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The VI (Visually Impaired) Student College Survival Guide. Joe Strechay Email: Scott Truax Email: What is the ultimate goal of a student going off to college?. To succeed, but what does that mean?. Attendance (O & M) Readings Testing Note Taking

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the vi visually impaired student college survival guide

The VI (Visually Impaired) Student College Survival Guide

Joe Strechay


Scott Truax


Attendance (O & M)



Note Taking


Time Management

Volunteer Experience

Social Skills

Self Advocacy

Accessing Technology


Independent Living Skills

Employment Skills

What areas must any college student succeed in?

the importance
The Importance
  • These areas are even more important to students with visual impairments. Students with visual impairments will have to be taught how to perform these tasks in an efficient and effective manner.
attendance o m
Attendance (O & M)
  • Learning the Campus
    • Students will need to arrive on campus early to familiarize themselves with the campus and routes.
    • Enlisting the help of an orientation and mobility instructor would be beneficial.
    • Learning base routes and expanding out hitting areas of importance first.
    • Learning the landmarks, cues and clues.
attendance o m1
Attendance (O & M)
  • Learn the buildings and numbering systems.
  • Learn the classroom set up and rehearse routes all the way through.
  • Leave for classes with plenty of time to spare.
  • Plan schedule according to buildings and times.
attendance o m2
Attendance (O & M)
  • May be necessary to ask for other student’s assistance to get to classes. Be polite and make sure they are in the class as well. Don’t ware out your welcome! (Until route is learned)
  • Be practical and realistic.
  • Reading method must be fast and efficient!
  • Must know how to get access to reading materials and be able to adapt or accommodate for themselves if need be.
  • Must take the initiative to find out books prior and plan ahead.
  • Books can be downloaded online.
  • Students must keep a dialogue with professors to find out about up coming readings if added.
  • Students must know how to access readings in multiple mediums.
  • Students must learn to prioritize and use good Time Management Skills!
  • National Library Service
  • LearningAlly (formerly RFB&D)
  • iBooks
  • Student Textbook eRent Project (STEP)
  • NFB Newsline
  • Other websites for audible books
  • Stay on top of the technology available! Read AFB’s AccessWorld for free online.
time management
Time Management
  • Make a schedule and live by it! A planner is a good idea.
  • Put all readings, assignments and exams into the planner.
  • Assign times to study.
  • Allow time to sleep and eat, staying healthy is important.
  • Get assignments done early.
volunteer experience
Volunteer Experience
  • Volunteer with charities or philanthropies.
  • Volunteer to get employment experience and “your foot in the door.”
  • Prove your value in these situations!
  • Being a well rounded individual.
  • Contact the Student Disability Center on the campus to find out their procedures.
  • Student should know what accommodations they need.
  • Let professors know what accommodations are needed right away.
testing accommodations to be considered
Testing Accommodations to be considered
  • Time
  • Size of Print
  • Having a reader
  • Electronic format such as on a computer
  • Lighting
  • Filling out the answer key (Scantron can be difficult)
  • Use of a CCTV or magnifier
  • Utensil or computer
note taking
Note Taking
  • Speed, accuracy and efficiency.
  • Must be able to take some sort of notes.
  • Recording the class is great, but doubles the amount of time spent on the notes. They will have to be transcribed later.
  • Method has to suit the student!
  • Introduce the student to multiple methods.
  • The student must have a primary method before college.
  • Some classes may require a different method of studying.
  • Some students do not study well in groups.
  • Schedule reader if needed.
social skills
Social Skills
  • Basic manners
  • Age appropriate
  • Conversation skills
  • Posture and attention
  • Addressing different audiences
  • Dress and appearance
  • Peers will be honest, practice!!! Enlist help if needed.
  • Phone conversation skills
self advocacy
Self Advocacy!
  • Students must be able to express themselves and what they want in an appropriate manner.
  • Students must know how to advocate for themselves and this needs to be practiced in all facets of life.
  • Students must know when it is appropriate, it many not always be.
  • Disclosure statement
accessing technology
Accessing Technology
  • Students must be able to use computers, use the internet efficiently, access online blackboard sites, access e-journals and extranets.
  • Screen readers or magnifiers, note takers or recorders, and the latest technology.
  • It is up to us as teachers to make sure they have the technology and skills to make it!
accessing technology1
Accessing Technology
  • Smart Phones = iPhone or Android phones
  • Why the iPhone
  • Apps
  • Keyboard
  • Accessing social media
  • AccessWorld –
  • Research the college or university to see what services they offer.
  • Contact the Disability Center on campus.
  • Visit the school.
  • Contact a student with a visual impairment at the school.
  • Contact local organizations.
  • Look into housing that allows easy access to the school.
  • Look at transportation in the area and the cost.
  • Get to campus early and get to know it, weeks or months early!
  • Keep track of the contact information of all the resources and people you meet for future reference.
  • Create a rapport with contacts.
  • Make sure these people remember you, make an effort.
readers and note takers
Readers and Note Takers
  • Practice and role play hiring readers and note takers.
  • Make lists of questions.
  • Have them read or look at their notes.
  • Create a flyer with first name, phone number and the service you are looking for.
readers and note takers1
Readers and Note Takers
  • Have many readers, try to get some non-students. Churches, super markets and libraries are great places to put a flyer.
  • This is a job, you can fire them if they don’t meet your needs!
employment experience
Employment Experience
  • First job is not a career.
  • Create a Portfolio.
  • Know your materials.
  • Interviewing skills
  • Letters of Reference
  • Be confident and dress to impress.
  • Practice, practice and more practice…
employment experience1
Employment Experience
  • Start Internships early and keep them coming.
  • Contact people in fields of interest.
  • Contact persons with VI in related field.
  • Career Connect is a great resource!
  • Career Centers are great places and are under utilized.
  • This information was compiled by Joseph Strechay and Tiffany Barbieri during the summers of 2004 - 2006 at Florida State University while helping to run a college transition program. These are areas that we felt these students were lacking in when arriving.
are our students prepared
Are our students prepared?
  • Are they prepared to succeed in the modern college or university or have we neglected needs that will cause them to fail!
  • Let’s prepare them to succeed! We all care a lot about these students and want the best for them!!!
special thanks to
Special Thanks to:
  • Tiffany Barbieri
  • Florida Division of Blind Services
  • Florida State University
  • Dr. Bruce Menchetti
  • Wendy Olsen
  • Wayne Jennings
  • Lynda Jones
  • Catherine O’Farrell
  • Dr. Karen Wolffe
  • Dr. Silvia M. Correa-Torres
  • Dr. Sandra Lewis