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Visual Impairment

Visual impairment is a decreased ability to see, to a degree that causes problems that are not resolved by normal glasses. This can range from having low vision - which means being ineligible to drive and having difficulty recognising faces across a street, to severely sight impaired - defined as unable to see at 3 metres what a normally sighted person can see at 60 metres. There are many varying degrees between.

Understandably, any visual impairment can have a marked effect on a child’s education. A visually impaired child will typically learn about the world in a different way to a child without visual impairment. They are unable to rely on sight to obtain information, so will often uses other sense than vision to acquire information. They will need particular kinds of attention and assistance to learn skills that sighted children develop as a matter of course just by watching others. A child with a visual impairment may need to have clear explanations provided, sometimes repeatedly before they are able to understand.

We often do not realise how much children learn just through vision. For example, a visually impaired child may need to meet a real dog, and pet it from head to tail, before they are able to link this with a dog mentioned in a story or the concept of "a dog.” Although a visually impaired child may require extra assistance in learning, unless there is another condition present, their intelligence and ability to learn is not affected.

Some organisations that can offer advice and support:

RNIB

Blind Children UK

Victa

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