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Adapting for
Blind Young Women

* The distribution center has a lot of Braille materials and things on tape for the blind. I would order as many as are applicable through the ward. Then, since there is no communication problem (as with the deaf), then I would ask her what you can do to make things easier. She'll tell you most likely. As with any kid with a disability, don't focus on the problem they have and don't let them focus on it either. :-) ~Teresa

* "Blind" can mean many things, from not being able to see anything, to enough vision to see large print. That's where you start. Find out from the YW and her parents, what types of modifications she will need to access the materials you have. Does she need more lighting, does too much glare on her materials make it hard for her to see, does she use a cane, or sighted guide? If sighted guide is what she uses, everyone needs to be trained how to do that (otherwise you end up with the blind person being dragged around from place to place, without any forethought to route, obstacles and preference of the individual). The YW herself or her parents can show you how to do this. Most blind individuals have someone who can transcribe materials into Braille if you are giving handouts to your class, etc. This material must be given in advance of the time you will need it. Find out what technology is available to the young woman, because materials can be put on disk and then transcribed into Braille with use of a Braille printer. The Young woman may want to take notes in class on a Braille 'n Speak personal note taker.

When calling on someone in a group setting, remember to identify by name who you want to answer otherwise the blind person does not know who is being asked to speak. When giving directions, be sure to be specific. If the young woman is comfortable, it would be a wonderful opportunity for the other YW to learn about the tools that a person with a visual impairment uses to access materials, read and travel. I have found that fear of the unknown is the biggest problem with people not being comfortable with a disability. Once information is shared, everyone is comfortable and understands that each of us is unique and has something to share with others. There are a couple of great movies put out by the American Foundation for the Blind that might be of use to you. ~Susan Greer

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