10 Tips for College Students with Visual Impairments
It’s that time of the year again when the summer break has come to a close and its time to start the fall semester. Starting a new semester can always feel like a hard time and a new start because of trying to recover from the summer festivities.
Here are my ten (10) tips to help your college success:
- Schedule a meeting with your accommodation counselor and work on your accommodation letter. This is a vital part of your college success as a student with a disability. Your accommodation counselor becomes your advocate alongside you and your family. The accommodation letter allows your teachers and the university to provide accommodations based on your needs. Examples of accommodations are 14 point font size for paper copies and PowerPoint presentations being provided in digital format. The accommodation letter will need to be revised every semester to reflect your current courses.
- Know the accessibility tools and devices you will need. In a standard college or university, the library will have accessibility tools that can be used to assist with reading documentation for assignments and computers that are built in with specific accessibility tools Ike JAWS or ZoomText. Also, the agency that you are receiving services from will provide you with the accessibility tools.
- Configure your accessibility settings on your laptop, tablet and phone and software or hardware. For students who are visually impaired or blind, configuring the accessibility settings on our everyday devices is needed in order to move seamlessly through class. The better prepared you are to use the applications need to complete work, the more efficient you will be.
- Organize your study space. Having an organized study space will help when it come times to plan out your week, complete assignments and know where to find things. Another great addition to this is purchasing a Dymo Label machine to create labels with large text to find items.
- Ask for help. Never shy away from asking another classmates, teacher or your counselor for help. Your goal is to be successful! If your needs aren’t being met, speak up. No one else will know when you need help.
- Own your DISABILITY. This is probably by far the best tip on my list. By owning your disability, you are able to guide your experience on campus, classroom settings, and internships in a way that will work for you. Challenges will arise, but you are prepared for what is to come.
- Join organizations/ clubs that you find interesting. Organizations/ Clubs are a great way to meet new people and make new friends. By joining an organization, you will be provided a number of opportunities.
- Plan Ahead. This is vital. Being a student with a visual impairment, sometimes you will need that extra help because sometimes you will not be able to be accommodated in a classroom based on the setup. Understand your assignments and break it down into smaller projects that are feasible for you to be met.
- Understand your learning pattern. How you learn is how you learn. Some college courses are fast-paced and knowing how you learn with assist in you being the most effective you in your classes.
- Have fun, ask questions and enjoy being an innovative and collaborative college student. Always make sure that you are enjoying your college experience. There will be times that you will be tested and ant to give up. But remember this is the next chapter in your phase of adulthood.
If you have any additional tips, share them in the comments below.