3rd post in a seriesÂ examiningÂ web based resources for educators that work with Special Needs students
Just as with my recentÂ posts focused on ADD & ADHD, andÂ 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 resourcesÂ intended for educators that work with the visually impaired, lookingÂ them over, andÂ gathering together a useful and concise set of them. Inevitably, some of these listing areÂ 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 aÂ set of resources that is informative and in depth. If you areÂ aÂ teacher or educational administrator (orÂ parent!) looking for information and tools to help youÂ succeed in your work with the visually impaired, I am confident thatÂ you will find some of these resources very worthwhile.
Tools (software, other Assistive Technologies)
The linksÂ belowÂ focus specifically on tools to assist the visually impaired student. In the section that follows, “Documentation-based Resources”,Â IÂ provide a number of links to online sources ofÂ documentation designed toÂ help educators working with these students, but some of these also contain further information about tools andÂ assistive technologies.Â Â Â
This page from Arizona State Schools provides a niceÂ overview (by way of a list of examples)Â 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,Â followed by a table of annotated links to over a hundred resources.Â (The TSBVI web site is referenced againÂ below, as it rose to the top as the most thorough and usefulÂ site I came across -Â most link lists about teaching visually impaired students refer to pages on this site).
Magnification Programs for the Computer ScreenÂ (for partial site visual impairments): ThisÂ web page explains various approaches to screen magnification, and includes a link toÂ this page, which provides access to overviews of 14 screen magnification products.
In this video, a teacherÂ demonstrates variousÂ devices for helping visually impaired students.
The Instructional Resources page fromÂ the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired: This is the mostÂ extensive, and most referenced,Â 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 nearlyÂ 10 years worth of archived newslettersÂ 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:Â 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'sÂ 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:Â 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, afterÂ which we willÂ 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!