Teaching A Student With A Visual Impairment in the Classroom Kristen Hammond Regional Teacher Consultant Kentucky School for the Blind
Completing this PD: • For each of the activities within the Power Point, please complete them on a separate page with Activity number listed at the top. Submit all activities as attachments in an email or mail to the address on the last slide of the Power Point. • Upon reviewing your activities, a PD certificate will be emailed or mailed to you.
Outcomes for this PD: • Describe the teacher roles as related to visually impaired students • Observe the visual system and research “breakdowns” in the system • Gain a better understanding of the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with visual impairments • Provide and create teaching strategies for teaching the visually impaired student in the classroom
Classroom teacher and/or teaching assistants roles may include: • Being aware of district policies • Providing information regarding overall performance • Participating in assessment, provide information based on your informal observations (i.e., visual behaviors, “sensory channels”) • Observing/noting social implications of visual loss
Classroom teacher and/or teaching assistants roles may include: • Serving as main liaison between parents and other service providers • Being an active member of the ARC procedures, participate in developing the IEP • Collaborating with all team members to implement the IEP • Providing materials to be adapted in advance • Work collaboratively to provide “specially designed instruction” and implement IEP goals
Teacher of visually impaired roles include: • Obtain, interpret eye/medical reports • Assist with KIMRC registration process • Gather background information, review files • Conduct functional vision/learning media assessment • Assist in determining eligibility
Teacher of visually impaired roles include: • Provide input for appropriate goals and objectives, specially designed instruction • Collaborate with teachers to address needs in the learning environment • Provide educational and instructional strategies to address the expanded core curriculum • Foster positive school and community relations
Common “breakdowns” in the visual system among children • Optic Nerve Hypoplasia • Retinopathy of Prematurity • Cataracts • Albinism • Glaucoma • Coloboma • Retinitis Pigmentosa • Rod/Cone Dystrophy • Cone Dystrophy
Activity 1 • Create a fictional student. Introduce the student to me in one page or less. (Name, age, grade, strengths, hobbies, academic skills, etc..) • Choose one of the eye conditions listed on the previous slide to research as an eye condition that the child has. • Go to www.tsbvi.edu • On the right hand side of the page you will see a section titled INSTRUCTION. Click on EYE CONDITIONS under that section and search for your eye condition. • If you need more information do a search on the web for the eye condition. • Give a brief description of the eye condition and list a two questions you may have at this point about the eye condition.
When working with students with visual impairments, it is sometimes hard to imagine what life is like through their eyes. We can read reports from doctors and get information from the student or parent. However, that does not give us a true feeling of what it is like for them in the classroom and the implications that their visual impairment has on their academic, social and leisure activities. Not all students with visual impairments have poor academics. Most are able to keep up with the demands of class work but struggle with reading at the same rate as peers, take longer to copy notes, and may have difficulty with organization of materials as well as interacting appropriately with peers.
Vision Simulator The next three slides give a simulation of what it may be like for someone with various eye conditions. These are only simulations and are not meant to be exact replications.
Effects of Vision Loss Individuals with a vision loss are effected in many areas of their lives. We will look at this a little further in a while. Keep in mind the previous vision simulations as we continue. You may even want to reflect back to them from time to time.
Effects of vision loss & acuity • Acuity • Create your own vision simulator out of Saran Wrap folded many times or a piece of bubble wrap. Put up to your eyes or over a pair of glasses and look through them at near and distant objects. What do you notice? Imagine that this is how the world around you looked all of the time.
Effects of vision loss & visual fields • To simulate a visual field loss you can do the following. Make each of your hands closed into an “O” Put them up to your eyes like a pair of binoculars. What do you notice? This is a simulation of what it is like for a person who has a peripheral field loss. Imagine that you were walking in the classroom or outside or in gym class and how this might impact you. A visual loss either in the peripheral or central field is common among many eye conditions.
Language Cognition Gross Motor Social/Emotional Fine Motor Self-help Activity 2 Ninety percent of our incidental learning comes through vision. Based on this statement, choose one of the previous simulations either the ones you just did or the ones shown on the slides with the little boys. Give two examples of how vision would impact each of the following areas.
The Expanded Core Curriculum In addition to the curriculum that students are expected to learn at school, there is an expanded core curriculum for those students with visual impairments in order to be productive members of society. The next two slides list those areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum for Blind/Visually Impaired students. There is also a handout under the folder listed handouts on the CD
Expanded Core Curriculum: • Compensatory or functional academic skills including communication needs related to literacy • Orientation & Mobility • Sensory and motor needs • Visual efficiency
Expanded Core Curriculum: • Independent living skills • Social and emotional needs • Career and vocational • Assistive technology
Activity 3 • Choose one of the Expanded Core Curriculum areas to research. Go to www.tsbvi.edu • Click on INSTRUCTION and then scroll down the page to the section labeled Curriculum Programs & Evaluation. • Read the article called The Core Curriculum for the Visually Impaired Student • Think about how your student created in Activity 1 may need some of the skills in the Expanded Core Curriculum. For the area of the Core Curriculum that you chose, tell two ways that you could teach skills in that area in the regular classroom to your student and why they need that particular area addressed.
Activity 4 • View the rest of the Power Point presentation and complete the activity below. These are all various teaching strategies in working with students with visual impairments. • Go back to your student. Review the eye condition. Based on what you learned about the eye condition, make a list of five or more recommendations that you would make to other classroom teachers who were teaching this child.
General Teaching Strategies • Expect the visually impaired student to complete the same assignments as the rest of the class. • Due to alternative media, assignments may take a visually impaired student longer to complete. An average of double time for Braille or tape is a good rule of thumb.
General Teaching Strategies cont.. • Due to time constraints it may occasionally be necessary to reduce the number of examples to be completed for classwork or homework (such as in math problems), as long as the student is able to demonstrate that s/he understands the concepts and/or skills exhibited within each example. • Address all students by name so that the visually impaired student can learn to associate names with voices of classmates. • Address the visually impaired student by name as well, so he or she knows when he or she is being spoken to.
General Teaching Strategies Cont. • Encourage the student's use of proper posture, eye contact as much as possible and proper social etiquette. • Always treat the visually impaired student equally with other students. This includes discipline and special privileges as well as involvement in extracurricular and leadership opportunities. • Give the visually impaired student as many opportunities to help others as to be helped by others.
Classroom and Student Safety • Keep classrooms, corridor and stairs free of clutter • Tell the student of objects of furniture that have been moved • Highlight edges of stairs and steps with contrasting colored duct tape or paint • Close or fully open doors and cupboards. • Arrange for a peer or adult to be a sighted guide on field trips, fire drills, etc.. • Ask the student before giving physical assistance
Seating • Seat or encourage the visually impaired student to come to the front of the classroom or presentation area • If the student has stronger vision in the right eye seat towards the left of the classroom and vice versa. • Student should not be facing direct light sources such as windows or lamps
Seating cont.. • Student may need a reading stand to elevate reading and writing material to maintain good posture, bring closer to view, and alleviate fatigue. • If the student uses a brailler make sure desk top is low so that they can press down on the keys and students feet are flat on the floor.
Organization • Provide the student with a definite place to put things • Use containers and zippered bags to store objects • Use a cookie sheet for objects that may easily roll of the desk • Attach Braille labels to folders and binders if student uses Braille • Provide space for materials and equipment (CCTV, Large Print/Braille books)
Material Preparation • Make all handouts and assignments available in an appropriate form: e.g., regular print, large print, Braille, or on a cassette • Braille materials take an exceptionally long time to order and/or prepare. • Braille textbooks and large print textbooks should be ordered by March for the following fall so that they can be transcribed/enlarged in time. Extra time may be required for math and technical books, as Braille mathematical notation requires a unique certification that many literary braille transcribers do not possess.
Materials Preparation cont.. • Classroom handouts, especially those with pictures or diagrams, also require a great deal of time to transcribe into braille and tactile formats or verbal descriptions. • Provide materials to be transcribed at least two weeks ahead of time, preferably on disk, as some text can be transcribed using computer translation software.
Audio Visual Presentation • Read what is being written on the board and/or describe what is pictured in the presentation. • Allow the student time to handle tactually adapted materials. • Use spatial directions from the STUDENT'S perspective when describing where something is. • Remember that the student's left and right are opposite yours when you are facing the student.
Reducing Illumination • Some eye conditions in which reducing illumination may help are: Albinism, Aniridia, Apakia, Peripheral Cataracts, dislocation of lens • Look for the word Photohobic in files to know if you need to reduce lighting • Create a shaded area by making a tent over light source- BE CAUTIOUS DO NOT CAUSE A FIRE HAZARD. • There are tinted shields that can be purchased to go over lighting when it is overhead • Adjust window shades in one section of the room. (i.e. pulling down the shade close to the whiteboard where light is coming)
Reducing Illumination cont.. • Use rheostats on overhead lights • Seat student facing away from light source • Student should also not be working in their own shadow • Students should be seated between banks of overhead lights • Use prescribed tinted glasses • Allow student to wear a hat with a brim
Increasing Illumination • Some eye diseases in which increasingillumination may help are: coloboma, cone dystrophy, corneal scarring, retinal detachment, retinopathy of prematurity, glaucoma, keratoconus, retinitis pigmentosa, and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia • Use a lightbox • Use a small desk lamp • Supplementary light sources should come from behind and over the students shoulder. • Use a lighted pen or illuminated magnification device
Reducing Glare • Eliminate glare from whiteboards, windows, cabinets, doors, table surfaces. • Student should be seated so that they are not facing a light source or working in their own shadow • Teacher should stand and sit in positions away from the window when lecturing
Reducing Glare cont.. • You can use colored paper or paper with matte finish to reduce glare. • Use a reading stand to elevate materials- create your own reading stand by using a large three ring binder to elevate materials • Tilt computer screens or use a filter over the monitor to eliminate glare • Provide student with paper copies of overhead materials
Other Illumination Strategies • Shine a light on an object to draw attention to it • Use daylight or pink fluorescent lights • Use caution with students who are prone to seizures. Flickering lights or rapid movement of light can trigger seizures. • The use of ultraviolet or black light should not be used especially with students who have or have had cataracts, or have retinal damage
Color and Contrast • Increase the contrast between an object and the background. Black and white or black and yellow afford the best contrast. Contrast can be achieved by using colored place-mats, light countertops or cutting boards, construction paper, swatches of fabric, or matte finished contact paper. • As a general rule use dark letters on light background or light letters on dark backgrounds. With CCTV’s you may want to reverse the polarity for contrast.
Color and Contrast cont.. • Bolder letters are easier to see than large letters • Adding additional spacing between letters and lines is easier to see than large letters. • For writing tools consider dark pens such as 20/20 pens, Black markers or #1 soft lead pencils
Color and Contrast cont.. • Using an acetate or overlay can increase contrast. The most common overlay colors are yellow, pink and blue. • In order to determine the color of preference it is best to have students do various timed readings with different colored overlays to determine reading speed and preference
Focusing on an object or person • Avoid clutter or “busy” backgrounds • Avoid wearing clothing that is “busy” or with a lot of details as students with visual conditions have a hard time focusing attention as you move around. • Avoid holding objects to be seen against cluttered backgrounds. You may need to put a solid background behind the object first so that attention is drawn to the object