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Visually Impaired

  • Common Characteristics
  • Challenges
  • Possible Accommodations
  • Note

    Common Characteristics
    A visually impaired student may or may not look any different from those with 20/20 vision. Often that student gets to class early to have a front-row seat. He tends to look intense and worried if he is straining to see. Sometimes he uses a magnifying device.

    Sometimes the partially sighted student has more peripheral vision than central vision. Some students can see certain colors but not others.

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    At times the partially sighted student is viewed by others as "faking it." Because most partially sighted students do not use whites canes for travel, and because most are able to get around much like everyone else, people have difficulty believing that the student needs to use adaptive methods when utilizing printed materials. Another difficulty the partially sighted student experiences is the psychological response that large print evokes from the sighted reader. Such handwritten communications tend to give the reader the idea that "a child has written this." This may lead to the conclusion that a student with this kind of handwriting is immature or childish and that the written communication is less than sophisticated.

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    Possible Accommodations

    1. Give the students printouts of overhead projector materials. It is very difficult for them to see and copy the material.

    2. Give the students your notes or an outline of the lecture if you have them.

    3. Enlarge tests.

    4. When using the chalkboard, lessen the glare as much as possible, and write in big letters.

    5. Clear, black-on-white copies of printed materials are a necessity.

    6. Important information should be emphasized verbally and not just on the chalkboard.

    7. The partially sighted may need extended test time.

    8. Use bright light in the classroom and in hallways.

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    Partially sighted students usually do not mind talking about their disability or needs. They probably cannot drive, so it would be nice for students to offer them rides to the laundry, grocery store, out to lunch or to a party. They may need help reading signs in the canteen or cafeteria.

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  • Contact CDS Updated 03/11/02