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Inclusion of visually impaired students: characteristics and perceptions of school students

School Years: Inclusive Education

Rita de Cassia Ietto Montilha

Occupational therapist, doctor in Biomedical Sciences, oftalmology concentration area

Edméa Rita Temporini

Lecturer in Methodology of Research for the Health Area

Maria Inês Rubo de Souza Nobre

Occupational therapist, doctor in Biomedical Sciences, oftalmology concentration area

Newton Kara José

Full Professor, Department of Ophthalmology - University of Campinas

Center of Study and Research in Rehabilitation (CEPRE) - University of Campinas, Brasil

Rua Ministro Oscar Saraiva, 40 apto 24B

Campinas – São Paulo – Brazil

ZIP: 13093-420

Phone: 55-19-3254-54-46 (home phone)

e-mail: rcietto@unicamp.br


A transversal descriptive study was performed regarding the characteristics of visually impaired school students and their perceptions in relation to their own schooling progress. The population was composed of 26 visually impaired school students of 12 years and above who were being educated in the public teaching system in Campinas, Brazil. For the collection of data a questionnaire was applied by interview. Of the students, 53.5 % declared themselves to be blind and 46.2 % said that they were visually subnormal, the majority of the problems were congenital (84.6%). The most frequently mentioned causes of visual impairment were premature retinopathy (21.4 %). A high mean age (17.1 years), a low level of schooling (65.3 % attending fundamental teaching) and a high level of repetition of years (73.1 %) were noted. For the students the poor preparation of the teachers and the difficulty in accessing specific didactic material for visually impaired individuals were highlighted as reasons for the high level of repetition and consequent falling behind in schooling. Some of the low vision students mentioned used of the brail system as a resource for schooling activities, perhaps suggesting a lack of awareness regarding optical and non-optical resources appropriate for their visual condition.

Key words: low vision, inclusion, rehabilitation


According to WORLD HEALT ORGANIZATION - WHO (1995), carrier of blindness is considered the individual with visual sharpness since 3/60 (0,05) in the best eye with better possible optical correction until the total absence of light perception, or corresponding loss of visual field in the best eye with better possible correction. The definition of subnormal vision corresponds to the smaller visual sharpness than 6/18 (0,3) but, equal or larger than 3/60 (0,05) in the best eye with better possible correction.   

Estimates of WHO refer that the World Load of Visual Inability (WLVI) in 1990 it reached 148 million individuals, and 1,4 million (3,8%) they correspond the smallest of 15 years (THYLEFORS and col., 1995). 

It has been observing that visual faulty children present difficulties in its school life. The faulty visual he/she needs specific attention in its pedagogic  process and the teacher needs to know basic aspects of oftalmology, the problem of the visual deficiency and to be qualified to accomplish that challenge.  

The specific area for the teacher's formation that acts with the faulty visual it is included in the Special Education, area this still not very investigated in terms of Brazil (BAUMEL, 1990). 

According to BRUNO (1993) the basic condition so that it happens the process of visual faulty integration of the preschool it is the creation of the room of resources with teacher specialized in the area of the visual deficiency and of educational atmospheres contends materials and available specific equipments for the those children's education. The author recommends that, in the impossibility of counting with the teacher specialized in the room of resources, at least a specialized integrator teacher presence can be guaranteed, as the itinerant teacher, to guide and to accompany the integration process and learning. 

The professionals that act in the education and visual faulty individuals' rehabilitation need to stop knowledge about the those individuals' limitations as well as about the education system and effective rehabilitation. The school and the rehabilitation should walk committees, supplying the child's real difficulties, of the adolescent and of the adult carrier of visual deficiency. 

The technical team and the offered services are planned with base in pré-established clinical pictures. That, institutions that assist exist faulty physical and other, faulty mental, faulty visual, etc. (BRAZIL, 1995). 

In general it is known that the rehabilitation institutions, by means of the attendance programs indeed, don't contemplate the cultural, economic, not even personal diversity of the deficiency carriers (BRAZIL, 1995). 

The need of the carrier of visual deficiency is recognized to be assisted by multidisciplinar  team constituted for: medical eye specialist, physiotherapist, teacher of physical education, occupational therapist, orientation technician and mobility, psychologist and social worker (ALVES & KARA-JOSÉ, 1996). 

The historical of the rehabilitation of carriers of visual deficiency not if distance of the rehabilitation as a completely. It is observed that the concrete steps in direction of measures that they give direction to the problems of that population, are slow and a lot of times without continuity. 

The society ark with damages elevated due to the lack of attention with the visual health represented by the decrease of productivity of its manpower and high cost of rehabilitation actions. Acrescem-if to this, psychological, social and economic consequences for the faulty visual owed the occupational restrictions, decrease of the income, status " loss, of self-esteem, of self-confidence. He/she gave way, the life quality it is affected, as it comes if observing, especially in countries in development. (WHO, 1984; TEMPORINI & KARA-JOSÉ, 1995; KARA-JOSÉ & TEMPORINI, 1999). 

Being like this, he/she is justified the need to identify school carriers of visual deficiency, to know its perceptions in relation to the own schooling process.



A  descriptive survey  was accomplished. The population was constituted by 12 year-old scholars and plus, carriers of visual deficiency in the municipal district of Campinas. The sample was obtained by indication of the Service of special education of the municipal city hall of Campinas, for specialist teachers, cadaster of CEPRE and of the Service of subnormal vision of UNICAMP. 

After having accomplished exploratory study, a questionnaire adapted to the investigated reality was elaborated, having been submitted it it tests previous. The collection of data was accomplished during the month of August of 2000, being applied the questionnaire by interview. 

In order to characterize the sample the following variables was included: sex, age, schooling, type of visual deficiency and origin of the oftalmologic problem. 

It was studied the scholars' perception in relation to difficulties in the schooling process, with focus in: existence of specific didactic material, access to specialized material, existence of room of resources and itinerant teacher's existence; to the course of the schooling process; to the atmosphere and used material; solemnity evaluation of the acquisition of knowledge and contribution of the rehabilitation process for the pedagogic .


A sample of size 26, non-probabilistic , obtained second approach of viability of the collection of data and access easiness to the scholar was composed. They were interviewed during the month of August of 2000. The school interviewees had a proportional distribution in relation to the sex (50,0% masculine and 50,0% feminine), and they presented age between 15 and 22 years. The average of age was of 17,1 years. There was prevalence of carriers of blindness (53,5%). In relation to the series in course the interviewees studied between 4th series of the fundamental teaching and 3rd series of the medium teaching. 

In relation to the school conditions 60,0% of the students frequent schools with room of resources, that is to say, with appropriate materials and teacher specialized in visual deficiency. 

Most of the scholars considers that the visual problem doesn't disturb its studies (80,0%), even so when investigated about current school difficulties of the visual deficiency everybody they point at least a difficulty. For carriers of blindness they were mentioned: to write down the classes; to read school books; to participate of classes with videos; to do works in group; to understand the matter (mainly mathematics); to participate in the activities of physical education and artistic education. For carriers of subnormal vision: to see the slate; to read the school books; to understand the matter (mathematics); to participate in the activities of physical education. 

Among the suggestions pointed by the students, to improve its school conditions, they stood out: the teachers' periodic visits specialized to the schools for students' orientation and teachers, amplification of the no. of room of resources; adaptation of materials with enlarged types and larger contrast; larger speed in the book transcription in braille; best prepares for the teachers offered by the government; books in braille offered by the schools; installation of computer science room with special programs and printer braille in every school with visual faulty student; clarifying and understanding of the teachers' body on the potential of the carrier of visual deficiency. 

Most of the scholars interviewees (90,0%) they participate of the rehabilitation process in some the community's service, and among them everybody affirms to be important this fact for its school acting.


The quality of the attendance in the services of health can be defined as satisfaction of the customers' needs. It can extend that relationship for the educational services and the scholars. It is for both that the strategies should be driven in the search of the quality. The customers should be heard concerning the systematic evaluation of the professionals' of health attitudes, as well as regarding the impact of the treatment processes about its health (BERWICK, 1994).  

It has been observing several researches about the user's satisfaction in what he/she refers the area of the health, already in relation to schooling process they are rare the works. The need is the same in the two areas. According to MEZOMO (1993) the patients' perceptions are vital and it is for this reason that they should be researched with appropriate instruments. 

In this study certain annoyance was observed in the scholars' perception when 80,0% consider that the visual deficiency doesn't disturb to study even so everybody mentions some difficulty in the accomplishment of the school activities. It can be supposed that there is not conscience of that relationship or to that they consider that the difficulties are not due the visual deficiency and yes to the education system. This perhaps, be a vision of larger inclusion. 

It is interesting to observe that he/she enters the suggestions pointed for improvement of the teaching quality, for the faulty ones visual, the interviewees place all the responsibility on the public organs, being exempted of any more active participation or of its family.  It is noticed the need of a work in level of public politics that it goes to the encounter of the needs pointed by the users, even so there is also the need of an active participation of the user understanding the difficulties and the reality of the educational so that together system has creative solutions and of more participation (MONTILHA, 1997). In that context the inclusion is effective. 

The article 208 of the Brazilian constitution affirms the agreement with an inclusive line of the education even so, in the practice, it is still verified great discrepancy in relation to the that says the law, and what manifests teachers and students (AZEVEDO, 2000). 

The professionals' paper that you/they act with rehabilitation and special education is to accomplish studies that look for common indicators that offer to the context Brazilian larger success probability in educational programs of inclusion besides favoring conditions of implementation of programs of inclusive and permanent education (SANTOS, 2000).


Perceptions of school carriers of visual deficiency were evidenced in relation to the own schooling process, showing the all knows the resources that can benefit them and the need to provide orientations in the sense of they have a more active posture in the search and implementation of those rights. It was evidenced, also, to be of highest importance the knowledge of its perceptions for the planning of educational public actions.


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