Session S59a (Wednesday, 9:30am, Wartik 106)

P655: Students with vision impairments in chemistry

Andrea Stawiery (Addison Trail High School, USA)

Recently, my school district enrolled students with blindness in chemistry for the first time.  Three students with blindness were enrolled in my chemistry class.  I worked with a vision specialist, and a university researcher to design modifications for the students with vision impairments.   As we approached this new challenge we realized that there is not much research on this topic and there needs to be further studies. Blindness is found in less than 1% of the population but we discovered many accommodations and adaptations were successful in reaching our vision students as well as the general populous.  There were many days in which I went home after a lesson and reflectively journaled on my lesson that day. I truly thought about what worked and what did not. I believe I became a better teacher because I developed new ways to explain concepts, use models, and modify assessments to measure an individual student’s progress. This unique group of students provided a great feedback mechanism between me, my students, and peers that generated changes in my teaching style.  At the end of the year I concluded that it is possible for students with blindness to have success in a general chemistry class. They should be given the opportunity and choice to take the class, especially if correlates to their desired career interest.

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