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Who We Are

A student with visual impairment is one whose visual acuity is not sufficient for the student to participate with ease in everyday activities. The impairment interferes with optimal learning and achievement and can result in a substantial educational disadvantage unless adaptations are made in the methods of presenting learning opportunities, the nature of the materials used and/or the learning environment. It is not intended to include students described as having visual perceptual difficulties unless they also have a vision loss. (SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES: A MANUAL OF POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES, 2016 p.74).

SD8 provides support to students who have a diagnosed visual impairment through services from a Teacher of the Visually Impaired & Orientation and Mobility Specialist. 

What We Do

The Teacher of Students with Visually Impairments (TSVI) is trained in working with students who are blind, Deafblind or who have low vision along with students who have a visual impairment with additional disabilities. The TSVI is an important member of the student’s educational team and provides direct and indirect services in many different settings including the school and community. 

Orientation and mobility (O&M) services provide students with visual impairment with the skills necessary to travel safely and efficiently in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments with as much independence as possible. Students work directly with their O&M specialist and training could take place at different times of the day, including afterschool and sometimes during evenings, depending on the student's vision and travel needs. O&M services are also provided by the district Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments.

Referral Criteria

Possible Reasons for Referral:

  • Documented observations of vision difficulties at school: holds materials too close or too far; head tilt, excessive blinking, squinting; covers eye with hand or rubs eyes; eyes tear excessively; frequently bumps into or drops things; headaches, nausea, double vision and
  • A trial of simple classroom adaptations such as preferential seating and access to larger print or adapted materials and
  • Current documentation from the student’s eye-care specialist is required to be submitted with a referral to the district TVI. 

Eligibility for Services from the Teacher of the Visually Impaired:

A documented report from an ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthoptist or the Visually Impaired Program at the BC Children’s Hospital that states one of the following:

  • Visual acuity of 6/21 (20/70) or less in the better eye after correction; OR
  • Visual field of 20 degrees or less; OR
  • Any progressive eye disease with a prognosis of becoming one of the above within a few years; OR
  • A visual problem or related visual stamina that is not correctable that results in the student functioning as if his/ her visual acuity is limited to 6/21 (20/70) or less


Vision Services Brochure

Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired

Children's Low Vision Project of BC