Curricular Resources

Adapting Program of Studies

The Essential Components of Educational Programming for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired states that students who are blind or visually impaired need to participate in the regular curriculum to the fullest extent possible. Their educational programming should be based on their individual strengths and identified needs. In the absence of additional disabilities, students with vision loss are expected to perform at a level consistent with provincial standards. This section provides information on strategies and resources that will assist the Learning Team in adapting the Program of Studies for students who are blind or visually impaired.  

General Resources for Adapting Curricular Materials

This series of links will give teachers many suggestions for making general adaptations to their classrooms, teaching resources or practices should they have a student with blindness or a visual impairment in their classroom.  The content specific areas follow. 

For resources that relate to Language Arts and Literacy please go to the Expanded Core Curriculum/Compensatory Skills section.

Educating Students with Visual Impairments
This article by Jane Erin provides a general overview of the educational needs of students with visual impairments.

Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
An extensive article detailing strategies for teaching students with visual impairments in the regular classroom.  This document contains additional links embedded within the article for additional information on various supplies and technologies that are mentioned.

Tips for Classroom Teachers
An article on the Texas School for the Blind’s website written by Chrissy Cowan that offers tips for classroom teachers who will be teaching a student who is blind. 

Online Resources for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
A compilation of online resources that pertain to teaching students with visual impairments.

Classroom Adaptations for Students with Visual Impairments
An article in the Council for Exceptional Children’s periodical ‘Teaching Exceptional Children’ that provides a basic overview of considerations that should be made while teaching students with visual impairments.  This resource includes checklists of adaptations and strategies that a classroom teacher should consider.

Classroom Adaptations for Students with Visual Impairments
An article that contains adaptations for students with visual impairments in an easy-to-read, bulleted format.

Adaptations, Strategies and Considerations for the Preschool Classroom
A resource from the Perkins School for the Blind that pertains specifically to educating a preschool-aged child with a visual impairment.  This site contains a listing of other online resources that fit within this category as well.

Resources for Adapting the Curriculum to Meet the Needs of Students with Visual Impairments
An Australian website that contains links to additional resources in each of the core curricular areas.

ADVISOR was designed as a resource and idea-sharing website for teachers, parents and doctors of students with visual impairments. 

Description Key for Educational Media
A joint effort by the National Association of the Deaf, the American Foundation for the Blind and the Described and Captioned Media Program, this website provides information and detailed instructions on how to effectively describe educational media to students with visual impairments and includes video demonstrations of the description techniques.

Article written by a parent of a child with vision loss
This article, written by Carol Castellano, president of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey and the parent of a child who is blind, provides a slightly different point of view for classroom teachers to consider.  The author discusses the importance of high expectations and asks the reader to question their own beliefs about blindness.  Castellano also provides a list of specific strategies for classroom teachers, but even more emphasis is placed on suggestions for teacher aides. 

Articles Supporting the Adaptation of Curricular Materials

Adapting the Curriculum to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners
This article, entitled Adapting the Curriculum to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners, discusses the topic of differentiating instruction to meet the individual needs of all learners in the classroom.  While this article does not specifically address students with visual impairments, it provides a good overview for general considerations that should be made when adapting the curriculum for any student.  For instance, the author writes, “Adapting the curriculum involves differentiating instruction to provide learners with a variety of ways to process information and demonstrate what they have learned, in order to "match" the way in which each learner learns most effectively.”  Essentially, the teacher is responsible for meeting the needs of each individual in the classroom, whether they have an IEP or not.  In addition, the author discusses four areas where accommodations can be made to better meet the needs of students: instructional materials, instructional strategies, curricular content and assessment.  Each of these areas is briefly discussed and examples are provided. 

Adapting Curriculum for Students with Special Needs
Although it is not specific to students with visual impairments, this article contains relevant information for classroom teachers who are attempting to adapt curriculum to meet their students’ needs.  The article begins by discussing the ‘why’ of adapting curriculum for students with special needs and gives specific examples of situations where adaptations would be necessary.  The bigger focus of the article is on ‘how’ to adapt curriculum for students with special needs.  Again, the author gives specific examples to support her argument.  Of note is the fact that the author uses visual impairment in her examples throughout the article.