College requires enormous amounts of reading, and this is perhaps the single largest barrier for students who are blind or visually impaired. There is tremendous variability in the level of impairment for this group of students. Basically, there are students who are “legally blind,” which is defined as having worse than 20/200 vision after correction, and students who are totally blind.

Read Teaching Strategies for Blind or Visually Impaired Students


Resource Guide for Students with Visual Impairments

Tips for Teaching Blind or Visually Impaired Students
  • Always use names
  • It’s okay to use words that reference sight
  • Don’t gesture, always verbalize
  • Avoid asking if a student can see something
  • Correct seating is crucial
  • Contrast, contrast, contrast!
  • Follow the leader
  • Be a confident sighted guide

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Accommodations for Low Vision

Common Accommodations for Low Vision include:

  • Seating near the front of the class
  • Large print handouts, lab signs, and equipment labels
  • Monitor connected to the microscope or other lab equipment to enlarge images
  • Class assignments made available in an accessible electronic format (PDF)
  • Screen magnification software
  • Screen reader software
  • Reader for exams

Accommodations for Blindness

Common Accommodations for Blindness include:

  • Course materials in braille or an accessible electronic format
  • Verbal descriptions of visual aids, charts, graphs, and other images
  • Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
  • Braille equipment labels, auditory lab warning signals
  • Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers, calculators, light probes, and tactile timers)
  • Computer with optical character recognition, screen reader, braille embosser, and braille printer
  • Reader for exams