Preparing blind students for college

August 17, 2010 2:38:06 PM PDT
Starting college is stressful enough for any student.

But for students with special needs, it is even more difficult.

A local program is helping to make sure blind students get ready for school with everything they need to succeed.

For any college-bound student, preparation is important, and technology is the key to preparation, for the visually impaired.

Proficiency in using devices like the talking keyboard is just part of the college prep training at the Jewish Guild for the Blind.

"Students that go through our pre-college program usually are very successful in college and they have a very low dropout rate," said Myra Schiff.

From digital tape recorders for college lectures, to Braille note takers, to software that enlarges the letters on a computer for those who have 'some' sight, the students are able to qualify for help from the state in securing what they need.

Although technology plays a major role in preparing these students for college, they are also taught, in this program, that doing college work will present a major challenge.

"It takes more time, it takes more planning, more organization; and that is true when you are a person who is blind," said Audrey Shading.

Aretha Crosson lost her sight recently, due to diabetes, and wants to go back to school to change careers. "It's going to be a new challenge, it's going to be a little more challenging than before, when I went to school, because I had sight, obviously, but I look forward to it."