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Helping Students Who are Visually Impaired

No two students who are visually impaired see in the same manner.  Visual impairments can range from total blindness to being able to see things a few feet in front of them.  Sunny days and/or overcast weather can affect vision also.  A student’s level of vision may fluctuate, deteriorate, or remain constant.  Each student’s visual impairment is unique and must be individually accommodated.  Students are the best source for the accommodation that works best for them in your specific course and its requirements.

  1. Visually impaired students may need to tape record lectures, so that they can replay it later.
  2. Students may need to use a Brailler or laptop computer to take notes in class.
  3. Some students may need preferential seating to better see things written on the black board.  It would be helpful to give visually impaired students a copy of anything written on the blackboard or any overheads used in class.
  4. A visually impaired student will need accommodations for test taking such as a reader or scribe.  The ODS Office will provide assistance as needed.
  5. Always identify yourself when meeting a student with a visual impairment.  They may not recognize who is speaking particularly if you are meeting outside of your normal context.
  6. When giving directions indicate “Left”, “Right”, “Up”, or “Down” in relation to where the student is and use the clock method, whereby 3 o’clock means directly to their right.
  7. If a student asks for physical guidance ask how they would like to be assisted.  Do NOT grab them by the arm.  Allow them to take your arm above the elbow while you walk slightly ahead so that they can follow your body movement.
  8. Some students may be accompanied by a guide dog.  Please do not pet or feed the dog without permission or interfere with his/her work.