Low Vision and Blindness

Resources for Teachers and Parents

Exceptionality Description

Definition

Low Vision: A disability that has some functional sight but an individual's daily functioning is affected. Visual acuity of low vision is 20/70 or poorer and cannot be corrected or improved by regular eyeglasses.

Blindness: A disability that has no functional vision


Characteristics


  • restricted movement within environment
  • limited interactions with environment
  • slow academic development
  • does not understand none verbal cues


A major characteristic that would interfere within the classroom for a student with low vision and blindness would be their ability to be aware of their environment and be able to visually see the content.


Prevalence

Every minute a child somewhere in the world goes blind. The population as whole already has 1.4 million children, ages fourteen and under, affected with blindness and another 12 million children between the ages of five and fifteen that are visually impaired.

Instructional Practices

One of the major characteristics for students with low vision and blindness that interferes with their learning within the classroom is their overall awareness of their environment.


There are four Major Accommodations that can be made within the classroom. They include the following:


  • Make the classroom safe. In order for a student to feel safe within the classroom they need to be aware of things going on. Things such as opening and closing doors fully, pushing chairs in completely under the desks, securing mats or rugs to floor, and teaching students where the problem areas of the classroom are all contribute to making the classroom safe.
  • Consider lighting needs. When teachers consider the lighting within the classroom they can use window shades, reduce glare, and also add additional lighting when needed. This will allow for the best possible situations.
  • Use contrasting colors. By using contrasting colors, students are able to see content more easily. This can be done by using bright paper or dark lettering on light colored backgrounds.
  • Arrange furniture carefully. Eliminating surprise from students with low vision and blindness is key. Eliminating mess, keeping furniture in consistent places, providing easy access to storage areas, and larger desks all contribute to their overall success and manipulation within the classroom.

Home Strategies to Generalize Classroom Supports

1. Lighting: Adjust lighting within the home to be toward what child is trying to see and away from the eyes. For example altering the brightness of the computer screen, etc. may help a child with low vision.


2. Texture and Touch: Differences in floor textures or other tactile clues will help make the child more comfortable walking around without assistance.


3. Organization and Safety: Having an organized environment keeps the element of surprise out of the equation. Keeping doors closed and objects in the same place also allows for a more comfortable, and safer, enviornment.

Resources

About the American Optometric Association (AOA). (2014, January 1). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.aoa.org/


American Foundation for the Blind - Home Page. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.afb.org/


"Braille." Canadian Braille Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <http://www.canadianbraillepress.com>.


"Effective Work Outs with Audio Books." Henry Fuentes. N.p., 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. http://henryfuentes.com/effective-work-outs-with-audio-books-03-9318>.


"Lear's Blindness." Sites. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <https://sites.google.com/site/4ukinglear/home/blindness-sight>.


Mogk, Lylas, and Gregory Goodrich. "The History and Future of Low Vision Services in the United States." Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (2004): 585-600. Print.


Olde, T. (n.d.). Visual Impairments. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/visual-impairments1/#C\


Prevalence of Vision Impairment. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.lighthouse.org/research/statistics-on-vision-impairment/prevalence-of-vision-impairment/


Ramani, Krishna Kumar, Shailaja Reddy Police, and Namita Jacob. "Impact of Low Vision Care on Reading Performance in Children with Multiple Disabilities and Visual Impairment." Indian Journal of Ophthalmology 62.2 (2014): 111-15. Print.


Smith, D. D. & Tyler, N. C. (2014). Introduction to contemporary special education. Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. (ISBN-13:978-0-13-294461-8)


"What Are Typical Accommodations for Students with Blindness." Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology. U of Washington, 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

<http://www.washington.edu/doit/what-are-typical-accommodations-students-blindness>.