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WHAT IS PARTIAL VISUAL IMPAIRMENT?
It’s defined as visual acuity of less than 6/18, but equal to or better than 3/60, or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 20 degrees in the better eye with best possible correction.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PARTIAL VISUAL IMPAIRMENT?
According to Salvin (2016), it is caused by inheritance, an infection that is transmitted from the mother to the developing fetus during pregnancy or conditions that causes partial visual impairment.
Some conditions that cause partial visual impairment are:
Amblyopia: Amblyopia (Lazy eye) is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye physically looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favouring the other eye. (NEI, n.d.).
Cataract: This happens when some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens thus reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina and the clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish colour, adding a brownish tint to vision. As the cataract grows larger and worsens, the vision gets more dull and blurry and it’s more difficult to read and perform other activities (NEI, n.d.).
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES AND CONCERNS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN WITH PARTIAL VISUAL IMPAIRMENT?
Repetitive behaviour issues are shown in children who are partial visually impaired. Such behaviours include:
- Problems with learning
- E.g. tired of looking at things up-close, rub his eyes a lot, need extra time to do work, large-printed papers or assistive technology used.
- Sometimes causes harm to others or himself
- E.g. head-butting on their friends or things around them, biting and hitting.
- Sometimes causes damage to objects or belongings
- pushing, kicking or throwing materials
LANGUAGE AND SPEECH ISSUES
- Problem associating concepts with language
- Difficulty attaching meaning to objects or actions
- Using single words or word combinations that are spoken unclearly
- May cause the child to jabber.
- Having a vocabulary or language without the understanding
- Submissive remarks
- letting the other person have their way without your feelings justified
- Vocal and Verbal
- Difficulty sustaining conversations
- focus on their own interests and not appear to have an interest in others.
SELF – REGULATION ISSUES
-May not have proper methods to calm, self-soothe or self-stimulate themselves (They may be physically and aggressive in nature)
Children with visual impairment faced problems of being ignored by peers or other children. This is due to:
- lack of cooperation and skills in turn taking.
- lack of skills in inviting friends to play together.
- lack of skills in building and maintaining friendships.
LEARNER DIFFERENCES AND LEARNING STYLES
A child with visual impairment will typically learn about the world in a different way from a typical child. Depending on individual circumstances:
- They may use other senses rather vision to obtain information.
- Clear and repeated explanations for the child to understand.
- They may learn through direct experience or skills rather than observing it.
Tactile learners learn best by touching or handling objects. They remember
what they did and how they did it. Some preferred activities for tactile learners:
- Hands-on activities
- Touching different textures, manipulatives
Print learners prefer to see the data printed in words. When introducing concepts or a process, they like to read about the information with an illustration or other visual aids. Some preferred activities for print learners:
- Word games
Auditory learners learn best by hearing. With auditory activities do benefit from spoken reinforcement of key ideas. Some preferred activities for auditory learners:
- Spelling bee
- Presentation/ reciting concepts to the class
- Discussion activities with friends or their SPED teachers.
ACCOMMODATING LEARNING STYLES IN INSTRUCTION
Adaptations to the classroom are needed to aid students who are visually impaired to access all areas of the curriculum.
USING LARGE PRINT
Students with low vision will frequently need materials to be increased in size.
Font size: The recommended standard font size for large print is 18 points.
Font style: Use plain, simple, “sans-serif” fonts, such as Arial or APHont (available online through the American Printing House for the Blind).
It is best to use bold black print on white/cream background. Also, avoid using italics or all capital letters. Generally, lower-case lettering is easier to read.
Braille enables children who are unable to read print to become literate and helps adults who lose the ability to read, due to blindness or low vision, to continue enjoying reading.
Types of Braille
- Alphabetic Braille (Grade one)
- Write out each letter and word exactly as it is spelt out in print.
- Eg: The word “can” is written by using three separate braille cells—one cell for each of the three letters in the word “can.”
- Literary Braille (Grade two)
- Also called “contracted” braille
- Eg: The word “can” is written in a highly condensed or contracted form, using only one braille cell to represent the entire word.
USE STRONG CONTRAST
A strong contrast between the print and background is very important. Light lettering, such as white or light yellow, on a dark background may sometimes be easier to read than black lettering on a white or light-coloured background.
Acetate or Color Filters
Acetate or colour filters placed over the printed page will darken the print as well as heighten the contrast of the print with the background paper. It’s usually preferred in yellow but is available in other colours.
Highlighters & line guides
Highlighters, line guides, and typoscope are especially helpful to students who find it difficult to focus on a word or track a line of print.The typoscope blocks out the surrounding text, allowing the student to focus on the important information. Using a line guide with a highlighter increases the contrast of the print.
SINGAPORE ASSOCIATION OF THE VISUALLY HANDICAPPED
To promote the needs, interests, and aspirations of the visually handicapped.
Our mission is to help the visually handicapped help themselves by acquiring new skills and gaining self-reliance to cope with the integration into society.
LOW VISION CLINIC (LVC)
The Low Vision Clinic (LVC) is a specialized centre established to offer people with different levels of vision impairment the benefits of low vision devices to maximize one’s remaining vision whenever possible.
The clinic provides a comprehensive clinical assessment and advisory services conducted by a team of qualified Ophthalmologists and Optometrists.
In addition to assessment, the Consultants will work with you on the various adaptive techniques to perform your visual tasks and activities through a diverse range of low vision devices and high addition prescription lenses which is available at the clinic.
To find out more, visit http://savh.org.sg/low-vision-clinic/
VISION REHABILITATION PROGRAMME
The Vision Rehabilitation Programme aims to work towards the improvement of the quality of life of our visually handicapped clients through specialized self-help services that help them to raise self-esteem and to gain self-reliance to cope with integration into mainstream society.
This is done by helping them to develop their support system, foster links with the community, learn new skills and more importantly adopt positive attitudes towards whatever situation they find themselves in
- Casework and Counseling
- To help visually handicapped individuals and their family members adjust to visual impairment
- To help visually handicapped persons cope with family or interpersonal problems
- Information and Referral
- Offer information and advice to visually handicapped individuals on the appropriate resources available in the community (Eg: special schools for early intervention and job placement services) and to provide referral where necessary.
- Rehabilitation Services
- Eg: Orientation & Mobility Training, Sighted Guide Techniques and etc
To find out more, visit http://savh.org.sg/vision-rehabilitation-programme/
ASSISTIVE DEVICES CENTRE (ADC)
The Assistive Devices Centre serves to enhance the lives of persons with vision impairment by promoting the use of assistive devices and technologies so as to allow them to integrate into the society in the area of education, recreation or employment.
To achieve this objective, the Centre offers a comprehensive range of devices:
- Mobility white canes
- Lifestyle talking devices (Eg: clocks, watches, calculators, blood pressure monitor)
- A comprehensive range of magnifiers and monoculars to cater to varying eye conditions of persons with vision impairment.
To find out more, visit http://savh.org.sg/assistive-devices-centre-adc/
INTERVENTION STRATEGIES USED IN CLASSROOM
- Use consistent labels for objects
- Actively assist children to explore the environment
- Listen and explain everyday environmental sounds and visual information
- Encourage children to use their auditory cues as landmarks for organizing the environment
- Work from behind children, putting them through the movements of what is expected of them while providing verbal feedback
- Hand-over-hand approach
- Present objects before the instruction, allow child to explore the materials before activity
Cengage Learning. (2005). Teaching tools: Diverse populations & learning styles. 1-28.
Gargiulo. R. M., & Kilgo, J. L. (2014). An introduction to young children with special needs birth through age eight. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 127-129
Resnikoff, S., Pascolini, D., Etya’ale, D., Kocur, I., Pararajasegaram, R., Pokharel, G. P., & Mariotti, S. P. (2004). Global data on visual impairment in the year 2002. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 82(11), 844-851.
Salleh, N. M., & Zainal, K. (2010). How and why the visually impaired students socially behave the way they do. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 9, 859-863.
Salvin, J. H. (2016). Visual impairment. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org