Teaching Children with Visual Impairment
There are two main functional categories of visual impairments: Low Vision and Blind. Low vision students usually are print users, but may require special equipment and materials. The definition of legal blindness covers a broad spectrum of visual impairments. The extent of visual disability depends upon the physical sensory impairment of the student’s eyes, the age of the student at the onset of vision impairment, and the way in which that impairment occurred. Vision also may fluctuate or may be influenced by factors such as inappropriate lighting, light glare, or fatigue. Hence, there is no “typical” vision impaired student. The major challenge facing visually impaired students in the science educational environment is the overwhelming mass of visual material to which they are continually exposed viz., textbooks, class outlines, class schedules, chalkboards writing, etc.
In addition, the increase in the use of films, videotapes, computers, laser disks, and television adds to the volume of v visual material to which they have only limited access. To assist in overcoming a students’ visual limitation requires unique and individual strategies based on that student’s particular visual impairment and his/her skill of communication (e.g., Braille, speed listening, etc.). (After: “The Mainstream Teaching of Science: A Source Book”, Keller et al.)