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Teaching the Use of a Reader

Teaching students who are blind or visually impaired the use of a reader to gain information promotes self-determination, self-advocacy, independence and other skills from the Expanded Core Curriculum

Adult speaks to boy wearing glasses, while he listens.

 

Knowing how to use readers to gain information is an important skill for anyone who is blind or visually impaired. Current technology may help to make print more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired, but there are still items that cannot be scanned or situations in which it is not realistic to use a technological device. Peggy Pinder writes that “one of the most valuable professional skills a blind person can acquire and use effectively is managing readers. The ability to recruit, hire, supervise, and fire people providing this service is vital to virtually every blind person who hopes to succeed in school or employment.”

A reader does not take the place of braille or large print or digital materials, but rather provides another tool in the toolbox when material is not available in the preferred format. They may be helpful doing research in the library, reading mail at home, or with various materials on the job. In any of these situations, the user must be the one in control and providing the direction, and, therefore, learning how to hire, train, and supervise a reader is essential.

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