Investigating Visual Disabilities through the Perspectives of Disabled Artists

Lucy Beaube, First Grade, Barringer Academic Center

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

Our students need to appreciate the differences that make us unique and the things we have in common that unite us. This unit first explores what it means to be disabled. This invites discussion about how some disabilities are easy to see while we need to be more informed to understand other disabilities that are not easily visible. This curriculum unit goes into depth about low vision and blindness using balanced literacy strategies. Students will debunk common misconceptions about blindness, they will see what it looks like from the perspective of the visually disabled person, and become familiar with relevant vocabulary which they will apply in writing. Ultimately using what they learn about visual disabilities, they will study the art of Monet and Degas to see how their work changed over time as their changes in eyesight evolved due to cataracts and retinal disease. The unit will be guided through the inquiries of the students as they are naturally curious about what it would be like to be blind. Students will better understand Braille, human echolocation, Seeing Eye dogs, and biographical information about other blind people throughout history. The activities strive to guide students to become stronger readers, writers, listeners, and speakers.