HOME ECONOMICS ADAPTATIONS
by: Carmen Willings
There are many simple adaptations that can be made to a Home Economics curriculum to allow students who are blind or have low vision to access it.
Adaptations for Students with Low Vision
There are simple adaptations that you can make for the student with low vision. Use colored or tinted containers for pouring and drinking Use a dark-colored cutting board for light-colored foods and a light-colored cutting board for dark-colored food. Prop the light or dark cutting board against the wall to provide a contrasting background for pouring. Avoid busy patterns in tablecloths or place mats. Create print or picture recipes with students who have some vision Keep in mind contrast and visual clutter (Use a dark-colored cutting board for light-colored foods and a light-colored cutting board for dark-colored food). During the cooking activity, encourage students to use their vision to look at changes while mixing, adding coloring, and baking.
Adaptations for Students who are Tactual Learners
If you have a student who is a tactual learner, let the student feel the ingredients and how the mixture changes (but only if this is the student's individual serving!). Talk about the smells of the ingredients, before and during cooking. Create Braille or tactual/sensory recipes with students who do not have vision. Encourage the student to visually or tactually scan to locate needed utensils, materials, and ingredients from shelves, the refrigerator or counter. Encourage the student to refine their tactual discrimination and fine motor skills as they stir ingredients, turn/twist knobs, push buttons, squeeze frosting, etc.
Making Picture Recipes, available from APH, provides cooking instruction for students with low vision, nonreaders, and beginning readers. It includes bold-line, simplified illustrations of common foods and ingredients, cooking equipment, and cooking processes on 3 1/2 x 4 inch cards.
Bump Ons are clear bumps that can be used to provide a tactual marker to oven dials, microwaves, washing machines, dryers and more.
Wire Loop Needle Threader allows students who are blind or visually impaired to thread a needle!
A Talking Food Thermometer announces the temperature and also has a digital display.
AbleSee Large Print Overlays are in inexpensive way to increase button sizes on the microwave, washing machine, cryer or throughout the kitchen. These stickers are great for people with low vision. Similar labels can be brailled for brailler readers,
A Talking Digital Food Scale announces the weight of food and is ideal for students who are blind or visually impaired.
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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.