3 tips for parents supporting at-home learning for kids who are blind or visually impaired

School has temporarily moved home — but the learning doesn’t have to stop

A little girl in glasses stands close to a big digital screen.
April 22, 2020

This is an unprecedented time, and many families are trying to figure out how to balance work, school and everyday life with everyone under one roof.

If you’re looking for ways to continue educating your children while classes are suspended, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. These three tips will help you set up a routine and environment that fits both your and your child’s needs. 

  1. Make a schedule. Having a structured routine is critical for all children but can be especially helpful for kids with atypical needs. A good way to build a schedule is to plan on educational work for 45 minutes or so with reward breaks centered around kids’ preferred activities. Consider the times that work well for them, too. If your child is best able to learn in the morning hours, that’s when you should work through lesson plans. The key is to create a day-to-day schedule that works for your child, and you. In order for this to work well, it’ll have to balance everyone’s needs. 
  2. Consider the environment and make sure you have all necessary learning materials before you begin a lesson. To ensure the schedule you put together is useful, think about what you’ll need for a lesson plan. Do you need an iPad? A refreshable braille display? A tactile or large print book? Gather those materials in advance and have them nearby. You should also create, as much as possible, a clutter-free work “school zone” which is optimal for students with CVI, low vision and other visual impairments. 
  3. Have fun. This might be the most important tip of all. These are stressful times and fun is critical to reclaiming a sense of normalcy. It’s ok to play — in fact, we encourage it! Try a game of Go Fish with braille cards, where instead of asking for a three, you might ask for the card or cards that add up to 10. Games like Cribbage and Blackjack also help build counting skills and can be played with the whole family. Some lower-key play time will bring your family together, but still support continued learning for your child. 

Perkins teachers will be providing our families with additional resources and virtual learning activities to support you during this time. And as always, when it comes to educating your child, we’re in this together. Like Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

Stay well!

 

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