Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Tools for Handwriting and Print

Adolescent girl wearing glasses writes using a pencil              

There are numerous tools and techniques to assist people who are blind or visually impaired with handwriting.  For people with low vision, tools include writing or signature guides, special pens, and paper with raised or bold lines.  Environmental adaptations include increasing contrast and task lighting, as well as the use of slant boards, and different types of magnification may also be helpful for those who are writing print. 

Many people who are totally blind learn to write their signature, and special adaptive devices are available for this purpose.  Signing Your Name and Handwriting If You are Blind or Have Low Vision from Vision Aware offers helpful tips for the mechanics of handwriting, including:

  • General Handwriting Tips and Techniques
  • Information About Handwriting Supplies and Adaptations
  • Writing Pens
  • Signing Your Name
    • signature guides
    • rubber stamp
  • Writing Paper
  • Commercial Writing Guides
  • Homemade Writing Guides
  • Making Your Own Raised Line Paper
  • Fold and Write As You Go

 

Magnification

There are numerous magnification devices available, ranging from simple hand-held magnifying glasses to electronic and technological tools.  While many of these are commercially available, it is best to work with a low vision specialist to determine what is optimal for an individual student.

For more information, see the section on Magnification.
 

There are assistive devices for students with low vision to enable them to write print, including magnification, special paper and markers, and environmental adaptations.

Signature Writing

In the article Signature Writing for a Braille Reader teacher Jodi Floyd outlines the technique for teaching students who are blind to sign their names.

 
Photo of APH signature guide

APH Signature Guide

Picture of 20-20 pen


 


Paper



Reading Stand

Picture of reading stand


A reading stand, such as this one from APH, can hold materials at the proper position for students with low vision.


Lighting

Picture of Lighting Guide Kit from APH


Environmental factors, such as lighting, can make a huge difference for students with low vision.  This Lighting Guide Kit from APH is one example.

Instructional Resources

Handwriting Without Tears
This web site presents free online tools, as well as information about a hands-on curriculum with teaching strategies designed for students from Kindergarten through Grade 5.

 

IEP Objectives

Longhand Writing
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Signature Writing
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Annapolis, Maryland