Chapter 10 blindness and low vision
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Chapter 10 Blindness and Low Vision. Definitions of Visual Impairment. Legal definition of blindness The legal definition is based on visual acuity and field of vision

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Chapter 10 Blindness and Low Vision

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Chapter 10Blindness and Low Vision

Definitions of Visual Impairment

Legal definition of blindness

  • The legal definition is based on visual acuity and field of vision

    • A person whose visual acuity is 20/200 or less after the best possible correction with glasses or contact lenses is considered legally blind

    • A person whose vision is restricted to an area of 20 degrees or less is considered legally blind

      Educational definitions of visual impairments

  • The IDEA definition emphasizes the relationship between vision and learning

    • Totally blind: Receives no useful information through the sense of vision

    • Functionally blind: Learns primarily through the auditory and tactile senses

    • Low vision: Uses vision as a primary means of learning but may supplement by using tactile and auditory input

Characteristics of Students with Visual Impairments

  • Cognition and language

    • Impaired or absent vision makes it difficult to see the connections between experiences

  • Motor development and mobility

    • Visual impairment often leads to delays and deficits in motor development

  • Social adjustment and interaction

    • Children with visual impairments interact less and are often delayed in social skills

    • Many persons who have lost their sight report that the biggest difficulty socially is dealing with the attitudes and behavior of those around them

Prevalence and Causes

  • Fewer than 2 children in 1000 have visual impairments

    • Almost half of school age children with visual impairments also have another disability

  • Causes of visual impairments

    • Refractive errors: Myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness)

    • Structural impairments: Cataracts, glaucoma, nystagmus, strabismus

    • Cortical visual impairments: Suspected damage to parts of brain that interpret visual information

Educational Approaches

  • The age of onset has implications for how children with low vision should be taught

    • Visual impairment can be congenital (present at birth) or adventitious (acquired)

      Special adaptations for students who are blind

  • Braille (ex. 1)

  • Tactile aids and manipulatives

  • Technological Aids for Reading Print

    • Opticon - Optical-to-tactile converter

    • Kurzweil 1000 - Optical character-recognition system

    • Hardware/software that magnifies screen images

    • Speech recognition software

    • Software that converts text files to synthesized speech

Special Adaptations for Students with Low Vision

  • Functional vision

    • Teaching a child to use the vision that she has

  • Optical devices

    • Glasses or Contacts

    • Small hand-held telescopes

    • Magnifiers

    • Closed-circuit television

  • Reading Print (exercise 5)

    • Approach magnification

    • Lenses

    • Large print

  • Classroom adaptations

    • Special lamps

    • Desks with tilting tops

    • Off-white writing paper

    • Chairs with wheels

Expanded Curriculum Priorities

  • Orientation and mobility training (O&M)

    • Cane skills (ex. 4)

    • Guide dogs

    • Sighted guides

    • Electronic travel aids (ex. 2)

  • Listening skills

  • Functional life skills

    • Cooking

    • Personal hygiene

    • Shopping

    • Financial management

    • Transportation

    • Recreational activities

Educational Placement Alternatives

88% of children are educated in public schools

  • Itinerant teacher model

    • Most students who are included in general education classrooms receive support from itinerant teacher-consultants

    • The most important factor to the successful inclusion of students with visual impairments is the regular classroom teacher’s flexibility

  • Other important aspects

    • Peer acceptance and interaction

    • Availability of support personnel

    • Adequate access to special supplies and equipment

  • Residential schools

    • About 6% of school-age children with visual impairments attend residential schools

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