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Yearbook Time! Ideas on Including Students with Visual Impairments

Ideas to make the yearbook experience accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired

By Jessica McDowell and Neal McKenzie

With the end of the school year comes the tradition of signing yearbooks. How can we help make this an inclusive, accessible and fun activity for our students with visual impairments and their peers? Here are just a few ideas and a call for others to add their ideas and experiences!

Materials

  • school yearbook
  • printable labels
  • clear braille label sheets
  • recording devices
  • magnifiers
  • any other strategy or tool our student has in his or her accessibility toolbox!
Braille yearbook with print yearbook in background
Braille yearbook with print yearbook in background
Windsor High School braille yearbook
Windsor High School braille yearbook

Say It With Stickers

For a student that needs a faster or more accessible way to sign yearbooks, a student’s message can be printed on labels. Clear brailled labels can be added on top. This strategy can also help a student who finds the idea of spontaneously writing messages to peers challenging. Student can create a unique message and leave a memory that will make others smile. The  photo below shows a student’s sheet of labels for a student loves technology and coding.  This sticker can be placed in a friend’s yearbook and has an anonymous quote, “I would love to change the world, but they won’t give me the source code. – Unknown”. (Note: Credit for this sticker idea goes to a Behavior Specialist who wanted to help our student participate in the custom of signing yearbooks in a way that he was comfortable with.)

Labels with "I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code." - Unknown; "It was nice getting to know you."
Labels with “I would love to change the world, but they won’t give me the source code.” – Unknown; “It was nice getting to know you.”

Digitize It!

Neal McKenzie shared that after everyone signed his student’s yearbook, Neal made a word doc with all of the salutations that had been written to the student.  The student can then get the document in the best accessible format.  This is a great way to have all the greetings and names in one accessible spot!

Reading the braille yearbook
Reading the braille yearbook

Audio Yearbook Signing

Recording can be a fun way for students to capture this moment in time. Videos and recordings of end of the year messages become multimedia memories.

And… A Braille Yearbook!

A great story about a gift to a graduating senior that Neal worked with.

What ideas do you have? 

Each student and situation is unique; TVIs, transcribers, paraprofessionals, family members and other team members are always finding creative ways to support students. Add your ideas and thoughts in the comments! Thanks!

Jessica McDowell and Neal McKenzie

Collage of yearbook time
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