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Teaching Strategies
Blind or Visually Impaired Students

College requires enormous amounts of reading, and this is perhaps the single largest barrier for students who are blind or visually impaired. There is tremendous variability in the level of impairment for this group of students. Basically, there are students who are "legally blind," which is defined as having worse than 20/200 vision after correction, and students who are totally blind. Some students have diseases that cause their visual acuity to fluctuate from time to time, thus necessitating accommodations during this time period. Students who are visually impaired may benefit from the following strategies:

Instructional Strategies to Help Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

  • Provide a list of required textbooks and/or syllabi in advance to allow time for arrangements such as texts on tape, or enlarged print.
  • Permit lecture notes to be taped and/or provide enlarged copies of lecture notes where appropriate.
  • Make available large print copies of classroom materials by enlarging them on a photocopier.
  • Convey in spoken words whatever you write on the chalkboard.
  • Read aloud subtitles when using media resources.
  • Assist the student in finding note takers or readers as necessary.
  • Reserve front row seats for students who are visually impaired.
  • Inform students who are blind if you rearrange classroom furniture.
  • Keep classroom doors fully opened or closed. Do not leave them ajar.
  • Contact the office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities to assist in arranging tests in alternate formats, i.e.., oral, taped, or enlarged print. A minimum of five working days notice is requested.