Visually Impaired

  • Resources


    Introduction Letter

    Hello ____ Community,

     Thanks so much to you all for helping our student who is blind, ____, to be a part of our wonderful family.  ____ is placed in _____, and is making a strong start to the year.  He loves school!  I have put together some thoughts for how ____ works, how we can feel comfortable around him, and how to best help him be independent.

    1. ____ is very intelligent and has excellent hearing.   Please address your conversation about him directly to him, rather than to any adult who is with him.  Remember that if you talk over ____’s head to another adult, ____ hears and understands every word you say.  Please identify yourself when you speak to ____.

    2. ____ can usually do his tasks independently, and that is our aim for him at ____.  He should generally not require your help.  Ask ____ if he wants your help first.  Give him cues rather than doing a task for him.  Offer information rather than help. Then try to step back.

    3. If you are giving ____ directions, use specific description.  A vague direction like, “Do it like this,” can be replaced by “Fold your paper lengthwise.”  “I’m over here,” can be replaced with “I am behind you to your right.” When referring to objects, think about attributes other than color, such as shape, weight, texture, size, and location. Use normal language such as "look" and "see."
    4. ____ is learning how to use the tools and adaptations that allow him to accomplish tasks without eyesight.  While these tasks are different than the tasks sighted people learn, they are no more difficult than the tasks sighted children accomplish. For example, learning to read Braille is no harder than learning to read print. He is learning how to compute using an abacus. He is learning how to use an electronic braille display interfaced with a computer, and is learning how to use speech access technology.  He is an eager and curious learner.

    5. ____ orients to spaces using a long white cane.  This device serves a bit like an insect’s antenna, allowing ____ to feel and hear obstacles, stairs and turns.  Sighted people should behave normally around him, not jump out of the way or try to jump over his cane.  An exception would be older students forming groups that block hallways or sidewalks: these students can help ____ by being mindful of keeping passageways clear.

    6. Please don’t lead ____ around by the hand or shoulder, or ask students to lead him.  ____ uses “sighted guide technique” where ____ holds a child’s elbow or an adult’s wrist for help with navigation on routes he does not yet know.

    7. One area where ____ can always use your help is in facilitating social interaction and friendships.  So much of social interaction uses vision, so ____ does need ongoing support in building strong relationships, especially with other kids.  Please help kids understand that they need to follow the same guidelines as adults, as listed above.

    Thanks again to you all for welcoming ____ so warmly to the ___community!  If you have time, and your students are curious (they almost always are), please feel free to review these guidelines with them.  I am available to talk with you individually, or provide a staff inservice training, if you have further questions.