Not all vision impairments are the same, and they range from low vision to total blindness. Some individuals with vision impairments prefer to read material in Braille, and some prefer to access material in large print or auditorily. All students with disabilities must be given "substantially equivalent ease of access" to course material as any other student. Since course material could take months to convert to an accessible format, it is crucial you give ADS advance notice of all material being used. Each student's needs are unique, and ADS aims to give faculty members as much notice as possible if we anticipate that a student with a visual impairment will be enrolling in your class. We will facilitate a meeting between you and the student so that you can identify accommodations that will be most helpful without altering fundamental course requirements.
Examples of ways impairment may affect a student's ability to participate include:
- Standard written materials may be too small to read and diagrams or other visuals may be difficult to see
- Some students may see only those objects within a particular field of vision, or see an image with sections missing
- Text or objects may appear blurry
- Visual media may be more fatiguing
- Some students may be able to read enlarged print for a long period of time, while others may only be able to tolerate reading enlarged print for a short period and require readers or audiotaped materials
- Locating electronic, large-print, Braille or audio-recorded materials can be challenging and take a great deal of time
Potential Accommodations / Teaching Strategies:
- Course materials (lecture notes, handouts, and course texts) in alternate formats (electronic texts, audio-recordings, Braille, or tactile diagrams)
- Before posting documents on Moodle (especially PDFs) or giving them to students in an electronic format, be sure they have been converted through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) so it can read by a screen reader. Please see the links below for guidance.
- Try to avoid giving last minute readings and assignments. Students may need advance notice to arrange for material to be converted to alternate formats.
- Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
- Access to class notes in the form of a professor’s lecture notes or a peer’s class notes
- Approved audio-recording of classes
- Verbal descriptions of visual information
- Seating near the front of the class
- Homework and test scribes
- Extended time on tests
- Computer and course software accessible via screen reading software, or if necessary through the use of a human reader
- Magnification device or software
- Braille lab signs and equipment labels, and auditory lab warning signals
- Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers, calculators, light probes, etc)
- For courses that include field trips or internships, ADS can help identify and coordinate accommodations
- Please consult with the student in advance to arrange a plan for how a student will gain assistance in the event of a fire drill or event that requires the fast evacuation of a class or a lab.
Student Disability Services, Swarthmore College
Access Services, Bryn Mawr College
DO-IT, University of Washington