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Visual Impairment :
Special Educational Needs

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Supportive Therapy Programmes

Many severely visually impaired pupils have additional special educational needs and may require specialist therapy programmes which should be incorporated into their educational programmes and specified in part 3 of the statement. They can include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, counselling, hydrotherapy, music therapy and behavioural management. These are in addition to the normal school curriculum but represent an essential component of the child’s education.

Career education

There is a need for general vocational and career education designed specifically for severely visually impaired pupils. Many of the skills and knowledge offered to all students through vocational/career education can be of value to severely visually impaired pupils. They will not be sufficient, however, to prepare the pupils for adult life, since such instruction assumes a basic knowledge of the world of work based on prior visual experiences. Because unemployment and underemployment have been the leading problem facing adult visually impaired persons in Britain, this portion of the expanded core curriculum is vital to students, and should be part of the expanded curriculum for even the youngest of these individuals.

Recreation and Leisure skills

Skills in recreation and leisure are seldom offered as a part of the normal school curriculum. Instead physical education in the form of team games, sports and athletics are the usual way in which physical fitness needs are met for sighted students. Some of the activities in physical education are excellent and appropriate for visually impaired students but many are inaccessible. Most often sighted persons select their recreation and leisure activity repertoire by visually observing activities and choosing those in which they wish to participate. The teaching of recreation and leisure skills to blind and visually impaired students must be planned and deliberately taught, and should focus on the development of life-long skills and should stress the importance of these skills in maintaining a healthy life style.

Click here to go to the British Blind Sports website