Visual Impairment Glossary

Vision impairment and blindness, its causes, and assistive resources come with a huge range of terminology. Browse our glossary to learn the meanings of these terms. 

Fingers type on a BrailleNote touch
Browse the glossary using this index

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Self Help Skills

Providing the means to help an individual without relying on the assistance of others.

Sighted Guide

Sighted guide technique refers to a method by which a visually impaired person and a sighted person can walk together safely and comfortably.

Snellen Chart

A Snellen chart is an eye chart that can be used to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart in 1862.

Social Story

Social stories are short descriptions of a situation, event or activity. They include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why, helping someone to prepare for that event.

Step by Step Switch

A communication aid with a big button,facilitating the recording of a series of messages, which can then be operated by the pupil.

Allows the recording of a series of messages which the user can step through in sequence. 


A screen magnifier, natural sounding speech and full screen reader with refreshable Braille synchronised or used separately.

Swell Paper

A specialist paper onto which images can be printed and made into tactile diagrams using a heat fuser.



Tacti-Mark is a liquid plastic that sets hard. It can be used as a teaching aid for writing letters, numbers, drawing pictures or outlining maps. It is useful for marking controls on cookers, washing machines, thermostats etc.

Tactile Markers

Added to braille labelling, you can add tactile markers to identify objects or areas. These may be in the form of tactile stickers, liquid plastic which sets hard, or anything that feels different to touch.


Activities involving braille patterns or raised lines and shapes to build skills necessary for reading braille print. Tracking encourages systematic exploration and searching for information on a page. It develops fine finer tactile sensitivity and discrimination skills.

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