Other considerations for blind and low vision
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).
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.
Check that homework is accessible for blind and low vision students Some students may need extended due dates for homework and assignments.
Excursions to places that are accessible for students who are blind or 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).
The School Sport Unit provides inclusive sport and physical activity opportunities and pathways for students with disability across NSW. These focus on ability, participation, enjoyment and skill development. Opportunities include gala days, Multi-Sport days, knockouts and Come-and-Try Athletics days, and are available for students with disability who learn in mainstream classrooms, support classes in mainstream schools and Schools for Specific Purposes.
Inclusive school sport programs have the potential to support a student with disability’s social, emotional, mental and physical health. Watch Lexie and Anna’s stories of what sport and physical activity, both at school and in their journey through the representative school sport pathway, has meant to them.
Low vision aids
Some students might use low vision aids (LVAs) like closed-circuit television (CCTV), tablets and electronic magnification to read standard printed material.
Not all educational materials will be useable with LVAs.
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 friend or peer who can help students navigate busy areas safely (for example, lunch areas and basketball courts).
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?”).
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.
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.