Functional Vision Assessment
We spoke about interviews. Again, some people think "why bother with that?" If you do an interview properly it's a very skilled task. I was privileged when I worked as a Peri that we had a Community Paediatrician who was before her time really. She worked with us before multi-agency teams were popular. I used to see her talking to parents and talking to teachers and it looked easy. But that was because she was good at it. She just seemed to have a knack for saying the right thing at the right time. So we should take the opportunity to talk to the parents, to talk to the class teacher who's with the child most of the time, who can have the most influence on how the child is working. You're only seeing them as a peripatetic teacher or as a teacher of the visually impaired for snapshots throughout their school time. You're not the person that's spending the most time with them. It's the parent or nursery nurse or class teacher that's going to be spending the bulk of the time with the children. So we want to find out about the child and their visual impairment. What have they noticed about them? Have there been any changes in their visual functioning over time? Don't just go head first into this. I've said it is a very skilled task. If you watch a good interviewer they don't go right in and immediately highlinght any visual deficits. But they start with open-ended questions about visual functioning. The interviewer should be aware that the interviews will bring up issues with strong emotional overtones, especially if you're talking to parents of a young child. They're so emotionally involved and even when they're older you're maybe asking them to go over the same thing over and over again, and you should be aware that they're so emotionally involved they sometimes can't think straight and they can't hear what other people are saying. You want your child to be perfect. You hear parents who say the very fact their child is prescribed glasses is a big thing.To hear that their child is not able to use their vision, and never will be able to use their vision as we can usually use it, then that is devastating to some parents. They start blaming themselves, they start blaming their partner, you know, they look for a reason. So a skilled interviewer will recognise that this is happening and they'll attempt to balance the issues with ones that emphasise the qualities and the good things that the child is able to do. Activities that the family value. So they've found out a wee bit about the family beforehand, and they can quickly switch to bring the parent back on board. They'll talk about favourite activities that the child enjoys and then they can return to the vision later on in the interview.