Student Profiles: Visually Impaired

Definition: Students who have no usable sight or who have low vision sufficient to require accommodation.

Equipment considerations for students who are blind should include:
• screen reading hardware and software such as Artic and Jaws
• Braille translation software (Duxbury), Braille printer and Refreshable Braille display (Navigator)
• Braille 'Speak and Type 'N Speak note-taking devices
Visually Impaired (Student "I"):

Student "I" is legally blind; he has visual acuity less than 20/200. His vision cannot be corrected and he has a guide dog to assist him. "I" uses Braille and computer support with voice technology. "I" has been in the workforce for several years, employed as a computer programmer, but has been recently laid-off due to industry cuts. "I" wants to start a small business to provide accounting services to the public. He is registered in the Business Accounting Program and has the necessary computer adaptive equipment at home.


Relevant Accommodations:

Teaching Tips:

• can see light and faded shadows only

• relevant workplace experience

• relies on auditory and tactile senses

• well trained in voice adaptive software

• environmental adaptations such as Braille labels, extended hand rails for stairways, sound alarms etc.

• guide dog, white cane

• orientation and mobility training for college environment

• tape recorder / Braille devices / note-takers

• voice calculators• texts in alternative form-preference is Braille or scanned/edited on disk over audio-tapes

• access to computer with voice synthesizer in classroom or testing area

• pre-semester trials of course software with voice synthesizer

• alternatives of oral or taped assignments

• reduced course load

• provide materials in alternative forms

• read aloud all information that is presented to the class when alternatives to print are not readily available

• limit or eliminate auditory distractions within the classroom

• seating near electrical source for tape recording, use of other devices

• provide detailed descriptions of materials and content while avoiding general terms such as this, there, it etc.

• permit timely discussions with the student regarding clarification

Visually Impaired (Student "J"):

Student "J" is partially sighted. She is 19 years of age and has completed all requirements for a secondary school diploma. She has no functional vision in one eye, and the other eye is effective with low acuity. Through the Assistive Devices Program and her local CNIB office, "J" completed an assessment for adaptive technology. She has used magnification software (Zoom Text) for several years and looks forward to integrating it within her courses in the Computer Programmer Program. Also, "J" intends to maintain a full course load and is a strong self-advocate. She expects to meet all requirements with few accommodations.

Equipment considerations for students with partial vision should include:
• screen reading hardware and related software such as Artic, Jaws and Text Assist
• reading machines such as the Kurzweil Personal Reader
• large monitors
• screen magnification software such as Zoom Text


Relevant Accommodations:

Teaching Tips:

• functional vision in one eye

• able to read with the assistance of magnifying glasses, reading machine, enlargement software and computer

• orientation to the environment

• environmental adaptations such as, raised markers, extended hand-rails on stairways, bright floor markings an signage

• magnifiers and reading machine as needed

• installation of access software in all computer classrooms and labs (Zoomtext)

• text materials in large print or audio-tapes

• tape recorder

• note-takers

• extended time frames for assignment deadlines

• extended time, computer with access equipment for tests

• provide an orientation to the classroom, especially if it is a lab

• provide course information in advance to allow pre-reading and preparation

• verbalize directions and descriptions in full detail

• provide seating at the front and/or near electrical outlet for reading machine

• print

• use tactile aids when possible

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