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Teaching Strategies for Students with a Visual Impairment


This information is available to download in a word document - Strategies to help students with a Visual Impairment.

Assistance from academic staff is vital for students with vision impairment to participate fully in class activities. Students may confront limitations, but with planning and adaptive equipment their difficulties can be minimised.

Some strategies will be more useful than others, depending on the degree of vision impairment. Adaptive equipment and support staff provided by the Disability Services can also help student’s access to study. Please contact Disability Services for further information.

Strategies:

Please feel free to contact our service for further information.


Inclusive Teaching Practices

Before the start of the semester:

  • Provide reading lists or course outlines of all important or recurring information in advance to allow time for enlarging, taping or brailing to be made.
  • Whenever possible, provide information on disk. It can then be easily read using talking computer software.
  • Assist the disability liaison staff in defining the student's needs in your class. In particular, laboratory classes and field trips need extra forethought and planning with the disability liaison staff.
  • Notify the student and Disability Services of any class time or room changes.


Teaching Aids

  • Read out information written on the board or shown on overheads.
  • Assist the student and support staff by providing information in enlarged copies of the required size and allow enough time to view the materials.
  • Explain clearly any diagrams, tables or graphs.
  • If you are planning to use a video tell the student beforehand and discuss alternative ways to approach information that the students may miss.


During the class

  • Be aware that the student may miss facial expressions, hand gestures and visual cues.
  • Identify yourself by name, in case the person does not recognise your voice.
  • Use the student's name when referring to them in class.
  • Indicate verbally when you are entering or leaving the person's presence.
  • Ask if assistance is required rather than assuming it is.
  • Allow students to organise their own seating.
  • Doors should be kept closed or open, not partly open.
  • Keep corridors clear of objects.
  • Please bear in mind that glare can be a big problem and student may see better on some days than others.
  • Allow student to become familiar with the room layout and avoid moving objects from their usual places without letting the person know.
  • The student's notes may be taken by the use of support staff, tape recorders, laptop computers with speech or large-print output, or computerised braillers.


Guide dogs

According to The Dog Amendments Act, 1907, guide dogs must not be refused entry to buildings and classrooms. If a guide dog is used, it will be highly disciplined and require little space. It is best to refrain from activities that may distract the dog from its work.


Assessments

Alternative assessments can be arranged to accommodate the student’s individual circumstances. These may include:

  • Flexible assignment deadlines.
  • Open-book exams pose a major problem, so discuss these with the student and disability liaison staff.
  • Scribes, extra time or adaptive equipment may be used in exams.