University of Edinburgh

Transition: approaches for children and young people with visual impairments

Presented on Tuesday 19 January 2010

Primary to Secondary Transition Pupil Personal Passport

Vicki Logan, Scottish Borders Visual Impairment Education Service

Name: Jane Dane School: Hawick High School

Class: IB

Severe Visual Impairment due to Retinal Folds and Nystagmus.

Further Information
Jane is an able, articulate and enthusiastic pupil who participates fully in the whole curriculum with adaptations and support. Because she does so well Jane can give the impression that she sees better than she does. She has to work very hard to keep focussed and often suffers from eye-strain which makes her nystagmus (wobbly eyes) worse.

She has to get very close to see any detail

She can read size 24pt if bold using styles such as Tahoma or Times New Roman and words are well spaced, but prefers size 36Pt for extended reading.

Specialist Equipment

  • Networked laptop with magnification programme and speech software.
  • Various small portable magnifiers for near vision.
  • ONYX distance magnifier with flatscreen. (currently in Science)
  • MY READER video magnifier for zooming in on text and graphics (Social subjects, Maths and German departments).
  • VICTOR STREAM Daisy/MP3 player and voice recorder to receive novels or text in audio and also to take notes herself.

Teaching Strategies

1) Jane's handwriting is large and fairly clear but it is very hard work for her to sustain the effort. She can touchtype and should usually type her work on her laptop.

2) Jane cannot follow an ordinary screen pointer, cursor and the scroll bars writing.

Because of this she uses screen magnification and keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys.

3) Using audio, whether a CD or her Victor Stream MP3 player or even having someone read to her are all good strategies to avoid eyestrain.

4) Copying of any work should be avoided because of the constant changing focus.

5) Extra work time will be required as her reading ability is good but slow going.

6) Spelling is a visual task and Jane does make many errors. Again, allowances need to be made.

7) A page with lots of detail is very difficult for Jane to scan visually and she may need help to keep focussed and find detail.

8) A3 photocopy enlargements are a very last resort and often unsuitable. The ideal is to save and enlarge work on the computer so she can receive A4 worksheets.

9) Although she listens well, Jane still needs a copy of all board work.

10) Noticing facial expressions and gestures is difficult if there is any distance involved and allowances have to be made for this.

11) Good task lighting without glare is essential.

12) Jane's mobility is good but unfamiliar places may present problems especially at stairs or on uneven surfaces.