Blind & Low Vision

Strategies & Resources for Teachers

Blind and Low Vision:

"A condition of partial or total impairment of sight or vision that even with correction affects educational performance adversely (Ministry of Education)."

"A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement and Review Committee, in the category of Physical. Also a diagnosed medical condition, involving the ability or reduced ability to see (Ontario Teacher's Federation)."

Teaching Strategies:

1. Instructional

  • written texts & handouts in form of BRAIL or in LARGE PRINT
  • use appropriate ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
  • use of audio cassettes, voice file to deliver information
  • concepts delivered in PHYSICAL models or CONCRETE material
  • DETAILED instructions
  • read OUT LOUD what is written on board
  • use an AUDITORY SIGNAL for attention and change of activities
  • encourage SELF ADVOCACY

2. Environmental

  • keep items in PREDICTABLE places (desk, chair, class tools, etc.)
  • give appropriate WARNING OF CHANGE to class set up and support to familiarize
  • use PREFERENTIAL SEATING so student is close to teacher for assistance
  • reduce AUDITORY NOISE in classroom
  • provide BRAILE equipment
  • develop and practice a PLAN for emergency evacuations

3. Assessment

  • provide EXTRA TIME
  • use ORAL tests and scribe
  • provide CHOICES for assignments

*The above strategies focus on Blind Students, however students with Low Vision have similar needs, but there are additional strategies to be aware of. Some examples are: contrast when writing on board (black marker on white board) or adjusting the lighting in the classroom (possibly provide desk lamp), and allowing breaks to rest eyes and refocus.

Resource: OTF

Alternative Format for Blind & Low Vision: Audio

Audio gives students who are blind the opportunity to access information through hearing instead of reading. Audio information can be presented in a range of:

  • low-tech solutions i.e. teachers verbally reading what is written
  • high-tech aids i.e. scanning and reading software, or screen reading software

Mediums for Accessing information include:

  • Compact Discs (CD) - CD digital audio, MP3, Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)
  • Computers & Software - Mp3, WAV, WMA files can be played on a computer that has supporting software; text-to-speech software

Resource: SNOW

Additional Teaching Resources:

  • Ontario Ministry of Education provides information on W. Ross Macdonald School for students with vision needs.
  • Special Needs Ontario Window (SNOW) provides tips and suggestions for raising a confident child
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) gives information on eye conditions and understanding the facts of vision loss
  • Sick Kids explains different eye disorders and gives information and strategies on them from the Hospital for Sick Kids