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Teaching Science to Students with Visual Impairments

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Tiffany Travis

on 1 November 2013

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Transcript of Teaching Science to Students with Visual Impairments

How to teach

to Students with Visual
What does visual impairment mean?
Definition in IDEA 2004

...an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. [300.8(c)(13)]
Importance of hearing, sensory learning
According to Sahin and Yorek (2009), they are just as capable as sighted peers if given accommodations
Usually placed in general education classrooms
Few take science classes through grade 12 (Fraser & Maguvhe, 2008)
Trouble keeping up with pace of general education classes
Biggest barrier: attitude of others
Implications on Family and School Community:
Barriers to science classes:
Teachers aren't proficiently trained
Secondary versus elementary level
General educators versus special educators
Negative views of parents and teachers
Not enough accessible technology
Sense of vision allows integration of abstract concepts
Science learning relies primarily on vision
observations are key (experiments)
Adapting the curriculum:
Individualized focus
extra time
alternative assignments with similar goals
make documents/materials accessible through assistive technology
alternative assessments
multi-sensory approach
tactile diagrams/models
seating/class environment
emphasize safety
Collaborative Learning
assistance from sighted individuals
experiments/labs done in groups
Role of the teacher:
Dynamic approach
Relationship with learner
Availability of resources in other formats/media
Class management
Encourage inquiry
Conscious of how and what you say
"Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; include me and I'll understand"

-Chinese Proverb

Assistive Technology:
by Tiffany Travis
How students with visually impairments learn:
Braille Notetaker
Types of Visual Impairments
Key Facts
Children receiving special education services in 2011:
Ages 3-5: 3,447
Ages 6-21: 25,670
US statistics (2012):
Vision difficulty: 490,420
Severe vision impairment: 42,000
Legally blind: 59,341
"How then does one proceed when nature's most basic and powerful tool for observing -that of sight- is missing?" (Lumadi & Maguvhe, 2012, p.376).
Talking Calculator
Braille Writer
Screen Reading Software
Science Laboratory Adaptation:
Adapted Materials
Digital balances
Talking thermometers
Braille rulers and timers
Liquid level indicator
Models: cells, human body, DNA
Pre-made tactual graphics (APH)
Interactive periodic table set
Use of rubber mats to stabilize
Hot plates
Braille label makers to label lab equipment
Braille paper and a tracing wheel
Use hot glue gun to make tactile drawings/figures
Repro-Tronics thermo-pen
Build your own models
Puff paint
The Novint Falcon
Slate and stylus
Degrees of Visual Impairment
Totally Blind:
no useful vision; 100% reliance on auditory and tactile means
Functionally Blind:
very little vision; relies mostly on auditory and tactile means
Low Vision:
relies primarily on the vision they do have, but will incorporate auditory and tactile means if helpful
Services offered :
Early Intervention: up to age 3
Special education/related services (ages 3-21)

orientation and mobility services, Braille services, accommodations and assistive technology needed, media accessibility
Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI)

works with students, general education teachers, parents, and community services regarding services specific to vision loss
ensures education is adapted for student's unique learning needs
Adapt the home and family
Get to know your child's needs
Communicate with IEP team, professionals, and educators
Orient students to school
Inclusion considerations
Modifications in school:
Signs with braille
Available resources
Ensure classroom accessibility
Encourage responsibility and independence
Learn by doing
Braille Embosser
Full transcript