Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Overview of Struggling Readers

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There are many different factors that may contribute to an individual student having difficulty learning to read, and the educational team should look at each of these during assessment and planning. It is important to consider visual challenges, as well as any health issues, and it is possible that specific learning or cognitive disabilities may be present. In addition, hearing loss, attention difficulties, language development, understanding of English, and motor skills should also be evaluated for any role they may play for a particular student. It may be helpful for teams to ask the following questions when planning what type of intervention would be most appropriate:

  • How is the child using his or her vision? To what extent is the child's vision interfering with the decoding process? Does the child need corrective lenses and, if so, is s/he using them?
  • Has the child's hearing been tested?
  • Does the child have motor challenges or medical issues which may affect her ability to perform?


Two sets of hands read braille books sitting side by side


In this section, we will look at the challenges for readers with blindness or visual impairment, who also have learning disabilities. The needs of students with cognitive impairments or more complex needs are addressed in the section on Multiple Disabilities.

Related information is available on the TSBVI site on a page called Learning Disabilities and Visually Impaired Workshop.



Collage of Overview of Struggling Readers