Options for the student: Improving access and efficiency

Each student is unique – some of the suggestions below may be utilised
by students with vision impairments in order to improve access and efficiency.

Braillers Computers
Curriculum materials Low vision aids
Materials in alternative format Paper with bold lines
Reading stands VCE

Braillers

  • The BrailleNote has all the features of a typical laptop computer – and comes with braille input, refreshable
    braille display and audio output
  • The Perkins brailler can be used to produce hard-copy braille
    from Prep to Year 12 eg maths in the senior years
  • The Mountbatten brailler is a electronic device which produces hard copy braille and has voice output
  • The slate and stylus is a small pocket sized device for producing
    braille manually in limited quantities and is a useful device in situations
    where the student does not have access to a brailler eg to take down phone
    numbers

Computers

  • Many students produce their work using a laptop or other portable device such as a BrailleNote
    or iPad. Accessibility options may assist some students however others
    may benefit from specialised software for large print, speech or braille access.
  • Keyboarding often replaces handwriting for the student with a vision impairment. Using the key commands as an
    alternative to the mouse can assist the student to access the computer efficiently.
  • Recording devices such as mp3 or DAISY players can be used to record worksheets or assignments, to make comments on assignments or tests and give extended directions.

Curriculum materials

  • Many students have difficulty accessing the print in standard dictionaries,
    atlases and street directories. There are alternatives which may be suitable
    such as:

    • large print dictionaries, atlases and street directories
    • atlases and dictionaries on CD where maps can be enlarged on the
      screen and printed out
    • online dictionaries, encyclopedias and maps
    • a talking dictionary/thesaurus (Language Master) is used by some
      students with great success
  • There are many ways to adapt the curriculum for blind and low vision
    students. For fun ideas in mathematics, science, English, physical education
    etc go to our curriculum page.

Low vision aids

Low vision aids may assist the student to work independently in the classroom
and include:

  • magnifiers for reading print, studying maps, viewing diagrams in mathematics
    books
  • a monocular for reading the whiteboard, wall charts and for taking
    on excursions
  • electronic magnification units which can be used for near work – to
    enlarge print, maps or diagrams from a book – and/or for distance work
    – to view and capture images from the board

Materials in alternative format

  • Each student generally has a preferred format, though may utilise
    a variety of formats depending on the task eg audio book for leisure reading,
    pdf file on computer for text books, braille for labeling CDs
  • Text books and novels can be provided to eligible students as
    audio, braille, electronic text or large print – see the SVRC catalogue page.
  • Worksheets and handouts can be produced in schools eg articles
    from the newspaper can be downloaded and saved to a flashdrive for the
    student to use on their laptop or BrailleNote; the Mountbatten brailler
    can be linked to computer allowing teacher notes prepared in Word to be
    translated into braille and embossed
  • Many novels commonly used in schools are commercially available
    as audio books. Schools may like to purchase audio books for their library.

Paper with bold lines

  • For students with low vision, paper with bold lines and enlarged spaces
    for writing may assist – a range of different bold lined paper can be is available eg lined pages for writing, graph
    paper for mathematics, staves for music notation, clock face

Reading stands

  • Bring work closer to the eyes for optimum reading angles and lighting
    can reduce neck and back pain from bending down to the desk to read
  • There are a variety of reading stands available

VCE and transition to tertiary studies

See the VCE page for information about Special Provision for students with vision impairments, resources for
senior students, transition to further study etc.