The Early Childhood years are very critical for laying foundational skills for all children, but this is especially so for children with visual impairments. Most children with visual impairments will need extra support to succeed in school. Ideally students will have received early intervention which includes the involvement of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. Unfortunately, this service is not available in all states and many students have not received a formal education program until the preschool years, or sometimes later.
This page will show you how to structure the day and establish a program for students who are blind or visually impaired. Children not only need a predictable and consistent schedule, but they will also need adaptations made to the typical areas of the daily schedule.
Gathering or group times are wonderful opportunities to incorporate concepts, work on conversation skills, refine sentence construction, and to address self-concepts and interpersonal skills. This page provides suggestions for adapting the morning meeting time.
Incorporating a weather check into the later morning is ideal time to incorporate this area of the science curriculum as well as help students know if there will be an indoor or outdoor recess. This page provides suggestions for checking the weather that are adapted for the student who is blind or has low vision.
Although students of all ages enjoy dressing up, the dramatic play area is typically found in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. For preschool and kindergarteners, dramatic play is a great opportunity to role play and explore and practice home chores and jobs as well as role play careers. This page provides suggestions for dramatic play.
Block play is an area that naturally incorporates math skills. It can provide opportunities for learning classification; shape, size and color identification; and counting and matching skills.
This page provides suggestions for selecting children's books, poems or songs that relate to the unit, to familiar experiences or books that suggest new experiences the class will be encountering.
Preschool classrooms and those for students of multiple disabilities will have multiple adults to work with the students. Create a “zoning chart” along with variations to the chart that accommodate for changes in the schedule along with plans for substitutes. A zoning chart makes it clear where all adults are expected to be during all activities including routines and transitions. This eliminates any questions of who is responsible for each area or student. Remember that unexpected circumstances may arise and flexibility is important. It is important to learn to work as a team and to balance each other out.
The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) is a federally funded national center to support early intervention and preschool special education programs and practitioners and assist states in building effective, efficient systems by scaling up and sustaining effective services and promoting research-based interventions for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities and their families.
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