Plans for Substitute Teachers

By Maureen M. Lewicki on Mar 13, 2015

After decades of teaching in the field, I realize how important it can be for classroom teachers to have an explanation of the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired in the sub plans. 

I am certain that they alert the substitute that there is a student with visual impairments in the class and perhaps where the materials are, but do they give them the basics of what to do and not do when "you meet a blind person?" Probably not.
I made this document so that all the teachers can keep it in their substitute plan folders. I hope it will avoid a couple of embarrassing moments that my students often have with substitutes.  I plan to write them for all of my students according to their particular needs.



Fill in the document below for each student who is blind or visually impaired and give to the classroom teacher to keep on file.


In ______ period, you will have a student named ______________ who is totally blind/low vision.


Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Treat him/her like any other student.
  • ____________, as any other student, does not like to be singled out.
  • It is okay to use descriptive words that refer to sight such as "Nice to see you" or “Do you see what I mean,” etc.
  • Never grab his or her arm to offer assistance. Instead, permit him or her to take your arm so that your moves can be anticipated.
  • The student's hearing is perfect, so it is not necessary to raise the volume of your voice when speaking.
  • _______ is an extremely intelligent young lady/man. There are no learning issues, and (s)he is keenly aware when someone is talking down to him/her.
  • _______ moves through the school and the classrooms independently.  (S) He does not need guidance to his/her seat, back to the hallway, or down the hallway. Never assume that a person who is blind needs or even wants assistance. Ask, "May I be of help?" 
  • If you cannot locate the large print, braille, or digital materials the student needs for the day, just let him/her know that, and (s)he will listen closely to the instruction and will submit any written assignments later.
  • In case of an emergency evacuation, let him/her grab your upper arm, and then walk quickly and naturally to the exit. Where there are stairs, tell him/her you are approaching stairs going up or down. Allow him to navigate the stairs himself.
  • In the event of a lockdown, ask him/her to grab your upper arm and proceed quickly to the safe corner of the room.
  • If you have any questions, call ____________ to speak to the Teacher of the Visually Impaired, or an aide.
substitute teacher collage



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