Curriculum ideas for legally blind children entering kindergarten soon - Mothering Forums

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Curriculum ideas for legally blind children entering kindergarten soon

My brother has twin girls who both were just diagnosed as legally blind. My brother and his wife are looking to work with the girls more at home. They are currently in school and I believe will continue to go to school, but they are coming to me to gather some resources and ideas since I homeschool my son (first grade), although my son is not a special needs child. I have no clue where to start when it comes to curriculum for those with low vision. I have been trying to search but haven't been able to come up with too much. I think a good start would be curriculum to do at home that is designed for those with low vision, such as larger letters, etc., but I haven't had any luck finding such a program. They do not want to start Braille just yet since the girls are able to recognize their letters and write their names, although largely. I found resources for accessories that can help such as CCTV, etc., but at this point I'm looking for a type of curriculum they can actually be taught to read and write with. Workbooks would be good but if only online is available for low vision that would help as well. Basically, any ideas would help at this point! I really want to help my nieces.


TIA!
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First, they qualify for services through their school district right now and I suggest getting that going ASAP. There is specialized training for teaching students with visual impairments (like another master's degree on top of a special education certification) and that person is trained in making plans for what vision a child has, what vision they are expected to have in the future, and any other disabilities. Visual disabilities are really complex because so many children have *some* vision, even though they are legally blind.


One of the biggest problems for kids with visual disabilities is a lack of understanding and experience with the world -- the more they see, feel, touch, experience, the better. Field trips EVERYWHERE -- the gardening center, a nature center, a children's museum, the zoo, everything. One of the things that holds back reading comprehension for visually impaired students is a lack of real world experiences to make them make sense of words once they are decoded. Kids with VI miss a lot of input that other kids are getting, and it really is more important to provide that real life component. Depending on where you live, there are very cool options -- our zoo has a sculpture of every animal next to its enclosure, our botanical garden has a "sensory garden" for touching and smelling.


Also, working at being comfortable in their bodies and in space. Kids with VI tend to get hurt a lot, and therefore move less. This is problematic in many ways -- it isn't healthy, it isn't good for brain development, etc. Depending on what their capabilities are, finding *appropriate* and safe ways for them experience many of the same things sighted kids do through play is very important. This is huge.


I suspect that those weren't the things you were looking for, but they really are foundational. Working on reading, writing, and math is secondary.


For reading, there is a ton of stuff available on helping kids learn letter sounds. I'm a big fan of Reading Reflex. To modify for a child with a VI, I would use the enlargement feature of a copier to make the puzzles and appropriate size, possible trace over the letter with thick sharpie. For writing, paper, mazes, etc are available that have raised lines:
http://www.therapro.com/Raised-Line-...s-C307762.aspx


There are a lot of great tools and work arounds. "Zoom Text" is a software program that says the name of the letter as you type, and lets you magnify the screen way bigger than you can with just the regular options.
There are keyboards that are easier to see. A base model one can be $20 or so:
Amazon Amazon


A high-end one with large keys can cost $150
Amazon Amazon


math, for any child this age, should focus on hands-on activities. Just use larger items, items with high contrast color. Depending on their sight


As far a curriculum for kids with low vision but who are learning to read, it really is the same stuff just bigger. The major textbook publishers publish large print editions, but those are very pricy. Using regular stuff and getting good at judging how much to enlarge it, and then may be darken it up with black marker, really is what happens a lot.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
First, they qualify for services through their school district right now and I suggest getting that going ASAP. There is specialized training for teaching students with visual impairments (like another master's degree on top of a special education certification) and that person is trained in making plans for what vision a child has, what vision they are expected to have in the future, and any other disabilities. Visual disabilities are really complex because so many children have *some* vision, even though they are legally blind.


One of the biggest problems for kids with visual disabilities is a lack of understanding and experience with the world -- the more they see, feel, touch, experience, the better. Field trips EVERYWHERE -- the gardening center, a nature center, a children's museum, the zoo, everything. One of the things that holds back reading comprehension for visually impaired students is a lack of real world experiences to make them make sense of words once they are decoded. Kids with VI miss a lot of input that other kids are getting, and it really is more important to provide that real life component. Depending on where you live, there are very cool options -- our zoo has a sculpture of every animal next to its enclosure, our botanical garden has a "sensory garden" for touching and smelling.


Also, working at being comfortable in their bodies and in space. Kids with VI tend to get hurt a lot, and therefore move less. This is problematic in many ways -- it isn't healthy, it isn't good for brain development, etc. Depending on what their capabilities are, finding *appropriate* and safe ways for them experience many of the same things sighted kids do through play is very important. This is huge.


I suspect that those weren't the things you were looking for, but they really are foundational. Working on reading, writing, and math is secondary.


For reading, there is a ton of stuff available on helping kids learn letter sounds. I'm a big fan of Reading Reflex. To modify for a child with a VI, I would use the enlargement feature of a copier to make the puzzles and appropriate size, possible trace over the letter with thick sharpie. For writing, paper, mazes, etc are available that have raised lines:
http://www.therapro.com/Raised-Line-...s-C307762.aspx


There are a lot of great tools and work arounds. "Zoom Text" is a software program that says the name of the letter as you type, and lets you magnify the screen way bigger than you can with just the regular options.
There are keyboards that are easier to see. A base model one can be $20 or so:
http://www.amazon.com/New-Improved-I...aired+keyboard


A high-end one with large keys can cost $150
http://www.amazon.com/BigKeys-Multi-...aired+keyboard


math, for any child this age, should focus on hands-on activities. Just use larger items, items with high contrast color. Depending on their sight


As far a curriculum for kids with low vision but who are learning to read, it really is the same stuff just bigger. The major textbook publishers publish large print editions, but those are very pricy. Using regular stuff and getting good at judging how much to enlarge it, and then may be darken it up with black marker, really is what happens a lot.


WOW! This is great. What very helpful tips you have given!
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