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An Examination of 40 Years of Mathematics Education Among Norwegian Braille-Reading Students
Abstract: Structured Abstract: Introduction: The study presented here estimated the occurrence of braille-reading students in Norway who were educated according to their grade-level progression in mathematics from 1967 to 2007. It also analyzed the association among these students' progression in mathematics and the causes of visual impairment, the age at which the diagnosis was established, the students' gender, and the students' use of reading media (braille as the sole, primary, or secondary literacy medium). Methods: A retrospective, population-based study design was used. All the students who had received braille education in the past four decades prior to the study were included. The following data were abstracted from each student's records: birth year, country of birth, gender, year diagnosed, diagnosis, type of reading media, and whether the student's education had followed their grade-level progression. Results: In total, 248 braille-reading students were identified. Of these students, 141 (57%) had been taught mathematics at grade level. In 19 of the 45 principal eye diagnoses that were registered, all the students were educated according to the normative grade progress in mathematics. There were no statistically significant associations between gender and the abstracted variables or between mathematics education and reading media. Discussion: During the four decades under study, there was some variation in the distribution of different diagnoses. Students with diagnoses related to the central nervous system had a comparatively higher risk of not attaining their normal grade level in mathematics. Implication for practitioners: Teachers may expect that a braille-reading student will follow his or her grade level in mathematics. It is essential, however, to gain information on the causes of visual impairment, in general, and in cases of the co-occurrence of visual impairment and learning disabilities, in particular. It is essential to document typical learning patterns among braille-reading students and intervention strategies for students with visual impairments and learning disabilities.
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