Case Study - English and Visual Difficulties
Source: http://skillcms.ds2620.dedicated.turbodns.co.uk/page.aspx?p=251&c=149 (information accessed and extracted September 2008)
My name is Anela, I am 26 years old and I was born with glaucoma and lost all my sight by the time I was 19. Whilst studying at college I realised that I wanted to study English as I hope to embark on a career in journalism. I also knew that I wanted to stay at home with my family so I applied locally to the University of the West of England (UWE) and received an unconditional offer.
I arranged a meeting with the disability co-ordinator at UWE before sending in my UCAS form and was pleased with the response I got during this meeting. Some of the services that were outlined at this point included library services (extended book loans, specialist equipment such as an embosser and scanner), extra time in examinations, and the facility for examination papers to be adapted to suit my needs.
I applied to my local education authority for my Disabled Student Allowances (DSA) which were released to me before the academic year due to special circumstances. A technical assessment was arranged to identify my needs and a report was drawn up. The equipment that I was assessed as needing included a laptop and screen reading speech software (Jaws), an embosser, a scanner, a cassette player, Dictaphone and a printer. All of the equipment was in my possession by around mid-August and technicians from the relevant organisations were sent out to give me training.
Unfortunately, there were still day-to-day issues that I had to deal with which could not be avoided such the layout of the cramped canteen, which could be difficult to get around especially when the chairs were moved from their original places. I also needed to be much more forward thinking than the other students and order/read books well in advance, but most of my friends said this encouraged them to work at a better pace too.
Overall, my degree experience was better than I expected thanks to the willingness and determination of all the staff involved with me. Without their co-operation I am sure things would have been a lot more complicated, but the struggles were worth the time and effort.