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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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definitions of visual impairment
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
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
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
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
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
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
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