Turning a Blind Eye? Removing Barriers to Science and Mathematics Education for Students With Visual Impairments.

Cicely Hayes, Michael J. Proulx

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1 Citation (SciVal)


With complex, visual concepts prevailing in science and mathematics curricula, these subjects are often inaccessible to students with visual impairments (VI), leading to their underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. While researchers have identified strategies that can facilitate students with VI’s learning within special schools, less is known about how students with VI access science and mathematics within a mainstream context, even though this is where the majority are educated. This seems important to address given the additional barrier students with VI face within mainstream schools, including negative attitudes from mainstream teachers. Consequently, the current study was conducted to explore how students with VI’s access to and learning of science and mathematics can be improved within the mainstream context. Two interviews were conducted with qualified teachers of children and young people with vision impairment (QTVIs), revealing the importance of classroom adaptations, such as hands-on experience and increased lesson time, to facilitate students with VI’s learning of science and mathematics. These findings are discussed in relation to policy and practice, suggesting mainstream teachers should be trained to make small but effective adaptations in their teaching, and that students with VI are given the opportunity to learn skills needed to become independent learners.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Visual Impairment
Early online date26 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: M.J.P. research is partially supported by funding from the EPSRC (grant no. EP/T022523/1) for CAMERA 2.0, the UKRI Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications, and the AHRC (grant no. AH/T004673/1); M.J.P. is now also affiliated with Reality Labs Research, Meta LLC.


  • Inclusive education
  • mainstream schools
  • science and mathematics education
  • students with blindness or visual impairments
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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