The University of Bolton Student Services

Disability Services

Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Visual Impairments


Inclusive teaching strategies for students with visual impairments.

Delivery of Lectures: Visually impaired/blind

Stand in a well-lit place – not directly in front of a window, as your face will be in shadow.

·         Let student sit closer to you.

·         Keep background noise to a minimum.

·         Explain at beginning of lecture what the structure/main points will be: This will help an assistant to take notes. Provide written summary in advance if possible.

·         Summarise regularly.

·         Build in regular stopping points to check understanding and that all material has been taken in.

·         Visually impaired/ blind:

·         Say if something particularly should be noted.

·         Speak clearly.

·         Give clear, explicit instructions/directions.

·         Allow use of tape recorders.

·         Allow student to feel equipment, hands during demonstration

·         Provide lecture notes and other materials in advance for transcription if required.

·         Provide subject word lists, glossaries of terms and acronyms

·         Provide notes etc in electronic form if student prefers.

·         Keep pictures/diagrams to a minimum or provide text /audio alternatives

·         Explain visual material verbally.


Accessible Resources for Visually Impaired Students



Accessible Formats for Visual Impairments Guide:

Screen reading software can include: Jaws, Supernova. Consider compatibility with screen reading software:

Accessible Formats

  • It is important that documents and publications are prepared to be accessible in alternative formats for people with visual impairments or reading difficulties. These should include availability in electronic format which can be read by screen reading software.
  • Printed documents are created in computers, so it should be possible to issue the electronic files. Some documents will only be available electronically.
  • Word files are the easiest for individual viewing preferences and for listening.
  • Portable Document Format (PDF) files keep the presentation better than Word files, but are not as easy to use.
  • Offering both the source Word files and derived PDF files where possible.
  • Publicise availability of accessible formats.
  • Preparing a document for text-reading software:
  • Listening to a document using a text reader will take longer than visual reading.
  • Put full stops after headings to make the voice drop and pause; a pale tint similar to the background colour will make the dots less visually distracting.
  • Put semi-colons, commas, or full stops after bullet points to make a pause.
  • Use Styles in Word to organise headings and formatting.
  • Avoid automatic numbering as some text readers will not read these. Use manual.
  • Contents Page listings should be hyperlinked to the relevant section to aid navigation. Number menu items.
  • Use internal and external hyperlinks for ease of navigation.
  • Avoid text in capital letters in mid-line, as they may be read as single letters.
  • Include as few signs and symbols as are absolutely necessary, e.g. asterisks or dashes (both short and long), as these will be spoken.
  • Long dashes should be avoided: use colons to make the voice pause.
  • Use straight quotation marks. Curly or slanting ones may be read out as ‘back quote’ by some screen readers.
  • Avoid Roman Numerals and No. for number.
  • Consider whether abbreviations and acronyms need full stops.
  • Text readers may have difficulty with tables in Word and may not automatically move on to the next cell without manual use of the Tab key.
  • Avoid text in images. Listeners cannot hear it. Repeat in the main text.
  • Use hyphens in compound words to aid text reading pronunciation.
  • Chunk phone numbers to avoid being read as millions or hundreds of thousands.