Visual Disabilities: Teaching Tips for Visual Disabilities
When teaching a blind or visually-impaired student, remember that he is a student before he is visually impaired. Understand the degree of your student's visual impairment, and ask to see whether any accommodations are necessary in order to fully benefit from the class. If necessary, be sure that proper hardware and software are installed on class computers, and make available readings in Braille whenever possible. Also remember to verbalize visual cues and to say what is being written on the blackboard.
Communication tips for teaching students who are blind or vision impaired:
from Vision Australia, last updated Feb. 2007
- Identify yourself
- Use the student's name
- When talking in a group/ classroom address people by name.
- Explain to the student about what is going to happen
- Explain sudden noises
- Don't shout. People who are blind or vision impaired are not deaf.
- When seating a person who is blind or vision impaired guide their hand to the back of the chair and allow them to seat themselves.
- Talk about what you are doing
- Show the student where things are placed and let the student pick up and feel objects, where appropriate.
- Don't move objects without telling the student
- Don't leave doors ajar. Close or open them fully.
- If you are leaving, tell the student where you are going, who is still with them and when you will be back
- Give clear directions, don't talk about "here" and "there"
- Speak directly to the student not through another person
- It's OK to use words like "look" and "see"
- It's OK to refer to colour when talking to the student.
- Let the student have hands-on experiences whenever possible. Don't force the student to touch new things if they are unsure about them.
- Ask if the student needs help rather than assuming. The student needs to become independent.
- Don't leave the student unless they know where they are
- Don't push or steer the student, let them take your hand or elbow