Eligibility for Special Education under designation of Visual Impairment


The MDE Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) define eligibility for special education services within thirteen (13) categories of disability. You can view the full MARSE document on MDE’s webpage.

R 340.1702 Student with a disability defined.
Rule 2. “Student with a disability” means a person who is determined by an individualized education program team or a hearing officer to have 1 or more of the impairments specified in this part that necessitates special education or related services, or both, who is not more than 25 years of age as of September 1 of the school year of enrollment, who has not completed a normal course of study, and who has not graduated from high school. A student who reaches the age of 26 years after September 1 is a “student with a disability” and entitled to continue a special education program or service until the end of that school year.

R 340.1708 Visual Impairment explained; determination.
Rule 8. (1) A visual impairment shall be determined through the manifestation of both of the following:

(a) A visual impairment which, even with correction, interferes with development or which adversely affects educational performance. Visual impairment includes both partial sight and blindness.
(b) One or more of the following:
(i) A central visual acuity for near or far point vision of 20/70 or less in the better eye after routine refractive correction.
(ii) A peripheral field of vision restricted to not more than 20 degrees.
(iii) A diagnosed progressively deteriorating eye condition.

(2) A determination of impairment shall be based upon a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary evaluation team, which shall include an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

(3) If a student cannot be tested accurately for acuity, then functional visual assessments conducted by a teacher certified in visual impairment may be used in addition to the medical evaluation for determination of impairment.

(4) For students with visual impairment who have a visual acuity of 20/200 or less after routine refractive correction, or who have a peripheral field of vision restricted to not more than 20 degrees, an evaluation by an orientation and mobility specialist shall be conducted. The orientation and mobility specialist shall also include in the report a set of recommended procedures to be used by a mobility specialist or a teacher of students with visual impairment in conducting orientation and mobility training activities.

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