British Journal of Visual Impairment

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 0264-6196
Publications
Article
This study examined the effect of adding an artificially generated alert sound to a quiet vehicle on its detectability and localizability with 15 visually impaired adults. When starting from a stationary position, the hybrid electric vehicle with an alert sound was significantly more quickly and reliably detected than either the identical vehicle without such added sound or the comparable internal combustion engine vehicle. However, no significant difference was found between the vehicles in respect to how accurately the participants could discriminate the path of a given vehicle (straight vs. right turn). These results suggest that adding an artificial sound to a hybrid electric vehicle may help reduce delay in street crossing initiation by a blind pedestrian, but the benefit of such alert sound may not be obvious in determining whether the vehicle in his near parallel lane proceeds straight through the intersection or turns right in front of him.
 
Article
This article outlines the progress of a newly-commissioned three year study known as Network 1000. It is a three-year project funded through the Community Fund and is being carried out by the University of Birmingham on behalf of Vision 2020. The project’s aim is to create a panel survey of 1000 visually-impaired people to be interviewed regularly over the three-year period, and hopefully beyond, enabling their changing needs and circumstances to be monitored over time. The findings will be used to influence policy-makers and service-providers, and will also be disseminated to a wider audience of people with an interest in visual impairment. Building on the longitudinal nature of the project enables the project team to develop a methodology that is both democratic and inclusive. The underlying research philosophy is one of inclusion and participation and in this respect the people this research affects the most - those who are visually impaired - are involved in all stages of the research process. People with a visual impairment have played a key role in generating the data and the themes that will drive the construction of the main survey instrument. The article is divided into five sections that describe the progress of the project to date: first, it briefly outlines the background to the project; second, it describes the underlying philosophy behind the democratic approach to inclusion and participant involvement; third, it presents preliminary results from generative interviews; fourth, it discusses how the team will recruit participants to the project with particular reference to the two-stage sample design that has been adopted; and finally, it describes how this two-stage approach will be operationalized. The article concludes by outlining the next phase of the project and with a short reflection on the research process to date.
 
Article
In this BJVI interview Michael Rowe briefly outlines the developments which have taken place at Hethersett College since it was founded in 1956, developments which warrant its new title of Redhill College from September 1992. He emphasises the fact that thanks to the large number of courses and activities now on offer at the College it can cater for a wide range of young people, including some with moderate or severe learning difficulties and others who are training for open employment.
 
Article
This survey explored the numbers and proportion of partially sighted, blind braille reading and blind non-braille reading students in Higher Education (HE) in 2003-4. As part of a HEFCE/DELNI funded project, all 134 disability offices in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England and Northern Ireland were contacted by telephone and email, to collect information about the numbers of students, subjects and level of study for each of the student groups; and for blind braille readers also their year of study. Of 114 HEIs responding to the survey an estimated minimum of 1538 blind and partially sighted HE students in England and Northern Ireland were identified, representing 0.13 per cent of the total undergraduate student population of these HEIs. Of these students 90.8 per cent are partially sighted, and 9.2 per cent are blind (i.e. of the total undergraduate student population 0.12 per cent are partially sighted and 0.013 per cent are blind). Of blind students, nearly 66 per cent read braille. Of all blind and partially sighted students, 65.4 per cent were undergraduates, 8.5 per cent were postgraduates, with the level of study for the remaining students unknown. Popular areas of study for blind and partially sighted students included ‘Business Management and Accounting’, ‘Information and Computer Sciences’ and ‘Art, Design and Communication’.
 
Article
This article reports the results of an exploratory survey of 32 families of children with septo-optic dysplasia and 32 families of children without visual impairment or any specific health problems (who served as a comparison group). The focus of the research was to explore the children’s musical interests and abilities, the musical provision that was made for them, and the ways in which music might impact upon their wider development and education. The reports of the parents and carers provided a substantial amount of information, and while the data may have been subject to certain biases, the findings nevertheless serve as an important signpost for future research. The main conclusions relate to the fact that, despite reportedly high levels of musical interest and ability among children with septo-optic dysplasia - consistently higher than in the case of their fully-sighted counterparts - few had access to appropriate music-educational or therapeutic support, compared to many of the comparison group who were able to take advantage of a wide range of musical opportunities. Within the group with septo-optic dysplasia, those children who had to access the curriculum through non-visual means often displayed significantly different characteristics from those who were partially sighted, and level of vision seemed to be a more important factor in influencing musical development than the presence of the septo-optic dysplasia syndrome itself. It was evident that further research is needed to explore the levels of musical interest and ability in visually impaired children with a range of other eye conditions and syndromes, and to investigate in more detail the important role that music may play in promoting their wider development.
 
Article
A new psychological test battery was designed to provide a much-needed comprehensive tool for assessing the perceptual and cognitive abilities of visually handicapped children in using active touch. The test materials consist of raised-line, raised-dot, raised-surface shapes and displays, and familiar and novel 3-D objects. The research used 20 sub-tests, ranging from tactual discrimination, systematic scanning and shape coding to short-term and longer-term memory tasks. The research sample consisted of 119 participants. Fifty-nine were blind and visually impaired schoolchildren, aged from 3 to 16 years (the total visually handicapped population of the region), and 60 sighted school children, matched to them on age, gender and social class, living in the Madrid region (capital and province). The dual aim here is to report the reliability, validity and relation to age and visual status of the sub-tests, and to use the data to refine and shorten the test battery further for more general use.
 
Primary and secondary cause of sight loss of participants (N = 36)
Article
The impact of sight loss on everyday life changes over time, through further deterioration of vision, as well as a result of other physical changes and key events in people’s lives. As such, even the support needs of people with relatively stable visual impairment are likely to change throughout their life course. This article explores the long-term support needs of people with sight loss and the barriers they face when accessing services over time and at the time of need. Data from biographical interviews with 36 participants with sight loss is presented, with particular focus upon three illustrative case studies. The study reveals that many participants experienced problems gaining information about, and access to, services in the short and longer term. There is a need for systematic referral from clinical services to social and voluntary services and for regular follow-up to identify and respond to people’s changing needs.
 
Article
Assistive technologies are essential enablers for individuals with visual impairments, but although Singapore is technologically advanced, students with visual impairments are not yet full participants in this technological society. This study investigates the barriers and challenges to the use of assistive technologies by students with visual impairments in Singapore in a special school context. Findings reveal limited content knowledge amongst teachers in assistive technology resulting in inconsistencies and inadequacies in the delivery of instruction. Students also display a mixed range of abilities ranging from little to basic knowledge. Where formal channels fail to impart knowledge, family and external influences are found to feature as potentially important contributors to skill acquisition in assistive technology and access. The evidence highlights an urgent need to equip teachers with training in assistive technology and to strengthen collaboration between school and stakeholders.
 
Map View function Figure 2: Walkthrough function
Article
The TeDUB system is a new method for providing access to graphic information for blind people, using synthetic speech, sounds and forcefeedback information from a joystick. Currently certain types of visual diagram, such as architectural floorplans, can be automated by the TeDUB system and presented to the user. A variety of features to allow users to navigate through the diagram (Text View, Map View, Spatial Navigation View, Walkthrough) and explore the information have been developed. This article presents an overview of the TeDUB system, some of the work carried out in developing the user requirements for the system, and an evaluation with 34 blind participants of the floorplan prototype of the system.
 
Article
This research examined the needs and experiences of people with sight loss regarding access to bus and rail services in a large urban area in Ireland. A broad qualitative approach was used, so as to investigate people’s lived experiences both as passengers and as providers of public transport. Participants included 13 people with differing levels of sight loss and the Access Officers from two public transport organisations in the area. From this research, it is apparent that travel in the area by people with sight loss has improved since the introduction of key pieces of legislation. Awareness of sight loss and assistance given by staff members was the most prominent area of improvement reported by the participants. However, there appeared to be an inequality in access among people with sight loss, in that people with low vision appear to benefit more from access services than people who are totally blind. Research also showed that although technologies, including audible announcements, to assist passengers with more severe sight loss exist, they are not all available in Ireland yet or are not always effective. People’s own experience of sight loss and travelling as a person with reduced vision seems also to contribute to how accessible a transport service is and further research in this area is recommended.
 
Article
This article arises from research, funded by the Housing Corporation and Thomas Pocklington Trust, which investigated the housing and support needs and priorities of visually impaired people of working age – a population that has received little public policy attention. It reports on an in-depth study of the circumstances and aspirations of 121 people living in London, which revealed a need for increased opportunities to access information, personal support, employment and housing. The study also discovered strategies that this sample believed would address such need, including better professional collaboration and training, consultation and partnership, and facilitative housing provision.
 
Personal information on participants
Article
This study investigates the priority needs of museum service accessibility for visually impaired visitors. For this purpose, conjoint analysis was utilized. Four conjoint attributes of museum services were selected: A — facilities for wayfinding; B — exhibitions and collections including objects for touching, hearing, smelling, etc.; C — information in braille, audio and large print; and D — assistance and interpretation by museum staff and volunteers. Participants were 30 visually impaired adults ranging in age from teenagers to septuagenarians. The results revealed that the priority needs in services for visually impaired visitors were accessibility to exhibitions and collections, and staff assistance. This finding was also supported by statements gathered in interviews. Based on this result, the potential for promoting museum accessibility for the visually impaired population in Japan is discussed.
 
Article
Shared Space is a concept that comprises the design and planning process of a public space. There are concerns about the accessibility of Shared Spaces for people who are visually impaired. This study provides a systematic overview of the appearance of Shared Spaces in the Netherlands and the consequences that these spaces may have for the independent mobility of visually impaired persons. Environmental characteristics of ten typical Shared-Space locations in the Netherlands were registered. The level of hindrance that these characteristics could cause visually impaired users of these spaces was judged by a group of experts in the field of orientation and mobility. In addition, compliance of the selected locations with existing guidelines for accessibility was assessed. None of the selected Shared-Space locations were free of potential problems for visually impaired persons.
 
Article
The aim of this study is to report on the characteristics of a population of 916 individuals with acquired deafblindness receiving national Danish counselling and rehabilitation services. Age, gender, prevalence, social status, and communication mode are some of the data included in this study. Results show that 70% of the population was older than 79 years, 15% was between 65 and 79 years, and 15% of the population was younger than 65 years. Oral speech was used by 86%, sign language by 10%, and tactile sign language by 4%. Among individuals younger than 65 years, less than 50% was employed or in education. Results are discussed with respect to the organization of the Danish counselling and rehabilitation service system.
 
Article
Kevin Carey describes his experience as a blind theatre director, emphasises the importance of control, notes some limitations but says these are minor in the context of a multitude of other production problems.
 
Article
Much of the local action to help people with impaired vision has been with us for well over a century. You would think, therefore, that its purpose - its essential credo - would now be well established and clear. Not so. In fact its place in the firmament of community endeavour has never been more muddied and muddled. it is under pressure, under attack and insecure. Why is this so? This paper explores how local voluntary action has lost focus; and what can be done to reassert the values and mores that should underpin it.
 
Article
There has been a lot of discussion about the context and the content of integration and inclusion in Greece for the students with visual impairments. These discussions have led to the formulation of models of inclusion such as the co-teaching scheme. This article presents a project focused on an educational setting within which a sixth-grader blind student was integrated in a public rural primary school. The project was undertaken by teachers of the school and researchers from the University of Thessaly in an action research framework. The aim of this research was to achieve better inclusion in terms of the blind student's participation in the school subject matters. The reflection on the phases of the research revealed many dimensions of the student's tactile exploration as well as dimensions which were pertinent to the type of inclusion applied by the teachers. The discussion considers issues such as integrated curriculum and practical implications and highlights the value of action research as part of a commitment to improve the quality of teaching via reflection and inquiry.
 
Article
Purpose To evaluate the use of Snellen and modified Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) charts in estimating compliance with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency visual acuity standard in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Methods Patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration in at least one eye underwent acuity test using 2m ETDRS chart, 6m Snellen chart and number plate test at 20m. The overlap zones between pass and fail in terms of ETDRS and Snellen charts were analyzed. The levels of descending acuity on the ETDRS chart that corresponded to varying percentages of patients passing or failing the number plate test were analyzed. Results In total, 26 patients failed the number plate test and 24 patients passed. Fail acuities ranged from 6/36 to 6/6 on Snellen and from 49L to 79L on ETDRS chart. Pass acuities ranged from 6/12 to 6/5 on Snellen and from 67L to 85L on ETDRS chart. The overlap zone of acuities that contained patients who passed and failed was narrower with the ETDRS chart (69L–79L) compared to Snellen ( 6/6-6/12, which is equivalent to 85L-70L on ETDRS chart format). Conclusion There are overlap zones of acuities in which patient’s presumptive eligibility to drive cannot be reliably estimated. An ETDRS cut-off of 77L provides a reasonable estimate of ability to pass the number plate test. These findings should provide a useful evidence base for advising patients of their compliance with the number plate test based on their logMAR acuity.
 
Participants' demographic and functional characteristics.
Article
Difficulties adapting to changes in Usher syndrome type II leading to deafblindness are well known. One of the factors that may affect the adaptation process is the ability to redirect one’s life and set new goals for oneself. This article presents the results of a group intervention program centered on managing personal goals. The results of a double-multivariate repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) point to a significant partial effect on the variable “meaning of life,” while no significant change was found for the feeling of “serenity,” “self-determination,” and the “ability to set, plan, and pursue a goal.” The results of this pilot project warrant continuing the research since the intervention seems to have a positive impact on psychological well-being.
 
Article
The objective of this study was to explore the pattern of adaptation in patients who have been diagnosed with visual impairment. Participants (N = 700), recruited in the Montreal area (Canada), underwent a structured interview in order to collect information on the duration of the acquired visual impairment and answered the ‘Brief Cope’, ‘Satisfaction with Life Scale’ and ‘Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale’ (CES-D). Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) revealed that patients who have lived with vision impairment for over 2 years reach significantly higher acceptance and lower denial levels compared to those of patients who had recent vision loss (≤2 years). We also found that acceptance was positively correlated with well-being and denial with depression, while acceptance was negatively correlated with depression and, likewise, denial with well-being. Our study results suggest that patients who have been diagnosed with visual impairment engage in an adaptative coping style early in the grief process.
 
Article
In this article I explain some of the ideas I have found useful in helping people adapt to sight loss. Key concepts are the identification and rejection of common stereotypes of blindness, as symbolized by the white cane, and orientation towards positive role models, without necessarily adopting an identity as a visually impaired person. I also draw upon example interactions with clients to illustrate these themes.
 
Raw Score Differences on the Mental and Motor Scale between the Low Vision and Standard versions of the BSID-II for the Clinical group and the Standard group 
Mean Raw Scores of Items belonging to the different Item Categories for the Standard and Clinical Groups on the Mental and Motor Scale per Item Category 
Article
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of adaptations for children with low vision of the Bayley Scales, a standardized developmental instrument widely used to assess development in young children. Low vision adaptations were made to the procedures, item instructions and play material of the Dutch version of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development — Second Edition (BSID-II), and the Original and Low Vision versions were administered to children with visual impairment over an interval of two weeks. Although quantitative analysis revealed no significant differences between the Original and Low Vision versions of the test in children’s scores, feedback from test administrators indicates that the Low Vision materials make the test easier to administer and more engaging for children.
 
Article
This article describes longitudinally the psychosocial adjustment to visual impairment of patients with age related macular degeneration (AMD). As part of a larger randomized controlled trial (RCT), the present study design consisted of the use of prospective qualitative diaries completed over 12 months by patients with AMD who were newly referred to a low vision clinic. Out of the patients recruited (n = 226), the completion rate of a full set of four diaries (n = 37) and one three-month diary (n = 194) was very good. Vision related to daily life in patients with AMD appears to decline over 12 months with limited psychosocial adjustment to visual loss. Seven themes were generated from the patients' accounts of their experiences, as recorded in the diaries: safety, loss of independence, isolation, support mechanisms, mood, effects of the media and psychosocial adjustment. There was little evidence in the diaries of psychosocial adjustment to visual loss. The relevance of the theory of grieving and cognitive and rational-emotional theory in the context of AMD is explored in detail.
 
Article
The association between attributional style (AS), problem-solving orientation (PSO), and gender on depressive symptoms was investigated in Egyptian adolescents with visual impairment (VI). After being written in Braille, measures of AS, PSO, and depression were administered to 110 adolescents with VI, ages 12–17 years, from a residential school for pupils with VI. Regression analyses showed that gender, negative general (NG) attributions, and negative problem-solving orientation (NPSO) were the strongest predictors of depressive symptoms in adolescents with VI, whereas negative internal (NI) attributions and avoidant problem-solving orientation (APSO) were weak predictors. The findings are discussed in relation to different perspectives and models of depression, particularly the stress-diathesis model. The theory that these cognitive variables are core constituents of a cognitive diathesis model of depression in individuals with VI is not supported by this study.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore the self concept of adolescents who are sighted and blind with respect to gender in India. The sample was made up of 160 participants aged 15 to 18 years: of whom 100 were sighted and 60 were blind. The results of the t-tests illustrated that sighted male adolescents scored higher in the overall self-concept scores as compared to sighted female adolescents. However such significant differences in the self-concept scores were not found between the male and female adolescents who are blind. The sighted adolescents scored higher than the adolescents who are blind in three of the total six dimensions of self concept, thus also scoring higher on the overall self-concept score.
 
Levels of the study variables in groups with different vision status 
Associations of visual status, being bullied, and peer sup- port with emotional symptoms and life satisfaction 
Article
The present study analysed bullying in German adolescents with and without visual impairment. Ninety-eight adolescents with vision loss from schools for students with visual impairment, of whom 31 were blind and 67 had low vision, were compared with 98 sighted peers using a matched-pair design. Students with low vision reported higher levels of peer-victimization and relational victimization in particular than sighted students. In addition, students with low vision reported higher levels of overall victimization and relational victimization by peers in particular than students who are blind, as well as higher levels of overt aggression towards their peers. Support from peers buffered the effects of victimization on psychological adjustment in adolescents with vision loss but not in their peers without vision loss. It is concluded that increasing support from peers may be an effective way of reducing negative effects of victimization of adolescents with visual impairment.
 
Article
The present study assessed body image in 177 German adolescents with visual impairment and 531 peers with normal sight. On average, adolescents with visual impairment were less satisfied with their body than sighted adolescents, but this difference was mainly based on results drawn from female adolescents. In addition, adolescents with visual impairment, and female adolescents in particular, showed stronger associations of body image with bullying and psychological well-being. The results indicate that female adolescents are more susceptible to body dissatisfaction than male adolescents when not being able to meet the societal standard of the “perfect” body.
 
Article
Damage to the brain in children results in a multiplicity of visual difficulties which have to be managed both at home and at school. Parents of such children have detailed knowledge about the nature and characteristics of their child's visual difficulties and develop a range of coping strategies, often without realizing they have done so. The parents of children with such problems were invited to a meeting in which they were encouraged to share their experiences with each other. This article provides a detailed account of the approaches which the parents described as being helpful in the day to day care of their children.
 
Article
This article reports findings from two linked projects. The first examined the housing, support and care needs of 400 visually impaired people aged 55 and over. The second looked at the housing and support needs of 121 adults aged 18-55. Only one half of younger informants and just over half of older informants had made physical alterations to their home to manage with impaired sight. A quarter of older people and three in ten younger people made no use whatsoever of aids or assistive technology. A lack of basic information prevented both groups from taking informed decisions about obtaining and adapting their accommodation. Older visually impaired people are the larger group numerically within society, and we found serious under provision of housing and services to ameliorate the problems of chronic ill health, social isolation and anxiety that many faced on a daily basis. Yet the difficulties faced by younger people were if anything even greater, especially if they had additional disabilities, were female or came from an ethnic minority. These findings challenge housing and service providers to devise innovative, person-centred and cost-effective solutions that improve the quality of life for adults of all ages with impaired vision.
 
Article
Adults with congenital deafblindness and an intellectual disability are at high risk for exposure to chronic and severe stress. Sensory deprivation, separations from primary caregivers, and difficulties in communication, from birth on, make daily life stressful for them. Chronic and high stress can lead to deviancies in the cortisol curve. This, in turn, can have negative effects on mental and physical health. Nothing is known yet about the cortisol curve of adults with congenital deafblindness and an intellectual disability, but our hypothesis is that it will be deviant. In this study, the cortisol curve of six participants with congenital deafblindness was compared to the curve of 40 typical controls. Remarkably, in spite of all past and present stress factors, the cortisol curve of the participants was rather normal. Possible explanations for this finding are discussed, amongst others individual differences in experiencing stress. Implications for further research are discussed.
 
Article
The report describes a projèct in which six visually impaired people who had given up any expectation of reading for pleasure underwent a programme of training to re-learn reading skills. The report shows how, after twelve weeks, the participants were able to read commercial large print either with no optical aid or with a lower level of magnification than would usually be prescribed.
 
Article
One key challenge to those charged with tackling the social exclusion of visually impaired people is having information about the extent to which visual impairment is related to the ability to enjoy and participate in various aspects of life. Using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), this article considers how self-reported visual impairment is related to older people’s physical health and cognitive abilities, their economic and housing conditions, their social engagement, as well as their emotional well-being and life-satisfaction. We find self-reported poor vision to be associated with multiple disadvantages in those outcome measures. Further research is needed to establish causal links between visual impairment and the various health, economic, social and emotional well-being experiences documented in this article. Nevertheless, secondary data analysis of ELSA offers a useful and cost-effective research approach.
 
Article
The results of an empirical investigation into how visually-impaired people sense their surroundings show that a range of environmental features can be identified using sound, touch and smell. The information gained is relevant to the design of tactile maps, to ensure that an area is represented in a way that is meaningful to the map users.
 
Article
The societal cost for the average health authority in the United Kingdom for the care of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been suggested to be around £7.4 million. It is vital that the best possible care based on the best available evidence is provided to reduce the impact of AMD on patients’ lives and the financial cost to the health-care system. This study explored the experiences of AMD patients treated with intravitreal ranibizumab injections. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants over the course of 18 months. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Analysis identified four themes: preparing for treatment, the treatment process, patient–provider communication, and results of treatment. Patient experiences highlighted the need to move away from the reliance on letters for information provision, and the need for clearer guidelines about when to cease AMD treatment. Interviews highlighted the need for the inclusion of rigorous qualitative evidence with experiential data in future good clinical practice guideline development for AMD.
 
Article
The article discusses some problems confronting teachers and psychologists when making decisions as to how to use the currently available test procedures. It reports data gathered on three separate occasions on the performance of a group of blind and partially sighted children on the Williams Intelligence Test which is the only specialist IQ test standardized in the UK. Correlation co-efficients indicate that the test achieves very satisfactory levels of test-retest reliability. Attention is drawn to changes, including improvements, in individual scores over time that have implications for educational advisers. Some of these improvements are attributed to the widening of experiences in the physical exploration of the environment, in language opportunities, and in socialization that are due to the effects of good pre-school and early-school placements. Despite the test’s good reliability as revealed by this longitudinal study, it is suggested that the time has now come for the design and standardization of a new test incorporating current developments and thinking.
 
Article
This article gives an overview of a project on micro-computer systems and computer assisted learning for blind and partially sighted children and adults. The major area of interest in the project has been in developing and investigating ways in which computers can be useful to the visually impaired and make existing programs accessible to them. As a result there is now available a wide range of computer based materials for users ranging from the pre-school multi-handicapped child to adults in employment. Work on this project has been going on at Birmingham University's Research Centre for the Education of the Visually Handicapped for the past three years.
 
Article
We carried out an analysis of a database of all students in higher education in the UK in 1995-96 to compare students with a visual impairment and students with no recorded disability in terms of their demographic characteristics, programmes of study and academic attainment. Students with a visual impairment constituted 0.12% of all students normally resident in the UK. Their representation varied with age, gender, ethnicity and entry qualifications and with their level, mode and subject of study. If these background variables are taken into account, a visual impairment per se appears to have surprisingly little effect on academic attainment.
 
Article
Free library service is a component of the foundations of democracy, citizenship, economic and social development, scholarship and education, in progressive societies. The evolution of libraries for people who are blind or vision impaired is briefly discussed and an innovative project, a talking book and daily newspaper delivery system that transfers digital information to the user via satellite, is described.
 
Article
An earlier experiment demonstrated both possibilities and problems with reading a virtual map with a haptic mouse, the VTPlayerTM, the task being to locate states on a US map. The result was that addition of tactile matrix information had no effect on performance. The aim of the present experiment was to investigate the possibilities of improving the usefulness of the device by introducing two software modifications, one concerning texture within the states, another concerning temporal relations between tactile and auditory information when a state is entered. It was found that the former modification had a significant positive effect, but not the latter. The conclusion is that a haptic mouse may be a useful aid for non-visual reading of virtual maps, but that the software has to be optimized for touch. The general problem of how to use a computer mouse efficiently without visual feedback has also to be solved.
 
Article
Traditional tactile cartography is complicated by problems associated with braille labeling and feature annotation. Audio-tactile display techniques can address many of these issues by associating spoken information and sounds with specific map elements. This article introduces Talking TMAP – a collaborative effort between The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and Touch Graphics, Inc. Talking TMAP combines existing tools such as the World Wide Web, geographic information systems, braille embossers and touch tablet technology in new ways to produce a system capable of creating detailed and accurate audio-tactile street maps of any neighborhood. The article describes software design, user interface and plans for future implementation.
 
Tugs and harness  
Article
Many of the current GPS (Global Positioning Systems) navigation aids use an audio method to deliver navigation information to the user. For the visually impaired person this method can be problematic. The visually impaired pedestrian relies heavily on information contained within the ambient sound environment; for location and orientation information, navigation information, and importantly, safety information. In this paper we present the design of an innovative tactile interface and verification of results obtained through experimental trials. This pilot study compared the efficiency of the tactile interface, to an audio method of delivering simple navigational information. The findings indicate that the tactile interface could be used successfully by blind and sighted pedestrians and may offer advantages over auditory interfaces.
 
Article
This article describes and discusses a qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory study of how 12 visually impaired teachers in Uganda experienced audio-described educational video material for teachers and student teachers. The study is based upon interviews with these teachers and observations while they were using the material either individually, in pairs, or in small groups along with sighted teachers. The findings demonstrate that audio-described material was highly appreciated by the teachers, contributing to their involvement and emotional engagement with the situation for learners with disabilities. The teachers also benefited from the opportunity of participating in the discussion sessions that followed the viewing. In this article, questions regarding what and how to audio describe are discussed in the light of educational objectives and cultural relevance. The overall aim of the study is to make a contribution to knowledge about how audio-described educational videos may assist inclusive and reflective learning processes among blind teachers and student teachers in an East African context.
 
Article
In this article the authors will outline and describe the recent implementation of Unified English Braille (UEB) in Australia’s complex school systems. The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (NSW/DEC) played a leading role in the process. The education sector at all levels in Australia appears to have embraced the introduction of UEB with enthusiasm, and Braille teachers and students have taken a positive approach to learning the new Braille code.
 
Article
For many of the children who are blind and who also display features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) it is possible that their characteristics, while being representative of ASD, actually follow a different pathway to those children who have ASD and are sighted. It is proposed that these children should be viewed as having specific features rather than being a part of the collective of ASD. This article explores this issue by comparing the criteria for ASD with behaviours of both children who are sighted and those who are blind. Additionally, the diagnoses of blindness associated with neurological involvement and early medical complications are discussed. The effectiveness of intervention strategies and programmes is explored.
 
Article
The widely used Australian expression ‘Blind Freddy could see that’ is proposed as an exemplar of the terms blind and blindness in conveying social meaning. Examples of the expression's popular use are presented, and the extraordinary origin of the term explored. It is concluded that the expression should cease to exist, and that the challenge of promoting ‘people-first’ language as its replacement should lie primarily with: (a) Australians who are themselves blind or significantly vision impaired; and (b) with individuals and organizations who identify with the aims and aspirations of those who are sight impaired.
 
Article
The present study explored the factors which represent barriers and enablers to participation in Higher Education for students who are visually impaired. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine visually impaired students who were studying at a Higher Education Institution in the United Kingdom. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis revealed four higher-order themes: the student’s attitude (i.e. self identity, positive aspects of being visually impaired, engagement with support), institutional provision (i.e. campus navigability, central services support, school-level support), external support (i.e. travelling to and from campus, external financial support) and others’ attitudes (i.e. parental attitudes, staff attitudes). These findings are discussed with reference to how institutions may enhance the experience of not only visually impaired, but all Higher Education students.
 
Article
The present study investigated the type and extent of challenging behaviour in three residential schools in India for children with visual impairment. Teachers completed a survey of challenging behaviour in one boys-only school (n = 123), one girls-only school (n = 88), and one co-educational school (n = 125). Among the 336 total children, 24% were identified as having challenging behaviours. The most frequently reported challenging behaviours were withdrawal (17%), hyperactivity (15%), stereotyped mannerisms (12%), irritability (12%), aggression (10%) and inappropriate speech (9%). Self-injury was rare (1%). The results highlight a need for effective school-based assessment and intervention strategies to address challenging behaviours among children with visual impairment.
 
Article
The Whitechapel Art Gallery has been building on earlier success with Touch Workshops (from 1987) to include visually impaired visitors in activities for all exhibitions. A small and dedicated interest group now meets regularly to share the experience of learning from art objects in all forms. Through a variety of approaches it has been found that ideas and concepts in the works can be appreciated even without the full experience of their visual qualities. Most participants wish to expand their horizons in art and these sessions aim to include two-dimensional work in a limited way. The feedback gained suggests that the exercise is worthwhile and is a great stimulus to the visual memory.
 
Article
This article reviews the debate over the comprehension of two-dimensional microcapsule tactile pictures portraying three-dimensional information through the use of perspective and visual drawing conventions. It is proposed that three-dimensional haptic object recognition and its relationship to visual object recognition can inform the design of two-dimensional tactual displays. Experimental work is discussed which validates the use of such information in informing the design of 2-D tactile pictures.
 
Article
The following is a shortened version of a talk given at an SWRAB Workshop on Visual Impairment and Old Age, Dartington Hall, Devon, 14-17 November 1983
 
Top-cited authors
Simon Ungar
  • University College London
Graeme Douglas
  • University of Birmingham
Susanna Millar
  • University of Oxford
Martin Pinquart
  • Philipps University of Marburg
Liv Berit Augestad
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology