Physical environment - think about
- Noise levels
- Is the environment safe? Are doors closed or open?
- Is the student familiar with the space? Could you give a brief description of the room (eg shape, size, location of doors, furniture)
- Does the student have a seating preference? Do they need additional space? eg for a support worker or an assistance (guide) dog.
- How will the student keep a record of what’s happened? Would taping lectures, seminars etc help?
Communication – think about
- Giving the student necessary information verbally eg introducing yourself, explaining what will happen, introducing those present.
- How will a blind student know you’re talking to them? eg address the student by name if you know it; if not, a light touch on the arm will catch their attention.
- Are you speaking to the student not the support worker (if a student has one)?
- The pace, tone and level of your voice - speech should be as natural as possible.
- How you provide important instructions - orally as well as in writing.
- How will the student know a conversation has ended?
- How you provide instructions - eg “this is a step down” not “this is a step”.
Your behaviour – think about
- Can the student understand/respond to the feedback you’re giving? eg some gestures, such as nodding your head, may not be noticed.
- How and when you offer help – don’t assume the student needs it.
- Are you using visual images to convey information? How do you ensure the student has that information?
- Have you allowed for the fact that it may take the student longer to complete assignments?
- Are you spreading work evenly and avoiding 'bunching' of deadlines? Are you flexible with deadlines?
Other students – think about
- Is the student aware of what’s going on around them? eg something happens on the other side of the room that is funny and you laugh.
- Is the student aware of who’s speaking? eg if someone else joins the conversation, be sure they introduce themselves to the student.
- How will the student join a group discussion?
- Guidelines for working together - Are students speaking one at a time?
- Do other students understand best practice for communicating with students who are blind or visually impaired?
- How you encourage contributions from all members of the group
Sources of useful information and support
- Inclusive Support Service – for advice and guidance on support available, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01865 (48)4640.
- Equal Opportunities & Diversity Manager – for advice on SENDA and the Disability Discrimination Bill, ring 01865 (48)5929.
- RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) – the leading organisation for advice on visual impairment.