Print edition page number(s) 451-451
Through the leadership of Stuart Wittenstein, chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), the journal features a series known as This Mattered to Me in which Dr. Wittenstein invites leaders of the field to identify something they read in JVIB that had a long-lasting impact on them and to share their story with readers. The highlighted classic article is then posted online for all subscribers to read, and it becomes part of the JVIB Online electronic archive of literature. This month, I actually did a double take when I saw the author of the article recommended in This Mattered to Me as T. S. Eliot, a famous poet, playwright, and literary critic, and considered by many to be one of the most important English-language poets of the 20th century. Although the essay is about braille, I read it as a story about literacy, with braille as one medium. Not wishing to steal the story as told by Sheila Amato, I will divulge no further details other than to say that her This Mattered to Me is a must read for anyone who loves a good story and the tenderness with which it is told. Quite frankly I cannot wait until the T. S. Eliot piece from 1952 is available online so I can read it myself.
The lead article by Capella-McDonnall addresses the chronic problem of finding employment for individuals with visual impairment, and she uses data from the second National Longitudinal Transition Study to predict employment outcomes. As is true with most of life, early experiences with work and level of educational attainment are important predictors, and transportation, independent travel skills, and social skills also ranked high among all of the variables that were studied.
Educational research in the field of visual impairment has gradually shifted from being primarily concerned with students' access to general education schools and classrooms to a greater focus on the access of students with disabilities to the educational curriculum. As it turns out, this is an issue with many challenges. How does one obtain access for students that is both cost effective and educationally relevant?
Providing the highest quality education while maintaining the lowest cost per pupil has been a dominant theme in education literature over many decades. The use of paraeducators has been identified, along with the appropriate guidance and support of a teacher, as one possibly effective way to obtain high educational outcomes in and increase access to the educational curriculum by students with visual impairments. Beth Harris reports on a series of case studies that examine the interactions of paraeducators and students with visual impairments being educated in general education classrooms. She finds that proximity of the paraeducator affects the behavior of the teacher as well as the student.
Bardin and Lewis continue the theme of access to the curriculum with their study of braille-reading students in general education classes. The purpose of the study was to collect information on general educators' rankings of the level of academic engagement of braille-reading students and to compare these levels to those exhibited by the students' sighted peers. Academic engagement has been identified as an indicator of academic success. The authors find that the braille readers had similar engagement as the low-achieving students with regard to effort, self-determination, and inattention. Close collaboration with general educators may be required to engage students with visual impairments so they can achieve their maximum potential.
Ward and colleagues investigated how social influences impact physical activity and perceptions of physical competence among youths with visual impairments. The authors affirm that students with visual impairments do not have the same levels of activity as their sighted peers and identify the importance of parental involvement and support as a key element to increasing physical activity.
I hope you enjoy this issue of JVIB.
Editor in Chief
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