Monday, March 31, 2008

Students with Visual Impairments...

How do you provide instruction for children with visual impairments? I am looking for resources and ideas as children with this disability move through my school. Thanks, Christina Newton, Bennington


Jane said...

I have had three students who were legally/completely blind. Some things I found helped.
Being CONSISTANT in scents helped:
I used food flavoring to scent my tempera paint...A little pricey, but you could also use kool aid. A little of either goes a long way. I paired scents with colors, like vanilla and white, root beer and brown, anise and black, etc. YOu might make the scents to the scented markers.
I also used different textures for each color, to mix in. (Painting really doesn't make sense, unless you make it make sensory. ) So, I added oatmeal, sand, dreft baby detergent (powdered), cornmeal, etc. Again, be consistent, so it is always the same. I guess I found that simply painting to be painting because others are doing that media is not enough. It needs to be important and meaningful to the student. So adding in textures helps the student understand the finished (dry) result, not just the (wet) process.
I also found that if I outlined the painting with glue and let that dry, then the student could feel where to paint. I did as many 3-D projects that I could. Paint old shoes, paint pre-assembled collages of tubes and eggcartons, paint toy models or first with gesso.
I adapted as many projects as I could to NOT being paintings, but rather assemblages. Instead of doing fall trees, I brought in twigs, fake leaves, store-bought bird nests, etc. Walk around Blicks, Michaels, Wal-Mart and use your HANDS not your eyes. What feels interesting and unique? What papers have textures or thickness? What fabrics or wall papers can be used that are distintively different? I tried to use the same lessons with my student..just different media.
Teaching about different artists using visuals is trickier. You might want to take a digital picture of the artwork, print it out (you won't need color) and outline important details again with glue. Or mount it on tag board, cut it apart into recognizable shapes (by touch) and let the student piece it back together to understand the work.
I have also used the scented papers from perfume ads. Ask around your building for anything and everything. We have hot glued on tons of McDonald toys onto cardboard cones...lots to touch! Building with beads, shells, macaroni, cereal shapes, old pins, ribbons, lace, styrofoam, nuts, bolts, screws, hinges, wood, pine cones, seeds, silk flowers, toy bugs, etc can become quite interesting. It may LOOK overwhelming to you, and you may want to spraypaint it all one color, but then, it is not about our perception, it is about the student's senses. Hope this helps!
Jane Kathol, Elkhorn

Anonymous said...

I had a visually impaired art student...
I made sure that the art history information per unit was printed at LPS in Braille in small books. I had the info typed, sent it downtown, and asked for some pencil to be added so I could remember which artist and unit I needed it for. I also kept photocopies of the typed pages so I could verbally quiz the student on the information or help answer the questions. He could respond with a braille machine in the room, but I had no idea of what it said until I had it translated.

I also had student volunteers to recreate the paintings we were studying in black marker on tag board. Then I had materials to glue to each color section so that the painting could be felt to be sort of understood with a visual texture. I used sand papers, seeds, beads, wallpapers with texture, bumps of glue, etc. so the student could feel the different shapes and sections in the paintings. I also used whatever three-dimensional models of fruits, etc. depending on what was in the
painting... set up still lifes for him to "feel." Other students could use their eyes and find connections.

He could also then.. do rubbings of the work(you can buy some of these thru Nasco as texture sheets) while the other students were visually involved with power points or prints on the

Michelle Art Specialist 16 yrs, 10 yrs with Lincoln Public Schools

Bob said...

Great suggestions Jane and Michelle! I've used texture surfaces as much as possible with 2-d work. However, I tried to connect each unit for students who are blind to something 3-d. If the class was making paintings of animals, I would have the visually impaired student use clay to make his animal.
Bob, LPS