Click to play

Teaching Students with Vision Impairments

  • All material presented in class should be accessible to all students (exams, handouts, course evaluations, materials from classmates, etc.)
  • If document conversion of materials presented in your classroom is a USF recommended reasonable accommodation for the student, Student Disability Services asks for lead time to convert the material into an accessible format.  Five working days is optimal for short documents (up to 10pp), more time is needed for longer documents.
  • Textbooks or other duplicated readers may take 4-6 weeks to convert into an accessible format for your student.  You may need to plan your lectures and syllabus well in advance, so that we can ensure timely access for your student.
  • In the undesirable event that materials to be presented and referred to in class can not be converted ahead of time, arrangements must be made to convert the material for the student immediately after the class hour is complete.  Please know that this option does not give the student reasonable access and equal opportunity within the learning environment.  Your student may not be academically penalized if materials and information was not provided in an accessible format.
  • When large print is the recommended reasonable accommodation, a range of 18-24 font size is standard.  In some cases, larger may be reasonable.
  • Presentation in the classroom:
    • Verbalize everything written on the board
    • Identify yourself when greeting students, let them know when you are leaving, as appropriate.
    • Speak directly to the student, not through a third person
    • Give preferential seating to visually impaired students, as needed.  They may need to be near the front of the classroom, or near a power source so they can plug in a laptop, tape recorder or Brailler
    • Face the class when speaking
    • Describe clearly what you are writing on the blackboard, or supplementing with power point or other visual aids
    • Describe graphics referred to in the classroom, as needed.
    • Describe what you are referring to specifically (avoid using non-specific pronouns such as this, that, over here, etc. )
    • As appropriate in group discussion, ask the student who is talking to identify him/herself by name.
    • Avoid the assumption that the student is unable to successfully complete your course due to the visual impairment.
  • Giving written feedback:
    • Often, students are using computerized voice-output screen-reading software to access all written material.  Therefore, it is best to give your written feedback electronically, whenever possible, in Microsoft Word format, standard fonts.
    • If you are leaving feedback within an electronic version of the student’s paper/exam, then it is best to place your comments in parentheses within or immediately beneath the text needing commentary.