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Creating a Vision Portfolio with Students with Multiple Disabilities

This sample vision portfolio was created with a child with ONH (Optic Nerve Hypoplasia) to let others know about how she uses her vision and other tips for teachers as part of her self-determination goals.

My goal in working with students to create vision portfolios is to promote self-determination skills when talking to their classmates or teacher.  I want all of my students to be able to say more than just, “I wear glasses”.

I am sharing an example here of one of my students who is in 4th grade.  She has ONH (Optic Nerve Hypoplasia) and multiple disabilities.  She receives direct services from me, so having new things she can touch and feel as we do our lessons is important.  As we were creating this, we researched other children with the same eye conditions.    Her attention span is around 20 minutes or so, so this tooks us several weeks to complete.   Adding the pictures and videos were the best because she loved looking at herself and saying her name.  In the beginning she was able to provide very basic information to questions such as “How many eyes do you have?” and “Who is this about?”.   Through the process of slowly creating together, she began to learn about her eyes and how to ask for help.

Additional Goals

In addition to helping her to develop self-determination skills, another simple goal was to make her aware of things that she needed because of her eyesight difficulties.   She had really no knowledge other than the fact that I was coming to work with her on visual discrimination and visual motor (writing her name).   She never realized that her eyes “shake” until we videoed them and watched them.   She loved it.

Another goal was to work on her computer skills.   While she had been using an iPad most of her day in her special education classroom, she didn’t have any keyboarding experience.   Even though advancing the powerpoint slide was only one click on the touchpad or pushing down the ENTER key once, she had never done that before.   In the beginning we worked on teaching her how to click just once and to use the arrow keys to go back if she accidentally did that.  We worked on each of these skills every time we reviewed the portfolio, although she has not yet mastered these skills.

She responded well to repetition each time I saw her, and after some time she began to say what the slide meant before I prompted her.   Then COVID happened and she now receives instruction virtually.  She is still able to view the portfolio, but I just cannot physically be there to help her advance or not advance the slides.

Sharing Information with Future Teachers

This was also a project for her to explain to her middle school teacher and later to her high school teacher as she moves forward in each grade.   The idea is that she would present this to the next “grade-level” teacher, general ed teacher, art, music, gym teacher, that needed to understand what she needs to be successful and a little more about her.  Her behavior is of concern on many days, and this portfolio is a way to help people undersand more about her needs.

Pages of the Portfolio

Vision portfolio slide
I am in 4th Grade at __ Elementary School.
My teacher's name is Ms. Kristie. I call her "KK".
My teacher’s name is Ms. Kristie. I call her “KK”.

I like to learn about my eyes.
I like to learn about my eyes.
I sit at my workstation to learn about reading and math. My workstation keeps me focused. Things that might help my learning environment are here. (Click)
I sit at my workstation to learn about reading and math. My workstation keeps me focused. Things that might help my learning environment are here. (Click)

Editor’s note:  The above link to the Environmental Checklist for Developing Independence is no longer available on the TSBVI website.

For instance: Lighting should be positioned above my work desk; Contrasting colors used in my homework; My work area could use some tactual symbols to help me know which shelf to use during my independent work time.
For instance: Lighting should be positioned above my work desk; Contrasting colors used in my homework; My work area could use some tactual symbols to help me know which shelf to use during my independent work time.
There are a few things I do to chill out. Sometimes I go out on our playground and swing.
There are a few things I do to chill out. Sometimes I go out on our playground and swing.
Vision portfolio
After lunch each day, I get to go into our dark sensory room for a break. I like the dark.
I have a job every day, and I can use my eyes for my job.
I have a job every day, and I can use my eyes for my job.
Each morning and afternoon, I get to put up my things in my cubby. It has a picture of how I am going home that day.
Each morning and afternoon, I get to put up my things in my cubby. It has a picture of how I am going home that day.
I have a picture schedule that I follow every day. KK gives this to me in the morning. This picture schedule might need to be tactual, but I can still read it.
I have a picture schedule that I follow every day. KK gives this to me in the morning. This picture schedule might need to be tactual, but I can still read it.

The date, weather, and day of the week are one of my favorite things to learn about. I can touch and feel the numbers and weather.
The date, weather, and day of the week are one of my favorite things to learn about. I can touch and feel the numbers and weather.
I practice my handwriting and math on my iPad. I do not have to enlarge my screen to see it, but I hold it about 5 inches away from my eyes.
I practice my handwriting and math on my iPad. I do not have to enlarge my screen to see it, but I hold it about 5 inches away from my eyes.
What I Need: • I need to sit close to where the teacher is. • Even though the sun doesn't hurt my eyes, I like dark places when I need a break. • I need extra time to finish my work and would rather finish it on my iPad. • I like smaller print better than larger print. • I need breaks in between my work to let my eyes rest.
What I Need: • I need to sit close to where the teacher is. • Even though the sun doesn’t hurt my eyes, I like dark places when I need a break. • I need extra time to finish my work and would rather finish it on my iPad. • I like smaller print better than larger print. • I need breaks in between my work to let my eyes rest.

This was a fun project to make together because there were so many new things that she didn’t know about herself.   This Vision Portfolio made her the “star of the show” and she really enjoyed working on it.  Even if she never presents it, it can easily be emailed to family members and teachers who come in contact with her and need to know more about her sight.

Collage of creating vision portfolio

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