Sensory Efficiency Skills

Photo shows a young student looking at a block using a CCTV.

Logo with a magnifying glass.Sensory efficiency skills refer to “how well an individual receives, transmits, and interprets information about people, objects, and events in the environment, using all sensory systems” (Smith, 2014, p. 117).

Sensory efficiency skills are important for both accessing the core curriculum as well as for accessing all other areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). These skills are also important in fostering communication between learners and their peers.

Check out the Sensory Efficiency Skills section in #Outreaching - the blog of the PRCVI Outreach Team.


Connections to the BC Curriculum – Core Competencies

The British Columbia K-12 Curriculum emphasizes Communication as a core competency. Communicating encompasses “the set of abilities that people use to impart and exchange information, experiences, and ideas; to explore the world around them; and to understand and effectively use communication forms, strategies, and technologies.” The curriculum identifies three facets of communicating:

  • Connecting and engaging with others
  • Focusing on intent and purpose
  • Acquiring and presenting information

Sensory Efficiency Skills – Students with Visual Impairments

Students with visual impairments need to use all available senses to learn about and understand the world around them. These skills allow students to effectively access the curriculum, learn new concepts, and communicate with others.  

Examples of Sensory Efficiency Skills

  • Using listening skills to identify sounds and smells that indicate activities occurring nearby.
  • Can use a low vision aid to examine small objects, such as a picture in a book, or objects at a distance, such as a sign.
  • Uses touch, hearing, and vision simultaneously to successfully complete a task.

Resources to Support Instruction

PRCVI Library Catalogue

American Printing House for the Blind. Envision I: APH monocular trial kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. [Resource Kit]

Barclay, L.A. (2012). Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn. New York, NY: AFB Press. 

D'Andrea, F. M., & Farrenkopf, C. (2000). Looking to learn: Promoting literacy for students with low vision. New York, NY: AFB Press. 

Easy Pocket Magnifier from Eschenbach in the PRCVI Library Catalogue. 

  • The 3X and 4X Easy Pocket magnifiers are great for students who want a convenient low vision device that they can discretely carry in their pocket or backpack. This tool is dispensed through the CLVP clinic - additional magnifiers are available on loan from PRCVI.

Web-Based Resources

Paths to Literacy. (n.d.). Play with Sound. Retrieved from

  • This digital journalism course was designed for students attending specialized schools for the blind but could be adapted to use with any student. The course uses the topic of journalism to teach skills such as using audio equipment, listening to information, presenting information (public speaking, articulation), and other skills related to various areas within the ECC.

Paths to Literacy. (2017). Listening Skills. Retrieved from

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (2017). Fun Activities for Teaching Kids to Use Monocular Telescopes on a Low Budget. Retrieved from

Children's Low Vision Project of British Columbia (2019)

  • The CLVP team evaluates each student, prescribes and dispenses low vision devices, and makes recommendations to support the student, their family, teachers, schools, and other professionals serving the student. Mazes. Retrieved from

  • Blackline Masters for low vision device - thick lined mazes for tracking and video magnifier skill refinement. Free preschool and kindergarten maze worksheets, free downloads


Smith, M. (2014). Sensory Efficiency. In Allman, C. B., Lewis, S., & Spungin, S. J. (eds.). ECC essentials: Teaching the expanded core curriculum to students with visual impairments (pp. 117-186). New York, NY: AFB Press.

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