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What is Visual Impariment & Blindness?

Visual impairment and blindness describe “an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance” (IDEA, 2020).

Social 
  • Difficulty with reading due to poor eyesight

  • Many have joining in physical activities due to limited sight

  • May feel excluded because of disability

Physical
  • Sensitivity to light

  • Eyes may tire easily

  • May need assistance with navigation

Strengths
Affective
  • Tentative in a new environment

  • Hesitation to lead group discussion

Academic
  • Difficulty writing and typing without assistive aids depending on level of impairment

  • May be delayed in language acquisition and literacy skills due to impairment

  • May have poor organizational skills depending on level of impairment

Cognitive
  • Issues with cognition due to comorbid diagnoses

  • Good at multitasking

  • Adaptable

  • Resourceful

  • Acute auditory sense

Levels of Severity
  • People with visual impairment can have mild, moderate or severe/profound vision problems.

  • People with profound visual impairment are blind.

 

Incidence

 

  • Approximately 0.1% of K-12 students have a visual impairment.

 

Educational
Implications
  • Most students with visual impairment are taught in a mainstream classroom.

  • Schools for the blind serve a small portion of the visually impaired population.

  • Teachers should be aware of the severity of the vision impairment their student(s) have and prepare to have assistive technology available.

  • Differentiation and a buddy system for navigation should be offered to students with visual impairment

 

Student Questions

Grades K-4:

  •  Did you know I can hear really well?

  • Can I play on the playground?

  • Will someone help me find the bathroom?

 

Grades 5-8:   

  • Will someone help me to and from the bus?

  • Will I be allowed extra time to get to each class?

  • Can someone walk with me to lunch?

  

Grades 9-12:

  • Will someone be reading tests to me?

  • Can I have text-to-speech for all of my notes?

  • Who can I talk to if I’m having difficulty finding my classrooms?

Parent Questions
  • Who do I talk to about getting an Individualized Education Plan for my child?

  • Are the schools, classrooms, and recess areas accessible to my child?

  • Will my child be paired with someone to show them around the school?

  • Should I plan to come along to all field trips?

  • Will my child have extra time to get to and from their classes?

  • Are there extra safety measures taken to insure my child gets to and from the bus safely?

Teacher Questions
  • Where do I get additional training for working with students with a visual impairment?

  • What assistive technology do I have available to help me differentiate instruction for students with a visual impairment impairment?

  • How can I make my classroom accessible to students with visual impairment impairment?

  • What administrative and additional support do I have to help me support my students with a visual impairment?

  • How can I model tolerance and inclusion in my classroom?

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