Sunday, December 19, 2004

Visually Impaired Tips

As a teacher, I had the opportunity to teach to a student that was legally blind over a period of two years. Here are some tips that will help you to answer the needs of your student, make his/her life easier and less frustrating. Also, his/her parents will be relieved to know that their child's needs are met at school as well.

  • Read your student's file as it will allow you to identify the all the special needs of your student.

  • Meet with the parents and discuss the needs of your student as well as ways and resources required to allow your student to grow and learn in a safe environment.

  • Make a plan with the collaboration of your student's parents, the resource teacher and the administration. This way, you will have the resources and the support made available to you so you are able to focus on the special needs of your student. It is important that you are aware that you are not alone in this unknown situation.

  • Have an early Orientation Session for your student and his/her parents to allow him/her to identify a variety of obstacles, rooms, paths, exits to facilitate his way on the school property, in a safe manner and diminish the stress level.

  • Contact CNIB who will make information, tips and resources available to assist you with meeting the needs of your student.

  • Train a substitute person to assist your students with his/her needs if you are absent or unavailable. This way, it will reassure both your student and his/her parents.

  • Inform the Substitute Teacher by including all the necessary informations on your students special needs as it will enable the student to have his/her needs met with cooperation and understanding from the substitute teacher.

  • Always be available and flexible to meet your students needs and do not assume that every staff member is aware of your students special needs.

  • Inform your class briefly and superficially on the nature of your studen's needs and adaptations when necessary so they understand the changes and adaptations made for this student. Please, do not do this in front of the student as it might make him/her feel uncomfortable.

  • Discipline is the same for everyone and inform your student that you will adapt the consequences but not exempt him/her from the rules as everyone must follow them.

  • Make some adaptations or changes and do not be timid in asking for special resources or support to assist you. Ask your student or test him/her if unknown, the tools and methods needed to meet his/her needs. For example, does he/she needs the following items or teaching methods: learning braille, special paper, special colours of chalk, paper or transparents? Is your writing is big enough when you write on the blackboard?

In the following articles, I will give you some activities, informations, resources and tips that will enable you to make a difference in your student's life.