Visual Impairment

SUPPLIES: table covered with white roll paper, markers, chairs, 3 pairs of goggles expressing different levels of visual impairment, multiple photos/paintings, 3oz. cups, pitcher of water, 3 orange cones for guiding the walking challenge, debrief questions sheet



1.     Greet new participants and invite them find a partner for this station.

2.     When at least two pairs have arrived introduce the topic with, “Good morning. This station will be helping you understand Visual Impairments. You will both learn to guide someone with a visual impairment and can “try on” different levels of visual impairment.”

We have three sets of goggles that will help you with this experience.

One pair expresses Macular Degeneration where the central portion of the retina deteriorates and makes vision, while looking straight forward, difficult. Macular Degeneration tends to happen with age and is considered an incurable eye disease that affects your ability to focus with your eyes, read, drive a car, or even recognize faces or colors. 

Another pair expresses a Detached Retina where people say there seems to be black floaters in their typical vision. A retinal tear or detachment can start small and continue until complete vision is lost.

The last pair of goggles expresses near blindness. Blindness can happen for numerous reasons- some people are born with limited sight, some have a traumatic event, and some lose sight over time.

In your pairs one of you will begin with a pair of goggles and go through a walking challenge with your partner guiding you. At the end of the walking challenge there are photos and paintings. The seeing companion will try to explain what the painting looks like to our person who has a visual impairment. Then the person with a visual impairment will pour themself a small glass of water and drink from the cup. After you’ve completed each of these steps, you will switch roles and repeat the activity.

3.     Make certain the debrief question sheet is visible and taped down to the white roll paper on the table. Encourage participants to write responses to questions on the last slide on the white roll paper on the table.

4.     Take time to answer questions (if you feel comfortable) and hear what the participants are processing out loud. Some of your learners will be external processors and need someone to speak to about what they experienced where others will be internal processors and simply listen to what is being said or write more fully on the white roll paper. Respect both forms of processing.

5.     Thank the participants for their focus and encourage them to find another station. Help them know what stations are available and how to get to them.


Debrief Questions (Visual Impairment)

1.     What did you experience? What was surprising, challenging, or frustrating?

2.     What are ways that persons with visual impairments might be hindered from fully engaging in the life of your church?

3.     What adaptations can be made in the life of your congregation to create inclusive space for persons with visual impairment?