Role of the Classroom Teacher
If you are a classroom teacher and have a student in your class who is blind or visually impaired, you may wonder how you will meet the student's needs. Here you will find information about your role and how you will get support from a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments.
By: Carmen Willings
Updated August 4, 2019
If you have never worked with a student with a visual impairment, you may be apprehensive about having a student with a visual impairment in your class. Even if you have worked with a student with a visual impairment, in the past, you need to understand that each student is unique and will have different needs. Even students with the same visual diagnosis they will have different visual abilities and will have different backgrounds, and have different academic abilities and experiences.
The classroom teacher is responsible for instructing the student in the core curriculum as well as collaborating with the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and other support staff to ensure that the student's unique needs are being met.
The role of the classroom teacher is to manage the classroom in a manner that meets the individual needs of each student in the class. This includes promoting learning and supplementing activities, coordinating and collaborating with support staff, using a variety of teaching approaches, and adapting instruction to include all students. The classroom teacher is in charge of each student's overall academic program.
As the general education teacher, the classroom teacher is responsible for teaching the core curriculum (literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and so forth). The TVI does not duplicate what the classroom teacher will teach but teaches the students the knowledge and skills they need to participate in the classroom. The TVI will instruct the student in specialized areas and skills that are related to their visual impairments and are important for their educational success, such as braille reading and writing, using assistive devices, and skills for independent living. Int he visual impairment field, these are some of the areas that are known as the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).
Communication between the classroom teacher and the TVI is critical. Discussing upcoming lessons well in advance will allow discussions on adaptations and adaptations that will be needed to access instruction. It is also critical to provide the TVI with materials promptly for the TVI to adapt the materials into an accessible format.
If the student has a paraprofessional it is imperative for the classroom teacher to continue to have direct interactions with the student. Although the paraprofessional can reinforce instruction, the paraprofessional is typically not a certified teacher and it is the teacher's responsibility to be aware of the students understanding of content. It is also important to provide the paraprofessional with clear guidelines and discuss as a team, what accommodations are acceptable.
IDEA is a Federal law that ensures each student with a disability receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to meet his or her unique learning needs. Under federal law, students with visual impairments are guaranteed to have the same opportunities for education following the regular curriculum with the necessary supports and services to students ages 3 through age 18 or 21. In general, a district is obligated to provide each qualifying child with a program that meets the child’s unique needs. The primary way of providing a FAPE is through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP must include a comprehensive statement of the child’s unique educational needs, along with a description of the education and related services to which the child is entitled. As the general education teacher, it is important for you to provide information on the student’s classroom performance, how the student’s disability negatively impact them as well as which accommodations the student uses and what helps them be successful.
If you have students with multiple disabilities on your caseload, it may be beneficial to provide teachers and teacher assistants with a vision survey to understand their current understanding of the student's vision. Tricia Noe, a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments with over 35 years experience working with students who are blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities and former colleague of mine has developed a survey that she has made available to print.
Spungin, Susan. When You Have a Visually Impaired Student in Your Classroom: A Guide for Teachers. American Foundation for the Blind, 2002. This guidebook is written for teachers and addresses how to effectively work with a student with visual impairments and introduces special devices that may be used by the student.
Your positive attitude toward the integration and education of the student who is visually impaired may be the most important factor in guaranteeing the success and acceptance of this student in your class and school."
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Purchase the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set and immediately unlock the pages within the ECC Complete Set Bonus including bonus printables, interactive sensory stories, interactive matching activities, interactive choice making activities, job task box activities and MORE! This is my way of continuing to support you and say "Thank you!" for choosing to purchase the Complete Set.
TVI's Guide Complete Set Bundle + BONUS Resources
Buy together and get BONUS resources!
The TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set includes the following:
The LOTTO Cards Grab and Go Supplement includes 37 theme related unit cards along with activity suggestions that support activities within the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC.
On My Way File Folder Cards
Print and use these cards to represent locations the student may visit that are related to the current thematic unit. Use these with the On My Way File Folder Game outlined in the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC p. 27.
NEW! Access to TVI's Guide Bonus Membership Pages
Bonus pages include tutorials, printables, interactive sensory story downloads, and interactive choice making, matching and visual discrimination computer games (PowerPoint based interactive games), and job task activities.
All products are digital pdf downloads. 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. If you encounter any difficulty, please let me know and I can assist you. Once you purchase the complete set you will have immediate access to the bonus pages!
*Please contact me if you need to purchase using a purchase order. I am happy to help guide you in the process of adding Teaching Students with Visual Impairments as an approved vendor for your school or program or you can visit the product support page for information on using a PO.
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