus attention 1-5 minutes
  • Understand sequences

Objective: With modeling, student will be able to accurately read the thermometer

Time: 5 minnutes

Material: digital thermometer (best used for underarm and the mouth)

Steps:

  1. explain that a normal temperature reading is considered around 98.7 and temperature taking is done to determine if a person has a fever or is sick.
  2. The teaching method best used is through  modeling. Explain the steps to the individual and begin by taking your own temperature first.
  3. Once done, inform the individual he should do the same by using the following steps:
  • The student will pick up the thermometer
  • The student will wash the thermometer
  • The student will carefully place the tip of the thermometer under his/her tongue
  • With the mouth closed, the student will leave the thermometer in until he/she hears a beeping sound
  • The student will remove the thermometer
  • The student will accurately read the temperature.

You can also create a temperature log, where the individual takes their temperature on a daily basis and writes down their temperature on a chart.

Earth Day Organic Smoothie Lesson Plan

Today marks the 50th anniversary of celebrating Earth Day. Earth Day was the response to an environment in crisis including oil spills, smog and rivers that were heavily polluted. It is a way to help protect and restore our planet.

I created a lesson plan on creating an organic smoothie as a way to contribute in protecting the earth. Organic farming promotes an ecological balance by reducing pollution, conserving water and reducing soil erosion.

The lesson plan works on the following skills:

  1. following directions
  2. measuring
  3. task initiation
  4. math skills (counting, id numbers)
  5. reading skills

Lesson: Make an Organic Smoothie

Smoothie- Mystic Mango Smoothie

Time: 15-20 Minutes

Materials:

  • Blender
  • Knife
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Organic Mango
  • Raw or organic honey
  • Lime juice
  • Spoon
  • Organic yogurt
  • Cups
  • Fresh organic spinach

Introduction:

The instructor will explain to the group the activity to help the environment by using items that are healthy and does not require anything to be recycled.

The instructor will give assignments to the group and allow individuals an opportunity to understand.

Step 1: The instructor will first make sure all individuals wash their hands.

Step 2: The instructor will pick up the mango and ask, “What type of fruit is this.”  The instructor will then ask the group “What color is the mango?”

Step 3: The instructor will instructor the group to cut the mango in small pieces. Provide hand over hand assistance for those requiring extra assistance.

Step 4: Once completed, the instructor will ask individuals to place the mango in the blender.

Step 5: The instructor will have members of the group to measure the orange juice. The instructor will say, “where is ½ on the cup?” Once answered correctly, the instructor will instruct the individual to pour into the measuring cup.

Step 6: The instructor will say to the individual “good job, now pour into the blender.”

Step 7: The instructor will ask the group to point to the honey. The instructor will ask the individual to show 2 tablespoons on the measuring spoons.

Step 8: The instructor will ask the individual to measure 2 tablespoons of honey and to pour into the blender. Provide hand over hand if necessary.

Step 9: The instructor will ask the group to point to the lime juice. The instructor will then ask the group” show me 1 tablespoon on the measuring spoon.”

Step 9: The instructor will tell the group to pour into the blender.

Step 10: The instructor will ask the group to point to ½ cup on the measuring cup. Once pointed correctly, the instructor will have the individuals pick up the organic yogurt and put ½ in the cup

Step 11: With assistance, the individuals will wash out the organic spinach. The instructor should first place the spinach in a cup.

Step 12: With assistance or as needed, the instructor will have the individuals turn on the water.

Step 13: The instructor will ask the group to take a handful of organic spinach and place in the blender.

Step 14: Once all the items are placed in the blender, the instructor will someone from the group to hit the blended on the button blender.

Step 15: The instructor will allow 3-4 minutes for the smoothing to blend. Once completed, the instructor will ask an individual to hit the stop button.

Step 16. The instructor will ask an individual to place the cups on the table

Step 17. The instructor will continue with the activity until a smoothie has been made enough for everyone.

Step 17: The instructor will ask an individual to pour into each cup.

Download PDF Here: organic smoothie for Earth Day

 

 

 

 

 

Cerebral Palsy Training PowerPoint

This blog article is an introduction to cerebral palsy. In the past, very few educational programs offered courses on specific information pertaining to disabilities. I am hopeful this is beginning to change.  Ions when I started working in the field, I felt that there was simply not enough information so I started to do my own research by reading books, journal articles and talking to both professionals and parents.

Here, I have included a short PowerPoint presentation on a brief introduction of Cerebral Palsy. The objectives include, the definition, prevalence and causes, types and the causes. This format can be used in various ways including a teaching course since most of us are currently learning online, or as a self-study course. Below,  you will find a quiz along with the quiz answers.

If you would like  to print out a copy of the PowerPoint, Download here: Cerebral Palsy PowerPoint

Download quiz test here: cerebral palsy QUIZ

Download quiz test answers here: cerebral palsy QUIZ answer

Free Money Skills Checklist

Creating money goals and objectives for children and adults with special needs should focus on building on skills that are already achieved. Money skills should be viewed as chronicle steps leading to advancing to independence.

Before starting a money goal activity or lesson plan, the  individual should have the ability to read and to write including knowing the letters of the alphabet .

Below you will find a money skills checklist that you can download and use to check when each skill level is achieved.

Download the free checklist here: money checklist

COVID-19 and Handwashing Powerpoint

Most news today whether it is social media, newsprint or broadcasting, focuses on the crisis of the COVID-19. It seems information changes everyday and we are still learning ways to protect ourselves. When the news of COVID-19 first appear, there was emphasis on the implications for people who have severe underlying conditions  such as heart or lung disease and diabetes. The picture painted were people that were over the age of 65 who were more likely to be at risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19.

It occurred to me that very little information indicated that people with disabilities and special risk also fall under the high risk category. for us who are parents or professionals  (in some cases both), we know the dangers of this deadly disease for children and adults with serious medical issues.

Many special needs children and adults have co-occurring issues including chronic heart disease, GI issues, diabetes, asthma, seizure disorders, GERD, and breathing issues.

For this reason, it is all the more reason to ensure that professionals, frontline staff and families know how to hand wash properly.  The Powerpoint focuses on the transmission of the virus as well as the appropriate way to wash hands. You will find the link to the Powerpoint at the bottom of the page.

COVID-19 and Hand Washing

Oatmeal Cookie Activity

This is a fun activity for students and adults with special needs who would like to work on increasing their fine motor skills. This activity includes both a coloring and tracing activity. you can make several copies to print out for additional practice at a later time. Click on the link on the bottom of the page.

Download the activity here: COLORING AND TRACING ACTIVITY