Teaching pupils with a visual impairment

  • Make sure any pupil who has glasses wears them.
  • Seat visually impaired children close to the blackboard, screen etc.
  • Think about the lighting, decor and organisation of the room.  Ask the visually impaired child what is best.
  • Consider a desk lamp for more seriously visually impaired child.
  • Supply taped instructions or enlarged text where necessary.
  • Think about and try out different colour combinations on screen and on paper; black and cream/white is probably best.
  • Be wary of textbooks which have text overprinted coloured backgrounds.
  • Glare, shadows and reflections can affect pupils’ vision.  Use of blinds on windows can be beneficial.
  • For more severely visually impaired pupils, the teacher should verbally describe everything he/she is doing.
  • Try to improve the listening environment by having a quiet classroom where possible
  • A severely visually impaired child can develop unusual mannerisms such as twiddling their fingers, poking their noses, rocking etc.  This is usually a sign of boredom or that they are confused and have switched off.  Do not let them do this – nag them until they stop or else it will carry through to adulthood.
  • Be aware of any changes in pupils or appearance of the eyes. Changes such as enlarging and non-dilation should be checked out by a medical practitioner even though it may be part of a condition such as tunnel vision.

P.E. and Visually Impaired Children

Children with severe visual impairments need to gain knowledge and control of his body in order to become aware of movement in space and movement that relates to people.  He/she needs to learn about what happens when he/she moves and how he/she can control their movements.

Play games where he/she has to stretch up high and wide and bend in half etc.

When doing movement use similes, ‘Stand up like a soldier’ ‘Beg like a dog’  This helps them relate movements and objects and helps visualise concepts.  ‘Crawl sideways like a crab’ ‘Wiggle like a worm’.

Name body parts. Play Simon Says, heads, shoulders knees and toes etc.  help young children learn left and right using a glove on one hand.

To help teach awareness of objects in relation to self, use an audible ball (available from RNIB) and teach bouncing and catching.  Teach him/her to skip with a rope.  (These activities will probably need the help of the classroom assistant or another child if done within a whole class situation.)

Teaching a systematic routine can help with getting ready for P.E.  The classroom assistant can teach this in the early stages.

1. Sit on floor – shoes off, socks off, Socks inside shoes, put under chair.

2. skirt or trousers off – cardigan, jumper, shirt off – lay out on top of desk in order.

3. P.E. shorts and T-shirt on.