Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

"Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Visually Impaired Pupils through Appropriate Placement,"

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

"Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Visually Impaired Pupils through Appropriate Placement,"

Article excerpt

"Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Visually Impaired Pupils through Appropriate Placement," by Sandra Adams Curry and Philip H. Hatlen, published in the December 1988 issue of Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, Volume 82, Number 10, pp. 417-424.

When Stuart Wittenstein invited me to choose an article for the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) series "This Mattered to Me," there was no hesitation on my part. I immediately knew the article I would choose. Although I could not remember the title or year of the article, I knew the content. "Meeting the Unique Educational Needs of Visually Impaired Pupils through Appropriate Placement," by Curry and Hatlen, had a profound impact on my teaching practices when I first read it in 1988, and it still influences my teaching now.

It is somewhat ironic to me after all these years, especially after rereading the article, that I still consider Curry and Hatlen's ideas as seminal to the formation of my teaching practices as an itinerant teacher. I say this because the primary intent of the article was to promote the concept of the "most appropriate placement" instead of the "least restrictive environment" in the decision-making process for developing an appropriate educational plan to meet the educational needs of students who are blind or visually impaired. Yet, as an itinerant teacher, the article challenged me to ensure that if I was teaching students in a setting that the law defined as a "least restrictive environment," and I agreed to that placement, I had better meet all the needs of students as identified in the "dual curriculum." Dual curriculum is the concept that the educational curriculum for students with visual impairments has two major components: instruction in traditional academic areas and instruction in disability-specific skills.

I am not sure that I truly assessed and identified the instructional needs of students or addressed all areas of the dual curriculum (the forerunner of today's expanded core curriculum) before I embraced the content in this article. I felt challenged by Curry and Hatlen to take the "long view," to look at the futures of my students as adults and question my service delivery model. It was difficult to consider whether the services I provided as an itinerant teacher would result in the desired outcomes for my students in all areas of their development. …

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