Low Vision and Blindness

A resource for parents and teachers

Definition of Low Vision and Blindness

Low Vision: A disability that has some functional sight, but an Individual's daily functioning is affected

Blindness: Loss of useful sight which can be temporary or permanent, a person may still perceive shadows and movements

(Smith and Tyler, 2014)

Major Characteristics of Low Vision and Blindness

-Restricted movement within the environment

-Limited interactions with their environment/Isolation

-Slow academic development (particularly in reading and writing)

-Lack of motivation

-Social immaturity

-Does not understand nonverbal cues

-Lack of Self-advocacy skills

-Less assertiveness

(Odle, 2009)

Prevalence Rate

World Wide:

-4% ages 14 and under are blind (1.4 million)

-12 million 5-15 are visually impaired

Unites States:

-ages 18 and under 0.6% visually impaired (448,000)

-ages 6-14 0.5% have severe impairment (189,000)

-ages 19 and under (53,600) are legally blind

*Every minute a child somewhere in the world goes blind

*Number of people with partial sight (135 million) is estimated to double by 2020

ABS: How Does It Feel to be Blind? -- National Federation of the Blind

Instructional Strategies

Students with low vision and blindness may lack in motivation, develop slowly academically and be less assertive. These characteristics can cause frustration and stress. To help the students get the most out of their education accommodations and modifications are put in place to meet their needs.

1. Assistive Technology: allows individuals with visual disabilities to access information using visual, audio, and tactile input. For visuals, students can use talking books/audio books. For audio output the students can use braille display. Lastly braille 'n' speak can be used as a tactile output accommodation.

2. Expanded Core Curriculum: This includes skills that students with low vision and blindness may need help learning, beyond the general curriculum. They will learn orientation and mobility, functional skills, social skills, independent living, recreation and leisure, and career preparation.

3. Enlarged text/Audio text: calculated by their rate or reading, this will help students with low vision to be better able to see the words on the board and on paper/ allowing an ebook to speak back to the student.

Additional links

Home Stratergies

1. Lighting:

-Have lights facing what you want to see and away from your eyes

-Altering the brightness on your computer or phone screen

2. Texture and Touch

-Differences in the floor textures and other tactile clues will help the hild feel more comfortable walking around without assistance.

3. Organization and Safety

-Having an organized environment keeps the element of surprise out of the equation. If your using throw rugs tape them to the floor, avoid smooth floor coverings, remove electrical cords from areas where you would be walking, and arrange the furniture where nothing is sticking out and keeping the furniture in the same place so that the child will feel more confident and comfortable moving around the house.

Useful App

Tap-n-See Now: This app was created for children with cortical visual impairments because it includes bright colors and fun pictures that will appeal and keep the child interested. There is a reward option so the child will be motivated to keep exercising his eyes with this app.


Extra useful websites

1. This link talks about the role of the teacher and how they will work with the student in the classroom that has visual impairments.


2. This link gives tips and suggestions on how to teach students with visual impairments in the classroom, for testing, and how to monitor their progress.



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)

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

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

IEP Accommodations for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.teachingvisuallyimpaired.com/accommodations.html

Low-Vision Accommodations in Your Home-Topic Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/tc/low-vision-accommodations-in-your-home-topic-overview

Visual impairments