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How to Start College if You're Blind or Visually Impaired

Three Parts:

Going to college is a time that is exciting for many new students. However, having a visual impairment might make this process seem a bit daunting. Remember that your impairment doesn't have to impact your success in college. You can still ace your classes and make new friends. Through making the proper preparations, utilizing your resources, and connecting with others, you can make your college transition as smooth as possible.

Steps

Starting Off on the Right Foot

  1. Attend orientation.Before classes begin, colleges typically offer orientation sessions to help you get connected and acclimated to campus. During this time, you will likely be able to meet staff from the Disability Services Office who will assist you greatly during your time in college. You may also meet new friends who can help you out during this transitional.
    • This is also a great time to connect with faculty and staff.
    • Ask questions during the sessions if you have any. You can ask questions specifically about your visual impairment.
  2. Take a tour of campus.Another way to get accustomed to the campus is to take a tour before classes begin. You should move in a few days before your first day of class and get a true feel for the layout of the campus. Find out where the cafeteria and student union are. Find the closest student health center and gym. Locate all of the bus stops. Having all of this information early will help you greatly as you navigate the campus with your visual impairment.
  3. Find the locations of your classroom buildings.Familiarize yourself with the routes to all of your classes. It is unlikely that you will have the same classes every day as college classes are typically on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Determine the route you will take for these varying schedules and memorize them so that you do not need to always ask for help in locating them.
    • Practice taking these routes from start to finish days before your classes begin.
  4. Carry a cell phone.Never forget to carry your phone with you wherever you go. Should you get lost, your phone will assist you in getting to your correct location. You can use google maps to help you find your way. You can also call the campus police and they will help get you to where you need to be.
  5. Use your landmarks.Though your vision may be impaired, you can still use your landmarks to help direct you to where you need to be. Remember large signs, fountains or monuments on your campus and use them to point you in the right direction. Even if you are blind, you can still remember certain sounds, like the chime of a belltower’s clock or the sound of a fountain to direct you.
  6. Bring an extra pair of glasses and other accessories.Always keep an extra pair of glasses with you at school should you lose or break yours. This will be particularly useful for you if you are far away from home. You can also consider purchasing and bringing a white cane, which will signal to others that you have a visual impairment.
    • Consider wearing one article of brightly colored clothing per day.

Using Your Resources

  1. Connect with the disability services office.The disability services office at your college will be able to assist you in getting the accommodations that you need to have success during college. They can ensure that you get extra time on tests, accessible textbooks, and can serve as a general liaison between you and university staff when necessary. Set up a time to meet with them before the semester begins.
    • Secure a note from your doctor confirming your visual impairment.
  2. Get to know your professors.Your professors can make or break your time in college. Send them an email before your first day or see them after class to let them know about your impairment. They can help ensure that you get a seat up front or receive any other accommodations that you need. Visit their office hours if you have any questions or requests.
    • Hold your teachers accountable. If there is an accommodation that you need and they are unwilling to give you, contact the Disability Services Office.
  3. Get your books as soon as possible.Once you receive the syllabi for your classes, begin securing any books or materials that you might need. Have the disability services office convert these texts to accessible formats, whether that be online, in large print, or in Braille.
    • If your teacher has not yet posted the necessary readings, don’t fret. Email them and explain your needs. Most professors will be more than willing to work with you.
    • Keep in mind that there is assistive technology available that can help, such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and adaptive keyboards.
  4. Download apps to provide you assistance.Apps like Ariadne GPS help guide people with visual disabilities. Voice Brief will read aloud your texts and other media. Looktel Money Reader scans money and informs you of how much the currency is. Research other such apps that will assist you in navigating the campus and being successful in college.
  5. Take audio notes in class using a voice recorder.One of the most important ways to retain information disseminated by your professor in class is by taking notes. However, you might find it difficult or impossible to do so with your impairment. You can bring a voice recorder to class to record the class lecture. Most laptops or phones have this feature, as well.
  6. Consider a seeing eye dog.A seeing eye dog can greatly relieve your difficulties navigating the campus. Consider getting a dog who can help you as you travel to your classes, the cafeteria, or library. Make sure that you register your dog with the university and have the proper documentation for it.

Connecting with Others

  1. Join clubs on campus.It is important to avoid isolating yourself and to get involved with your peers. Though your visual impairment might cause you some difficulties in starting college, it should not prevent you from getting involved and connecting with others. Research clubs that might interest you on campus and attend the meetings to determine if you would like to join. You might learn about many of these clubs during orientation or during the first week of class.
    • Consider joining a cultural or religious organization. You might also consider a sorority or fraternity.
  2. Volunteer.Find opportunities to volunteer on your campus There are many different organizations or offices that are constantly seeking volunteers to help with their programs. Seek out these opportunities to serve on planning committees or to assist in executing certain events.
    • For instance, certain universities put on events that require actors or students to assist with check-in. You can sign up to do tasks similar to these.
  3. Stay connected to your friends and family at home.Though there are many new friends to make and people to meet at college, don’t forget about all of the people you love back home. Call your parents at least twice a week to check in with them and don’t ignore their calls. Check in with your friends regularly as well either through phone or social media.
    • You can even invite your friends or family up to visit you on some weekends.
    • Go home to visit your family when you can.





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Date: 16.12.2018, 23:02 / Views: 74482


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