Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Tips on Adapting Classroom Materials for Students with Albinism

blue tokens stacked on pegboard
A resource teacher I work with uses a token economy as a reward system in her classroom. Her husband built a pegboard for her (pictured on the right), and the students place washers on the pegs. The students can earn "points" by doing their work. The teacher was concerned that my student with low vision was unable to find her name and place the washer on the peg.
The washers were painted blue because my student did not like to touch them when they were silver. She has albinism and the light reflecting off the washer hurt her eyes. After the washers were painted blue (which was the color the teacher selected), the student began to love the system. The teacher has made the names on the bottom of the pegs bold click to view by using plastic circular disks, rather than hand-printed labels in ballpoint ink, as she had done previously.  As a result, it is now much easier for our student with albinism to find her name.

blue bucket filled with blue tokensSometimes all that is needed is to help the teacher to adapt what is currently in use, rather than trying to recreate the wheel. This teacher was open to suggestions and begged for ideas to help our shared student to have a more positive attitude toward this reward system. 

The bottom line is that no one asked the student why she didn't like the system. They just assumed that it was the reward system itself, rather than anything about the specific materials that bothered her. This is an important reminder of the need to ask the student! They can provide vital input on why some things do or do not work for them.
blue tokens stacked on peg board


adapting classroom materials collage


Posted on January 16, 2015
Updated on: February 12, 2022