Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Teaching Science to Students With A Visual Impairment

Message: Fred, I am wanting to find some resources that explain the best instructional practices for teaching science to students with a visual impairment. I would also like to know about interventions that have worked in science classes and any research on their effectiveness. Any other literature along these lines would be helpful as well. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Sara.

location: Nashville,TN

I sent your question to my friends at APH. First, we have a question for you. Have you consulted with reference librarians at Vanderbilt? your email suggests that you are associated with Vanderbilt, and your school has truly excellent research libraries, librarians and programs that provide instruction to VI teachers in training. If you have, great, you're off to a good start.

This is the link to the online reference form at vanderbilt. The page also includes all the phone numbers, and it includes links to the many special libraries at vanderbilt. Please feel free to contact the Central Library reference service at: 615-322-2407 or 2-2407 on campus.

Now, I have a product from APH that you will be interested in. The product is called Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments: A Handbook for the Teacher & Resource Specialist. This title is in the APH Instructional Products Catalog. For more information, please call APH at 502-895-2405 and ask for the research department, or Elaine at Ext. 313.

The following is from Fred Gissoni:

When the late Dr. Emerson Foulk ran the perceptual alternatives laboratory at the University of Louisville, he did a report on adapting a chemistry course for blind students. It involved the use of conventional measuring equipment adapted for auditory and/or tactile output.

In the late 1960s, an Australian named Wexler or Wechsler wrote a short booklet about adaptations needed to teach science to blind students. I do not have a specific reference, but a reference librarian may be able to help pin it down. It was published in Australia.

APH has over a dozen science-related products, such as biology teaching kits, as well as many print and braille science textbooks. Our kits include manuals that outline science teaching techniques. Search or browse APH's Louis Database at or email to order a free APH Instructional Products Catalog.

60 Second Science from Scientific American

Here's another resource that may be helpful, accessible news, articles and daily 60-second podcasts from Scientific American. Search or browse the archive by category. Recent podcasts have tackled issues like brain sex differences, false memories, the Dover "Scopes Trial," "superdupernovas," etc. A great resource for science papers and other homework assignments.

Click this link to visit 60 Second Science at

If you have other resources, please send them to

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