Guidelines and Policies
Guidelines and Policies
Vision loss happens to families, not just individuals. If you have a parent, spouse, other family member, or friend who is experiencing vision loss, you naturally want to offer comfort and support. What you may want most of all, however, is to see that person in the same light as before: independent, capable, and full of life. The information here can provide advice and direction on how to assist your loved one with adapting successfully to the many changes ahead. If you are the parent of a child with vision problems, FamilyConnect is where you can find videos, personal stories, events, news, and an online community that can offer tips and support from other parents of children who are blind or visually impaired.
Handbook for parents of blind kids released (Tamil), ToI, 2015
Teaching Students with Visual Impairments: A Guide to Support Teams, Saskatchewan Learning, 2003
The ADA National Network: Offers information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act
Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families by Alberta L. Orr, MSW and Priscilla A. Rogers, Ph.D.
Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss, 3rd Edition by Maureen A. Duffy, M.S, CVRT
Resource Guide For Persons With Low Vision by Subhash A Datrange, NAB (India) 1999
Vital Links to Families Just Like Yours
Read parents’ blog posts and personal stories written by parents about their own experiences raising children who are blind or have multiple disabilities.
See hopeful and insightful videos featuring kids with visual impairments and their families.
Timely, Expert-Curated Information
Browse articles by age or topic on every aspect of raising a visually impaired child, from family relationships and social activities to education issues for blind and low vision students, assistive technology, parenting a child with multiple disabilities, and more.
Search a comprehensive directory of services for families of blind children to find hands-on help and professional services in your area.
Related information on this site - often specific for India
FamilyConnect is a service offered by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) to give parents and other family members of children who are visually impaired–and professionals who work with them–a supportive place for sharing and finding resources on raising their children from birth to adulthood. FamilyConnect offers you Vital Links to Families Just Like Yours and Timely, Expert-Curated Information. The following page is particularly informative for education and training of the child.
Activities, Ideas, and Resources for Developing ECC Skills: What Parents Need to Know
Your child needs to study the same basic academic subjects that sighted children do, from how to tell time to how to write a persuasive essay. But in order to master these subjects (core curriculum) and complete their schoolwork - as well as to eventually live and work independently - children who are visually impaired usually need to learn an additional set of skills known as the expanded core curriculum (ECC).
They are sometimes also referred to as disability-specific skills or vision-related skills because they are useful specifically for individuals who are visually impaired. They may include activities such as:
using braille to read and write, instead of reading printed books or using a pencil and paper to write;
learning how to move about in the environment safely and independently, which is known as orientation and mobility (O&M);
knowing how to use specialized computer equipment and other technology devices designed for children with visual impairments; and
learning how to use what vision they have effectively and efficiently.
The classroom teacher is responsible for teaching your child the basic academic curriculum, but because the expanded core curriculum covers the unique, specialized needs of visually impaired students, the subjects included within it should be taught by a teacher who specializes in working with students who have visual impairments. This teacher is a pivotal member of the educational team that works with your child.
Expanded Core Curriculum Subjects and Skills: Resources for Families
The following are the subjects and skills that students who are visually impaired are taught to enable them to study the basic educational curriculum along with their sighted classmates.
Compensatory academics - critical skills that students need to be successful in school, such as concept development, organizational skills, speaking and listening, and communication skills such as braille or print reading and writing.
Orientation and mobility - skills to orient children who are visually impaired to their surroundings and travel skills to enable them to move independently and safely in the environment, such as:
Human guide techniques (also known as sighted guide)
Using standard and adaptive canes
Recognizing cues and landmarks
Moving through space by walking or using a wheelchair
Social interaction - skills needed to respond appropriately and participate actively in social situations, such as:
Turning toward others when speaking or being spoken to
Using language to make a request, decline assistance, or express a need
Expressing emotion and affection appropriately
Participating appropriately in conversations in various situations
Independent living - skills needed to function as independently as possible in school and at home, including personal grooming, time management, cooking, cleaning, clothing care, and money management.
Recreation and leisure - skills to ensure students’ enjoyment of physical and leisure-time activities, including
Making choices about how to spend leisure time,
Actively participating in physical and social recreational activities
Trying new leisure activities
Following rules in games and activities at an appropriate level
Maintaining safety during leisure activities
Sensory efficiency - skills that help students use the senses, including any functional vision, hearing, touch, smell (olfactory), and taste (gustatory). Examples of sensory efficiency skills your child may learn include:
Using optical aids
Using augmentative and alternative communication devices
Using touch and vision to identify personal items
Using sense of smell to know when nearing the school cafeteria
Use of technology - skills to use devices such as computers or other electronic equipment that make it easier to function effectively in school, at home, and in the workplace.
Career education - skills that enable students who are visually impaired to move toward working as an adult, including
Exploring and expressing preferences about work roles
Assuming work responsibilities at home and school
Understanding concepts of reward for work
Participating in job experiences
Learning about jobs and adult work roles at a developmentally appropriate level
Self-determination - skills to enable students to become effective advocates for themselves based on their own needs and goals.
Although this may seem like a lot for any child to accomplish, your child’s education team will decide which of these skills your child needs to focus on at any given time.
Parenting Blind Kids
Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC)
St. Xavier's College, 5, Mahapalika Marg, Mumbai – 400001
+91-22-22623298 / 22626329 / 22623242 (Direct)
+91-22-22620661-65 (Board); 366 (Extension)
XRCVC-VIVIANA Extension, VIVIANA Mall, 1st Floor, Eastern Express Highway, Next to Jupiter Hospital, Thane (W), Mumbai – 400606
The Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged
Breaking Barriers... Achieving Access
The Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) is an integral part and department of St. Xavier's College - Autonomous, Mumbai.
The XRCVC was started in 2003 as an effort to ensure an inclusive environment at St. Xavier’s College, one of the most well-known educational institutions in the country, for its students with blindness and low vision. Having created an inclusive set-up for its own students, keeping with the college’s long tradition of creating social impact within the larger community, the XRCVC has today become a national advocacy and support center for the blind and low-vision across the city and the country.
The XRCVC offers a range of direct support and training services to persons with vision impairment, caregivers, educators and institutions.
At the XRCVC, you can come and explore to know more about a full range of assistive technologies and their use. You may contact us either as a user to pick the best product for your needs or as employers, education institutes, support service providers or any other organization/individual/group who would like to know more about assistive technologies and how they benefit persons with vision impairment.
The XRCVC also engages in assistive technology testing and research and provides hands-on support to individuals and organizations for difficulties encountered in using assistive technologies.
In addition, to spread awareness on varied assistive technologies available the XRCVC conducts “Reading without Seeing” seminars across varied parts of the country. The seminars include awareness and basic training of accessible technologies for the visually challenged.
To know of the technologies available at the XRCVC, please click here
New higher education avenues have been pursued by the visually challenged over the last decade. Along with new opportunities come new costs of higher education courses. Similarly, whilst assistive technologies and computers have provided immense aid to the visually challenged, what is often considered a luxury for sighted students is a necessity for a student with visual impairment.
In order to prevent financial challenges from stopping the achievement of goals, the XRCVC, in partnership with Tech Mahindra Foundation, runs an annual higher education scholarship program. Watch this space for our annual announcement of applications in the month of July/August.
In addition, the XRCVC also provides assistive technology support to visually challenged students of St. Xavier’s College for their study purposes whilst they are in college.
Each of us in one way or another has a blind spot in our lives. When I first came to be blind, I found I was forever running into literal and virtual walls—dead ends that blocked my assimilation into the blind community and hindered my participation in mainstream society. Without my sight, not only did the world become invisible to me, but I learned how it felt to be unseen.
So My Blind Spot was founded. My Blind Spot is a place where people of all visual abilities can come together and gain a clear view to independence, empowerment, and inclusion. It is our hope to be not just a resource, but a force that empowers individuals and society as a whole: one spot where people of all visual abilities can find answers and support.
Peace and to be continued…
- Albert J Rizzi, Founder of My Blind Spot - Inspiring Accessibility for All
Accessibility for the Blind
Accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to have access to and benefit from an entity or system. Digital Accessibility refers to the ability of users with disabilities to effectively utilize information technology (IT) systems including web sites, mobile or web based applications, software and hardware.
Digital Accessibility is generally concerned with ensuring that IT systems are designed in such a way that they interact appropriately with assistive technologies.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, often abbreviated to WCAG, are a series of guidelines for improving web accessibility. Produced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the WCAG are the best means of making your website useful to all of your users. Checkout more on WCAG principles, guidelines and conformance levels.
Mobile technologies are developing in leaps and bounds changing the world around. So it’s no surprise they are now used in educational and rehabilitating programs for people with special needs based on accessibility. The whole thing seems pretty basic now, yet we have no doubts its future is bright.
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it.
Universal Design for Learning is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences. Checkout the CAST curriculum on UDL.
Check Readers and Writers for Text page for details.
According to the W3C, web accessibility is a practice of removing barriers so people with disabilities can “perceive, understand and interact with the web”. When websites are designed & developed with accessibility in mind, all visitors have equal access to, and can engage with, a site.