Teaching Vision Impaired Children

Vision impaired people engage with the world differently than sighted people. For many, sight is the primary sense by which we perceive and interpret the world; this means many learning environments are built around visual information. Unfortunately, this excludes blind students and can impede their development, especially in the early years. Thankfully, teachers are better equipped now to connect with visually impaired children and foster their growth. As a teacher, you can find various teaching tools and strategies, both simple and technologically advanced, to make this possible.

Tools for Early Braille Learning

All children love to learn and explore their surroundings, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. What changes are the learning tools teachers provide for them? Tactile senses are central to blind children, so any way to engage them this way is invaluable. The tactile perception skills necessary to read braille can be developed through play with materials like braille mazes or flash cards, embossed to be read as braille would be. Developing these skills early on, concurrent with when other students would be learning to read and write, enables blind students to learn and develop at the same pace.

Strategies for Accommodation

Teachers must adapt their curriculum and approach when including visually impaired students at any age. An accessible environment is one that children can learn to physically navigate with ease, so teachers should arrange the classroom appropriately during lectures and activities. Precise positional terms are important, too, when instructing blind children in activities. These are good practices for teachers of any young students, though, so they’re good to keep in mind anyway.

Additionally, teachers can benefit from using or providing technology for conveying information via braille to visually impaired students. This ranges from braille printers that emboss points on heavyweight paper to screen readers and braille terminals when using computers or personal reading devices.