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Facilitating the Inclusion of Children With Vision Impairment: Perspectives of Itinerant Support Teachers

  • Christine Morris (a1) and Umesh Sharma (a2)

Abstract

Children with vision impairment (VI) and blindness are largely educated in mainstream schools in Australia. Specialist itinerant support teachers – vision (ISTVs) travel from school to school to facilitate the education of these children. The purposes of this study were to examine the barriers that ISTVs face in this role, and to identify strategies used to address these barriers. Seven ISTVs participated in the study. Focus group interviews were conducted to collect data from participants. Constant comparison, a form of thematic analysis, was used to examine the data. Results indicate that barriers include a lack of understanding among regular school educators of the needs of children with VI, lack of awareness of the role of ISTVs, insufficient resources and time, and inadequate training. Frequent communication and good working relationships with staff help to minimise or negate many of the potential barriers. However, barriers such as lack of time and inadequate training remain unaddressed and require the attention of policymakers at higher levels.

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*Address for correspondence: Umesh Sharma, Krongold Centre, Faculty of Education, Room G10a, Building 5, Monash University, Wellington Road, Vic. 3800, Australia.

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