As the long days of summer pass by, there are three words that strike fear, or at least some apprehension, in the hearts of students of all ages: “back to school.” New classes, new instructors, class projects, oral presentations, tests, meeting new people, and even the possibility of changing schools or moving away to college bring about uncertainty, new challenges, and situations never before encountered. This is especially true if you are a student with vision loss.
In the July issue, the AccessWorld team has geared its work toward providing valuable information and resources for students, parents, teachers, and professionals in the field to help make educational pursuits a less stressful and more enjoyable experience for those who are blind or visually impaired.
There are two points I want to make clear to all who read the articles in this issue:
- You as a student need to take personal responsibility for your education. Ultimately, you are responsible for advocating for yourself. It is your responsibility to prepare in advance, speak to instructors, and tell those you’ll be working with exactly what types of accommodations will best meet your needs. It is your education, and it will greatly impact every aspect of the rest of your life, so you need to act responsibly and be proactive in your approach to pursuing your education.
- Good planning prevents poor performance. It is never too early to begin planning for the next school term, whether it is elementary school or graduate school. Acquiring and learning to use the assistive technology that best suits your situation, registering as early as possible for classes, obtaining reading lists for classes, and searching out alternative formats should be done as soon as possible. Waiting until the last minute is certain to be a recipe for disaster.
Pursuing a quality education can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Pursuing that education as a person with vision loss can be even more challenging. That is why having and maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to educational success.
The AccessWorld team is very excited to bring you this information, and the team and I sincerely hope you or a student you know will find it useful. I encourage you to read every article as the ideas and resources discussed in this “back to school” issue will certainly help to improve, enrich, and broaden your educational experience. A full spectrum of topics, ranging from knowing your legal rights to obtaining funding to purchase assistive technology, is covered. Please use these articles and resources to your best advantage. We on the AccessWorld team welcome your comments and questions, and we wish you luck and good planning as you head back to school!
Remember, this is the first issue in our new monthly publication schedule. Please look for us again in August!