Tag Archives: vision impairment

todos com todos

everyone with everybody…

A fantastic documentary about the inclusion of children with disability in mainstream schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

While almost the entire doco was “quote worthy” I particularly like the simplicity of this translated statement by Samuel’s father…


“I don’t see any other model.

In the segregation model people with disability don’t learn their autonomy and people without don’t learn to deal with the difference”.
Samu’s Dad


This movie is part of the Why Heloisa Project www.porqueheloisa.com.br
I think I will be spending some time clicking around in that project/website in the coming days.

For our English language blind viewers I have requested an English translation… will post it here if I can get my hands on it.

todos com todos…



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Filed under Accessing the Curriculum, Inclusion... straight up!


Last week Mac made the trek to UOW (Dad’s University) for his participation in a session on ‘exposure to people with disabilities’.

You can read about the where/what/why here on Shawn’s most recent blog post over at Disability + Media Matters.

At the end of the session we gave an extra bit of ‘secret Mac business’ to these future journos by sharing a couple of our ‘tried and tested’ tips on how to photograph a group shot when “someone in the shot”, courtesy of some ‘not so great head control’, is often looking in the opposite direction to the rest of the group.

Seems like such a minor thing (and some might say superficial)… but could a poorly considered shot be enough for that person to be devalued in the eyes of another, could it send the message that they “aren’t even aware of their surroundings” and therefore “really disabled” rather than someone simply having poor head control?

EXAMPLE ONE:  point & shoot…

Traditional shot where you expect to have the whole group ‘looking down the barrel’

As you can see, Mac is NOT looking at the camera, in this instance it actually looks like he is looking at me so isn’t too bad, but what other techniques can we use?

Group shot with all looking at the camera except for 9 year old Mac.

EXAMPLE TWO: every which way but front…

Potentially a more social and natural looking shot than the one above.  The person with the disability isn’t the ‘stand out’ as the only person not looking at the camera.  Certainly works much better when the shot is actually in focus. 😉

Group photo with everyone looking in a different direction.

EXAMPLE THREE:  follow Mac’s eyes…

This is my favourite, particularly when you get a run of three or so pics in succession.   Basically, the photographer (or a buddy beside them) will tell everyone where to look based on where Mac is looking.  We have plenty of birthday cake shots with everyone looking to the same spot Mac is – which is rarely at the cake –  it’s much more fun imagining what may have had everyone’s attention when you look back years later.  Once again, the person with the disability isn’t the only one looking away, it’s much more “look, is it a bird, is it a plane…” by the entire group.

A group shot where the group are directed to look wherever the pwd is looking, so all eyes focussed on the same 'off camera' spot.

So, there it is, “Secret Mac Business” and, in the words of my husband, “consider yourselves exposed”.

Do you have any tips and tricks to share?



Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!, things that make me go "glll"

more MyReader…

The myReader2 is getting a decent workout by Mac’s aide Ms M.

She has declared her “love” for it after just two days…

Things she likes doing:

  • scanning a few pages of the reader for Mac and his reading group so he can read along or everyone can see it on the screen;
  • set the text from the book onto a suitably timed scrolling speed;
  • putting Mac’s spelling words on the screen and having him copy them down using morse code NOT telling him what the word is (I think he only typed 4 words less than his peers wrote);
  • scanning the ‘editing’ paragraph and have Mac tell her what letters/items need to be changed;
  • using it in ‘live view’ and putting real items (counters/toys/dice) on the base and using them to ask questions on arrays etc;
  • scanning the maths worksheets and seeing just what he can answer with very limited, or at times, no instruction.
Sample of Mac’s work using the myREADER 

Of course I am always going to have reservations about an expensive bit of equipment that is big, bulky and only available to use during school hours.

I would hate for it to just sit there not being used effectively.  So… if it is decided the benefits outweigh the few reservations I might have then I might try and ‘cut a deal’ for a brainstorming session on how many ideas we can come up with to use it as an inclusive tool for the entire class.  That way we could make up a cheat sheet with ideas on it that could be attached to it and I would feel so much better… it really is the little things.

Have you got any ideas for activities or how it should be positioned/located in the classroom?

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Filed under Accessing the Curriculum, Technology - things that help


Mac is test-driving a desktop magnifier at school at the moment.  It will be really interesting to try and ascertain just what information he may be able to take in visually and how he finds it.

On his first ‘product review’ he claimed it “makes reading easier to see”.   I know… it’s a confusing little muddle of verbs and nouns he used there.  But it is an improvement, this time last year when he didn’t even acknowledge he could actually “see” – he accepted he could ‘look at stuff’ and ‘know what it was’ but not “see”.   Our 12 month propaganda campaign to convince him he actually can ‘see’ has paid off a little.


On his first day using it he was able to copy down three words and type them back in morse code with just one error.

The myReader2 is a big bit of equipment – not the most ‘inclusive’ bit of kit.  Nevertheless it will be great to see just how much benefit it might bring and whether that outweighs the sense of ‘extraction’ Mac might feel when using it.   Used smartly for Mac and other students it could be quite an ‘inclusive technology’ it would take some rethinking and restructuring, but could work.   My main reservation about it is the need to be ‘tied to a desk’ with it and I guess I would like to rule out trying to ‘make do’ with something like the iPad or other methods to achieve similar outcomes before I was prepared to commit to it.

I am not convinced Mac needs the magnification so much, but rather needs the visual information to be in a more suitable location.

I’ll keep you updated on how we find it.

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Filed under Technology - things that help

mumma… “it’s stupid”

We are finally getting some agreement from Mac to participate in Auditory Scanning.  He decided he “hated” it once he started morse code.

But, we have managed to convince him there is a place for it in his life.

We tend to use it more for book reviews, conversation and observation at the moment.

Mac’s library book last week was Two Left Feet by Stacey Apeitos

…the story of how Barclay McClay with his two left feet, and Sally O’Malley with her two right feet, dance together and finally swap shoes…

It is particularly relevant because Mac’s ‘left foot’ is always crossing over to the ‘right side’.

I teased him and told him I might start calling him Sally O’Malley if he keeps that left leg crossing over.

So I gave him the chance to tell me what he thought of being called ‘Sally’ via his Macaw Auditory Scanning Device.

Not surprisingly he determinedly chose the option
“it’s stupid”.

He also chose “I love it” for his book review – high praise indeed.   Historically, Mac is a pretty tough marker with his book reviews, rarely giving anything above ‘2 stars’.

It’s nice to know I have a very ‘typical’ child who thinks what their mother says is ‘stupid’… very reassuring.

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Filed under Access all Areas, things that make me go "glll"

.- -.-. …. . .- – … …. . . – (a cheat sheet)

This is a copy of the cheat sheet I have created to help me teach Mac his letters in morse code.


Being a very “visual” person this should help me in the early days – who knows, in time I might learn the auditory/rhythm side of it too.

Some two message voice modules have arrived from the USA just today so when Mac’s Pa and I get them up and running we will use one for the “dit/dah” sounds and another for his “yes/no” options.


Filed under first grade here I come