Teachers of students who are visually impaired work with a wide variety of students every day. They provide educational services to students of all ages and ability levels who are learning academic skills, as well as skills needed for success outside of the classroom. It is important that teachers plan effective instruction and develop a clear understanding of the complex issues facing students and their parents. These complex issues have an impact on students' development as well as on educational programming.
Through the years, teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired have looked to the literature of the field for information and guidance. The following texts, in particular, have dealt with the subject of educating visually impaired children from birth through adulthood:
- Foundations of Education: History and Theory of Teaching Children and Youths with Visual Impairments,
Second Edition, Volume 1,
edited by M. Cay Holbrook and Alan J. Koenig, AFB Press
- Foundations of Education, Second Edition, Volume II: Instructional Strategies for Teaching Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, edited by Alan J. Koenig and M. Cay Holbrook, AFB Press
- Foundations of Low Vision: Clinical and Functional Perspectives, edited by Anne L. Corn and Alan J. Koenig, AFB Press.
- Itinerant Teaching:
Tricks of the Trade for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, Second Edition, by Jean E. Olmstead, AFB Press.
- A Parents' Guide to Special Education for Children with Visual Impairments, Edited by Susan LaVenture, AFB Press.
Over the last 30 years the educational field working with children who are blind or have low vision has moved to a more comprehensive look at what education should be for students with visual impairments. AFB supports the choice of parents and students to decide how to best serve their individual needs. What is important and true to the spirit of the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) is that not one delivery model fits all children. Each child's placement must be an individual decision. The key is a full array of service delivery options in school districts available across the country.
Schools for the blind play an important role in bringing high-quality education to children who are blind or visually impaired. In states where there is an open partnership between the state department of education and the local school for the blind, you will find more progressive options for students, their families, and their teachers. Schools for the blind are integral to the states' in-service and pre-service programming. It is important that the statewide assessments of the educational system's needs include input from schools for the blind, so that ongoing staff development for regular and special education teachers will be more effective.