Educational Options for Blind and Visually Impaired Kids| Blog | IBVI (2024)

Educational Options for Blind and Visually Impaired Kids| Blog | IBVI (1)

Related Categories

If you’re a parent, you may be wondering if your blind or visually impaired child should attend a traditional school or receive schooling through an alternative method. This is a big decision to make, and there’sno right or wrong choice. Traditionally, blind and visually impaired students have three educational options: traditional K-12 schools, residential schools for the blind, and homeschooling or online courses.

Traditional K-12 Schools

According to the NFB, nowadaysthe vast majorityof blind and visually impaired children are educated at neighborhood schools. Depending on the size of your city and school district, your child may have any combination of the following options when attending a traditional grade school, middle school or high school:

  • Traditional classroom setting:Fromassistive computer programsand smartphone apps to groundbreaking accessibility tools likeeSight,SpiderSenseandOrCam, today’s technology makes a traditional classroom environment more accessible to blind and visually impaired students.
  • TVIs / Itinerant Teachers:Sometimes referred to asitinerant teachers, teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVIs) travel to the students’ local schools to provide instruction – typically in supplement to a traditional classroom setting.
  • Resource room:In some districts, blind or visually impaired students who opt to attend mainstream classes will haveaccess to a resource roomfor a portion of their day. There, students will be offered anExpanded Core Curriculumfeaturing specialized lessons on things like assistive technology or Braille.
  • Specialized classroom:In large cities, some schools offer specialized classrooms dedicated solely to blind students

Educational Options for Blind and Visually Impaired Kids| Blog | IBVI (2)

Schools for the Blind

Choosing whether or not to send your child to a school for the blind can be a big decision, particularly since most operate as boarding schools. In addition to traditional academics, these residential schools focus heavily on specialized training in things likeBraille literacyand adaptive skills.

Such schools can be a great option for families who live in rural areas or other districts where resources for blind and visually impaired students are limited. Additionally, as Chicago Lighthousepoints out, residential schools for the blind are popular options for students with other disabilities in addition to visual impairment, as it enables them to receive more personalized, one-on-one attention.

Homeschooling / Online Courses

Some parents make the decision tohomeschool their blind child, or allow their blind teenager to take online courses. While some parents may choose distance education due to lack of resources at their local school, others may do so because their child performs better with personalized instruction.

There are awide variety of resourcesavailable for those who wish to homeschool their blind or visually impaired child. One of the most popular resources isHadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Hadley courses are tuition-free for people who are blind or visually impaired, and students can study at their own pace while receiving personalized, one-on-one guidance from their instructor.

Which option is right for your blind or visually impaired child?

When making your decision, you’ll want to consider the following questions:

  • What is your child’s comfort level with each option, and overall preference?
  • Does your child have a high level of social confidence, or would they do best in a situation that provides them with more encouragement?
  • What amount of training will your child receive in blindness-related skills like Braille and accessible technology?
  • Which option will provide the best opportunity for your child to excel academically?

While choosing a school environment for your blind or visually impaired child is big decision, it’s important to remember that there’s no right or wrong answer. If you’re looking for further advice, the American Foundation for the Blind’sFamilyConnect websiteis a wonderful resource for all things related to parenting a blind or visually impaired child.

Join our email list

Subscribe to get the latest IBVI news, tutorials and events happening in the community.

Educational Options for Blind and Visually Impaired Kids| Blog | IBVI (2024)


What are some of the educational needs for children with visual impairments? ›

One key accommodation that is absolutely essential is access to textbooks and instructional materials in the appropriate media and at the same time as their sighted peers. For students who are blind this may mean braille and/or recorded media.

What are the educational placement alternatives for students who are blind or visually impaired? ›

You can opt for options like a resource room or itinerant teaching. Additionally, consider utilizing short-term programs at your state school for the blind. These programs introduce your child to peers with blindness or low vision. Summer and weekend programs, in particular, offer opportunities to network with peers.

How do you teach blind and visually impaired students? ›

Visual Impairment

Permit lecture notes to be taped and/or provide enlarged copies of lecture notes where appropriate. Make available large print copies of classroom materials by enlarging them on a photocopier. Convey in spoken words whatever you write on the chalkboard. Read aloud subtitles when using media resources.

What are the learning methods for blind children? ›

Students may use readers, Braille books, tape-recorders and computer equipment that give them access to required course material. In addition, some students may be able to use large print books, electronic visual aids or other magnifying devices for readings, and/or a large print typewriter for writing papers.

What is the best curriculum for blind students? ›

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is an essential curriculum that is considered foundational in preparing students who are blind or visually impaired for success as adults. The ECC has evolved through decades of instruction by leading educators and was formalized by Dr. Philip Hatlen in 1996.

What is the most common educational placement for students with disabilities? ›

General education classrooms are the most common placement for kids with learning disabilities. For example, a student with dyslexia may spend most of the day in a general education classroom.

Which teaching style is best for students with visual impairment? ›

Specifying the order of reading within a text is helpful, as it can take many weeks to have a book reproduced into audio or Braille. For students with vision impairment your teaching style will need to be 'verbal'. Think about how to communicate information to students who cannot see what you are doing.

What are the learning styles of visually impaired students? ›

For visually impaired individuals, tactile learning becomes a crucial modality to gather information and understand the world around them. On the other hand, individuals without visual impairments can benefit from a combination of motion and tactile learning.

How do you set up a classroom for visually impaired students? ›

Students with impaired vision struggle with light sensitivity. Seating them away from windows and glaring lights will help them to see the board and increase concentration. Another adaptation is to provide ample space around the classroom. Leave extra space between desks, tables, cabinets and other classroom objects.

What is the education for the visually impaired? ›

Every visually impaired child irrespective of whether he/she is studying in special school or IE program must have access to a braille kit. A Braille kit contains basic educational devices needed by visually impaired students for learning braille, arithmetic, geometry, etc.

What is the expanded core curriculum for students with visual impairments? ›

The ECC is a nine-area curriculum to help bridge the gap between a standard school curriculum and what an individual who is blind or visually impaired would miss due to lack of visual access—to instruction, the environment, activities, social interactions, and incidental learning.

What are the educational adaptation for visually impaired children? ›

Appropriate adaptations for students with visual impairments include large print, copies of notes, audio recordings, and changes in classroom lighting.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dong Thiel

Last Updated:

Views: 5674

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dong Thiel

Birthday: 2001-07-14

Address: 2865 Kasha Unions, West Corrinne, AK 05708-1071

Phone: +3512198379449

Job: Design Planner

Hobby: Graffiti, Foreign language learning, Gambling, Metalworking, Rowing, Sculling, Sewing

Introduction: My name is Dong Thiel, I am a brainy, happy, tasty, lively, splendid, talented, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.