Supporting Students with Visual Impairments
Managing a room full of students with differing needs can feel overwhelming. IESBVI consultants, teachers, and mobility specialists support visually impaired students in the classroom to help students reach the goals outlined in their IEP (Individualized Education Program).
If you’re an educator wondering how to help support students with visual impairments in the classroom, we’ve compiled resources to help educators identify potential visual impairments and help visually impaired students learn in the ways that are most beneficial to them. IESBVI offers direct and consultant services to schools, as well as hosting teacher trainings during the summer and school year for educators who are learning how to best support students with visual impairments.
Accessible Instructional Materials
Providing accessible educational materials is an obligation of school districts to ensure students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). School districts in Iowa may obtain accessible materials by contacting their student’s Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). Using the results from a Learning Media Assessment (LMA), TVIs guide the district in obtaining appropriate materials from Library Services at Iowa Department for the Blind and Braille on Demand sponsored by Iowa Prison Industries. Teachers of the Visually Impaired and IESBVI consultants also assist in training paraeducators to provide accessible materials.
The Iowa Department of Education has information available about “The True AIM,” which is Iowa’s primary resource for information about accessible instructional materials in schools.
Identifying Students with Visual Impairments
Districts with concerns about a student’s vision affecting their education should contact their Area Education Agency’s Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). The TVI, following special education procedures, will gather data using functional vision and learning media assessments to identify the concern and provide data to the district to determine if a disability exists.
Assistance In and Out of the Classroom
Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IESBVI) provides assessment, curriculum and instruction assistance in and out of the classroom through:
- Itinerant Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and Orientation and Mobility Specialists (OMS)
- IESBVI consultants
- Technical assistance
- Virtual and face-to-face trainings and conferences
Supporting Students with Multiple Disabilities
Many children with visual impairments have additional disabilities that need to be considered when setting them up for educational success. Many students need additional support focused on communication, ensuring access to class materials, supporting a good learning environment, and being active learners. IESBVI can help support students with additional disabilities, their families, and educational teams. Statewide consultants are available for onsite or virtual consultation for support in structuring educational programs and professional development.