MOVIES & ASSEMBLIES
By: Carmen Willings
Updated February 26, 2016
The student who is blind or visually impaired will need assistance to be included in all the school activities including movies and assemblies. Teachers will need to collaborate and communicate with guest speakers, principals, and other school personnel to ensure that the total school and educational environment are accessible.
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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.
If the school is planning to have a guest speaker, contact the guest speaker well in advance to discuss the adaptations needed for the presentation. Let the speaker know that assistance will be provided to modify materials and decide on a date to gather the materials that need to be adapted.
Ask the speaker to arrive a little early on the day of the presentation so the student can have the opportunity to examine any manipulative materials in advance of the speaker’s presentation.
Assemblies & Movies
Students with visual impairments should be provided with preferential seating during assemblies and movies unless their behaviors are disruptive to the whole and would distract from the presentation. In order to help the student not feel isolated, allow the student to choose a friend or two to sit with them.
It would also be helpful to arrange for someone to sit next to the student during movies, assemblies, or special events to explain what is happening. This will help the student make sense of the occasion, helps them stay focused, and also helps to discourage daydreaming.
If the class is watching television or movies within the classroom, in addition to preferential seating, it may help to leave a light on in the room. Low lighting will help to decrease the bright lights and flickering that may bother the student.
Audio Description (AD) may be required for some students. AD provides narration of the visual elements (action, costumes, settings, etc.) of theater, television/film, museum exhibitions, and other events. The technique allows those who are blind or have low vision the opportunity to experience the event more completely. In providing audio description it is important for the describer to observe what is seen but not verbalized and if it is important. The describer must edit from what they see and provide the rich language to describe what is happening. Additionally, it describes visuals (pictures, charts, graphs, etc.), actions, and settings not explained in the dialogue or existing narration.
Audio Description Associates professionals use their expertise with description fundamentals and the arts to create access for people who are blind or have low vision-and their families.
The Described and Captioned Media Program provides services designed to support and improve the academic achievement of students (early learning through grade 12) who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind. These services include (1) a library of free-loan described and captioned educational media, (2) a learning center of information related to educational media access, (3) a gateway to Internet resources related to accessibility, and (4) guidelines for adding descriptions and captions to media. There are no user registration or service fees. The DCMP is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.
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