Visual Impairment

Visual impairment, including blindness

A child who has vision problems is considered to have a visual impairment. This condition includes both partial sight and blindness. If eyewear can correct a vision problem, then it doesn’t qualify.


an impairment invision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.”


Partially Sighted: A visual impairment that adversely affects a student's educational performance even when corrected to the extent possible.

Low Vision: If someone's vision is between 20/70-20/160 and cannot be corrected, the student has moderate to low vision.

Legally Blind: From 20/200-20/400 is legally blind with severe low vision. From 20/400-20/1000 is profound visual impairment, and is very close to total blindness.

Totally Blind: The lack of light perception is known as total blindness or total visual impairment.


Changes in medium used:

  • braille
  • large print
  • audiotape
  • electronic text
  • oral testing/scribing

Changes made in the way materials are presented

  • Copies of overhead projector/smart board activities to be viewed at his/her desk as needed.
  • The teacher or presenter should verbalize all information as it is written on the board or overhead.
  • Information presented on the board should be in a high contrast color.
  • Use a slant-board to position papers appropriately for reduced visual strain and  to avoid glare.
  • The computer screen should be eye level and tilted to avoid glare.
  • Use recorded text as needed.
  • Classroom recording of lectures/instruction by student.
  • Large Print textbooks/materials.
  • Braille textbooks/materials.
  • Clear, dark copies of worksheets.
  • Use of a reading guide to assist in keeping place while reading and completing worksheets.
  • Present materials against a plain background
  • Use a good contrast background and present on a contrasting tray or mat.

Time requirements:

  • Time and a half or double time
  • Consideration for the student's reading/writing speed
  • Consideration for time needed to use adaptive equipment
  • Consideration for eye fatigue and scanning ability

Changes in the way students demonstrate learning

  • Modified assignments (when appropriate and needed) to accommodate visual fatigue (extended time and/or shortened amount of assignments).
  • Avoid activities requiring extensive visual scanning.
  • Avoid visually cluttered materials.
  • Allow students to use (bold marker, 20/20 pen, mechanical pencil, or other unique writing tool) to complete assignments.
  • Use of bold line paper.
  • Use of raised line paper.
  • Abbreviated homework assignment (includes all concepts, just fewer items).
  • Shorter written assignment.
  • Oral testing.

Changes in Setting:

  • preferential seating in the classroom for all films, assemblies and demonstration lessons.
  • seated facing away from windows.
  • permission to move about the room as needed to see information presented away from his/her desk.

Changes in the Setting: Environment

  • Avoid glare in general from overhead lights. Consider placing light filters on fluorescent lights.
  • Open and close doors fully (a half open door can be a dangerous obstacle).
  • Eliminate unnecessary background noise. Consider isolation headphones.
  • Eliminate clutter from the room, particularly in aisles and movement paths.
  • Place materials in consistent places so that students know where particular items are always located.
  • Preferential locker position and locks with keys vs. combination locks.
  • Use of task lighting as needed.


  • Based on the student's current assessment results of the student's abilities;
  • Based on the student's current skills based on current assessments;
  • Based on the student's emotional well-being; 
  • To help the student be successful; and
  • After trying the use of supplementary aids and services.
  • Reducing assignments so a student only completes the easiest problems;
  • Altering assignments to make them easier;
  • Requiring a student to learn less materials than are required by the State's academic content standards;
  • Providing help to a student via hints or clues to the correct answers on assignments and tests.