Blind - Visual Impairment

Most learning occurs visually. How does a student with a visual impairment learn?

boy using cane

Because vision is the primary sense upon which most traditional educational strategies are based, strategies need to be accommodated to address the student’s visual, auditory, and tactual learning access needs. Understanding the functional and educational effects of the visual impairment is essential to adjusting educational strategies, as well as to the instruction and assessment processes.

When one or more parts of the eye that are needed to process images becomes diseased or damaged, severe or total loss of vision can occur. In these cases, vision can’t be fully restored with medical treatment, surgery, or corrective lenses like glasses or contacts. The result of such a loss can affect students’ development. The educational effect depends on the severity, age of onset and type of loss.

Less than one percent of all students are visually impaired. They are a heterogeneous group with a wide range of educational, developmental, and physical abilities and needs which require specialized supports and services. They are common to one another only in the fact that they all have a visual impairment. This impairment often affects the student beyond academic needs. These unique needs can be addressed through The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) which focuses on the student’s independence, transition, social, and self-determination needs. All these areas must be addressed to ensure that meaningful learning occurs. Teachers of students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility instructors are professionals that can provide the specialized supports and services in the ECC.

Blind - Visual Impairment
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    • Jennifer Edgar
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    • Lynn Fox
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