OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Visual Impairments and Blindness in Adult Education

Research and Evaluation | Noteworthy Practices | Additional Links

Adult learners with visual impairments can be identified as totally or legally blind, partially sighted or having "low vision" and may face certain challenges in literacy and academic development. They may lack important access to regularly printed educational materials or media technology. Visually impaired adult students may benefit from any number of adaptive technologies, assistive devices and/or learning environment modifications, such as improved classroom lighting, materials utilizing Braille, larger print materials, recorded text books, etc. Persons with visual impairments might utilize computer technology via another one of their senses, such as hearing or touch or other modifications of their computer displays. Agencies are responsible under the Adults with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide reasonable accommodations and modifications to enable their employees with visual impairments to become effective, successful learners.

Research and Evaluation

  • Journal for Visual Impairment and Blindness. The articles below are from the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, a resource from the American Foundation for the Blind. The journal articles are available online only to subscribers.

    • A National Outcomes Assessment of the Rehabilitation of Adults with Visual Impairments. This article discusses development of the Blind Rehabilitation Services Functional Outcomes Survey during a research project on the rehabilitation of adults with visual impairments. It describes the development process, the methods used in establishing survey reliability and validity, and the results of intermediate analyses of the data.

    • Teaching Transferable Compensatory Skills and Processes to Visually Impaired Adults. This article presents the eight laws of association theory and applies four of them to strategies for teaching transferable skills to individuals with visual impairments. Strategies described include situation forecasting, generalization, sense shifting, performing skills repetitively to facilitate the transfer habit, and assigning an intensity rating to situations.

Noteworthy Practices

  • Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. Located in Washington, DC, this center offers assistive technology training, career services, and resources about rehabilitation.

  • Hadley School for the Blind, Illinois. Offers correspondence classes on a wide range of subjects for home study for people who are blind. The school also has a program for parents of blind children. All courses are free of charge to all individuals who are legally blind.

  • Workshops, Inc. is a training and employment center for people who experience physical or mental disabilities in Alabama. Classroom settings are available for completing High School and GED preparation, as well as teaching reading, job seeking skills, and life skills.

Additional Links

  • The American Foundation for the Blind is dedicated to addressing the critical issues of literacy, independent living, employment, and access through technology for the blind or visually impaired. Includes list of organizations around the country categorized by type of service they provide.

  • Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Membership organization dedicated to rendering all possible support and assistance to the professionals who work in all phases of education and rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired children and adults. Includes resources and publications for sale.

  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Part of the Library of Congress, administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.

  • National Vision Rehabilitation Cooperative. Part of Lighthouse International, an advocacy organization for the blind and visually impaired, the cooperative is comprised of nonprofit vision rehabilitation agencies throughout the United States. Includes contact information and links to regional agencies.

  • Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. Materials for anyone who cannot effectively read standard print because of a visual, perceptual, or other physical disability.

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Last Modified: 10/16/2007