Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Overview of Writing

A girl with low vision uses a black marker and paper with bold lines to write.

This section includes information about the tools of writing, as well as about the writing process itself.  The writing process refers to the creation of the content of what is written, and ideas for instruction that are specific to students who are blind or visually impaired.  The tools of writing are the various methods for students with low vision, as well as those who are blind.  Also included are oral strategies, and suggestions for students with multiple disabilities or deafblindness.

Writing is a means of expression that includes manipulating the tools used to write, as well as creating the content of an encoded message.  Traditionally writing includes braille and print formats, and the use of a keyboard has expanded the forms of expression with voice output, print, and braille displays.   Writing can also be interpreted more broadly for students with significant multiple disabilities to include the use of tactile representations, objects, or other symbols. 

The National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities, states:

IEP teams... "must consider the method or methods for teaching blind and visually impaired children, including those with other disabilities, how to write and compose. Children whose reading medium is braille likely will use Braille for these purposes. For composition, however, in addition to writing braille manually, these children also may benefit from using assistive technology devices, such as a personal computer with speech output or a braille display. IEP teams must make individualized determinations about the needs of blind and visually impaired children, including those with other disabilities, for instruction in writing and composition, and must include effective methods for teaching writing and composition, including the appropriate use of assistive technology, in the IEPs of these students."


It is very important to do a Learning Media Assessment to determine whether print or braille, or some combination, is the most appropriate medium for an individual student.