Main content

Alert message

Teaching Math to Visually Impaired Students

About Susan A. Osterhaus M.Ed.

Secondary Mathematics Teacher
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 206-9305

Susan Osterhaus has been teaching secondary mathematics for 30! years at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, Texas. She has a bachelor's degree in Mathematics, a master’s degree in Mathematics Education, and certifications in Secondary Math, English, and Teaching the Visually Impaired from the University of Texas at Austin. Susan has taught or consulted with VI students from grades 6 through college, at achievement levels ranging from 3rd grade to talented and gifted.

Susan has refined teaching strategies related to math content to enhance the understanding of visually impaired students. She shares this level of experience freely with colleagues at TSBVI, throughout Texas, nationally, and internationally through presentations, workshops, videotapes, publications, and curriculum development. Susan developed and maintains a math homepage on the TSBVI Website, a resource through which she further shares her expertise in mathematics. She answers specific questions from around the world on the homepage and through phone calls and e-mail.

In addition to her teaching duties, Susan has been innovative in developing adaptive materials for blind and visually impaired students. She has served on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) committee, which developed guidelines for adapting and transcribing TAAS math and science questions for braille readers and is now doing so for the new Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). She also served as an expert on a three-year national research project, which produced the Computerized Nemeth Tutor. She was a consultant in the creation of Nemeth TACK-TILES©, a set of tactual braille blocks. She continues to serve on the Texas Braille Textbook Review Panel to assure the quality of math braille books, with particular emphasis on the Nemeth Code and tactile graphics. Through her efforts, APH now produces an affordable Braille/Print Protractor, which allows blind and visually impaired students to measure and construct angles independently. Susan is involved in technological research and development as a consultant, field tester, and net worker. She has beta-tested three Nemeth Code translation and two voice recognition software packages, three talking scientific calculators, an accessible graphing calculator, two talking tactile touch pads, the web-based MathPlayer, and more.

A recipient of numerous awards over the years, Susan was selected the 1998 Outstanding Teacher of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired for the United States by the Principals of Schools for the Blind (POSB) in conjunction with the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB). She was also appointed and continues to server as a member of the Mathematics Technical Committee (1998), the Tactile Graphics Technical Committee (2004), and the Ad Hoc Committee on Standardized Tests (2012) of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). She was the recipient of the JVIB Peer Reviewer of the Year Award for 2002. She received the Austin Silver Apple Award and was featured on KEYE TV on October 22, 2003. Susan was awarded the Julia L. Young award from TAER in 2004, in recognition of outstanding work with children who are blind or visually impaired in Texas. Susan helped organize the program and presented (in the Students with Special Needs Topic Study Group) for the 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education held in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 4-11, 2004. She also presented to a “standing room only” audience at HANDImatica in Bologna, Italy, on November 26, 2004. She was awarded the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Visual Impairments’ 2006 Teacher of the Year Award, for dedication, knowledge and skills in the field of visual impairments. She received the 2006 Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) Education Curriculum Division’s Joyce May Ogburn Award, for dedication and excellence in educating children with visual impairments. Most recently, Susan was selected as the Council for Exceptional Children Clarissa Hug 2007 Teacher of the Year, in recognition of outstanding special education teaching strategies, innovation, and ability to inspire children and youth with exceptionalities.

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse LogoCitations:

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. (2003). Mathematics and science for students with special needs. ENC Focus, 10(2), p 43. The web site was selected as an exemplary resource from the ENC Collection to illustrate this issue's theme of turning special needs into special opportunities.

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. (2000). Making schools work for every child. ENC Focus, 7(4), p 66. The web site was selected as an exemplary resource from the ENC Collection to illustrate this issue's theme of meeting the needs of all learners.

The catalog record printed in the magazine contains just the highlights of the full cat alog record. To go directly to the specific record:,1240,017234,00.shtm