Diverse Teaching Strategies

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Strategies for students with sensory impairments

on February 22, 2013

This week’s ideas come from the following articles and activities:




Students with sensory impairments can include impairments with vision, hearing, and tactile sensitivity. It takes special care and understanding to create strategies in your classroom for these students. Although they are included together under the title “sensory impairments,” each of the impairments are entirely different as well as can be combined for some students.

Students with vision impairments will require more focus on their other senses to enhance their learning environment. Technology that speaks or is more tactile can help these students while students with hearing impairments might need more visual cues and tactile activities. Students with tactile impairments might be more successful with visual and oral activities, instead of hands on activities.

The use of assistive technology as a teaching strategy for this population of students is the strongest idea. There are many different ways to use technology already in your classroom to help students with sensory impairments excel.

For students with vision impairments, braille keyboards and speak to text software, (ex. Dragon) can be very helpful. The creation of larger text on worksheets, on video displays, within Windows platforms are ways to differentiate for these students. This is outlines int he vision guide provided by Microsoft and referenced above.

For students with hearing impairments, creating visual cues and placing the student so he/she can see you as you give directions is extremely helpful. Close captioning is a great resource for videos, computer screen work, and television activities. The following website offers specific ideas for teachers and strategies for college students with hearing impairments but I think they are broad enough to be used in a classroom setting for K-12 students as well. (http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/colleges/University/disability/faculty-staff/classroom-issues/hearing/hearing-strategy.htm)

Common Strategies for hearing impairments include:

Preferential seating (toward the front of the classroom)
Assistive Listening Devices
Captions for films and videos
Sign language or oral interpreters
Voice-to text-transcription (C-Print, real-time captioning, remote interpreting)

I found this website to have more details about sensory impairments and strategies that can be used to help these students be successful. (http://www.trinity.edu/org/sensoryimpairments/)

The main objective for students with sensory impairments is to tailor your teaching strategies for the specific student. This impairment can have varied degrees of severity and can also include other disabilities in conjunction. The key would be to find what your student needs and get creative in your teaching to provide it seamlessly.


One response to “Strategies for students with sensory impairments

  1. lawmaam says:

    I agree that teaching strategies need to be tailored and many students have multiple disabilities so it is not effective to just pick a standard method off a site or from a book based on just one of those impairments. Have you ever used an IPEVO device? (http://www.ipevo.com/) They are great for displaying and magnifying just about anything, no scanners or ELMOs needed!

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