Other considerations for blind and low vision

Braille

Some blind and low vision students will be learning Braille. Braille is a system of raised dots which can be read by touch using fingers.

Teaching Braille requires training, however teachers and SLSOs can support students using Braille. For example, organising for students’ names to be written in Braille and providing materials in Braille may be helpful.

Braille and Large Print Services provide support and materials in alternate formats for vision impaired students who are supported by an itinerant support teacher (vision).

Behaviour

Identifying what may be causing a student’s behaviour can help both the teacher and the student feel less frustrated.

Some common causes of behaviours of concern include difficulty in communicating their wants and needs, feeling anxious, sensory overload, trouble understanding or working on a task, or not understanding the expectations.

Encouragement and acknowledging positive behaviour may help. Encouragement that is linked to a student’s interests may be particularly helpful.

Refer to the behaviour page for more information on how to reduce behaviour of concern by supporting the student and promoting more appropriate behaviour, and our emotions page for more information about supporting a student with managing their emotions.

Homework

Check that homework is accessible for blind and low vision students. Some students may need extended due dates for homework and assignments.

Excursions

Excursions to places that are accessible for students with blind and low vision, such as places where there are Braille signs and audio guides, can support a student’s learning.

Museums, galleries, and science exhibits often have Braille signs and audio guides. Places with hands-on activities are ideal (for example. the aquarium).

Transitions

Students who are blind or low vision may need extra support with the transition to high school. This might mean a Personalised Learning and Support plan.

For more information about supporting students with disability when transitioning to a primary or high school setting access our transition page.

Low vision aids

Some students might use low vision aids (LVAs) like iPads™ and electronic magnification to read standard printed material.

Not all educational materials will be useable with LVAs.

Safety

Students who are blind and low vision might need extra support with safety as they may be unaware of hazards in classrooms and outdoors.

New objects, furniture and rearranging rooms can be a safety concern. They will need to be carefully oriented to new environments such as playgrounds or new classrooms. Check that rooms are free from clutter and arranged simply.

Consider having a buddy who can help students navigate busy areas safely (for example, playgrounds). 

First aid

When applying first aid, talk to students about what you are going to do and check they are happy for you to apply first aid (for example, “I am putting on a band aid. Is that OK?”).

Safety drills

Teachers or SLSOs will need to guide blind and low vision students through emergency drills. It may help to pair students with a buddy.

Consider the accessibility of evacuation points and procedures.

Friendships

Students who are blind or low vision might need to be directed to find their friends in crowded rooms or areas, especially during recess or lunch time. Similarly, directing students to friends or providing quiet areas where students who are blind or low vision can engage with their friends can be helpful. Check if the student is happy for a teacher or SLSO to intervene.

Some students might be asked questions, or teased, about visual aids such as glasses, eye patches, strabismus (cross-eyed), canes or assistive devices. Consider teaching the other students about blind and low vision if the student and their family wishes for you to do so. This can help other students understand the student’s experience and develop empathy. Access our peer information sheet about blind and low vision students.

Other co-occuring conditions

Students who are blind or low vision may experience cerebral palsy or anxiety and other challenges with fine and gross motor skills, learning and memory, sensory processing, or social skills.
 
Refer to  understanding disability page or  common needs page to help support the student.