Guidance for practitioners
For news of a one-day course, go to News. (Note: all links and pdfs on this page open in a new tab.)
The Visual Impairment and Autism Project, which ran from September 2008 to March 2011, was established to provide guidance for practitioners working with children who have both visual impairment and autism. This guidance was made available in the Resource Pack which was published as a CD-ROM by RNIB in May 2011. This sold out at the end of 2012. The material is now freely available on the Visual Impairment and Autism page of the RNIB website.
Visual Impairment and Autism references
This list is available to download as a pdf: VI & Autism References – March 2013.
Assessing the communication skills of children who have visual impairment and autism
Assessing the communication skills of children who have visual impairment and autism presents significant problems. Indeed, for many children in this group it is inappropriate to think in terms of assessment, as testing is not feasible. A more practical approach is to profile their communication skills. I have developed a process for profiling the communication of children who have visual impairment and additional disabilities (including autism). Full details are available on the Profiling communication in visually impaired children page (opens in a new tab).
The articles provided here complement the Resource Pack developed by the Visual Impairment and Autism Project team (see above). Unless otherwise specified, I have written the articles myself.
1. The role of repetitive questioning in a pupil with visual impairment and autism. Article 1
This article is by Tim Kehoe who teaches children who have visual impairment, including some who also have autism. In this article he writes about one of his pupils. Repetitive questioning seems to be quite common in verbal children (and probably adults) who have visual impairment and autism. Facilitating more functional skills in people who repeatedly ask questions can be difficult. Tim’s article should therefore be of considerable interest and value.
2. The Low Arousal Approach. Article 2
3. The Minimal Speech Approach. Article 3
Those concerned about the communication of children with visual impairment and autism may also find some useful material on the Communication in visually impaired children page (opens in a new tab).
4. Augmenting the awareness of social communication in a congenitally blind child: A case study. Article 4
This item is the dissertation Alyson Akers submitted for her BSc Honours Degree in
Human Communication (Speech and Language Therapy) at De Montfort University, Leicester, England, in 2011. Alyson’s study examines the use of a Social Story™ with a blind girl who experienced difficulties centred on her membership of a harp ensemble. The Social Story™ augmented the girl’s social awareness and reduced the difficulties she experienced. Alyson is now a practising speech and language therapist.
At the end of 2011 I became aware of a potentially useful book on visual impairment and autism:
Hagood, L. (2008) Better Together. Building Relationships With People Who Have Visual Impairment and Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Atypical Social Development). Austin, Texas: TexasSchool for the Blind and Visually Impaired
I wrote a brief review of this book which was published in RNIB’s ‘Insight’ magazine (39, May/June 2012). However, I feel a much more detailed review is warranted in order to discuss some issues I regard as important. I have therefore posted a full review here as a pdf. Hagood review
During the Visual Impairment and Autism Project, we provided a series of newsletters to keep those interested up-to-date with developments. Since the Project ended, I have continued to send out a newsletter periodically. I now post each newsletter here, as a pdf, starting with that for September 2011. As with all other pdfs on this site, each one opens in a new tab.
VI & Autism Newsletter 05, September 2011. September 2011
VI & Autism Newsletter 06, December 2011. December 2011
VI & Autism Newsletter 07, June 2012. June 2012
VI & Autism Newsletter 08, September 2012. Sept 12
VI & Autism Newsletter 09, January 2013. Jan 13