by Carmen Willings teachingvisuallyimpaired.com Adaptations can help the individual who is blind or visually impaired move safely and efficiently through their environment. A persons need for adaptations to the environment depends on their visual impairment and any additional disabilities. It is important to understand each persons visual diagnosis and the implications with regard to functional vision to make the appropriate adaptations in order to maximize each persons use of vision.
There are general safety measures you can take that will make throughout your home to make it safe for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Learn more about general safety tips on this page.
Depending on your family member's visual condition, special lighting may need to be obtained. Some persons may need increased lighting, while others may find that the lighting produces too much glare. If your family member is sensitive to glare: adjust the light coming from windows by adjusting blinds or curtains, install a rheostat control (dimmer switch) on light switches, adjust mirrors so lights don't reflect off them, and avoid using high gloss finishes on furniture and especially on stairs. Night lights may be helpful to place in the bedroom, hallway and in bathrooms. Task lighting may be a good choice for close-up work. Ott Lights and Sunlight lamps provide good contrast. Learn more about lighting adaptations on this page.
If your family member has any usable vision, it will most likely be important to ensure good contrasts throughout the home. Place dark objects against light background, and light objects against dark background. Learn more strategies specific to rooms within the home adaptations section or general tips for increasing contrast on the Increase Contrast page.
The kitchen can be easily adapted to ensure independence and safety with meal storage and preparation. This page provides suggestions and strategies for increasing independence and safety in the kitchen.
As with the rest of the home, the bathroom can be easily adapted to ensure independence and safety. This page provides suggestions and strategies for increasing independence and safety in the bathroom.
Older students need to learn how to identify and take the correct medication in the prescribed dosages and at the correct time. Sometimes it is possible to identify medications by the size and shape of the container, but containers are frequently similar or identical. Sometimes, pills themselves can be identified by the shape or texture, but this isn't always the case. Use the strategies on this page to help identify medications.
Adapting the dials of washing machines and dryers is simple.
Place tactual stickers, bump-ons by commonly used settings. Transparent markers are best if you place it directly on words or numbers it won't obscure the print for other members of the family.
Teach family members to pin matching socks together or use sock locks before placing them in the dirty clothes basket.
Resources to Support You in Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
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The mission of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments is to provide all persons involved in education students who are blind or visually impaired with the necessary resources to help each student become successful members of their communities and to equip those in the visual impairment field with resources to meet the wide range of needs of the students they serve.