A person with a visual impairment has the same cognitive ability as an individual without a disability, although they may need adaptations in their environment to achieve the same goals as a person without any impairment. There are different definitions of visual impairments based on the severity from low vision to blindness. Legal blindness can be due to reduced visual acuity or visual field, which can be caused by many different types of diseases or disorders. The concepts of vision loss can be best understood through hands-on examples and activities that allow the participant to truly understand some of the things that a visually impaired person experiences and why certain adaptations may be necessary. People with visual impairments tend to have differences in their communication characteristics. For example, they tend to not use hand motions and facial expressions because they do not mean much to them, but they will instead favor tone of voice and inflection. Interacting with a person with visual impairments includes respecting their necessary adaptations, which may include different devices, mobility tools, or even a guide dog. Individuals with visual impairments cope with their vision loss in different ways depending on their age when the loss occurred and the support they received. As a person with visual impairments goes outside of their comfort zone, to try new things or go to unfamiliar places, it’s important to be respectful of their needs.
Kylie Britt, a sophomore biology major with childhood education intent at The College at Brockport, is active in several clubs on campus and is a member of the Honors College.