Tips for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired (2024)

  • Home
  • Requesting Services
  • Documentation Guidelines
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Blind/Low Vision
    • Communication Disorders
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Learning Disorders
    • Mental Health
    • Physical/Systemic/Mobility
  • Policies
    • Confidentiality/Release of Information
    • Requesting Your Records
    • Priority Registration
    • Grievance Procedures
    • Student Code of Conduct
    • Service Animals
    • Emotional Support Animals
    • Transitory/Minor Medical Conditions
    • Title IX and Pregnancy Accommodations
    • UTSA Testing Services
    • UTSA Housing Accommodations
    • Emergency Preparedness
  • Services
    • Disability Counseling and Liaison Activities
    • Accommodation Notification
    • Program Practic*ms, Internships and/or Field Placements
    • Graduate Comprehensive Exam
    • Study Abroad
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services
    • Test Accommodations in SDS (Adaptive Test Center)
    • Alternative Formats
    • Attendance and Disability
    • Volunteer Note Takers
    • Accessible Furniture
    • Adaptive Technology
    • Veterans
    • Career Opportunities
  • Faculty/Staff
    • Faculty/Staff Resource Guide
    • Accommodation Guideline Toolbox
    • Disability Related Publication Statements
  • Students
    • Student Resources
    • Transition to College
    • Research Opportunities
  • Digital Learning
    • FAQ's for Students
    • FAQ's for Instructors
  • Get Involved
  • Home
  • Requesting Services
  • Documentation Guidelines
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Blind/Low Vision
    • Communication Disorders
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Learning Disorders
    • Mental Health
    • Physical/Systemic/Mobility
  • Policies
    • Confidentiality/Release of Information
    • Requesting Your Records
    • Priority Registration
    • Grievance Procedures
    • Student Code of Conduct
    • Service Animals
    • Emotional Support Animals
    • Transitory/Minor Medical Conditions
    • Title IX and Pregnancy Accommodations
    • UTSA Testing Services
    • UTSA Housing Accommodations
    • Emergency Preparedness
  • Services
    • Disability Counseling and Liaison Activities
    • Accommodation Notification
    • Program Practic*ms, Internships and/or Field Placements
    • Graduate Comprehensive Exam
    • Study Abroad
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services
    • Test Accommodations in SDS (Adaptive Test Center)
    • Alternative Formats
    • Attendance and Disability
    • Volunteer Note Takers
    • Accessible Furniture
    • Adaptive Technology
    • Veterans
    • Career Opportunities
  • Faculty/Staff Resources
    • Accommodation Guideline Toolbox
    • Disability Related Publication Statements
  • Students
    • Transition to College
    • Research Opportunities
  • Digital Learning
    • FAQ's for Students
    • FAQ's for Instructors
  • Get Involved

The basic categories of visual impairments are total and partial blindness. Only ten percent of the visually impaired population may be able to discern light, colors, or shapes to one degree or another. Some may be able to see a whole area but have difficulty with precise visual functions. Some students have diseases that cause their visual acuity to fluctuate. Visually impaired persons are sometimes also mobility impaired because of their visual disabilities.

The major challenge facing visually impaired and partially sighted students in colleges and universities is the volume of printed materials. These include textbooks, syllabi, outlines, class schedules, and tests. Unless recently disabled, students with visual impairments have probably developed their own personal method of dealing with the volume of visual materials by the time they reach college. 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. They may also be able to take their own notes in class by printing with a felt pen. Students may use a slab and stylus which enables them to record notes in Braille. Often students may need the assistance of a fellow student's notes to be copied and enlarged. Many students may prefer to record class lectures to alleviate additional time needed to transcribe written notes shared by a fellow student. This is all a matter of preference.

Other common difficulties visually impaired students may experience differ only in degree. Faculty are sometimes confused about the legitimacy of a visual impairment when the student does not use a cane or service animal for mobility assistance. Actually, the large majority of individuals who are visually impaired do not require these types of support. For the majority, other signs are more apparent. The use of adaptive methods when scrutinizing printed materials and larger-than-normal handwriting may give the impression of childlike or immature responses or that the student is attempting to "stretch" the quality of the printed assignment. In actuality, the visually impaired student is only trying to see what he or she has written. These students are usually unable to adequately utilize standard printed material like textbooks, classroom handouts, references, and tests. This is also true for information written on the chalkboard, seen on the overhead projector, or on other audiovisual formats.

a. Suggestions for teaching students who are blind or visually impaired

  • Some students may have their textbook converted by SDS into electronic text or Braille. Because these types of conversions are time and staff intensive, a minimum four to eight weeks is required for each text (depending on the type of text and conversion used). It is very important that the faculty select their required texts early in the previous academic semester and make that information available. Student Disability Services works with each student to decide which type of conversion is best applied and will assist all qualified students with this process.
  • Visual aids used during lectures should be clearly described. This would include verbalizing what is written on the board.
  • Copies of overhead materials should be made available to the student to be viewed at a later time via a reader or alternate material transfer.
  • Due to the time needed to schedule an appropriate testing arrangement, "pop-quizzes" in class create tremendous difficulty and more often than not preclude involvement by the student who is visually impaired. Alternate arrangements may have to occur by setting up test proctoring services that are available through Student Disability Services. For those students able to benefit from enlarged print, there is a copy machine available in Student Disability Services for enlarging class work.
  • If any room changes occur, be certain the arrangement is made in verbal form. Students who are visually impaired might well miss a notice written on a chalkboard.
  • Preferential seating is important for students who are visually impaired. When visual cues are not available, the student must receive all auditory cues possible. Please arrange seating the first day of class.
  • Give the student plenty of advance notice in the event that research papers are to be assigned as someone may have to aid in the literature search, both in finding and in reading materials.
  • Early in the semester, it is a good idea to orient the student to the room by explaining where things are located and guiding the person around the room.
  • Inform the student when classroom furniture has been rearranged.
  • Keep doors fully open or fully closed.
  • If an individual who is visually impaired seems to need assistance, identify yourself and offer your services.
  • If you are walking with an individual who is visually impaired, let him or her take your arm just above the elbow and walk in a relaxed manner. The person can usually follow the motions of your body. Warn the person when you are approaching a step or other obstacle.
  • When giving directions, use descriptive words such as "straight ahead" or "forward." Be specific in directions and avoid vague terms such as "over there."
  • When interacting with students who are visually impaired, use verbal identification when you arrive or leave an area.
  • Guide/service animals are working animals; it can be hazardous if the guide dog is distracted. Never pet the dog without the owner's knowledge and permission. Normally, the dog is "working" when wearing the harness.
  • Do not hesitate to use words like "see" or "look" when speaking with an individual who is visually impaired. Also, make sure you identify yourself by name, maintain a normal voice volume, speak directly to the person, and maintain eye contact.
Tips for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired (2024)

FAQs

Tips for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired? ›

Read aloud subtitles when using media resources. Assist the student in finding note takers or readers as necessary. Reserve front row seats for students who are visually impaired. Inform students who are blind if you rearrange classroom furniture.

What can educators do to help students who are blind or visually impaired? ›

Think about how to communicate information to students who cannot see what you are doing. Verbalise what is written on the blackboard and on PowerPoints. Talk through any calculations as they are made or procedures as they are carried out. Read any printed information and describe any charts or graphs being used.

What are the learning methods for blind students? ›

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.

How can you help a student who is blind or visually impaired interact with peers? ›

Provide Contextual Information: Help the student understand social situations by providing detailed information about who is involved, what they are doing, and why. This can enhance their understanding of social dynamics and help them navigate interactions more effectively.

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.

Where do I start when teaching my visually impaired student to type? ›

Usually, that position is on the home row, but really any consistent position to start from is fine. To help practice this, I used to tell students to pretend that they had super glue on their fingers when they were at rest and when practicing the home row where fingers don't need to reach and press other keys.

How do you manage visual impairment in the classroom? ›

Alter the physical environment of the classroom.

o Allow the student to move to the place where they can see and/or hear best. o Be aware of the lighting, more or less may be necessary. o Do not teach in front of a window, glare can be a problem. o Re-orient the student whenever physical changes are made.

What is the role of the teacher of students with visual impairments? ›

The TSVI provides instruction in tactual skills in a variety of environments and functional applications, assisting children with visual impairments from infancy to use their fingers and hands to explore, identify, discriminate, and interpret all tangible materials in the environment.

How to teach physical education to visually impaired students? ›

It is helpful to use your student's name before giving instructions.
  1. Use descriptive verbal instruction. ...
  2. Use directional words and landmarks in the playing area to direct a low vision student. ...
  3. Use movement as a mode of learning. ...
  4. Vision plays an important part of maintaining balance. ...
  5. Use additional helpers if needed.

How do you accommodate a blind learner? ›

What are typical accommodations for students with blindness?
  1. Audiotaped, Brailled, or electronically formatted lecture notes, handouts, and texts.
  2. Verbal descriptions of visual aids.
  3. Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials.
  4. Braille lab signs and equipment labels; auditory lab warning signals.
May 24, 2022

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.

What is the 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.

What are the teaching strategies for visual impairment? ›

Visual Impairment

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. Assist the student in finding note takers or readers as necessary.

What are three things you can do to help a child who is blind? ›

10 Tips for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
  • Find out how much usable vision your child has. ...
  • Be sure that your child has been referred for vision services. ...
  • Provide direct, hands-on experience with real objects and materials. ...
  • Engage the child in multisensory experiences that are meaningful.

What are the instructional materials for blind students? ›

Instructional materials include textbooks and related core materials such as workbooks Accessible formats of instructional materials include Braille, large print, audio and digital text.

What is the role of the teacher for the visually impaired? ›

Create recommendations to maximize the learning environment. Determine need for alternative media in the areas of reading and writing such as Braille or large print. Provide direct instruction of alternative media in the areas of reading and writing such as Braille or large print.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated:

Views: 6197

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.