How to include visually impaired and dyslexic children

While VI can be diagnosed quite young and can can come with a list of helpful things specific to the individual, dyslexia often isn’t recognised until much later and actually covers a lot more than just muddling letters. These tips should help make things a bit easier for VI children, those learning to read and those with dyslexia and dyslexic type disorganisation/memory skills – bonus!

1. Illustrate in a non-visual way
Just like you would with the littlies appeal to more than just your eyes, read the Bible aloud, have objects, smells and foods to back up your teaching, make your pictures big, bright and bold!

2. Give more time
You may not have any longer with your kids but you can make sure you’re not squeezing too much in. Often these kids will work harder to produce a smaller amount; can you judge their understanding verbally instead? It might take a long time to construct a verbal sentence; if you can’t read clearly sentence structure just isn’t being reinforced.

3. Don’t get them to copy text
Pre-printing or hand copying saves time and energy that can be spent on understanding. Colour coding is a great way to draw attention, ‘we’re going to look at verse 3, which is in red’ just don’t expect them (or me!) to distinguish between similar colours.

4. What’s the easiest to read?
Sans-serif is easier to read than serifed fonts; don’t know what that means? Serifs are the twiddly bits on the end of your letters. Italics and underlining make it harder to recognise letter shapes but bold, colour changes and different font sizes are great ways to add emphasis. Often printing or viewing on a cream background is easier to see, red writing on black, dark blue on cream, and yellow on blue are often recommended as they minimise the letter jumping effect that dyslexics struggle with. Also left aligning your worksheets and powerpoints makes it easier to know where the next word is going to be. Centralising is fine for one heading but for subheadings bold is better

5. Make it easy to remember
Make a pictorial list of what’s going to happen to help them remember what they should be doing. Try and set things out the same way – pencils here, stickers there, sit in the same places. Learning memory verses with actions or to music will help much more than a written reminder only. Don’t expect them to remember their left and right – always show, tell and repeat!