Adapting Art & Music for Students with Visual Impairments

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will learn strategies for adapting art and music instruction for students with visual impairments. The lesson will include specific strategies for providing equitable access to the art and music curriculum.

The Importance of Adapting Instruction

Elective courses such as art and music provide students with a well-rounded education. The arts can help increase student motivation and improve academic performance.

Students with visual impairments should be provided access to these same benefits. You can help provide students with equitable access to the art and music curriculum by using some of the following strategies.

Verbal Instructions

Provide students with explicit verbal directions when completing an art project or instructing them in music. Remember that many students with visual impairments won't understand if you say something like draw a red line right here or hold the recorder like this because they won't be able to see where you're pointing. Instead, use specific instructions, such as, draw a horizontal red line about one inch from the bottom of the paper, all the way from the left to the right.

Assistive Devices

Students with low vision may need to use assistive devices to help them see objects, materials, and instruction.

For example, if you are teaching an art lesson or demonstrating how to hold an instrument at the front of the room, students with visual impairments may choose to use a monocular, which is a small, portable device that functions like a telescope to enhance things that are fifteen feet away or more.

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