Strategies for helping students with visual impairments by Lizzie Whitworth
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities published a visual impairments fact sheet (attached below) where it mentions that children and/or students with visual impairments don’t have a reason to explore interesting artifacts, the environment, essentially, the world around them.
To me, this is heartbreaking and as educators – it’s very possible that we will have a visually impaired student in our classroom at one time or another. A visually impaired student would require a lot of attention from the adults in the classroom to ensure that they are engaged and learning. Thus, the more attention, also – it has to be engaging and fun!
*First of all, make your lessons as tactile possible. The hands and fingers need to act as the visually impaired students eyes. Bring the world into their hands! Everything possible that you mention in your lesson – have an example object so the student can feel it.
*Use strategic partnering – partnering your visually impaired student with others so that the pair is walking through the lesson together. This can help both the visually impaired student and his/her partner. This can also help the visually impaired student foster peer relationships – something that he/she might not normally feel comfortable doing.
*Use music! There are a number of ways to incorporate music in the classroom. For example, you can listen to a song with a plot – and have them identify the plot elements. There are a number of chants and cheers you can sing together when learning to remember important information such as math and grammar concepts. Virtually every lessons aim can be turned into a catchy tune!