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Visual impairment

* Research by the RNIB in 2003 estimated that as many as 24,000 British children under 16 are blind or partially sighted

* There have been cases of children being diagnosed as having special educational needs, when all they needed was a pair of glasses

* Until 2003, government guidelines recommended pre-school vision screening for all children at three or four, with further tests at five, seven and 11. Now schools are only expected to test at the primary entry stage

* Around half of all children with visual impairments attend mainstream schools and about a third go to special schools. Half of all visually impaired children have another physical or learning difficulty

* The American Foundation for Vision Awareness says that around 85 per cent of classroom learning happens visually

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