Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

"Functional Vision Screening for Severely Handicapped Children."

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

"Functional Vision Screening for Severely Handicapped Children."

Article excerpt

"Functional Vision Screening for Severely Handicapped Children," by Beth Langley and Rebecca F. DuBose, published in the October 1976 issue of New Outlook for the Blind, Volume 70, Number 8, pp. 346-350.

When I was completing my doctoral training in the late 1970s, I took a position at the California School for the Blind as director of its Assessment Center. I began gathering together an array of evaluation materials, both formal and informal, to assess the needs of the wide range of students with visual impairments throughout California who would be referred to our center for comprehensive educational evaluations. It was during this process that 1 began to revere an article on functional vision screening for severely handicapped children by Beth Langley and Rebecca F. DuBose (1976). At the time, our field had been strongly influenced by Natalie Barraga's groundbreaking work on increasing visual behavior (1964). People were looking for ways to assess vision functioning and implement educational interventions, but there were very few guidelines for working with children who had severe disabilities in addition to visual impairments.

I remember being elated when reading this article! Today there are myriads of checklists to record functional vision evaluation results for educational purposes. There may have been others at the time, but this was the first one that I had seen, and it truly was a precursor to all the functional vision checklists in use today. I used the checklist as one tool to record my assessment findings, but, more importantly, I used the principles proposed in this article in my work at the Assessment Center, and these principles have influenced my work and the work of others for 30 years.

The article was one of the first to consider visual performance in terms of the functional needs of children with visual impairments who have severe disabilities. Based on earlier work by Sheridan (1973), Langley and DuBose emphasized that limited experiential and cognitive repertoires restrict the ability of children who have visual impairments with severe disabilities to "look," even though they might be able to "see. …

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