Guidelines and Policies












Guidelines and Policies

Resource List for Caregivers of Individuals with Visual Impairment

Further reading

Services

  • 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.

FamilyConnect

FamilyConnect

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.

The Expanded Core Curriculum for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

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

    • Requesting assistance

  • Social interaction - skills needed to respond appropriately and participate actively in social situations, such as:

    • Shaking hands

    • 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

Working together, parents, children and professionals can build a transition planning roadmap to a happier, fulfilling adult life.

Transition planning for your child’s next step is never easy, especially if your son or daughter has a visual impairment. At a Perkins School for the Blind workshop for parents, Transition Coordinator Denise Fitzgerald shared advice on how to help children gain the skills and confidence they need to successfully transition from school to adult life. Here are 10 of her tips:

  1. Begin with the end in mind. Parents should start by envisioning a challenging, fulfilling life for their child. Does it consist of college? A job? A home of their own? “Don’t just think about their graduation day, go further,” said Fitzgerald. “Expand your thinking about what your student might be doing (next).” Transition is the beginning, not the end.

  2. Start young. Encourage your child to contribute around the house, no matter how young they are. Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher or hanging up a coat, teaching children to perform small chores builds confidence and helps them develop independent living skills.

  3. Pursue work opportunities. Help your child experience as many jobs as possible through work placements or internships. At Perkins School for the Blind, students are exposed to a wide array of vocations from a young age. As a result, they are better prepared to identify career goals as young adults.

  4. Have a back-up plan. When Fitzgerald helps Perkins students map out their future, she makes sure to include more than one route. “We have a plan A, B, C and D,” she said. Transition planning can be an uncertain time for students and their families – it’s best to be prepared and flexible.

  5. Include your child. Invite your son or daughter to attend transition planning meetings and include them in the conversation, even if they can’t actively contribute. “Have them participate in what their life is going to be,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s about them.”

  6. Take a holistic approach. Many parents focus their transition planning around college or careers, but it’s also about building a happy life, said Fitzgerald. “Think about your own life, it’s not just work,” she said. “We want our kids to have meaningful friendships, healthy bodies and healthy minds.”

  7. Put activities in context. Whenever possible, have your child participate in practical, real-life activities. For example, have your child purchase ingredients for their lunch, and then prepare it independently. “That’s where we see the most progress and growth,” said Fitzgerald.

  8. Follow a timeline. “Everything’s a process,” said Fitzgerald. Each state has various requirements that families will need to meet in order to qualify for services and support. A checklist detailing what tasks need to be performed at what age can help families stay on track.

  9. Learn the system. When students who are blind in Massachusetts turn 22, most will qualify for some type of state service. Explore your options and the application requirements well in advance of that day.

  10. Don’t ignore assessments. They may seem like a pain, but assessments provide valuable information about your child that state agencies use to determine eligibility for services, Fitzgerald said. “Those scores guide the adult agencies in planning for your kid,” she said. “Anything up to 18 is absolutely crucial.”

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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

+91-22-61701176-78

info@xrcvc.org

http://xrcvc.org/direct-support-training/training-services.htm

The Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged

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.

Assistive Technology Support

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

Scholarships & Loan Schemes

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.

Guidelines and Laws

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.

WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.

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.

DAT (Digital Accessibility Testing)

The IT revolution in India has created many jobs in the space of accessibility testing that were non-existent earlier. It is a sector which is ideally suited for the visually impaired. Many technological advancements, development of special screen reader software and assistive devices have made training and performance of tasks easier than before. There highly subsidized course leads to acquiring deep skills in accessibility testing and creates pathways for course Completion certificate from Deque University and job opportunities in the space of Accessibility Testing.

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