Blind & Low Vision
Alternative Display Technology, Strategies & Tips
"Although children with visual impairments are able to learn and do most of the things their sighted peers do, sometimes they may need direct teaching to learn many of the things their sighted peers learn incidentally."
(Teaching Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired, 2001)
- Use preferential seating near the front of the class and near assistive technology.
- Use a slant board to reduce glare.
- Dim or brighten the lighting according to the needs of the student; a desk lamp may be needed with access to an outlet (consider window lighting too).
- Develop a plan for safely moving through the school and for evacuation.
- 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 ones.
- Use an auditory cue to get the attention of the class.
- Use assistive technology (ex, closed-circuit television (CCTV)) and computers to enlarge and darken print according to the student’s needs.
- Provide enlarged print texts and handouts.
- Frequently check with the student for understanding.
- Encourage the student to be a self-advocate for his/her needs; consider the development of an alternative programming goal.
- Encourage use of a magnifier.
- Reduce visual distractions.
UDL/DI Strategies to Consider
- verbalize everything from instruction to calling on students for answers (read from projectors and SMARTBoards, call students' names, etc.)
- use proximity during demonstrations to ensure student success
- observe student success and decide on preferential lighting (students often cannot determine which lighting is best for them because they do not know what they cannot see)
- be mindful of language particularly when framing questions
- avoid static seating which may make the student feel isolated or centered out, all the student to move as needed ( ex: in the rear of the class to have a friend narrate or describe a video presentation, or next to the projector to read from the slide vs the screen)
- provide tactile learning opportunities to enhance understanding without centering the student out.
- teach tactile skills for safety (ex: closing a fist to guide a knife, etc.)
Screen Readers and Talking Browsers
A Screen Reader, commonly used name for Voice Output Technology, is used by individuals who experience difficulty reading the standard text displayed on screen. Screen readers produce synthesized speech output for text displayed on the computer screen, as well as for keystrokes entered on the keyboard. Screen readers require the use of keyboard shortcuts, most of which the user has to memorize.
Talking browsers use the same technology as screen reading software, but the reading functions are limited to Internet use. Screen readers and talking browsers can also benefit those who prefer to have text read back or who require to read large volumes of text. (SNOW)
Example of Screen Reader: COBRA Zoom
- magnifies text (variable)
- full screen or split-screen views
- highlighting cursor
- mouse pointer in different colours, extra large
- inverse display mode (grey-scale)
- keyboard shortcuts
- edge smoothing
- differentiation between foreground and background
- speech access