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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Screen reader

A software application that allows people with visual impairments to access computer information. Screen readers work with the computer’s Operating System to provide information about icons, menus, dialogue boxes, files and folders. A screen reader can provide feedback to the user via speech or braille.


A type of video tutorial allowing viewers to listen to the explanation of a demonstration/ lecture.

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.