Best practices for in-service presentations for blind or visually impaired students


When is it important to consider an in-service presentation?

  • When a district is unaware of what the Expanded Core Curriculum is.
  • When a student says their peers keep asking them questions about their devices or keep touching the student’s devices.
  • When a student appears uncomfortable with using their devices at school.
  • When a teacher assumes a student has more vision than they have.
  • When a parent is in the denial phase of their student’s vision impairment.
  • At the beginning of the school year in their classroom for a student who is using new devices.
  • For a braille student that is in a classroom with sighted peers.
  • When a P.E. Teacher is unsure how to adapt their P.E. class for the student.


What different activities can a TVI do?

  • Have students wear simulator goggles, and ask them to describe what their vision is like with the goggles.
  • Have students try to read a small print reading passage with simulator goggles on, then allow them to try reading it with the CCTV.
  • Teach students the brief history of Braille. Louis Braille’s story of becoming blind, taking the French Army Commander’s concept of night writing, and turning it into braille.
  • Give students a Sim Braille copy of the Alphabet using “APH Braille” font in Microsoft word. Have students decode simple grade level words. Some fun words to decode are: skeleton, butterfly, science, book.
  • Ask the teacher for the names of the students in the class ahead of time, and Braille their names on white notecards.
  • Talk to the students about producing braille. Give them a piece of paper with the 6 dot numbers of a braille cell, and give them 6 M&M’s to practice making braille letters using a Sim Braille Alphabet.
  • For O&M, you can play “Lava”. Ask the class to help clear the desks in the classroom for an open space, or you can go in the school hallway. Place pieces of paper all over the ground, and tell the students that it is “Lava” and they cannot step on it. Have 3-4 teams of 3 students in a group. Have one student on a team go under blindfold, and the other two students will give instructions to the student under blindfold for how to move around the lava to the other side. Multiple teams will go at the same time. If they touch the lava, they have to start over. After a few minutes, ask the student’s under blindfold what was difficult about that activity. They may say, it’s hard to pay attention to instruction when everyone is talking. Or, “When they said go there, go here, I didn’t know where that was.” Discuss with the students the importance of giving specific directions (“It is two steps on your left, or your water if in front of you to your right.”). Discuss with the students that not all people with a vision impairment are completely blind.
  • Have students partner up and one student uses simulator goggles and a cane, while the other student guides them or makes sure they don’t go too far.Click here to download the handouts and materials mentioned above


What materials can you bring?

  • Simulator Goggles
  • A picture of the ECC Puzzle Wheel
  • CCTV
  • Magnifiers
  • Monoculars
  • White Canes
  • Braille Book
  • Braille Writer
  • Small Print Reading Passages
  • Sim Braille Alphabet
  • M&M’s
  • Candy as reward for participation
  • Example of numbered dots in a Braille Cell


How to involve the student:

  • Begin discussing the student’s vision impairment with them and why they need the devices they have.
  • Ask the student to journal how they would talk about their vision to their friends.
  • Have the student come up with a way to simulate their own vision loss, by having their peers squint their eyes, put one hand over one eye, or make a circle with your hand and put over your eye to show reduced visual field.
  • Have the student pass out the simulator goggles or braille material.


The impact:

  • The student will feel more confident in describing their vision impairment to other peers that aren’t at the presentation
  • The teachers and peers will treat the student with more respect
  • The student will be more likely to self-advocate when they need something
  • Peers won’t tease students as often, and they will understand how to ask appropriate questions to learn about the student’s vision loss