There are approximately 10 to 11 million blind and visually impaired people in North America, and their visual abilities vary almost as much as their ethnic, racial, and personal characteristics do. The term "visual impairment" covers a wide range and variety of vision, from blindness and lack of usable sight; to low vision, which cannot be corrected to normal vision with standard eyeglasses or contact lenses; to moderate visual impairment and an inability to read the fine print in a daily newspaper.
People who are visually impaired, like everyone else, pursue a great range of interests and careers and participate in the full range of daily activities. They may need to receive training in various adaptive techniques in order to do so, and educational and other services and products are designed and available for this purpose.
Federal and state estimates used for planning educational services do not adequately account for the number of children in the United States who are blind or visually impaired. In some cases, only students who are legally blind are reported, ignoring those who have difficulty seeing but do not qualify as "legally" blind. In other instances, children who are visually impaired and have other disabilities such as mental retardation are not counted as visually impaired because they are reported in other federally defined categories, such as multiple disabilities. Tragically, because many
professionals lack the specialized skills necessary to recognize and address vision loss, there are also children with visual and multiple impairments whose vision loss remains undiagnosed throughout their school experience. The inadequate count of visually impaired children means that our nation lacks critical information about the need for specialized services for these children, and cannot correctly allocate the specialized resources and ...
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...sts despite the fact that education experts agree that for some children, special schools are the best placement option, and that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act passed by the U.S. Congress makes access to all educational placement options, including special schools, every child's right.
As a result of my research I have found that assistive technology is very helpful to blind or visually impaired people when used appropriately. Technology has set new standards and goals for the visually disabled and blind that were never within reach without these new break throughs. The main issues that still need to be dealt with is making sure the new technology is taught correctly to the people who need to use it, and that access to the latest technology is easily attainable.
Van Huijgevoort, Toos. (2002) Coping with a visual impairment through self-
investigation. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 96,
Abner, G. H. & Lahm, E. A. (2002) Implementation of assistive technology with students
who are visually impaired: Teachers’ readiness. Journal of visual impairment and
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