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Bullet Point Issue 6 now available featuring topics such as development during pre-school years, visual impairment and other disabilities, click here to find out more.

Education: The Great Equaliser!

Hello and welcome,
The following points have been expanded in the books available via my web site. They contain much more about accessing learning and the development of valuable skills.

Rgds Clive.

If You Don’t Do It Who Will?


The built environment and a suitable space for learning


A dilemma exists regarding the access needs of those with a disability in the build environment: should we adapt the home, school, college, university and wider community or teach people to cope? Given that no environment will be perfect, we probably need to do both; that is,

  • Teach skills in order to cope

  • Design suitable buildings


The built environment can help or hinder …

A Few Basic Principles

Following are a few principles to consider and address in order to assist those with low vision:


Décor aids or hinders light levels and access to the environment …

Contrast and Clarity

A contrast between surfaces anywhere might need highlighting to distinguish both. This can be achieved by using different colours or tones …


  • It is generally accepted that we use light tones for bigger areas and darker ones for smaller areas …



To avoid frustration, wasted time and danger, a space should be orderly; for example,

  • Visual clutter should be avoided


Accessing Public Information

To help access a space on a par with fully sighted peers,

  • Notice boards should be at an accessible height


De-Clutter and Define Activities According to Space

Floor covering and furnishing can provide useful clues about an area; for example,

  • Designated spaces should be clearly marked


Wearing highly pattered clothes can cause visual clutter …


  • Table tops and work surfaces should not have reflective surfaces



Lighting suitably delivered is probably the most effective low vision aid …


  • Consider the overall impact of light in a given area …


Ideally, light should come from behind a learner ...


Glare can be a major problem,

  • Light refracted off surfaces can cause discomfort, be very confusing and can generally disable


Generally speaking, ensure that your child or young person’s position in relation to a light source is suitable and safe …

Sounds and Masking Information

Environmental sounds can be useful or a hindrance. Therefore, sound should ideally be,

  • Meaningful or interesting


A radio or TV playing in the background can mask useful sounds which provide clues to life generally.

Sound Quality

A sound’s quality is affected by,

  • The number of people in a room

  • The activities taking place and competing in the room



  • Don’t assume that your child or young person knows a sound’s source. Mention it because it might prove to be a useful reference point


A Useful Exercise

Following is an exercise to help you consider if an environment is suitable for someone with low vision. To begin, ask yourself,

  • Is the space hindering the child or young person?


Identify the Following

Identify an area where there is,

  • Glare from windows

  • Glare from surfaces


Poor control of,

a. Natural lighting

b. Electric lighting

Poor control of natural light could be highlighted by no blinds or curtains at a window …

Identify an area where there is,

  • Good control of light levels,

a. Natural light

b. Electric light

Identify an area where there is,

  • Confusing audible information


Then, to achieve a less confusing environment,

  • Consult your child or young person

  • Prioritise areas needing attention


It can of course be difficult not being budget led. Some changes to the environment will cost more and take longer to implement. Therefore, highlight need as soon as possible but above all remember, safety must be a major consideration.


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