Exceptional & Special Needs
Blind & Visually Impaired
We provide excellent programming for students with exceptional and special needs. Every student has unique needs, so we work with students, parents and community organizations to personalize the support for each child.
Calgary Board of Education provides an array of programming options for students who are blind or visually impaired or deafblind. A specialized team of teachers and support staff work closely with schools, students and their families to assist with curriculum and program planning and delivery, provision of adaptive materials, inclusive technology, and orientation and mobility.
Eligibility and Identification
A student with a visual impairment is formally identified by means of an ophthalmology report and/or functional vision assessment by a qualified specialist in the field of vision.
Students with a visual impairment would need to meet the following criteria:
Mild-Moderate Visual Impairment/Disability:
- Is designated as having limited vision with a visual acuity of less than 20/70 (6/21 metric) in the better eye after correction, and/or a reduced field of vision.
Severe Visual Impairment/Disability:
- Has a visual acuity ranging from less than 6/60 (20/200) in the better eye after correction, to having no usable vision or a field of vision reduced to an angle of 20 degrees.
The student receives individualized support to address these needs. Some, but not all, of these learner needs may be addressed in the student’s Individual Program Plan (IPP).
The disability-specific skills, also known as the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is comprised of the skills that individuals who are blind or visually impaired will need to master in order to have success in the educational environment and in the world beyond. For students who are sighted, many of these skills are learned incidentally though the use of their vision, however this is often not the case for students who are visually impaired. This situation therefore presents a need for the deliberate and systematic instruction of these particular skills. This curriculum is to be taught in addition to the regular program of studies and includes nine different content areas.
- Compensatory or functional academic skills
- Orientation and mobility skills
- Social interactions skills
- Self-determination skills
- Independent living skills
- Recreation and leisure skills
- Career and education skills
- Inclusive/Assistive technology skills
- Sensory Efficiency Skills
Short term programs are offered to students with visual impairments throughout the school year and can run in length from 1 day to 5 days offered through the Vision Resource Centre – Calgary. Each short term program has detailed curriculum designed to provide support in the development of various components of disability-specific skills (Expanded Core Curriculum) that support their core instructional program and inclusion in their community school program.