We rely heavily on our senses to interpret the world around us. From birth, children have learned about their surroundings by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing. We know that young children are specifically orientated to engaging in these sensory experiences in their learning environments as sensory exploration naturally encourages children to process information while they play, create and investigate. In turn, this helps them develop cognitively, linguistically, socially, emotionally, physically and creatively.
When one of these senses no longer ‘functions normally’, an individual is considered to have a sensory impairment. Of the five senses, vision and hearing are the primary sources in which humans gather their information. In fact, as much as 80% of what we learn is learned visually (Project IDEAL, 2017). When one or both of these two major channels for receiving information is impaired or not functioning, it has significant effects on a child’s development in several areas, including communication and language development, movement and motor development, cognitive development and the ability to learn, social and emotional development, and body image and self-concept.
This resource guide was created to assist educators in teaching students with sensory
impairments, specifically visual, and hearing. With an increase in inclusive education in
mainstream classrooms, it is crucial that educators are aware of the potential accommodations and modifications that should be made for students with these sensory impairments in order to provide an equal opportunity for success in their learning environment.