2Definitions of VisualImpairments• Visual Impairments /blend/- vision cannot be primary learning channel• Partially Sighted- some useful vision – person may see colorsand figures with blurring- vision between 20/70 and 20/200• Legal definition: any of the following- only reads first E with both eyes- 20/200 vision with glasses- tunnel vision (less than 20 degrees)
3Definitions Continued• IDEA- an impairment in vision that even withcorrection, adversely affects educationalperformance– Functionally blind – uses Braille but has vision forenvironmental tasks– Low vision – can read with magnification orenvironmental modification– Totally blind- must use tactual and auditory learning;no meaningful input through vision.
4Characteristics of VisualImpairments• Limitations in range and variety of experiences• Limitations in mobility• Limitations in environmental interactions• Can affect- incidental learning – concepts like “table”- social interactions- career development.
5Challenges of VisualImpairment in the Classroom• Fewer opportunities to acquire informationvisually ( i.e. maps ,art)• Learning Difficulties- may read very slowly –fall behind- difficult to meet the demands of generaleducation classroom• Social difficulties- can’t catch non-verbal cues from others- inability to judge distance ( i.e. stand tooclose when socializing)
6SignsWhat might I see in a child thatsuggests he or she may have a visualimpairment?*Children often times have difficulty verbalizingor explaining a vision concern. Look forsymptoms in three areas: physical changes,changes in vision and changes in behavior.
7Physical Changes• Eyes that are wandering, bloodshot, encrusted orhave reoccurring redness or watering• Pain or itching in the eyes• Rubbing eyes frequently• Frequent blinking, squinting, facial distortion orfrowning• Viewing things at a distance or very closely
8Physical Changes, Continued• Eyes turn inward, outward, upward ordownward• Eyes are very sensitive to light• Frequent headaches, tiredness or dizzinessafter doing hard work• Has sties frequently• Trips and bumps easily
9Changes in Vision• Complains about things being blurry• Holds hand close to eyes or moves it infront of them• Tilts head or covers one eye to see
10Changes in Behavior• Irritable when looking at things far awayor when doing written work on their own• Short attention span when watchingsomething happening from across the room
11Assessment ProceduresWho is responsible for determiningwhether a child has a visual impairment,and what assessments are done?• Teacher: Observes child everyday so should lookfor symptoms & begin assessment process• Ophthalmologist or Optometrist: Does medicaleye exam and report
12Assessment ProceduresContinued• School District or Local Agency: Responsible forproviding educational assessments *(prerequisitefor this is either a diagnosis or other reason tosuspect impairment)• Psychologist: Does assessment of functionalvision skills to see how impairment will affecteducational development
13Assessment Procedures Continued• Visual acuity – eye chart• Functional vision assessment (FVA) – howstudents use vision in variety of naturalenvironments• Learning media assessment (LMA) – todetermine most appropriate reading media
14Prevalence and CausesOfLegal BlindnessAlbinism: Albinism is caused by alteredgenes,which are inherited. These genes do notallow the body to make the correct amounts ofmelanin. 1 in every 17,000 people has one typeof albinism.
15Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness Continued• Blindness: Blindness is caused by manyimpairments. The most general arecataracts and glaucoma.
16Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedCataract: Cataracts are caused by aging.The lens in one’s eye changes with age.No one really understands why thishappens. Between the ages of 52-64 youhave a 50% chance of getting a cataract.By age 75 just about everybody has acataract.
17Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness Continued• Diabetic Retinopathy: This is causedby diabetes. Diabetes affects theretinal blood vessels and causesbleeding which blocks transmission oflight through the eye. A 1/3 ofdiabetics will develop diabeticretinopathy.
18Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedGlaucoma: This is caused by thebuilt-up pressure in the eye, whichdoes not allow normal flowage,preventing proper drainage. Aboutthree million Americans haveglaucoma.
19Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedHemianopsia: This impairment iscaused by a malfunction ordamage to one side of the optictract. This causes “half-vision”.
20Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedMacular Degeneration: This is causedby hereditary and untreatable diseases.It affects the macular area of theretina. About 15 million Americanshave this impairment.
21Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedRetinal Detachment: Retinaldetachment is caused by theweakening of the retina. This iscaused by fluid leaking behind theretina and then it pulls away from itnormal position.
22Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedRetinitis Pigmentosa: (nightblindness) The cause of this disease isunknown but is suspected to be anenzyme is the retina. Most types areheredity. The most common type(52%) occurs mostly in teenagers andgets severe around age 60.
23Prevalence and CausesOfLegal Blindness ContinuedStrabismus: (crossed-eyed) This is causedby the lack of muscle coordination. Itcauses the eye to point in differentdirections. The eyes are unable to focus onthe same point. This is more prevalent infemales than males. About 40 per 1,000people have this impairment.
24Strategies or Methods for ModifyingCurriculum• Arrange the classroom carefully and leaveadequate space for all students to moveabout.• Keep furniture and supplies in the sameplaces so students can learn whereeverything is.• If you do rearrange the room notify thestudent to give them time to readjust.
25continued• Keep aisles clear.• Assign a buddy at the beginning of the year.• Identify novels you plan to use so they can beordered in Braille, large-print, or audiotapeformat.• Use a whiteboard with black felt-tipped markers.• Recite what has been written on the board.
26Strategies or Methods cont.• Call students by name so they can learn sounds ofeveryone’s voices and where they are seated.• Allow students to move close to demonstrations anddisplays.• Give specific directions instead of using general wordssuch as “here” or “there”.• Seat students to optimize visual learning.• Meet with the itinerant vision specialist or other resourcepersons to discuss the student’s needs and the extent ofassistance required.
27continued• Allow students additional time to complete assignmentsand monitor those students closely to make sure they arenot spending too much time on a single task.• Have large print materials.• Low vision devices allows students to read print and tosee distant objects such as writing on a chalkboard.• Verbally describe visual aids.• Keep doors fully open or closed to prevent accidents.
28Accessing Information• Braille – tactile code• Optical devices such as glasses, telescopes,magnifying lenses• Large print books
29Communication: The studentThe student: Communication with thestudent is key in finding out specificlearning preferences, likes/dislikes,strengths/weaknesses, and in starting anopen line of communication that willcontinue through the school year.
30Communication: Past teachersPast teachers: Find out who the child hashad for teachers in the past 2-3 years,general education and special education ifapplicable. Take some time to talk withthese teachers to find out what they learnedfrom their experience with the child.
31Communication: A specialistA Specialist: Finally, when you havequestions about general abilities of a childwith the visual impairment, ask someonewho will be able to completely outline itfor you.
32OrientationA child with a visual impairment needs time to become aware ofsurroundings and to be comfortable in a new place. Have the child come to your classroom before classes start andtake the time to explain where everything is, and let the childexplore and figure it out for him or herself. Make sure that supplies are kept in the same place. Fire drills and other procedural activities need to be explainedand the routes walked with the child. Assign everyone in theroom a partner for these activities so the child is not singledout. Make sure that doors, drawers, etc. remain open or shut, notslightly or half open.
33Tools*A child with a visual impairment may use anumber of different tools to aid in the learningprocess.*Find out which of these tools the child you will beteaching uses and become familiar with them.*Know how they work and how they can be usedmost effectively.*Consider introducing these tools to the rest of thechildren in the classroom so curiosity isappeased.
34TextsLet the child know, or make priorarrangements to have the texts that youwill be using in your classroomavailable in an alternate form such asBraille or on tape.Make sure to read what you write on theboard out loud.
35ActivitiesExamine planned activities to look for possibleconflicts of ability to expectations.Make sure to give the directions orally usingspecific language, while avoiding words like“here” or “there.”Consider doing activities in partners to add anotherset of ears and another communicator to thesituation, but be careful of balance in the workdone.