Last updated: July 10, 2019
Topic: EducationSchool
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There are different types of visual impairments, and, just as with any other exceptionality, the severity varies based on the individual. For someone to be legally blind, their visual acuity (the ability to distinguish forms or discriminate among details) (Heward 325) must be 20/200 in the better eye (Heward 325). There are people who are partially sighted, in which their visual acuity is above 20/70 but below 20/200. There are several resources available within the education system for students with visual impairments. There is money set aside in school districts for each student who is legally blind in order for them to use that money toward technology or assistance. There was an example given in the text in which a girl who was visually impaired was asked to identify a banana peel by feeling it. She had tasted a banana, could spell the word, could describe it and facts about it, but could not say what it was just by feeling it. This example was give to emphasize that regular sighted students are able to process certain things more efficiently because they have more senses in which they can use connections in daily life. There are certain characteristics of students with visual impairments. They do not always excel in social situations as they are unable to see body language and facial expressions. Often times, because they cannot see the speaker, they fail to make eye contact, and people often assume that they are uninterested. In addition, there exists something called a stereotypic behavior (the less appropriate term is blindism). These are things that people with visual impairments do repetitively, such as poking their eyes and flapping their hands. People who do this are often trained specifically in self monitoring so that they are more aware of these movements that can be distracting and or harmful to themselves or others. Depending on the level of visual impairment, there have been many pieces of technology used to assist students with visual impairments. Most of them know Braille, which is their main source of literacy, but there are also things like small magnifying glasses and large print that can assist them. 
There are abundant resources in education for students with visual impairments and also a vast amount of things that regular sighted teachers and students can do to assist a student with visual impairments. For example, a simple one if classroom setting. It is best for a student with visual impairments to sit at the front of the room and for them to be notified if the room has been rearranged at all. They should be expected to perform at their maximum ability, with the understanding that it just might take longer for them to finish or they may need to use a magnifying glass or have the teacher print their assignment in large print. It is also beneficial for the teacher to be specific with instructions instead of pointing and also explaining things being written on the board or seen in a presentation. It is also useful to include hands on learning for students with visual impairments, as well as a change in activity, as sometimes students with partial vision can only focus their eyes for a certain amount of time without tiring.

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