Services for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Vision Screening Program

The vision screening program is coordinated by the school divisions with support (training, equipment loans, and repairs and data collection) from the Inclusion Support Branch. It is intended to identify, as early as possible, school age students who may have undetected vision difficulties. The program does not take the place of a professional eye examination conducted by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. Its purpose is to screen school age children for possible visual difficulties and to recommend referral to a professional eye care practitioner if vision difficulties are suspected.

Note to parents: As part of Medicare in Manitoba, the Provincial Government covers basic optometric eye exams for children aged 0-18 years and seniors aged 65 years and older every two-year calendar block, starting with odd years.

Training Workshops

To prepare school staff and their assistants or volunteers to conduct a vision screening, the Inclusion Support Branch provides workshops on the procedures involved. Instruction is given in the use of screening equipment, data gathering methods and the referral process. There is no charge for the training workshop which can be scheduled by contacting the general office.

Equipment Loans

School divisions may obtain additional loaner sets of vision screening equipment to compliment their own sets of equipment by contacting Alternate Format Services. Depending on availability, school divisions may borrow equipment kits for a loan period of up to 6 weeks. These loaner sets should be reserved well in advance and must be returned promptly to ensure that they are available to other school divisions on the dates that they have booked.

Equipment Repairs

School divisions can forward their vision screening equipment kits at any time to Alternate Format Services for annual inspection and refurbishment, free of charge. Yearly maintenance ensures that all items are kept in good working order and that necessary repairs can be conducted. If any of the major pieces of equipment require replacement, the school division will be contacted. Equipment forwarded to AFS during peak production period (June 1 - October 15) will require a minimum of approximately 6 weeks turnaround time. Whenever possible, it is preferable to complete these tasks in the winter or very early spring.

Data Collection (Statistics)

School divisions are requested to report the results of their annual vision screening to the Inclusion Support Branch. Collection of these statistics provides for the monitoring of program delivery and effectiveness.
Results can be mailed to:

Blind/Visually Impaired Services Unit
204-1181 Portage Avenue
Winnnipeg, MB R3G 0T3

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