Teaching and learning in Schools and colleges: findings from the

Teaching and learning in Schools and
colleges: findings from the longitudinal
Slide 1
Teaching and learning in schools and colleges:
Findings from the Longitudinal Study
Rachel Hewett and Graeme Douglas from VICTAR, Department of
Disability Inclusion and Special Needs, University of Birmingham
and Sue Keil from RNIB
Slide 2
 Access to written information
 Use of mainstream equipment
 Mobility and independence skills
 Information needs
Slide 3
Access to Information: LVAs
 34 of the 52 print readers had used low vision aids
 18 obtained the LVA from a low vision clinic
 11 had obtained the LVA from the QTVI
 Other sources included local optician, charity, SENCO
 Those who were given LVAs in school rather than through low
vision clinics tended not know where to go to get LVAs after
they had left school
 Opinions about LVAs divided – some saw the benefits, many
found them difficult to use, or considered them stigmatising
 LVAs used for daily living activities as well as in education
Slide 4
LVAs – not just for education
This is a table detailing an activity and a corresponding number:
 Reading large block of text (newspapers, books): 15
 Cooking (recipes, food packages): 4
 Reading text on mobile phones: 4
 Labels (medicines, DVDs): 4
 Bus timetables, bus numbers: 3
 Watching a show, sport: 2
 Reading maps: 2
Slide 5
Access to Information: Braille
 20 participants have learnt or are learning braille, but only 14
would describe it as their main reading format
 Some evidence of more favourable outcomes for those who
were taught braille at a very young age
 “It was good because I could already read it and everything. I
was never behind academically because of having to learn
braille…Basically I could go to primary school and I only had
to learn grade 2 but in effect I could get any work that we
were given and I could still read it.”
 Specific circumstances where participants would favour braille
over electronic material
Slide 6
Access to Information: Electronic Information
 Many of the participants had received some form of training,
or at least a basic introduction to accessing computers
 These experiences appeared mixed according to who had
provided the training
 Examples of participants who had not received additional
training as their sight conditions had worsened and they had
had to move from magnification to speech software
 Two participants who are registered blind did not receive any
training in using specialist software/equipment and were
reliant purely on braille
Slide 7
Access to Information: Electronic Information
 “When I had my training session from DSA, I found I kind of
realised quite a lot, but at the same time, I don’t know very
much if you know what I mean! The trainer was like ‘do you
know how to do this?’ and I was like ‘yeah, yeah’, and then
she would go ‘oh, so you know how to do that?’, and I was
like ‘nooo!’ So a lot of stuff I worked out how to do, but in a
very sort of long-winded way most of the time, going around
the world, doing something that I could do with two strokes of
the keyboard, you know.”
Slide 8
Access to Information: Electronic Information
 Movement by the young people away from using specialist
software towards making adjustments to mainstream
“I turn the screen resolution to 600 x 900 I think it is. Basically it
makes things a bit bigger.”
 Participants making use of mainstream devices which have
inbuilt accessibility options
“I use an iPad in my placement for my notes. You can adjust the
brightness and the darkness. Can enlarge things when they need
enlarging. You can do all kinds of things with it – it’s the best thing
I’ve ever had. “
Slide 9
Access to Information: Mainstream technology as
assistive tools
 Over 60% (38) of the young people said that they would use
mainstream technology as assistive tools to help them with
their visual impairment.
 Those would not often seemed unaware of the options that
may be available to them
 Mainstream technology provides new opportunity to YP with
visual impairments, and it is important this is facilitated in
Slide 10
Access to Information: Mainstream technology
Features identified which make mainstream devices more
accessible to young people with a visual impairment.
 Zoom option: 7 mobile phone users, 6 tablet users, 0 E-reader
 Inbuilt screen reader: 7 mobile phone users, 4 tablet users, 2
E-reader users
 Ability to enlarge text: 5 mobile phone users, 1 tablet users, 4
E-reader users
 Ability to change contrast/brightness: 3 mobile phone users, 1
tablet users, 1 E-reader users
 Voice recognition: 2 mobile phone users, 3 tablet users, 0 Ereader users
 Large screen: 1 mobile phone user, 0 tablet users, 0 E-reader
 More ergonomic: 0 mobile phone users, 1 tablet user, 0 Ereader users
Slide 11
Access to Information: Electronic Information
Examples of how the participants would use mainstream
technology as a form of assistive aid (total is 38).
 Use devices to make it easier to access text: 21
 Use screen readers to access information/text to speech to
input information: 9
 Navigation/travel: 11
 Using inbuilt camera as a magnifier: 8
 Using specialist apps: 6
 Online shopping: 5
 Flashlight: 2
Slide 12
Access to Information: Summary
 Is mainstream technology alone sufficient when in the
 Important that the young people have a range of methods for
accessing information
 Different tools for accessing information can compliment,
rather than replace one another
 Proper training in the use of assistive technology, and use of
LVA is essential
 Teachers need to consider not just the skills that are needed
to access the school curriculum but also independent
learning, accessing written information for purposes other
than education
 YP need to know where to go to access support and
equipment once they have left school
Slide 13
Independence Skills: Mobility training
 Limited mobility training for participants who did not attend
specialist schools
 Spoke positively of having blocks of training
“I had a bit of mobility. It must have been, it was so infrequent. So
when I was in Year 10, I would have mobility once every two
weeks. And then for some reason in Year 11 it completely
stopped...I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t picking up the
routes, or that it was infrequent, or if the mobility teacher wasn’t… I
just didn’t find it helpful at all, I didn’t learn anything”
 Some who struggle in getting around independently have
never heard of mobility training
 Some participants unaware of rail assistance and mobility
services provided by adult services
 Important that mobility skills are in place to aid post-school
transitions: campaigns?
Slide 14
Independence Skills: Self Advocacy
 Self-advocacy an important skill to YP with VI when making
transitions: e.g. FE; HE; employment
 Can help YP develop these skills
Factors which the participants felt have helped them in dealing
with such situations include:
 Practice by dealing with similar situations in the past – e.g. in
 Confident to speak for themselves
 Inner sense of responsibility
Slide 15
Information Needs: Careers advice
 Mixed response towards careers advice received
 Negativity from some to receiving advice from people they felt
ill-equipped to do so:
“They tried, but I said no! They are from Connexions, and I am like,
Connexions sort of advise everyone, they don’t know anything
about my visual impairment and like they are probably just going to
go onto Google and do some research that I could do in my spare
 Careers advice needs to be seen to be relevant
 Two thirds hadn’t heard of Access to Work scheme & no
participants to date have requested an assessment information gap
Slide 16
Information Needs: Disabled Student Allowance
 Problems identified in the Disabled Student Allowance
process, at all stages of application
 Some of problems linked to limited specialist support when
going through DSA assessment process
 To be discussed in more detail in HE presentation