Primary Special Needs - Visual Impairment in Mainstream - Anna's World
What the resource is
This Teachers TV programme focuses on a day in the school life of eight year old Anna, who has a severe visually impairment. Anna's World is a personal perspective of her life in a mainstream Primary School. There are a range of contributions from a number of adults working with her including her parents.
The aims of the resource
The video seeks to help us understand how Anna feels about being taught alongside mainstream pupils. There is an emphasis on showing the challenges she faces socially and what practical solutions can solve them.
Key findings or focus
The video highlights Anna's perspectives on her friendships and her enjoyment of school life. There is a focus on the two Braille reading Teaching Assistants. Clearly, their brief is wider than just the school curriculum. One of Anna's teaching assistants describes their role as
‘Our aim is to make sure she is not excluded in any way. It's to support her in her learning generally, in every aspect of learning, playtimes, everything.'
There is limited discussion with the class teacher on her management of the class to include Anna. The visiting teacher for impaired vision plays an important part in co-ordinating her education. Anna's parents clearly support a mainstream education for her.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource
This video offers an interesting perspective of school life with a visually impaired child. What is not clear is the level of impairment. The range of voices brings a credibility to this subject and they give the social issues a full and balanced picture. Practitioners include:
- SEN consultant
- Visiting teacher for impaired vision
- Class teacher
- Two trained Braille reading Teaching Assistants
However, the questions of curriculum planning, differentiation, management of learning space and resources, are not discussed in depth. Tutors and students might like to consider the extent to which the class teacher adapts her practice to suit Anna's needs.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors
At 15 minutes, this video is a springboard for discussion about challenges faced both by schools and pupils with severe visual impairment. A tutor might like to discuss the following issues with their trainees:
- How the evidence presented in the video meets the aims and outcomes of the Every Child Matters agenda.
- To what extent a class teacher should plan proactively to meet the needs of all children.
The relevance to ITE students
This is an important video because there is a clear link with the aims and outcomes of the Every Child Matters (2004) agenda with an emphasis on ‘Enjoy and Achieve' and ‘Making a Positive Contribution'. There were some good strategies for teaching children to become independent learners, which is relevant to all children in mainstream as well as to those who have a visual impairment.
Debbie Bowers & Sue Gilbert
Visually impaired, Every Child Matters, Braille, Learning Support Assistants, social skills
Article Id : 13801
Date Posted: 1/11/2007