Visual Impairments (VI)

Definition and Classification

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Visual Impairments are

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defined as an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s

educational performance. (IDEA, 2004) Visual impairments include both partial sight and



When it comes to visual impairment characteristics there are many. Some characteristics

are motor and developmental delays. Another characteristic would be the inability to mimic cues

and behaviors of peers due to difficulty with visibility. These students may have no desire to

explore objects and or environments.


There are many causes that can lead to vision impairment. Common causes that lead to

vision impairment are eye injury, infections, underlying medical conditions, or inherited

conditions. Some conditions that can cause visual impairments are glaucoma, cataract, diabetic

retinopathy, cancer of the eyes, and amblyopia.


According to the U.S. Department of Education, less than 1 percent of all students

classified as special education represent Visual Impairments. represents less than 1.0 percent of

all students having a classification in special education. Total number of students with visual

impairments are not represented by this since visual impairment students also may have other