Each student with a disability will have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or in some cases, a 504 Plan. An IEP is a written statement, based on the student's needs. Although the actual document will look different in each state, and even districts within each state, the components of the IEP will be the same. In assisting the educational team in developing IEP for a student who is blind or has a visual impairment, it is important to embed the areas of the expanded core curriculum into the IEP as well as into educational programming. This will look different for students that are following the Standard Core Curriculum as opposed to the Adapted Curriculum. The following links will direct you to pages that will provide you with information on preparing the IEP as well as service delivery.
The various areas of the expanded core curriculum provide educators with a way of addressing the needs of students with visual impairments. The student's needs in each of the areas should be considered each year and priorities made as to which areas should be focused on. This page provides a list of possible needs.
Each student has their own unique needs and the amount of support they require will depend on a combination of their usable vision as well as any additional disabilities. This page provides information on determining the appropriate service delivery model for each student served.
Although the general education classroom is least restrictive for many students, it is not always the most least restrictive environment for students who are blind or visually impaired. This page provides information about the law and least restrictive environment.
Infants who are blind cannot observe the actions of others or see objects and materials around them. Even babies with some usable vision will have difficulty making sense of the limited visual information they are receiving. Additionally, they are not able to see the effects of their own actions on objects, that the object continues to exist when out of reach (object permanence), or observe how others interact with the object. This page provides strategies for providing rich experiences to infants and toddlers that are blind or visually impaired.
Many students who are blind or visually impaired have multiple disabilities and require a modified curriculum. These students frequently have complex visual and learning needs. This section provides resources and strategies for working with students with multiple disabilities.
Self-Determination skills are part of the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with visual impairments. One way of fostering self determination is through student led IEP's. This page provides suggestions and strategies for helping a student participate and lead their IEP.
As the student advances through high school, and particularly in the student's senior year, the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) will gradually expect the student to do more for themselves. At this point the student with low vision should be using their optical devices without difficulty and problem solving when to use them. The student should be able to advocate for their own visual needs and become increasingly independent to the extent possible. This includes expecting the student to be increasingly responsible for their own needs and solve problems independently.
Resources to Support You in Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
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"Limited expectations yield only limited results." ~ Susan Laurson Willig
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The mission of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments is to provide all persons involved in education students who are blind or visually impaired with the necessary resources to help each student become successful members of their communities and to equip those in the visual impairment field with resources to meet the wide range of needs of the students they serve.