Science4SIghtLoss is an SFI Discover funded project and is a collaboration with blind and visually impaired youth advocates, researchers from the INFANT Research Centre, UCC and NCBI. It was developed with the aim of supporting greater diversity and inclusion in science.
According to the 2016 Irish census, there are 5,081 children in Ireland who are blind or visually impaired (see www.cso.ie). For these children engaging with science and understanding scientific concepts can be challenging as science can be overly reliant on visual aids and learning. According to a report published by AHEAD in April 2019, 1.2% of all students with disabilities studying science in the 2017/2018 academic year were blind or visually impaired. This percentage equates to only 20 students. A major problem with understanding how students who are blind and visually impaired interact or perceive science is the lack of research that has been conducted surrounding these students and their interaction with the Irish education system.
There are 5 main aims of this study:
1. What is the perception of science among blind and visually impaired children within the education system as well as outside of it?
2. Is it possible to increase science engagement among this cohort through science workshops?
3. To gather information from young adults who are blind/visually impaired and are currently in college doing a science course.
4. To gather information from primary school teachers about their experience of teaching science to children with visual impairment
5. To gather information from primary school teachers about any training they may have received that focussed specifically on teaching children with visual impairments