By: Carmen Willings
Students who are blind or visually impaired will typically need adaptations to access printed information that will allow the student to access all areas of the curriculum. It is the role of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) to determine the adaptations that the student needs. Material adaptation needs will vary, depending on the degree of functional vision, effects of additional disabilities, and the task to be done. Students may use braille, large print, print with the use of optical devices, regular print, tactile symbols, a calendar system, sign language, and/or recorded materials to communicate.
Accessible Educational Materials are educational materials that make them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format. This page discusses the different types of Accessible Educational/Instructional Material.
Although large print books are commonly ordered for students with low vision, their use is sometimes unnecessary and restrictive. This page discusses the advantages and disadvantages of large print and when it may be needed.
Braille is the literacy medium for students who are blind and for some students with low vision. This page provides information on braille, where to obtain braille materials and links to other braille resources.
Although large print should be the last choice, there will be times when photocopy enlargements will be necessary. This page provides suggestions on making photocopy enlargements.
Many students function best with the reduction of visual clutter and increasing visual clarity. Providing a clear, legible font will reduce visual clutter and increase clarity. This page provides suggestions on font legibility.
Some students will need an increased contrast to view the materials presented. There are several ways to increase contrast to make the materials or print more visible. This page provides suggestions for ways to increase the contrast.
Special attention needs to be given when selecting worksheets and materials for students with low vision as students need to be provided with the highest quality worksheets and materials.
This page contains suggestions for creating specially adapted materials to use with students with significant cognitive and motor delays. I have included a list of specialized materials that I have used over the years when working with students with visual impairments who have multiple disabilities, many of which I have picked up from fellow TVI's or Occupational Therapists.
Students will not only need to learn to read braille, but to write braille as part of their literacy program. Encourage students to write about areas of interest and practice reading back what they wrote. This page provides strategies for developing braille writing skills.
Some guidelines have been established for creating tactile graphics for students that are blind and visually impaired. This page provides information on tactile graphics guidelines.
The ability to read tactile graphics and charts is essential as part of a braille student's literacy program. This page provides information on tactile graphics and guidelines and resources on producing tactile graphics.
Materials should be adapted only to the extent necessary for efficient learning. If regular materials can be used in conjunction with environment adaptations or low vision devices, such an approach is preferable to using specialized materials.
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