Eye Gaze Essentials | Vision tips for parents and educators

April 1, 2020

Lisa Donaldson, Head of Eyecare and Lead Clinical Optometrist at SeeAbility shares her vision tips for parents and educators whose children have neurodevelopmental impairments.

SeeAbility model of eye care

The Royal College of Paediatricians guidelines state that every child with a neurodevelopmental impairment should be considered visually impaired until proven otherwise.

This means that every child in special education should be accessing routine eye care.

SeeAbility have worked with all eye care professional bodies to develop a framework for a model of eye care. This includes:

  • Routine, annual eye checks,
  • reporting on that child’s visual abilities and limitations,
  • glasses, if required and
  • support with glasses.

This eye care should take place in the school environment.

The NHS have recently committed to in their 10 year plan to role out the same model of eye care across the country.

Get thinking about vision

The important thing for parents and educators to do is make sure that children  their eyes checked.

When thinking about vision ask yourself “What can this child see?” and “What does this child need to maximise their visual potential?” Then tailor the support you give them accordingly.

Never assume that signs and behaviours are all down to a child’s primary diagnosis. They may have autism or cerebral palsy, but consider they may have a visual impairment.

Conducting a functional visual assessment can be helpful to gain a basic understanding of someone’s visual abilities.

Working as a team

The benefit of having eye care services in school is the ability to communicate. Eye care service providers can be fed information about a child’s functional vision from educators and parents. This information can be paired with details from assessments, observation and measurements and form an action plan for resources and education.

 

Key vision tips for parents and educators

  • Every child with a neurodevelopmental impairment should be considered visually impaired until proven otherwise.
  • Make sure children get their eyes tested regularly
  • Not assuming a child’s behaviours are all due to their primary diagnosis
  • Do a functional visual assessment before an eye test.

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