Low Vision News

For low vision specialists and those who consult them

How can teachers help children with visual impairment?

I saw a 5-year old child with albinism in the low vision clinic this morning. She is going to start school in September, and her mother asked me to give her a list of things she should ask the teacher to do, to help her daughter to see more easily.

Of course, each child with visual impairment should have access to a Teacher of the Visually Impaired or Peripatetic Teacher to assess the child’s performance in the classroom and to create specific advice for the teacher. Nevertheless, I thought it worth repeating my advice below. This girl’s visual acuity was 6/60 (20/200), she had only moderate photophobia, and her near visual acuity was N12.

My advice was:

Things which the school can do to make things easier for **** include:
– Ensuring that she sits close to the board
– Ensuring that the writing on the board is large and bold enough for **** to read, and that the contrast is high (black ink on a whiteboard; white chalk on a blackboard)
– Enlarging text to at least font size 24 for printed work and worksheets [this girl’s near visual acuity was 12 point. An acuity reserve of 2x is the minimum for fluent reading, so I usually recommend at least double the near visual acuity]
– Making sure that she does not have to share books (as she will have to be close to them to read them easily)
– Allowing her to use her glasses, sunglasses, magnifier, binoculars, bookrest, and a hat if needed
– Allowing her to use a thick black pen to write in if this helps her
– Ensuring that **** has access to a large screen computer, that the text and cursor are enlarged to an appropriate size, and that she is allowed to sit as close to the screen as she needs to
– Making sure that there is enough light for **** to see clearly
– Making sure that window blinds are used if the sun is shining towards ****’s eyes (causing glare)
– Ensuring that **** is able to fully participate in all school activities, including sport, play activities and music

I would appreciate comments from other clinicians, teachers and rehab workers about this list: maybe we can create a universal list of items which teachers should consider when they find they have a child with visual impairment in their class.

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