University of Edinburgh

Functional Vision Assessment

Factors that can affect how well a person can see


I've already mentioned this a wee bit. For me, if I were doing a functional vision assessment, especially with a young child, I would always have someone there who knows the child well. A family member, or if I was in a nursery the child's key worker. The classroom assistant, the learning support teacher; somebody that knows the child really well. Because the evaluation is likely to be more valuable and it's going to give me much more useful information if they are included throughout the process. They know the child; they know them very well. And also, as you become more skilled at doing the functional vision assessment, you can carry it out much more easily and quickly and fluently. You quickly pick up what a child is doing, and I always laugh about a wee one that I worked with. The Kay Picture Test (I think you're going to talk about that in detail). There's a symbol that looks like a mug on the Kay Picture Test. Most children will say "it's a mug" or a cup or a drink or something like that. This wee boy "pint of beer"; and every time he would say "pint of beer". When we carried the assessment out and he said "pint of beer" then that's what I accepted. I mean he could see it. The clock symbol; it does look a bit like a dartboard and he said "dartboard". So you can tell where he spent most of his time with his dad. I don't care what they're doing; I'm looking at what they can see. And he could consistently refer to it as dartboard and pint of beer so you take that. For other children that you're working with; if they don't have good speech; if they're sigining. Now they might be very good at signing and use formal signing. My signing is not very good; I have a wee bit of Makaton, a wee tiny bit of BSL but not enough to understand and to work with a child. So if they have a classroom assistant or a parent with them and there's a picture of a fish and they're signing "fish" and not saying it; they don't need to say anything. I know they've seen it. But you need to be skilled to be able to observe that that's what they've done. So it's good if you have someone who really knows the child. Or they might be absolutely terrified of a fish or something like that; so you don't show them a picture of a fish. So it's good to have them there. Also the level and extent of motor development that the wee one has. Is it difficult for them to sit up and look at an assessment? Can they stand or if they're standing are they going to put all their concentration into standing and holding their body up straight that they can't focus? Can they see better if they're lying down? And these are all of the things that we need to take into account working with them.

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