Increasing Problem-Solving Ability for Students with Visual Impairments and Intellectual Disabilities

By Nicole Johnson, Ed.D. and Anne Brawand, Ph.D.

Preferred Citation

Johnson, N., and Brawand, A. (2021). Increasing Problem-Solving Ability for Students with Visual Impairments and Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Blindness Innovation & Research, 11(1). Retrieved from https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/jbir/jbir21/jbir110102.html. http://dx.doi/10.5241/11-203

Abstract

Introduction: Despite the national effort to focus on prioritization of mathematical concepts, teachers of students with sensory and cognitive disabilities often do not know how to provide quality instruction to address mathematical skills. Research is limited for this population of students in the area of mathematics. This study is a replication of previous research to determine whether schema-based instruction (SBI) increases problem-solving ability for students with concurrent visual impairments and intellectual disabilities at the secondary level.

Method: A multiple-baseline-across-students design was used to study the effects of SBI on problem-solving skills of three high school students with concurrent visual impairments and intellectual disabilities. During the four-to-five-week intervention sessions, students utilized the find, organize, plan, and solve (FOPS) strategy to solve addition and subtraction word problems.

Results: The three students improved their problem-solving ability using the FOPS. Mastery increased from 13.2 during baseline to an overall level of 72.5%.

Discussion: High school students with visual impairments and intellectual disabilities demonstrated improvement in problem-solving ability after SBI was taught.

Limitations: Limitations of this study include: only three students participated in the study, the duration of the intervention was four to five weeks, and utilizing the FOPS strategy with combined visual impairments and intellectual disabilities within peer-reviewed research has yet to be established. Future studies that address high school students with multiple disabilities are needed to support or contradict this study’s findings. These studies could incorporate other mathematical skills.

Implications for practitioners: When using SBI to teach problem-solving skills, teachers of students with visual impairments and intellectual disabilities can simplify the language they use, use repetitive operation words, and include pictures for those students with low vision.

Keywords

Visual impairments, problem solving, schema-based instruction


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DOI: http://dx.doi/10.5241/11-203

The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research is copyright (c) 2021 to the National Federation of the Blind.