Teaching Sensory Efficiency Skills to Students with Visual Impairments

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you work with students who have visual impairments, you want them to learn to make as much use as they can out of the senses they have. This lesson focuses on sensory efficiency skills for students with visual impairments.

Why Sensory Efficiency Skills

Hannah has been teaching elementary-aged students with visual impairments for ten years. In other words, Hannah's students have disabilities that reduce their sight and capacity to process visual information. Because Hannah's students can access less through vision than their typically-developing peers, Hannah knows how important it is for them to make use of the senses they do have.

This means that Hannah wants to teach her students sensory efficiency skills, or skills for making the most out of the senses they can access. Hannah knows that explicit instruction in sensory efficiency skills can really help her students learn from and interact with the world around them.

Skills for Residual Vision

First, Hannah thinks about the different aspects of vision her students are able to work on. Of course, this depends tremendously on the severity, or extent, of their visual impairment.

Visual Efficiency Skills

Some students are able to learn more visual efficiency, which means teaching students to shift their gaze, remember things they have seen, and use their vision to control and track their movements. In other words, visual efficiency means using vision efficiently.

To work on visual efficiency, Hannah engages in gross motor activities with her students and talks with them about body control. She has them touch objects while talking about what they do see and how the object can move or be moved.

Visual Tracking Skills

Hannah knows that visual tracking has to do with a student's capacity to visually follow a moving object. Teaching her students visual tracking can make a big difference in their safety as well as their learning.

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