The Educational Inclusion of Children with Visual Impairment in Developing Countries

Literacy for all: developing literacy through touch in the classroom is a study promoting and tracking over one year the development of braille literacy skills of a group of primary school children who are blind in Malawi.

Visual Impairment in Developing CountriesDr Paul Lynch (Research Fellow) is working with parents and itinerant teachers to establish teaching approaches and learning materials that can best secure the children’s literacy skills in the local mainstream classroom. Drawing upon the principles of action research, the children’s development is being regularly assessed and supported over the one year period (2008-09). This also involves working with braille producers and teacher trainers which has already resulted in the development and testing of pre-braille and braille assessment tools in EnglishVisual Impairment in Developing Countriesand Chichewa (national spoken language in Malawi). We have carried out workshops with national researchers (Malawi Institute of Education and Montfort College for Special Needs Education) and itinerant (peripatetic) teachers and their supervisors. We also ran two braille residential schools during which children and their teachers, parents and siblings were assessed and recruited to the project. Both the teachers and students were able to develop their braille literacy skills as well as other key skills (daily living, orientation and mobility, sports and games). The final phases of the research consist of knowledge transfer through a final report, an accompanying DVD capturing the braille residential schools and a high-level seminar to share the results with key stakeholders at the Ministry of Education in Malawi.

Contact details

Dr Paul Lynch
Email: P.Lynch@bham.ac.uk 
Tel: 0121 414 6735