For any student, making the most of school opens a gateway to opportunity whether for further education or career, but for students with vision loss there are additional challenges to overcome. Going back to school can be incredibly rewarding for low vision students, and with some simple strategies and tips, you can make sure that those low vision learning challenges never present a problem for you.
Low Vision Learning Challenges
To have the best experience when going back to school, it is important to understand the potential low vision learning challenges a student may face. This begins with reading and writing, which form the basis of most classes a student will take part in. Students struggling with reading and writing will then find that it has a knock-on effect, impacting study efficiency as they spend more energy and time dealing with the basics than anything else. Without large print books, better lighting and so on, it can be difficult to keep up with the class when reading, for instance.
Classrooms are not, in general, equipped with low vision students in mind, and will often lack the equipment or layout to help. A low vision student might find themselves sitting in an area where they cannot read a whiteboard well, or they may find that a classroom that is crowded with people and equipment difficult to navigate without bumping into things. Writing requirements may be impractical for some students with vision loss, depending on the task too.
But school is more than academic learning, it is an experience to help students grow and develop in all ways, and in the social space there are low vision learning challenges too. However, there vision loss solutions to help students overcome these issues and more, and with our tips for visually impaired students, you can enjoy a good social experience, make the most of your classes and have a productive time when you go back to school.
Low Vision Learning Strategies
Some of the study challenges low vision students face can be overcome by careful choices. For instance, explain to any teachers beforehand that you need to sit close to or at the front where you can have a clear and unobstructed view of the whiteboard. Even scheduling can be an issue, check with the school to make sure that they allow enough time to travel between classes, as navigating a new building can take a little extra time to begin with, and a tight schedule can cause issues at any time.
If you are going back to school with students you already know, make arrangements with them on obtaining any missed instructions or assignments if you have a doctor visit or miss parts of a class for any reason. Alternatively, talk to teachers to arrange a system to do the same before this becomes an issue, so everything is in place when you need it.
Another thing to think about when you study with low vision is the issue of reading and writing. There is assistive technology for visually impaired students that can offer significant help here, from magnifiers to additional lighting or audiobooks. Something like the Zoomax Snow 12 offers portable but powerful video magnification, and is ideal for reading books and seeing things more clearly.
Before you study with Snow 12, it would help to get used to the device and how it all works, so practice at home, or use it to read the menu when you have a family meal at a restaurant. Practice gives you confidence using the machine and can make it much easier when you go back to school.
It is helpful if the teachers are aware of the kind of assistive technology available, but not all will be. Another way in which teachers can help though is to allow for verbal answers for assignments or tests where it is practical to do so. This can be a real help in assessing learning performance, removing the variance of reading and writing support to focus on the knowledge each student has learned.
Creating inclusive environments for students with vision loss can also be a real help to overcome social challenges, and teachers can help significantly here. Celebrate the differences within a group of students, talk about the differences for every student, discuss your unique challenges with others, but then also talk about how similar you are despite that. From the music you love to the things you like to do, you will find you have much more in common with your classmates than you have differences. It is those shared experiences that build the social connections that are so important.
Support for Low Vision Students
These tips for visually impaired students can transform the back-to-school experience, but to make the most of school life, low vision students can benefit from support from all those around them.
Families should be encouraging and help create a good environment for study at home. Allowing the student to focus on their work in the right environment can really help, with the right equipment and so on, removing obstacles and making it easy to concentrate on studying.
Within the school, both teachers and the school itself can assist students with vision loss in a number of ways. As mentioned, teachers can help by focusing on verbal responses where practical and help with creating an inclusive culture that encourages understanding and celebrating each individual within the group.
Schools can provide support in both scheduling and in creating the supportive environments that enable the low vision strategies we have discussed. From assistive technology for visually impaired students like the Zoomax Snow 12 to offering the right support if a student needs to miss classes for medical treatment, the school itself can be an important part of ensuring students can make the most of any vision loss solutions.
American visually impaired students who would like to prepare a visual aid for their new semester, check zoomaxusa.com to get the latest promotion for the 2024 back-to-school season!
For students with vision loss, going back to school doesn’t have to be a series of challenges. Instead, by prepping ahead of time, working with family, teachers, the school and friends, you can build a support network that smooths out those potential challenges and lets you focus on two things, your studies and enjoying the school experience itself.
You can enjoy your studies with assistive technology for visually impaired students, making it so much easier to make use of schoolbooks and other materials. If you study with Snow 12 or other assistive technology, it can transform the experience, but there are other things too. Audiobook versions of study materials can make things a lot easier too, so there is not a single solution.
Meanwhile, Zoomax Snow Eye, an external camera that is compatible with Snow 12 or any screens with HDMI output is coming soon! It supports students with low vision to view at a distance conveniently and effortlessly. Stay tuned on zoomax.com for updates!
Instead, think of all these little tips and ideas coming together to make the entire experience so much easier and more enjoyable. Importantly, they also help you be a more effective student too, so when you study with low vision, you can still achieve the very best outcomes and really make the most of your own potential.
Low vision learning challenges exist, there is no reason to ignore them though, because by taking the initiative and being prepared, as our tips for visually impaired students show, then everyone can have the support, tools and environment in place to be the best student they can be.