Blind and Low Vision

Facts for Educators

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).

Summary of Three Teaching Strategies from Teachers’ Gateway to Special Education: Blind and Low Vision

Assistive Technology

Instructional, Environmental, Assessment

  • Graphic organizers;
  • Speech to text;
  • Text to speech;
  • Word prediction programs.


Blindness

Instructional

  • Provide written texts in large print or Braille;

  • Concrete materials.

  • Other media sources (audio cassette, voice file);

  • Implement strategies received from a teacher of the blind;

  • Use appropriate assistive technology;

Environmental

  • Keep items in predictable places;
  • Give warning for classroom set-up changes;
  • Seat student close to the teacher;
  • Reduce noise in classroom;
  • Easy access to Braille equipment;
  • Develop emergency plan.

Assessment

  • Use assistive technology and Braille materials;
  • Provide extra time;
  • Use oral tests/scribe;
  • Provide choices for projects/assignments.


Low Vision:

Instructional

  • Implement strategies suggested by a teacher of the blind;
  • Provide copies of notes;
  • Use white chalk on a blackboard or black marker on a whiteboard;
  • Provide oral instructions with visual;
  • Use an auditory cue to get the attention of the class.

Environmental

  • Seat student near front of the class;
  • Dim or brighten the lighting according to the needs of the student;
  • Use a slant board to reduce glare;
  • Develop a plan for safely moving through the school and for evacuation.

Assessment

  • Use assistive technology/computers for enlargement;
  • Provide enlarged copies of tests;
  • Allow extra time;
  • Allow oral tests and/or scribing;
  • Allow breaks to refocus/rest eyes (TGSE, 2015).

Augmentative Processing:

Text-to-Speech Software (TTS): Reads written text out loud to student.

Word Prediction Software: Assists students with text entry. Reduces the number of keystrokes, by predicting the words that are typed and the next word based on context (SNOW, 2013).


Tips:

  • Directly instruct students on how to use available TTS programs and word prediction software;

  • Consider doing a trial testing of students’ comprehension of a text without TTS and then with TTS and students’ writing without word prediction programs and then with word prediction programs;

  • Inform parents of TTS and word prediction programs and their benefits;

  • Provide students with free download information for home use of TTS and word prediction programs.

  • Access school and board supports for additional resources and training on TTS andon word prediction programs (TGSE, 2015).

Resources:

Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: https://learn.etfo-aq.ca/d2l/le/content/45101/viewContent/736636/View.


SNOW. 2013. Augmentative Processing. Retrieved from: http://www.snow.idrc.ocad.ca/content/augmentative-processing.


TGSE. 2015. Teachers’ Gateway to Special Education: Blind and Low Vision. Retrieved from: http://www.teachspeced.ca/teaching-strategies-students-special-needs?q=node/700.