Visual Impairment

Page updated on: 15/02/2024

In Wales around 0.2% of the school population has a significant visual impairment. A visual impairment is where vision cannot be fully corrected by wearing glasses/lenses.

However, research suggests that as many as 10% of learners may have an undetected refractive error – meaning that their ability to learn and actively participate in lessons is impaired due to not seeing an optometrist and wearing glasses. So up to 3 children in each class might have their learning affected by reduced vision that has not been picked up.

Signs of visual impairment in children:

  • Loss of attention and concentration.
  • Frequent daydreaming.
  • Poor handwriting.
  • Clumsiness.
  • Lack of eye contact.
  • Loses place when reading.
  • Difficulties respecting other children’s personal space.
  • Gets tired quickly.
  • Needs longer than others to complete tasks.
  • Finds it difficult to read small print.
  • Finds it difficult to read from the whiteboard.
  • Complains frequently of headaches.
  • Often rubs their eyes.
  • Finds it difficult to copy.
  • Overly depends on peer support to complete tasks / get around.
  • Finds it difficult to interpret drawings / pictures if the contrast isn’t good.

How will the school help?

Teachers can help children with visual loss in classrooms by:

  • Having stimulating learning environments and accessible curriculum materials
  • Risk assessing environments to ensure the safety of learners with visual impairments
  • Making sure reading material has clear print (Arial font size 14) on A4 paper as a minimum provision (some children will require larger print)
  • Differentiation – including alternative equipment and teaching techniques
  • Appropriate lighting / blinds to meet the needs of individual children
  • Having a clutter free environment, with equipment stored in easily accessible places
  • Modifying and adapting educational materials
  • Thinking about seating
  • Having awareness training on the needs of individual learners

Children, young people, parents or carers should speak to the school initially if they have any questions about the learner’s sight.

The Local Authority has Qualified Teachers of Children with Visual Impairment (QTVIs) and a Mobility / Habilitation Specialist service who are available to assess and support your child’s needs as required. See Specialist Provision.

Children and young people will be supported in different ways according to their needs within the classroom. They may need to work in small groups, sometimes with a teaching assistant to support needs or help identify need. Some children and young people who require additional support will be identified as having additional learning needs through a decision-making process

Sensory Impairment Manager: Sallie Durbridge, email:  01267 246406

The following websites may be useful for more information: 

Education & Schools