How can Ms. Milton facilitate Evan’s and Emily’s social adjustment?
Page 9: Common Courtesy and Effective Communication
During the process of learning about instructional considerations for Evan and Emily, Ms. Milton discovers that it is also important to facilitate Evan’s and Emily’s social interactions and peer acceptance in the classroom. This process need not be a difficult one. Ms. Milton can implement and suggest to her students a number of tips to help Evan and Emily in the classroom.
Listed below are a few things that teachers should keep in mind when communicating with students with visual impairments.
- When approaching the student, state your name or speak until the student recognizes the speaker. (For example, “Hi, Evan, this is Ms. Milton. I need you to let me know…“)
- Alert the student to your impending departure; otherwise, the student might continue talking even after the teacher has left.
- Do not consciously avoid using words such as “look” and “see, ” for these are part of everyday conversation.
- When giving directions, be precise and be sure to give adequate information. (For example, “Paul is seated two desks to your right.“) Avoid pointing at objects or using vague phrases such as “over there.”
- Consider using verbal (e.g., “nice job”) or physical forms (e.g., a pat on the back) of praise in addition to visual forms (e.g., a smile) when acknowledging the student.
To make certain that students with visual impairments are not unintentionally excluded from either academic or nonacademic classroom activities, it is important to remember to provide verbal descriptions of what others see. For example, when Sean makes a funny face and everyone laughs, someone should describe the event. Likewise, written information such as notices on the walls should be read aloud to inform students of what is happening in the larger school environment (e.g., school dances or flyers for class president elections). Additionally, it is important for teachers and students to remember the following.
|Speak in a normal tone of voice||Talk loudly to the students|
|Use terms like “look” and “see”||Avoid terms that relate to vision|
|Ask whether a student needs assistance and then wait for him or her to take your arm||Take a student’s arm and lead him or her|
|Keep furniture in consistent places||Move objects around without warning|
|Have high expectations for students with visual disabilities||“Dumb down” your speech or expect less|
|Inform the students verbally of schedule changes or room assignments||Make unexpected or unannounced changes|
|Tell the students when something is being handed to them or put on their desks||Hand students items or place things on their desks without their knowledge|
|Ignore guide dogs when they are working (i.e., when wearing harnesses)||Play, pet, or otherwise interact with guide dogs|
Anne Corn, EdD
Listen as Vanderbilt Professor Anne Corn describes some basic considerations for communicating with students with visual disabilities (time: 0:25).