How to start college if you’re blind or visually impaired

How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

Unlike wheelchair accessible colleges, it may not be possible to Google which campuses are best suited for visually impaired students. Because of the spectrum for people with visual impairments – low vision, legally blind and totally blind – there is probably no certainty that universities can do to make their campuses easy to navigate. Additionally, each student will have different needs when it comes to note taking, testing and learning in general. While normal things—tuition costs, how far from home, the quality of the program you’re looking into, etc.—should be taken into account while searching for your perfect college, students with visual impairments should also keep these things in mind.

Start with the school website

While a well-designed website doesn’t necessarily identify a school that fits your needs, it’s definitely a good start. If a school is knowledgeable enough to make a website easier to read, whether that means providing larger fonts or improving the text for the person reading the speech, it may mean that it is trying to be more accessible to students with visual impairments. . Jon Gunderson reviewed 183 institutions to judge their websites’ text-to-speech capabilities. He ranked Missouri State University, University of California at Northridge, and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo as the top three websites (for the remaining 180 rankings, click here).

Contact the University Student Secretariat

Colleges and universities need to make science available to their students. This goes beyond upgrading buildings and apartments for disabled students. By contacting the student’s services team, you can inquire what assistance is available for visually impaired students. This can change from school to school, including having a dedicated notebook, which provides a version of the Braille reading, which allows you to record lessons and train your staff / instructor. If the school doesn’t offer what you need, see if they can accommodate your specific needs.

In addition to asking what the college or university can provide, ask your department if they can do anything. Departments can be more compact; even if the school cannot provide you with a notebook, for example, the department can do something with you.

You should also ask yourself what documentation the school needs to prove that you need accommodation. This process, along with how easy it is to apply for services, says a lot about the school.

Surrounding environment

Some colleges are so small that it only takes five minutes to cover campus. Others grow again and again, making campus buses almost essential for getting anywhere. Some universities are in their own little bubble, while others have integrated into the surrounding city or town. These are important factors to consider. Are the pedestrian crossings built with the blind in mind? Is the campus a labyrinth? Are there any buses that you can drive instead of walking to your destination? Knowing how to easily navigate the campus and surrounding area will only improve your college experience. It’s always a great idea to go and visit a college before making the decision to study there.

Your personal needs

Do you need a text to braille converter for your lessons? Are you using a walking stick or a guide dog for navigation? How much the school wants to work with you on the personal effects you bring with you speaks volumes. For example, guide dogs go with their people because of the services they provide and the school shouldn’t be able to question that. This likely includes having a dog in your dorm, walking around campus, and going to class. Does your dog have an easily accessible place to do business? Some professors don’t like their lectures recorded, either audibly or speech-to-text. However, you should have access to what you need to learn effectively. This includes any additional materials or time needed for homework and exams.

Online availability of materials

More and more classes at the university are posting materials online. Scanned PDF readings, lecture notes, charts, research clippings, assignment instructions—you name it, it’s been on an online class site or been attached to an email. Much like the school’s website, this material should also be considerate of those with visual impairments. Parla con la scuola e i professori. Make sure you have easy access to this material or an alternative version of it.

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How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

Aggiungi la "preparazione per il college" alla tua lista di cose da fare per l’estate.

It’s almost summer vacation, and that means beach days, barbecues and a break from the dreaded alarm clock. If you’re blind or visually impaired and plan on going to college in the next few years, the summer months are also the perfect time to work on your applications and boost your resume with internships or volunteer experiences. The better you prepare now, the more likely you are to get accepted into your chosen school and have a great college experience when you get there.

Below are five steps you can take to start preparing for college this summer and still have time to enjoy yourself. Get started today: try College Success @ Perkins.

1 Visit great colleges in your area

Most major colleges and universities run summer courses, which means their campuses will be as lively in July as they are in September. Before your visit, make a list of the amenities that interest you most – large dorms, a well-informed campus accessibility office, an extensive theater program – and then write down your first impressions as soon as possible. You’ll likely be touring many colleges before making any decisions, and this will help you remember what you thought of each one.

2. Look at internships and shadow employment opportunities

Summer is always a good opportunity to supplement your CV with an internship or other type of work experience. Contact your family and contact the state board for the blind to see what offers are available in your area. If an internship isn’t an option, ask if you can visit a worksite for a day of job shadowing. Either way, you’ll gain a better sense of your career interests, which will help you maximize your college experience for future success.

3. Run the common application and prepare for the standard tests

Even if you don’t know where you want to apply, chances are at least one of your selected schools will require the Common Application. Summer is the perfect time to work on the essay part of the application. Once you’ve finished, pick two trusted people to read it over and give you feedback. If you haven’t taken the PSATs, ACTs or SATs yet, sign up for a late summer or fall test date now. Take the time to ask for any services you need, such as large print or Braille versions, or extra time. The housing application process can be lengthy, so the sooner you review the requirements, the better.

4. Accept the challenge

Have fun this summer, but also engage in some activities that will help you develop the skills you need for your studies. If you’re nervous about making friends at a big university, join a club that forces you to improve your social interaction skills. If you’re already part of an organized activity, consider taking on a leadership role that will help you strengthen your communication and advocacy skills. Even small things like making dinner yourself or doing laundry will help you enter college with confidence.

5. Attend a Perkins seminar and learn more about college success

Sign up for one of Perkins’ College Success workshops designed specifically for college-bound students with visual impairments. Our first workshop, College Application Strategies for Blind and Visually Impaired Students, will be held September 28 from 6-7:30 p. m. on our Watertown campus. Look for an email invitation this summer and check the College Success website for more seminars this fall.

These five tips are a great place to start preparing for college. To continue the journey, consider applying for the nine-month College [email protected] program, where you’ll have a chance to dive deeper into these topics, take college courses for credit, maximize your mobility and technology skills and emerge fully prepared for college success.

Tovah Miller is the director of College Success @ Perkins.

Molly Clarke; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD

How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

Being blind or visually impaired doesn’t just involve physical and psychological challenges – it can also be financially onerous.

In addition to direct costs – such as those related to medical visits, medications, home care and guide dogs – there are also indirect costs such as incapacity for work and income generation. Lack of income, coupled with ongoing medical bills, can cause financial hardship to get out of control.

Fortunately, in some cases, social security disability benefits can alleviate some of this financial burden. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs to qualify legally blind or visually impaired people:

Social Invalidity Insurance (SSDI).

The SSDI program pays benefits to you and some members of your family if you have worked long enough and paid social security taxes.

Supplemental Collateral Income (SSI).

The SSI program pays benefits based on financial need and is designed for low-income individuals and families.

Social Security Administration Definition of Legal Blindness

The SSA defines legal blindness (also known as legal blindness) as the best corrected visual acuity

20/200 or less in the best eye; or a limitation of the visual field such that the widest diameter of the visual field of the best eye is 20 degrees or less.

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, SSA will compare your condition to a list of medical conditions known as the Social Insurance Blue Book. Legal blindness and visual impairment are discussed in section 2.00 of the Blue Book in Special Senses and Language.

Section 2.02 deals with loss of visual acuity.

Section 2.03 deals with shortening the visual field.

Section 2.04 covers the loss of visual ability.

Blue Book lists appear on the Social Security Administration website and provide information on which tests are used to measure visual acuity, visual field, and visual performance.

Application for incapacity benefits to social security

You can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits online on the SSA website or in person at your local Social Security office. When applying in person, make sure you have copies of all medical records relating to your disability with you.

This record should include your diagnosis history, your hospitalization history, your mental and physical exam results, and your doctors’ personal statement about their limitations due to your condition.

You will also need to bring your work history and financial documents.

When you apply online, you may have the option to submit your medical record electronically.

You will receive a decision on your invalidity application within three to six months from the date of submission of the invalidity application. If you are eligible for the benefits, your grant notice will tell you that you have received your first disability pension.

File a disability appeal

If you are denied benefits, you have 60 days to appeal. The first step in the appeal process is to request a review.

If a retrial is granted, a disability hearing is scheduled to determine if you are eligible for a disability pension and should be awarded.

I am looking for help

If you feel that the application or appeal process is too difficult, or if you have been denied benefits, you can always contact your attorney or Social Security disability attorney. These specialists can make sure your application is correct and complete; and if your case is dismissed, they can help you understand why and what you need to do to strengthen your case so that the SSA’s decision is overruled.

Molly Clarke is the author of Social Security Disability Help, a website owned by a for-profit marketing organization that provides access to lawyers and attorneys to website visitors. All About Vision has no financial relationship with this. marketing organization and cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information on its websites.

How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

Aids for the recovery of alcoholics

Vision loss can be a traumatic experience, but scholarships, grants, and awards are made available to people with visual impairments by providing financial assistance. Whether you are visually impaired, completely blind or in need of glasses, help is available. Government agencies and charities provide funds to help you if you are unemployed.

Blurred vision.

Visual impairment covers a wide range of vision problems, from nearsightedness or farsightedness, which can be corrected with glasses, to total blindness caused by glaucoma or cataracts.

State support

State government agencies offer several types of assistance, including the purchase of eyeglasses, eye exams, glaucoma screening, and adaptive home care. Contact a senior agency directly in your state. There is also a tax deduction for blindness, details of which are also available from the state agency for the blind.

International lighthouse

International lighthouse recognizes outstanding students who have overcome their blindness and gives them grants to help fund their college or graduate studies. Applications are submitted through its website and must be submitted on an annual basis. They require a vision condition certificate from your ophthalmologist, documents proving your academic achievement and academic status, and two recommendations from people outside your family. You must also write two essays that summarize your academic achievements, career goals, research interests, and extracurricular activities.

Charitable help

Several organizations help people with visual impairments. These include the San Francisco-based National Eye Care Project, which provides medical and surgical assistance to people over the age of 65 in financial distress. It allows you to contact an ophthalmologist who can treat them for free. The Knights Templar Eye Foundation of Chicago is a charity that researches eye diseases, but also funds surgical treatment and hospital care for people suffering from eye problems or injuries. New Eyes for the Needy is a charity that provides glasses to those who can’t afford to pay for them.

Go back to work

Help is also available for people with visual impairments who wish to return to work. The website for people with disabilities has links to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Inability Insurance (SSDI), which enable people with disabilities to work and continue to receive financial and medical assistance. Tax breaks are also available and more information is available on the website.

  • Full Circle Care: financial assistance for the blind
  • American Council for the Blind: Sources of Financial Aid for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Lynne Milford has been a journalist since 2003. She attended the Scunthorpe Telegraph before working for three years as a health reporter for the Colchester Gazette. She also tried writing a magazine for “Full House”. Milford holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from York University.

What kind of support will I get during my studies?

The support you will receive in college will be different from what you will receive in school. You may no longer see your qualified teacher for the blind and visually impaired and will be taught by a new team of university staff.

  • assistant teacher or worker or sighted guide
  • alternative format materials such as Braille or large print
  • assistive computer technologies such as closed circuit television
  • computer with speech synthesizers and magnification.

Assessment of your needs during your studies

Take part in a tasting

The college environment is probably very different from the school environment you’re used to, so it’s worth checking if you can take a few “trial days” of college to see if you like it and the course is right for you. Your teachers / QTVI may also be able to connect you with someone older than you who has been in college and will be able to tell you about their experiences.

Financial assistance

Colleges are funded to provide rational housing and provide students with disabilities or disabilities the support they need. Find out more about our funding on the university website.

Technological support

  • Reading assistance technology (Word, 459 KB)

Donate now

At the moment, we can only reach one in three people who need our help the most. Make a donation and help us support more blind and visually impaired people.

Posted May 6, 2018 | Last updated on September 24, 2020

How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

Being blind or visually impaired presents many challenges throughout one’s life. There are many great associations and organizations that can help alleviate these challenges. Whether they are fighting for equal opportunities and accessibility, removing barriers, providing resources or educating about prevention and treatment, these associations and organizations are the best at what they do. If you are blind or partially sighted, don’t hesitate to contact them for help. If you know someone who is blind or partially sighted, you can use this list as a resource to answer any questions you may have. Here are eight associations and organizations that help blind or visually impaired people.

Organizations that help blind or visually impaired people

Council of the American Blinds (ACB)

Founded in 1961, the American Council of the Blind is made up of blind and visually impaired people who yearn for equality and independence. There are also many visionary members. As stated on their home page, their mission is “to improve the independence, safety, equal opportunities and quality of life of all blind and visually impaired people”. Click here for more detailed information.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

The American Foundation for the Blind prioritizes: Providing resources for visually impaired people and their families, increasing the availability of technology for the blind or visually impaired, and helping professionals with visual impairments by improving available tools and the quality of information. The AFB, headquartered in New York City, has been around for a long time, having been founded in 1921. It also has offices in Washington DC, West Virginia and Georgia. You can contact them here.

Association of Blind Veterans (BVA)

The Association of Blind Veterans was founded in a military hospital by a group of WWII veterans in 1945. It currently has over 11,000 members. His services are available to any veteran who has lost his sight during or after active duty. Its mission is “to help veterans and their families meet and overcome the challenges of blindness”. Click here to find out more.

Guide dogs for the blind

Founded in 1942, this guide dog school has campuses in California and Oregon. It was founded out of the need for guide dogs to help the wounded returning blind from World War II. Their mission to empower life by “creating unique partnerships between people, dogs and communities”. Click here for contact information.

A foundation against blindness

This non-profit organization funds research on the prevention, treatment and treatment of all degenerative diseases of the retina. These diseases include Usher’s syndrome, Stargardt’s disease, retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and others. Since its founding in 1971, it has raised over $ 500 million. Click here to find out more.

Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB)

This charity offers support and information to nearly two million people with vision loss in the UK. Queen Victoria was the first patron of this 150-year-old organization. More than 3000 volunteers support RNIB’s efforts. The RNIB aims to counteract avoidable vision loss, improve eye health and promote access to care. Click here for more detailed information.

International lighthouse

International lighthouse is a leading worldwide resource in assisting the visually impaired overcome their challenges. Founded in 1905, International lighthouse fights against vision loss by emphasizing empowerment, prevention, and treatment. You can help support them by becoming a volunteer or supporter. Click here to learn more about International lighthouse.

National Blind Federation (NFB)

The National Blind Federation, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is the largest blind-led organization in the United States with approximately 50,000 active members. They participate in the World Blind Union, maintaining a sort of international presence. On their website they have a helpful list of products that make the world more accessible to the blind or visually impaired, including OrCam MyEye. Click here to find out more about this organization.

This is just a small sample of associations and organizations that help blind and partially sighted people. There are many other organizations that help the blind all over the world. If there is an obvious omission in this list, please let us know in the comments section below.

Canadian National Institute of the Blind(CNIB)

The Canadian National Institute of the Blind, also known as the CNIB, was founded in 1918. The organization’s initial objective was to provide people who are blind and visually impaired with clothing, shelter, and education.

Initially, the organization had only twenty-seven employees serving 1,500 blind people, mostly in the Toronto area. Today, over 1,100 professionals and over 10,000 volunteers work with CNIB in every region of Canada.

Services provided by the CNIB include education, travel advice, emotional support, social issues, housing, finance, and more. More information on the CNIB offer and how to contact them is available here.

What kind of support will I get during my studies?

The support you will receive in college will be different from what you will receive in school. You may no longer see your qualified teacher for the blind and visually impaired and will be taught by a new team of university staff.

  • assistant teacher or worker or sighted guide
  • alternative format materials such as Braille or large print
  • assistive computer technologies such as closed circuit television
  • computer with speech synthesizers and magnification.

Assessment of your needs during your studies

Take part in a tasting

The college environment is probably very different from the school environment you’re used to, so it’s worth checking if you can take a few “trial days” of college to see if you like it and the course is right for you. Your teachers / QTVI may also be able to connect you with someone older than you who has been in college and will be able to tell you about their experiences.

Financial assistance

Colleges are funded to provide rational housing and provide students with disabilities or disabilities the support they need. Find out more about our funding on the university website.

Technological support

  • Reading assistance technology (Word, 459 KB)

Donate now

At the moment, we can only reach one in three people who need our help the most. Make a donation and help us support more blind and visually impaired people.

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How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

How to start college if you're blind or visually impaired

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