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Parent and/or Caregiver Interview(s)

Description and Rationale

The parent/caregiver interview is an essential part of the assessment. It includes the discussion of: visual impairment, additional disabilities, areas of the ECC, prescription of eyeglasses/optical devices, pertinent medical information and current medications, visual strengths, preferences, and needs. For school age children the interview should also include an update on educational progress.  

IDEA 2004 requires that in both the initial evaluation and as part of the re-evaluation (every three years) that parent input and information must be collected as part of the evaluation. Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including parent input, about the child's physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior; and ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered (300.305,(1), i (c) i, ii). The parent interview is intended to collect critical information from parents on the visual/tactual/auditory strengths and needs of their child. The purpose of this interview is to gather information that will assist the teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) in needed areas of assessment that will contribute to the necessary accommodations or access skills required for the child to be successful in the educational setting (child care, pre-school, K-12th grade). An understanding of the impact of medication on current functioning is essential. In addition, it is important to understand the routines and expectations of each household for younger children. Pay attention to diverse expectations and display cultural competency.

Birth-3 Years

Routine-Based Interview addresses:

  • Type of visual impairment
  • Onset of visual impairment
  • Any additional disabilities
  • ECC area needs/strengths including pre-literacy and listening
  • Medical/medication information
  • Visual skills observed and needed for daily routine(s)

3-5 Years

Interview addresses:

  • Type of visual impairment
  • Onset of visual impairment
  • Any additional disabilities
  • ECC area needs/strengths
  • Medical/medication information
  • Educational strengths/needs, including literacy, numeracy, and listening skills
  • Visual skills

5-22 Years

Interview addresses:

  • Type of visual impairment
  • Onset of visual impairment
  • Any additional disabilities
  • ECC area needs/strengths
  • Medical/medication information
  • Educational strengths/needs, including literacy, numeracy, and listening skills
  • Visual skills needed for home & community
  • Post-secondary plans (14 years and older)

Multiple Disabilities/Deafblind

Routine-based Interview addresses:

  • Type of visual impairment
  • Onset of visual impairment
  • Any additional disabilities
  • ECC area needs/strengths
  • Medical/medication information
  • Educational strengths/needs, including literacy, numeracy, and listening skills
  • Visual skills needed for routines in home & community
  • Post-secondary plans (14 years and older)

Tips:

Be aware of cultural diversity and use family-centered approaches for collecting this information. Some families may feel more comfortable completing a written interview alone or completing and discussing with the teacher over the phone or in person.

Be sensitive to parents'/caregivers' understanding and acceptance of their children's visual impairments. Recognize this process may not be a priority for parents/caregivers of children who are medically fragile. For older students, collect information on expectations at home and in the community.

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