Students afflicted with hereditary eye conditions such as congenital cataracts, albinisim, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa may find it difficult to function in a classroom setting. Some of these children develop academic, social or emotional problems that are influenced by their visual disorder including isolation, withdrawal, difficulty with school work or prejudice displayed by their peers.
The majority of students with visual disorders have significant optical difficulties including marked reduction in visual acuity, opacity of the lens, lack of pigmentation of the eyes, or restriction of the field of vision. Such problems may result in the need for corrective lenses with marked magnification or the use of large print or braille translations of textbooks and materials. In addition, it may be necessary for the student to use special equipment such as magnifiers or a cane to aid in mobility. All such things call attention to the student and may interfere with their ability to develop academically and socially along with their classmates.
For some of these students it is difficult to interact with their classmates because their peers may not understand or appreciate their conditions. In addition, visually impaired individuals may not understand why they are different and may not have the skills to be assertive when they are teased or singled out.
Children with genetic eye disorders, therefore, often need guidance in the development of social skills. In addition, it may be necessary to educate their peers in understanding how to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of all individuals.
Developed for students in grades 9-12, this curriculum will allow students to explore the role genetics plays in the make-up of each individual. It will help them to understand that every person is unique while also helping them to appreciate the differences of individuals.
It will also show how diseases and disorders are passed from parent to
child. Four genetic eye disorders: congenital cataracts, albinism, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa will be discussed.
The unit will consist of the following sections:
1. Teacher pack— lessons plans, information, materials
2. Student pack—reading list, vocabulary, activities
3. Parent pack—names of organizations and support groups, information on disorders, genetic information