A visual impairment encompasses the terms ‘blind’ and ‘low vision’ and can apply to persons with multiple disabilities who may require support and direct instruction in functional activities. Total blindness refers to only perceiving light and/or hand movement while low vision refers to having reduced acuity or reduced access to visual fields (e.g., peripheral vision). Additional considerations to low vision include: light sensitivity and glare, the need for high contrast and colour sensitivity/blindness.
Blindness, legal blindness, low vision, colour blindness, cortical vision impairment
Instructional Accommodation Examples
- Students with a visual impairment require additional teaching of concepts that they cannot acquire through using vision. Pre-teach concepts to provide opportunities for the student to become familiar with material before introducing it to the whole group.
- Provide access to a sighted guide or tether to increase independence in the physical environment (e.g., a staff who is trained to be a sighted guide).
- Describe and verbally explain concepts when providing instructions, and provide cues by using directional words (e.g., to the right, to the west, etc.).
- Provide visual and tactile access to instructions and information by using descriptions in braille or large print on instructional cards or signage (e.g., materials with visual and/or tactile contrast).
- Have students work in small groups to promote increased participation and consider using “Zones” to promote movement flow (e.g., more touches to the ball and greater movement and flow will provide greater engagement).
- When introducing new games, activities, and sports to the class, consider including adapted versions to demonstrate the different ways in which they can be played for students with a visual impairment (e.g., sharing examples of games such as goal ball, 5-sided soccer, blind hockey).
- Use equipment that provides auditory feedback (e.g., plastic beaded jump rope, balls containing bells).
Environmental Accommodation Examples
- Provide sound or noise makers such as beeping buttons to indicate the location of various equipment (e.g., nets or targets).
- Use brightly coloured and/or high contrast materials and equipment (e.g., materials with visual and/or tactile contrast).
- Provide tactile markings in the physical space to identify boundaries (e.g., rope tape on the floor to create a textured line).
- Ensure the environment is free from clutter, obstacles, or unused items.
- Where possible and safe to do so, ensure that the lighting in the physical space supports the student’s specific type of blindness or low vision impairment.
Assessment Accommodation Examples
- Allow for a variety of assessment methods (e.g., checklists, ongoing data tracking, anecdotal observations), assessment strategies (e.g., students can demonstrate their learning by using words to describe the skill concept or strategy) and multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning using the instructional and environmental strategies previously listed (e.g., increase time for the student to complete the task to effectively demonstrate their learning).
- Focus assessment on the overall expectation rather than each specific expectation.