You are here

Blind and Visually Impaired

Definition in State Rule: Visual Impairment

Visual Impairment means even after correction a child's visual functioning significantly adversely affects his or her educational performance. PI 11.36 (3), Wis. Admin. Code

Incidence and Disproportionality


For the 2020-2021 school year, 461 students (0.1%) of total public school enrollment (829,935 students) were identified as having a visual impairment. The 461 students with a visual impairment made up 0.4% (less than 1%) of all students with IEPs (117,969). In Wisconsin, IEP teams are not required to identify secondary or tertiary impairment areas and thus the number of students identified with having a secondary or tertiary visual impairment is not reflected in this data. To view additional data including district level information, go to the WI DPI public WISEdash portal.


In Wisconsin, like many other states, we see district data demonstrating race-based patterns of identification for some impairment areas compared to others. Although districts rarely demonstrate these patterns in the area of vision impairment, as an equity issue, we strongly encourage all districts to disaggregate their special education data to ensure evaluation practices and procedures are culturally responsive and address bias when conducting and analyzing assessments used to make eligibility decisions. Go to the DPI Culturally Responsive Problem Solving web page for more information.

Visual Impairment Criteria

Visual Impairment Criteria

§300.304 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) outlines two purpose of special education evaluations (i) Whether the child is a child with a disability; and (ii) The content of the child’s IEP, including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum (or for a preschool child, to participate in appropriate activities). The disability category criteria worksheets only assist IEP teams with (i) and are not sufficient in completing an evaluation and developing a student’s IEP. To ensure compliance with implementing a full, individual, and comprehensive evaluation, go to the WI DPI Comprehensive Special Education Evaluation web page.

Worksheets and Guidelines

Other Special Education Resources

Comprehensive Special Education Evaluation (coming soon)

We encourage you to sign up for our email list. Directions on how to sign up can be found on the DPI email lists web page. Scroll down to Special Education and click on “collabsupportlist" or the "WCBVI email list."