Art Beyond the Eyes: A Handbook For Visual Art Teachers Working with Students with Visual Impairments

 
9781497357990: Art Beyond the Eyes: A Handbook For Visual Art Teachers Working with Students with Visual Impairments
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This handbook is designed to help visual art teachers make accommodations for students with visual impairments, addressing the needs of children with low vision and those who are blind. The first section, “Understanding Students with Visual Impairments,” provides suggestions about where to find information about students with visual impairment as well as tips for working with Teachers of students with Visual Impairments and paraprofessionals. It also considers ways to adapt the classroom environment. The second section is the nuts and bolts of making an art program accessible for students with visual impairments, with a focus on media. For each medium there are sample lesson plans, a list of alternative materials, and suggestions for adapting materials and techniques for students with low vision, those who are blind, and those with multiple disabilities. While lessons are geared toward the elementary level, the accommodations work equally well with middle and high school students.

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About the Author:

Daryl Lussen Wilkinson has been an art teacher in Nashville, Tennessee, for over 20 years. Throughout the years, she has experienced the joy of working with many students with a variety of disabilities, ranging from academic learning differences to children with severe multiple disabilities. During the process for National Board Certification, Daryl began to consider the necessity for differentiation in the art classroom, especially as she addressed the needs of several of her students. She achieved NBCT status in 2008. The first time Daryl had a student with a visual impairment she had no idea how to work with her. The student was blind, used a braillewriter, and could see some color and shape if she held objects to within 2 inches of her eyes. The challenge was to find ways to make the art program accessible to her, so that she could participate and enjoy her experience. The teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) was of invaluable help. The experience left Daryl wondering what she could have done better, where she could have gone for more information, and a general feeling of “I’m not sure what I’m doing here.” Because she had no more students with visual impairments for several years, the whole subject of teaching art to such students faded into the back of her mind. Three occurrences brought it all back: her granddaughter lost her sight as a result of a stroke; she acquired another student with severe visual impairment; and she entered the Program for Visual Impairments at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She realized how important it was to be able to teach any child, with sight or without, with as much knowledge and expertise as she could. She also realized she was not alone. The likelihood that art teachers everywhere will encounter a student with visual impairment is increasingly on the rise, mainly due to the fact that children who were premature and children who have suffered extensive trauma are surviving because of advances in medical science. Extreme prematurity and traumatic brain injury are often accompanied with visual impairment. There are many other causes for visual impairment as well, but regardless of the cause, students with visual impairments are being included in all aspects of education. Daryl graduated from Vanderbilt with a Master's in Special Education for Visual Impairments in 2013. She is a certified Teacher of students with Visual Impairments.

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