SNHU Instructional Support Services

Creating An Inclusive Experience For Students With Low Vision And Students Who Are Blind:

Updated

  • Speaking with a person who is blind or visually impaired is the same as saying with anyone else. However, because someone who is blind can't see you, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make the interaction more pleasant and rewarding for both of you. A student with vision loss may experience eye strain while reading, inability to read specific print, font size, colors, and maybe sensitivity to light. For students who are blind, the age of onset may affect mobility, spelling, and written communication.

What can you do to prepare for class?

Emphasize "people" first, before the disability, to avoid negative connotations

  • Identify yourself and greet the person by name. Even if the person has some vision, do not assume they can see you well enough to know who you are. Always greeting the person by name lets them know you are talking to them.
  • Provide descriptions of all visual elements when presenting a PowerPoint or when using a Whiteboard.
  • Provide electronic copies of the materials you'll be handing out or presenting via PowerPoint before the start of class.
  • Speak in a natural tone, unless the person is deaf or hard of hearing. There is no need to assume you need to change your vocabulary for them or that they need you to speak slowly or loudly.
  • When the conversation is over, verbally indicate this to the person you are speaking to. 
  • Do not simply walk away without letting the person know you are leaving. 
  • Avoid speaking in the third person. A person who is blind does not need translation of a conversation through a third person.
  • Remember that much of how we communicate is visual: facial expressions, smiles, and eye contact convey much information. We need to emphasize communicating through words and tone of voice rather than facial expressions and body language.
  • Do not interact with a working guide dog. A guide dog is similar to an extension of the body of the person who is blind. When a guide dog is working, leave them to focus on their job without interference.
  • Describe the layout of the classroom, lab, and clear all walkways.
  • Let the person know if the door is fully opened or closed.
  • Encourage others to clap as opposed to raising hands in the classroom.
  • Give verbal indications when the class has ended and dismissed the class.
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