By: Carmen Willings
Updated November 4, 2017
Considerations will need to be made when adapting labels and signs throughout the classroom in order to make them accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired. When labeling materials in the room, it is important to use a labeling system that is accessible to all the students. This may mean that labels need to be in a variety of formats: print, braille, pictures, and even objects. This will help students locate materials as well as put them away correctly. Incorporating print and/or braille for non-readers and pre-readers will also help promote literacy.
The following labeling suggestions will help create an organized and accessible room that will encourage independence and promote emergent literacy.
1. If the classroom is broken into learning stations or center, using a clear and consistent system for labeling these learning stations will help the students connect the name of the station in visual and tactual formats of written language. Refer to the sections on visual clutter when choosing a font type and background.
2. Signs should be placed at the eye level of the students. Learning area signs can be placed on the end of a cabinet by the entrance to an area, on a table or on a shelf. Be sure to place signs in strategic locations for the student’s observation and exploration. Creating signs for the various centers can be a fun beginning of the year activity for the students as they learn what is available in each area.
3. Clearly label materials within the learning areas in a way that makes sense to the students. This will expose the student to print/Braille literacy in a natural way. The following pictures were taken in the inclusive preschool classroom in which I taught as an example.
4. Label important landmarks such as locker/cubby or a coat hook. When assigning a student a locker/cubby it is helpful to chose one that can be easily located. Typically this will be one that is at the end of a row.
5. If all the students in the class can access information visually, you could instead take a picture of the items in the bin. Use a large font size with uniform, bold, well spaced letters. If you use this method, be sure to take a picture on a solid background in high contrast (black or white depending on the color of the materials). In the picture on the right, you can see that I labeled the bins in print/braille and also glued an object from the bin on the front.
6. Label with objects if the student does not have functional vision or is at a pre-symbolic level. Encourage literacy by pairing the objects with print or braille labels. Label the objects in both formats if you are unsure of whether the student will read in print or braille. The manipulative bins on the left were labeled by glueing (using a hot glue gun) one or more objects from the bins on the outside of the bin. This helped the students quickly scan (visually or tactually) the bins to determine where materials belonged.
A braille labeler can be used to make quick labels in the classroom. It is paired with print enabling non-braille readers to create labels. The down side is that it only produces uncontracted braille. None the less, it's always great in a pinch!
Braillable Labels & Sheets
These clear braillable and self-adhesive labels, available from APH, allow you to create labels of various sizes. Labels are available in various sizes or full sheets. Don't have access to APH funds? Try using Contact paper or clear adhesive laminating sheets that are thick enough to maintain form when brailled.
Feel 'n Peel Stickers II These stickers, available from APH, are printed and embossed with numbers, reward statements, stars, point symbols and color names that can be used as part of a labeling system.
Magne Tachers Magnetic Labels
These magnetic labels, available from APH, can be used to create reusable large print or braille labels that can be attached to canned goods or other magnetic surfaces. Similarly, Flexible Magnet Data Card Holders allow the user to change the label as frequently as needed!
Sherlock Talking Label Identifier
This hand-held digital voice recorder with each recorded message keyed to an adhesive label or plastic disk tag is available from APH. Labels or tags can be attached to books, documents, CD's or any other item that needs to be identified. The Reizen talking label identifier is another device that allows the user to program and read buttons.
Word Association Print/Braille Labels
These self-adhesive print/braille labels of common words, available from APH, will help create a literacy rich environment for both print and braille learners. If you don't have access to APH funds, use clear adhesive laminating sheets and create your own braille labels.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings