Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was two-fold: (a) to determine the educational needs of the 55 visually impaired general education (academic) students in Grades 1-12 enrolled in local educational agencies in North Dakota; and (b) to establish which programs or services the North Dakota School for the Blind should offer to visually impaired children, their parents, and educators. The target populations surveyed were educators of visually impaired students, parents, and visually impaired children. A two-part survey instrument, developed by Michigan's Department of Education, was modified and used to gather information for this study.

Results of the study indicated that local educational agencies are able to provide adequate services in basic academics, social and interpersonal relations, personal management, and productivity. Local educational agencies are not as able to provide adequate services in maximizing use of sensory ability, accessing information in print, and orientation and mobility.

Parents and their visually impaired children viewed all of the current and proposed programs or services as necessary. Parents and their visually impaired children wanted visually impaired children to have access to consultation/outreach services as well as direct consultation/teaching services. They wanted quality support available, if not locally, then at the North Dakota School for the Blind. Educators wanted programs or services which would enhance their abilities to provide better instruction to visually impaired children in the local educational agencies with consultation/outreach services provided by the North Dakota School for the Blind.

The most needed programs or services indicated by educators and parents and their visually impaired children included evaluation and training in technology, seminars for parents on how to enhance their child's independence, seminars for parents on understanding their child's affective development, evaluation of vocational aptitude and readiness, consultation/outreach service, and summer school.

The study resulted in recommendations made to three audiences: decision-makers at the North Dakota School for the Blind and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, decision-makers in the local educational agencies, the parents of visually impaired children, and those persons conducting future needs assessments.