University of Edinburgh

Functional Assessment of Vision

Presented on 17 January 2013

Functional Vision Assessment Report Writing

Janis Sugden, SSC Coordinator

FVA Report - What should it Include?

Getting it right for every child

Getting it right for every child is a national programme that aims to improve outcomes for all children and young people. In particular, it supports the Government's aspiration that:

  • our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed;
  • our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens;
  • we have improved life chances for children, young people and families at risk.


The overarching concept of Getting it right for every child is a common, coordinated approach across all agencies that supports the delivery of appropriate, proportionate and timely help to all children and young people as they need it. The national programme aims for an improved focus on meeting the needs of children and young people leading to better outcomes for them; effective collaboration among agencies leading to a more integrated approach to the way the needs of children and families are met; the removal of institutional, cultural and procedural barriers to joint working; and access to the services and support needed.

Inter-agency co-operation

Those with additional support needs comprise a broad group of children and young people whose needs require to be identified, understood and addressed to ensure that they benefit from education. Education authorities need to play their part in ensuring that there is effective communication, collaboration and integrated assessment, planning, action and review when other agencies are involved.

Assessment, planning, action and review

  • Local authorities and other agencies use a wide range of approaches to support assessment and intervention and to promote inter-agency working.
  • The Act does not prescribe any particular model of assessment or support.


  • Assessment is seen as an ongoing process of gathering, structuring and making sense of information about a child or young person, and his/her circumstances.
  • The purpose of assessment is to help identify the actions required to maximise development and learning.
  • Assessment is a process supported by professionals and parents. It identifies and builds on strengths, whilst taking account of needs and risks.
  • The assessment process also assumes the negotiated sharing of information by relevant persons and agencies where the law, best practice and policy allow or require it.

FVA Report

  • Purpose of the assessment report
  • Report components
  • Collaborative and comprehensive method of writing reports and recommendations
  • How to use the assessment report to establish educational priorities
    Collaborative Assessment (2003)Page 298

Purpose of the report

In addition to good practice in involving children and young people in decision making about their school education, under the Act an education authority must seek, and take account of the views of children and young people (unless the child or young person is not able to provide a view then the views of the parents are sought) when they are:

  • establishing whether a co-ordinated support plan is required;
  • preparing a co-ordinated support plan;
  • reviewing whether the child or young person still requires a co-ordinated support plan.

Good practice in communicating with parents

Professionals should:

  • acknowledge and draw on parental knowledge and expertise in relation to their child;
  • consider the child's strengths as well as areas of additional need;
  • recognise the personal and emotional investment of parents and be aware of their feelings;
  • ensure that parents understand procedures, are aware of how to access support and are given documents to be discussed well in advance of meetings;
  • respect the validity of differing perspectives and seek constructive ways of reconciling different viewpoints;
  • cater for the differing needs parents may have, such as those arising from a disability, or communication and linguistic barriers.

Information should be:

  • clear and understandable and avoid jargon;
  • provided easily in accessible formats;
  • readily available and provided automatically without a charge and without a fuss.

Identifying the way forward works well when:

  • all views are taken on board - including those of the child or young person;
  • people are interested in learning from each other;
  • people show an interest in general family priorities and take them on board;
  • services are identified in agreement with the family and are responsive to individual needs.

Accountability and involvement

  • who is responsible for what is clearly defined and understood;
  • parents concerns are responded to quickly;
  • decisions are open to scrutiny;
  • parents have a clear point of contact who can answer questions, make decisions and ensure that agreed actions are taken;
  • people do what they agreed within the timescale committed to - if a decision is likely to take time, parents are told and given some idea of when a decision is likely.

Report by Teacher of the Visually impaired:

  • Name D.O.B.
  • Address & details
  • School/Placement
  • Stage
  • Address & details of key person
  • Name of referrer and reason for referral.

FVA Report

  • Details and dates of assessments
  • Visual Acuity: with/without correction
  • Distance Vision, assessment used, Right eye, left eye and Both eyes.
  • Near Vision.
  • Print Size: Assessment; Print/symbol size that allows the student to sustain reading or viewing for a certain period of time from a specific distance.
  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Colour Vision
  • Field Loss: based on observations functional use of peripheral and central vision. Observation of head tilt, abnormal positioning etc.
  • Include if applicable:- Use of vision in a variety of lighting situations; eg indoors , outdoors, different times of day etc.
  • Light sensitivity preferred lighting for reading, reaction to glare, reaction to changes of light; eg going indoors from playground.
  • Use of printed materials: Identification of 'crowded symbols', tracking ability; reading print on a line.
  • Figure/ground discrimination.
  • Fluctuation in vision.
  • Recommendations: Examples of print size, layout and adaptations of materials and resources. (print, Braille, other tactile auditory or combination).
  • Usefulness of nonoptical low vision aids (video magnifiers, computer modifications etc.)
  • Mobility NB: any concerns regarding the child's ability to move around safely and confidently should be referred to a mobility specialist for further assessment.
  • Speech & language, OT , physio etc.
  • Copies to whole team.
  • Take time to discuss findings with the pupil/child.


The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Acts 2004 & 2009: Consultation on Changes to the Secondary Legislation and Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice (website accessed 15 January 13:02)

Collaborative Assessment Working with students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, Including those with additional difficulties. Stephen A. Goodman and Stuart H. Wittenstein, Editors. (2003) AFB

Functional Vision: A practitioner's Guide to Evaluation and Intervention. Amanda Hall Lueck Editor 2004 AFB