Visual Limitation or Blindness
Disability description and career possibilities:
This student has Retinitis Pigmentosa, and has greatly reduced visual acuity. She cannot see well enough unassisted to see the blackboard, take legible notes, or take tests in the traditional manner. She does not drive. However, she is quite independent, and takes care of most all of her own daily activities, including shopping and personal finances, and she uses the Internet routinely for email and information gathering. Many persons with low vision routinely attain college degrees and work as dieticians, dancers, lawyers, psychotherapists, etc.
Basic access needs for classrooms and labs:
This student can use a handheld magnifier for a limited amount of time in class for referring to texts or handouts. In some environments, such as science labs, she may need assistance, provided by the Learning Assistance Program, in locating materials and accomplishing some procedures where normal visual acuity is required. Instructors should verbalize what is being written on the board, and make a concerted effort to make sure alternative means are available for material presented in class, such as Power Point presentations or videos. The District’s Alternative Media Specialist, ext. 3788, is available to provide resources to the instructor for these issues. See item number 5 for Distance Education considerations.
It is likely that the student’s visual limitations will make it necessary to use adaptive equipment for note taking. Since she can see enlarged text, the student could use a laptop computer equipped with magnification software for this purpose. If this is not possible, a tape recorder could be used, or another student might be willing to share notes. Using a device to magnify the notes, they would then be usable by the student.
It is likely that the student’s problems with writing will make it necessary for her to take tests outside the classroom, using technology and with additional time allowed. We call this Testing Accommodations. When such accommodations are appropriate, the student will be given a form to present to the instructor. This gives the instructor control over how the test will be delivered to our office, and other details such as whether notes, calculators, etc. can be used by the student. Please see the Technology section below for the types of resources available, making the student more independent in taking tests of all types.
The Learning Assistance Program’s Computer Lab has resources that can assist this student. A closed circuit TV (CCTV) is available to magnify the text of books or other printed materials. The text can also be scanned and presented on a computer screen, using magnification software to enlarge it and screen reading software to read it. This same technology makes Distance Education courses a viable option for the student. For braille readers the lab is equipped with Braille software and a Braille printer.