Visual Impairments

Possible characteristics you might see the student display:

  • Struggle with glare, florescent or reduced lighting
  • Difficulty learning visual concepts
  • Difficulty getting to class because of transportation problems
  • Using a service animal or cane. ( An animal must be under control at all times)

Top 10 teaching strategies to consider:

  1. Do not assume the student wants help. Ask! Ask the student to share information about "rules" regarding a guide dog. Never pet a guide dog without permission. 
  2. Post outlines and course materials in electronic format on your website. The students may use assistive technology so it can be "read" electronically.
  3. When writing on the white board, use thick black pens and be sure to say out loud what you're writing.
  4. Use clear, richly detailed verbal descriptions of visual aids or graphics
  5. Consider the student with a visual impairment when you are showing a film in class. You might want to verbally describe important points if only presented visually.
  6. When having classroom discussions, encourage all students to say  their names before they talk so the student can keep track of who is speaking.
  7. Allow/encourage the student to record class sessions. Digital recorders can be checked out in Disability Services for the student to use.
  8. If the student needs handouts enlarged, copies of overhead or Power point slides modified as per their accommodation letter, have them ready to distribute at the beginning of class
  9. Survey classroom for potential tripping hazards
  10. Ask the student for any strategies that may have been used successfully in the past
  11. Be sure of the emergency route from your classroom and talk with the student about the type of assistance s/he will want

Check out these other resources:

http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/

If you would like to read more about this topic see Disability Services: "Faculty Training Tips: Guidance for Teaching Students with Disabilities, Chapter 6, pages, 131-136.