Essay: Support for Students Who Are Visually Impaired
If all blind or visually impaired students had the proper support and were taught the skills necessary to address their disability and specific needs, they would have the enhanced capacity to participate in a mainstream classroom where the majority of the students do not have visual impairments. This essay addresses considerations that educators should implement into the Framework of Support for students who are visually impaired.
For the purposes of this paper the term “visually impaired” refers to people with low vision as well as to those who are blind. “Visually impaired” is a term that includes all levels of vision loss. Visual impairment is defined as any impairment in vision that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Educators should consider a variety of factors when designing an appropriate framework of support for someone who is visually impaired. For some individuals, visual impairment is their only disability, while for others vision impairment comes along with several identified disabilities that will affect, to varying degrees, learning and social integration. For example, some visually impaired children also possess hearing, orthopedic, emotional or cognitive disabilities.
The reason some visually impaired students with the same degree of vision loss function very differently is because adapting to vision loss is shaped by individual factors, such as availability of resources, extent of family support and degree of intellectual, emotional, physical, and motor functioning. Therefore, in addition to the environment and extent of vision loss, educators should consider individual factors, such as the ones mentioned above when designing an appropriate framework of support for a visually impaired student.
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