Low Vision Unit
Low vision unit was established in July, 2001 to render services for children and persons with Visual Impairment, with the following objectives under Vision Rehabilitation Therapy.
To rehabilitate persons with visual impairment in terms of their educational, functional, social and vocational needs.
To provide guidance and counseling and referral services to clients for availing needy services from other Para-professionals and hospitals.
Accordingly, the following activities are undertaken by Low Vision Unit
Vision Screening and Assessment of Functional Vision
Vision screening is a process of estimating the visual efficiency of a child with “Low Vision”. Visual efficiency differs with every individual. So it is absolutely necessary to test every individual with visual problems for any further prescription. Hence we begin with vision screening when a needy individual approaches us. Vision screening can be done by methods like Snellen’s chart assessment etc. which assesses the visual acuity. Through vision screening we can also detect other visual problems of children with LV.
The functional vision assessment ascertains how well vision is used for a particular purpose. The task is accomplished with the help of some vision stimulating materials that the children use in their day to day activities. The visual efficiency of low-vision persons, irrespective of age or eye conditions, can be increased by a planned programme of visual learning experiences. The most important aspect is that they are encouraged and taught to utilize their remaining vision. The more they use it, the more they see.
Based on this information obtained in Vision screening and/or functional assessment, individualized education programs along with vision training is prescribed, planned and implemented.
Early Intervention Services
Early intervention services are meant for children below the age group of six years who have delayed development in visual abilities. The services include
Individualized assessment is done with the help of Check lists such as 1.Assessment proforma for visually impaired children (lower grade)
2.Assessment proforma for visually impaired children (higher grade)
3.Reading Preference Test for Children with Low Vision
Training in use of functional vision like vision stimulation, visual skills
Training in pre-academic skills
Training in enhancing personal independence, such as age appropriate daily living skills and orientation and mobility.
Referral services for clients
Students / persons with visual problems from the community and students from the Vidyalaya institutions undergo vision screening process in low vision unit. The identified cases with visual problems are referred to eye hospitals in and around Coimbatore for detailed refractive correction and needed treatment.
Assessment, prescription and training in the usage of Assistive devices
Braille is a method of reading and writing by touch meant for Blind children. Like the persons with normal eye-sight learn through print media, Persons with VI, learn through Braille-language. With the use of special Braille-slate (a plate resembling a small square holed mesh) and Stylus (a needle with handle) Braille can be learnt manually. The other way is by making use of Braille- Type writer or simply known as Brailler. Once children become proficient in Braille it helps them to cope up with the normal curriculum at schools.
Taylor Frame is an aluminum mesh with star shaped (8 point star) holes. Metal peg can be placed in different positions according to a set system. Since there are two ends for a peg, all in all 16 positional combinations are possible each representing a particular number or symbol. Both arithmetic and algebra can be taught through this. This is rather a preliminary level device for teaching mathematics to the children with VI. Abacus is meant for little advanced level students. It is a classical slate with beads used for mathematical calculations since time immemorial. Different bead combinations help in different calculations. These two devices enable the students with Visual Impairment learn mathematics easily
Optical and Non Optical Devices
Optical devises (spectacles, magnifying lenses, binoculars etc ) and non optical devices (large print, reading stand, bold lines etc) are tools that help those with vision loss maximize their remaining vision. Training is provided by using these devices to utilize the residual vision for performing academic and day to day activities.
Orientation and mobility
Orientation and mobility is the ability to locate oneself in one’s environment and moving towards the destination. Training in Orientation and Mobility is given through sighted guide techniques as well as cane techniques which help people with visual impairment to move independently, safely and purposefully through the environment.
JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) are screen reading softwares through which the visually impaired individuals are able to use the computers. Training is given to the needy persons that help them in easy accessing of computers. They can learn not only to type and read but also access web pages for their educational purposes.
Guidance and Counseling for persons with LV and their family members:
Parents/ care takers of children with various vision problems do visit our Faculty. Need based Counseling sessions are arranged to sort out their problems. Educational / therapeutic guidance is provided according to the unique needs of the children/ individuals with vision problems. These guidance and counseling services help them in appropriate educational placement in schools as well as to proceed with suitable vision training programmes.