Students who are blind or have a vision impairment may require adjustments to ensure their success at University. These may include having written material translated to accessible formats such as braille, large print or electronic text, or changes to exam arrangements.
As each student will have different needs, it is important to negotiate the particular adjustments on an individual basis. The following is a guide of what you may need to do to ensure your needs will be met:
- Discuss your needs with the Disability Liaison Officer and your lecturers
Think about the adjustments that you have had in other educational environments. Discuss these with the Disability Liaison Officer to check the relevancy and availability at University. There may also be services at the University that you have not used in other environments.
- Find out what reading material will be required in all your courses
Contact the School or lecturers to obtain reading lists (including text books, readers, and study guides). If you need your readings converted to an accessible format the earlier this process can be started the better. Staff converting your reading material require 2-3 weeks notice to ensure you receive it on time, longer at the beginning of each semester.
- Organise for the reading material to be converted to your required accessible format
The Disability Liaison Officer will refer you to the Adaptive Technology Centre where the Manager will discuss your specific needs and make the appropriate arrangements.
- Find out what assessment criteria you will be expected to complete
Ensure that you will be able to complete all assessment criteria. You may require some adjustments to be made to ensure you can undertake some aspects of your work. It is better to be as prepared as possible so that you can incorporate the arrangement of adjustments into your planning.
You may need to have adjustments for your class and formal exams. Ensure you follow the appropriate procedures for Accessible Exam Arrangements.
- Assignments and other assessment requirements
You may need extra time to complete assignments and other forms of assessment because it may take you longer to research and read all the required print material. Where you think that this may need to occur on a regular basis, discuss this with your lecturer and with the Disability Liaison Officer. The Disability Liaison Officer may write a 'Letter of Support' for your lecturers outlining your particular requirements including the need for extra time for assignment submission.
Adjustments for students with Vision Impairments may include:
- Reading material converted to Accessible Formats including:
- Large Print
- Electronic Format
- Picture Braille
- Use of specific adaptive technology such as:
- Screen reading software
- Screen enlargement software
- Scanning/Reading software (such as Kurzweil 3000)
- Closed circuit TVs
- Readers and/or Scribes for exams
- Extra time for exams and assignments
- Transport across campus
- Seating near the front of the classroom or lecture theatre
- Large print, or electronic copies of overheads used in lectures
- Organising for the lecturer to verbalise what is written on the board or overheads (where possible)
- People who are blind may use a guide dog, cane or an assistant. It is unlawful to refuse guide dogs access to buildings and classrooms.
- Appropriate lighting in lecture theatres and classrooms