Local visually impaired students among many facing different set of challenges with virtual learning

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Visually impaired students are facing a different set of challenges when it comes to virtual learning.

Fifth-grader Darian Garcia-Baez is one of more than 50 visually impaired students in Cumberland County Schools.

Darian says he likes virtual learning on his tablet because he can make the words and pictures bigger when he needs to.

“When there is an article or a text that is in small print and I can’t see it I can just zoom in.”

His mom Elaine Artis says his teachers are very helpful, but she wishes the online class sizes were smaller, assigned books came in big print editions, and that more adaptive technology was provided for visually impaired students.

“Magnifiers, CCTV, stuff like that would benefit him greatly,” Artis said. “They know and they’re aware of his case so the fact that it hasn’t been considered is jarring.”

The district has several teachers who specialize in helping visually impaired students, including Alicia Cope.

“There’s not a one size fits all solution,” Cope said. “Where in the classroom we have a little bit more control over an environment, in the virtual environment it is presenting some challenges to access the print”

Cope works with families to find individual solutions as they continue online learning through at least January.

“I love making connections with the kids and their parents and showing them ways that they can adapt to make life functional and to complete tasks independently,” Cope said.

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