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English as a Second Language (ESL) for New English Language Learners with Visual Disabilities Program

Listing Last Update: January 22, 2015


919 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Primary Contact

Vilma Rivera

(215) 627-0600

Educational services

  • To learn English

Instruction Type

  • Classroom

Program Overview

ASB presently provides the only English as a Second Language (ESL) for New English Language Learners with Visual Disabilities program of its kind on the East Coast that is geared specifically to the needs of the visually impaired Latino population. By focusing on the successful development of their Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) along with the development of their basic second language literacy skills of reading and writing accompanied by an alternative language assessment system for performance evaluation, ASB is able to help meet the unique personal goals of each participant, enabling him or her to lead a better, more independent life. ASB’s ESL classes for our blind or visually impaired clients include several innovative approaches, such as: • Employing a “Total Physical Response” technique of instruction that involves having students touch the items they are learning the English language words for (such as “hairbrush” or “fork”) and modeling verbs being taught (for example, saying “move your hand forward” while gently moving the student’s hand forward). • Encompassing a literacy-based approach that combines the use of Braille, large print and touch and read vocabulary cards to teach literacy along with English. • Using a whole language experience approach that combines listening, reading, and writing to the greatest extent possible, in order to more fully engage students within thematic units. Our units are based on themes which are content based and include other subject areas. • Extensively using cassette tapes to facilitate homework and practice between classes. • Incorporating manipulatives as frequently as possible to create a learning environment that promotes “interactive learning” through instructional games and activities that lend themselves to “best practices” instructional approaches. • Utilizing a large corps of volunteers as homework partners for class participants. Our ESL Program is aimed at practical solutions that move people toward their goals. We believe that success is dependent on good communication skills, and that fluency in English will open up personal, academic, and employment opportunities for visually impaired Latinos and other non-English speakers.

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