Project Director

Avery, Jim

Department Examiner

Miller, Judy; Tanner, Mary; Lewis, Jim; Fran, Ben; Prats, Loretta


Dept. of Education


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The ability to move independently, safely, and purposerully though the environment is a skill of primary importance in the development of each individual. Society's greatest misconception is that visually impaired persons either want or need to be protected from their environment. The sighted often do not realize or understand that visually impaired persons wish to maintain the greatest a mount of independence and self-respect. They desire to function as independently as possible in the mainstream of society. Persons with visual impairment have lost adegree of their vision; they have not had their other abilities affected.They are still thinking, feeling human beings who must learn to do some old things in new ways and in addition to learn to do some new things. Visually impaired persons can aquire the skills needed to obtain independence, but this independence is not always the maximum independence they are capable of achieving. The lesser independence is not caused by the visually impaired persons' lack of ability; rather it is caused by the environment's lack of necessary considerations and/or modirications. Efforts to assist visually impaired persons to travel independently must consider the effect of the environment on safe and efficient movement. The manner in which the environment is constructed can facilitate or impede travel by persons with disabilities. Mobility specialists have made progress in helping visually impaired people adapt their travel skills to the existing environment. It is obvious, however, that not all obstacles and dangers have been eliminated. Some of these could be prevented through relatively simple and inexpensive modirications. Others could be eliminated by more careful and knowledgeable planning for future construction. Travel by visually impaired persons might even be made more convenient and efficient through still more modirications in the environment. As implied above, the literature reveals that the two primary purposes of environmental modirications are to eliminate travel hazards and to make visually impaired persons' travel more convenient and efficient. These modifications will in turn have a positive impact on their development. The purpose of this project is to analyze critically the structural environment of the VITAL (Visually Impaired Training and Learning) Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in relation to the needs of visually impaired persons. The project identifies the areas in which the structural environment of the VITAL Center does not efficiently meet the needs of visually impaired persons, and then suggests design proposals that have the possibility of promoting greater efficiency. The design proposals include justification for any design changes, as well as a space plan and rurniture plan demonstrating these changes.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




People with visual disabilities--Services for--Tennessee--Chattanooga; Barrier-free design for people with visual disabilities


Human Ecology

Document Type



iii, 75 leaves





Call Number

LB2369.5 .W66 1992


Included in

Human Ecology Commons