FREE VI Program Templates
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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Picture Maker Geometric Textured Shapes, available from APH provides Velcro backed 2D shapes. This is a great transitional and versatile tool to use moving from 3D shapes toward tactual graphics.
Positions Lotto Game by Trend is a great position photo matching game that is great for students with low vision who are able to visually discriminate pictures.
Tactile Treasures Kit, Tactile-Color Edition, available from APH, consists of tactile graphics of thermoformed real objects. This is another great tool for transitioning students from 3D objects to raised line drawings and tactile graphics.
As stated in the Impact on Development and Learning section of this website, there are three primary limitations that students with visual impairments face. These include:
Students may also need guided exploration and explanations of what they are interacting with. Explanations provide the student with vocabulary associated with the experience, help the student make sense of what they are feeling and make connections to previous experiences. These experiences will help develop the students understanding of new concepts, develop their language, and motivate them to explore their environment which will subsequently lead to motor development.
To minimize or eliminate these restrictions, it is important to provide concrete and unifying experiences as well as to encourage the student to be a part of the action by "doing". When provided with concrete experiences, the student will experience many opportunities to develop concepts. Many of these concepts can be developed simply by actively participating in family and school routines. Other opportunities can be created that are fun and relevant for both students with visual impairments, but for sighted peers and siblings too. Both the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and the Orientation and Mobility Specialist will work with the student on building concepts.
(ex. chair, table, paper, book, etc.)
The best way to help children to identify and understand the difference between objects is to expose them to a wide variety of objects. Encourage the student to interact with the object and identify the characteristics of the object.
(square, circle, triangle, rectangle, cylinder, cube, curve, oval, etc.)
Children need to first learn about three dimensional objects and then once the student has an understanding of 3D objects, they can begin to transfer the skill to two dimensional objects. All students will need this understanding, but it is imperative for future braille readers to have this foundational understanding in order to prepare them for identifying tactual graphics which is more abstract.
Once the student is able to identify 3D shapes, create 2D representations of the shape and encourage the student to match the 3D shape to the 2D shape as well as the 2D shape to a matching 2D shape.
(ex. big, little, tall, short, thick, thin, wide, narrow, etc.)
Practice learning about sizes by discussing sizes of objects and materials in the environment.
(ex. rough, smooth, bumpy, soft, hard, furry, sticky, fuzzy, slick etc.)
Provide students with many opportunities to explore a wide variety of materials with various textures.
(ex. parts, functions & movements)
Families can practice body awareness with little children naturally during bath time and during dressing.
Positions & Spatial Relationships
(ex. on, off, in, out, front, back, left, right, up, down, above, below, top, bottom, in front, behind, on top, underneath, next to, beside, through, middle, center, between, here, there, under, over, upside down, right side up, first, last, together, apart, forward, backward, sideways, straight, there, under, etc.)
According to Fazzi and Petersmeyer (Imagining the possibilities: Creative approaches to orientation and mobility instruction for persons who are visually impaired,AFB Press 2001), “development of spatial awareness helps students understand the placement, arrangement, and spacing of persons or things in relation to one another.” O&M specialists will play an important role in teaching spatial concepts to the student. Spatial awareness concepts apply not only to education, but relate directly to travel. Spatial concepts include body awareness and spatial awareness. As with other concepts, direct experiences will help the student learn the concept. Physical experiences will help lay the foundation for development. Once a student has learned the concepts using their own bodies, they can then develop concepts related to models and representations.