3rd post in a series examining web based resources for educators that work with Special Needs students
Just as with my recent posts focused on ADD & ADHD, and Autism and PDD, it is not difficult to find resources focused on this week's special needs category – Visual Impairments. What I've focused on in this posting is finding resources intended for educators that work with the visually impaired, looking them over, and gathering together a useful and concise set of them. Inevitably, some of these listing are link lists, some of which may in turn lead to other link lists, which can be frustrating, but I tried to avoid duplicate listings, and to produce a set of resources that is informative and in depth. If you are a teacher or educational administrator (or parent!) looking for information and tools to help you succeed in your work with the visually impaired, I am confident that you will find some of these resources very worthwhile.
Tools (software, other Assistive Technologies)
The links below focus specifically on tools to assist the visually impaired student. In the section that follows, “Documentation-based Resources”, I provide a number of links to online sources of documentation designed to help educators working with these students, but some of these also contain further information about tools and assistive technologies.
This page from Arizona State Schools provides a nice overview (by way of a list of examples) of the types of Assistive Technology available for the visually impaired student.
The Assistive Technology page on the web site for the Texas School for the Blind: This educational institution provides extensive information on line, and there are many useful links on this page, grouped into 17 categories, followed by a table of annotated links to over a hundred resources. (The TSBVI web site is referenced again below, as it rose to the top as the most thorough and useful site I came across – most link lists about teaching visually impaired students refer to pages on this site).
Magnification Programs for the Computer Screen (for partial site visual impairments): This web page explains various approaches to screen magnification, and includes a link to this page, which provides access to overviews of 14 screen magnification products.
In this video, a teacher demonstrates various devices for helping visually impaired students.
The Instructional Resources page from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired: This is the most extensive, and most referenced, site that I came across in my research. In addition to the information and links on this site, TSBVI was publishing a quarterly newsletter, but it appears that this may have stopped. There are nearly 10 years worth of archived newsletters online in PDF format.
V.I. Guide: This site is another rich resource of extensive links, organized into 14 different categories.
e-ADVISOR's Teacher Page: e-ADVISOR is a collaborative project of eleven agencies that serve children with visual impairments. The information is presented in non-technical language, and is designed to facilitate communication between parents, teachers and doctors of visually impaired children.
The Teacher's section of the AFB (American Foundation for the Blind) site lists a handful of texts that deal with the subject of educating visually impaired children from birth through adulthood.
Position Papers from Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Visual Impairments: Professional practice, curriculum, and adaptations for students with visual impairments.
Next week we will examine web based resources for educators working with hearing impaired students, after which we will wrap up this series with a look at resources for educators working with students with physical disabilities. I hope you'll join us. As always, reader comments are welcomed – if you have any related observations or thoughts you would like to share, please do!