Visual impairments affect many students and can involve a variety of other issues such as tracking, processing, and convergence. These issues can significantly impact children throughout their school day.
Visual impairment is an eligibility category under IDEA and, in May 2017, the Office for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued policy guidance for children with visual impairments regarding ensuring children are properly identified. However, little guidance is given once your child is identified as having visual impairment needs. Visual impairments can affect children in a wide variety of ways. Below is a list of supports that can benefit children with visual impairments:
–Using a tracking guide while reading.
–Preferential seating near the teacher or board.
–Frequent rest breaks during prolonged reading or studying periods.
–Encouragement to maintain good reading posture and proper lighting. The optimum reading and writing distance is approximately equal to the distance from an individual’s elbow to the first knuckle of the middle finger, known as the Harmon Distance.
–Minimize chalkboard/smartboard to desk copying and, where possible, substitute desk copy work.
–Provide printed material in large font (16pt) and in an uncluttered manner.
–Color coding text books and note books by subject.
–Use of a planner to record assignments and appointments.
–Review multi step and sequential directions to assure understanding.
Proper accommodations that address your child’s unique needs will relieve the burden on visual demands of education within the classroom so that your child can focus on the substance of the material presented.