Module 4: Accommodations for Vision Impairments
Reading or Writing (Assignments, Lecture Materials)
Educators must be able to review and grade student papers, develop handouts, highlight points visually during lectures (e.g., write on a board), and complete paperwork.
Educators with acuity limitations may have difficulty reading text or writing by hand, particularly when the material includes symbols. They may also have difficulty accessing graphical materials.
Accommodation options may include:
- Prepare lecture visuals in advance and present them using a computer LCD projector or overhead projector.
- Convert printed materials into an electronic file that can be reviewed with other technologies.
Hard copy documents can be converted to an electronic file by digitizing it with a scanner and converting the image to text using optical character recognition (OCR) software. The file can then be magnified, read out loud, or converted into another format (see Using a Computer). Flat bed scanners allow for an entire page to be scanned and converted at once. Newer devices combining a PDA with digital camera provide a portable means to immediately scan and read out loud short amounts of text. Some text books and references are already available in electronic format.
- Print documents, including lecture notes, on different colors of non-glossy paper.
- Use large print (18-22 point fonts) for documents, lecture notes, folder labels, seating charts, etc.
- Use a hand held or desktop magnifier to enlarge text.
- Use a CCTV (closed circuit TV) to magnify documents, books, etc.
This type of system uses a video camera to focus on the material and presents an enlarged image on a monitor. Some video cameras can be tilted to either focus on materials on a table top or on other things in the environment, such as a white board.
- Use a white board instead of a chalk board to maximize contrast.
- Use large, high contrast fonts on PowerPoint slides or overhead transparencies.
More Significant Vision Loss or Blind
- Use recorded versions of text books and references (e.g., Books on Tape) .
- Use auditory recordings of other materials that must be referenced.
Tape or digitally record procedural steps and such that need to be occasionally referenced.
- Use Braille* for reading and writing (e.g., text books, lecture notes, labels).
Braille, for the few people who are blind who are fluent in it, offers a means to review material one character at a time. This is particularly useful when an educator must review spelling, programming code or mathematical equations. However, according to Jernigan (1994), in 1993, fewer than 9% of registered blind students could read Braille. These numbers are likely to be lower for adults who become blind later in life.
- Used tactile graphics.
Raised lines, labeled with Braille, can be used to create tactile representations of graphs, flow charts, seating charts, or equipment setup diagrams.
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