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Chrissy Cowan, TVI

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired




  • Your VI teacher (TVI) should give you a copy of the Functional Vision Evaluation and Learning Media Assessment with detailed information about how your particular student uses his/her vision

  • Students with low vision should be encouraged to use their eyes to the maximum. Vision is not diminished by use

  • A student with albinism will be sensitive to the light and will sometimes require an adjustment period of about 10 minutes when he or she comes in from being in the sun

  • Allow the student to adjust his/her work to a position that he/she is most comfortable with

  • Do not use large print materials when regular print will suffice

  • Whenever an assignment refers to a picture (as in math workbooks) allow the student to look at the picture in a regular print book. The large print process distorts pictures

Reading the Board


  • Seat student near the board (within 3 to 5 feet) and in a central location, but within a group of students

  • Verbalize as you write on board

  • If possible, provide a copy of what you have written on the board to the student

  • Have another student with good handwriting copy off the board and make a copy of these notes.

  • Allow student to use a telescope supplied by the TVI (if this is done the student will probably need to be seated back away from the board to increase his/her visual field)

  • A clean board makes a better contrast and is easier to read

  • Avoid red/orange/yellow markers when writing on charts/white boards

Overhead Projectors/Video


  • Seat student close to the screen

  • Provide student with your overhead projector sheet or master copy so he or she can read and/or copy from it

  • Use a dark (preferably black) Vis-à-vis pen on the overhead sheet

  • Discuss movies thoroughly afterwards to make sure the student understands major concepts presented

  • A darkened room provides more contrast

  • Move the projector closer to the screen to produce a smaller, more distinct image

  • Make a good photo copy of your master

  • Do not use red ink

  • Record the assignment, provided that the student can function as well with a recording

  • Please be sure that your tests are completely legible. Ask the student to read parts of the test to you privately to be sure he or she can see all parts of the test

  • Give the student a little extra time

  • Avoid handing the student a paper and saying, “Do the best you can”. This only cheats the student out of the continuity of your lesson and can be frustrating



  • Light intensity can be regulated by adjusting distance from the window or light source

  • Artificial lights should be used whenever brightness levels become low in any part of the room.

  • Avoid glares on working surfaces (a piece of dark colored paper taped to the entire desk surface diminishes glare off the desk)



  • Avoid having students work in their own shadow or facing the light

  • Students may need to change their seats whenever they desire more or less light



  • White chalk offers more contrast on a clean chalkboard

  • Dry erase boards used with dark markers offer better contrast

  • Soft lead pencils and felt-tipped pens with black ink are recommended for use on unglazed light and tinted paper

  • Good contrast and white space between lines of print offer the best viewing comfort for lengthy reading assignments

  • Avoid using red/orange/yellow on Smartboards



  • Tests should be dark and clear

  • If there is a time element, please remember that a person with poor sight will frequently be a slower reader than a person with normal sight of the same intelligence. His or her eyes will tire much faster, so tests in the afternoon can be particularly difficult to read

  • On timed drills allow at least double the time for a student with low vision. Ideally they should be untimed

  • If the student is comfortable performing orally, tests could be given orally by another person who fills in the blanks. Please be careful here, as some people are not auditory performers, and it is a misconception that all blind and low vision students can perform better auditorily.

Physical Education/Recess


  • Check with TVI to see if there are any restrictions of activity or on visual fields

  • Ball Sports: practice catching, kicking, and batting with students to check whether or not he/she can see the ball in time to catch, kick, or bat

  • Use audible goals and/or balls (available from TVI) or use a radio as a goal locator (as in basketball)



  • Students with a visual impairment should be expected to participate in art. Consult with the TVI on adaptations for the art curriculum

Mobility and Orientation


  • Allow student to explore your room during the first week and whenever you make any major changes

  • Show student where his or her desk is, where materials are located, papers turned in, etc.

  • Point out the restrooms, water fountains, library, office, cafeteria, gym, and bus stops and ask that braille labels be placed outside each entry for blind students

  • Contact O&M specialist for detailed information