Functional Vision Assessment

While clinical assessment by the ophthalmologists and the low vision clinic are crucial, they are often done in a controlled environment that is different from the usual natural setting your child is accustomed to and performs in. Hence, relying solely on medical and clinical assessment is not enough when trying to understand how your child sees (visual functioning).

In addition, individuals with the same visual condition and acuity level may use their vision quite differently from one another. At the same time, a person’s vision may also fluctuate depending on environmental factors, like the level of lighting and contrast, and the task at hand.

A Functional Vision Assessment (FVA) assesses what a person is able or unable to see in normal daily situations. It should reflect your child’s typical use of vision during a series of ordinary activities, as well as your child’s potential for developing new visual functions. It is carried out through interviews and observations of the person in his / her usual environment (at home, at school, in the classroom, etc), and evaluates the various modifications and accommodations that can best help the child perform.

The Assessment

The FVA is carried out through interviews and observations of the person in his or her natural or usual environment (at home, at school, the the community, etc). Sometimes, where observations or assessment in a specific environment is difficult to obtain, it would then be necessary to assess the child in a specialised setting where some environmental features can be controlled.

The Assessment can take up to several hours over a few days to complete, depending on the ability and fatigue level of the child. Under no circumstances will your child be subjected to assessment if he or she is experiencing either visual or physical fatigue.

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The Report

At the end of the Assessment, a partial or full report (as requested by the family) will be presented. The report will describe the functional vision of the child, including his or her colour and contrast sensitivity. Recommendations will be made on how we can enhance the visual functioning of the child, and what other steps need to be taken to help the child.

The FVA report forms the basis for all other educational assessment for children with visual impairments – the assistive technology assessment, the learning media assessment, as well as the orientation and mobility assessment.

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