Facilitating participation in education: The distinctive role of the specialist teacher in supporting learners with vision impairment in combination with severe and profound learning difficulties

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Within the wide range of needs created by vision impairment in combination with severe/profound learning difficulties (SLD/PMLD) the potential influence of impaired vision on a learner’s participation in education can be neglected. This paper examines the distinctive role of specialist teachers of children with vision impairment in facilitating such participation through reference to the children and youth version of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF-CY) and a bioecological systems theory. A bioecological model is outlined that incorporates the language and approach to disability in the ICF-CY with the systems theory to enable a holistic analysis of the role. An important aspect of the role is considered to be the facilitation of a child’s participation in education through the promotion of ‘progressive’ and ‘mutual’ accommodation over a given timeframe. The implications of the model for future research are examined with reference to a ‘person-process-context-time’ (PPCT) design.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Blindness Innovation and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • bioecological systems theory, Vision impairment, learning difficulties, ICF-CY