[Athen] A student who is blind has been accepted! Advice?

Leyna Bencomo lbencomo at uccs.edu
Mon Dec 18 08:02:29 PST 2017


My answer to this one is "it depends." We have one blind student this semester and she takes up varying amounts of time depending on which classes she is taking. Sometimes there are dozens of tactile renditions, others we needed a 3D printer, some semesters it's just a matter of converting textbooks. It also depends on how savvy your instructors are in producing accessible material. Fifteen hours sounds minimal to me but if others can jump in and help during the busy times, it might work. It also depends on how much of an expert you hire and how easily you can outsource if necessary. Is your institution a member of Access Text Network and do you use Learning Ally and Bookshare regularly? There is so much to consider.

I look at the syllabus at the beginning of the course and ask the student to come in and we look at the handouts on the LMS ahead of time. If she can't get to some of them, we start working with the Prof to give us their copies so we can convert them. They don't usually take long if they are just text...but that is not always the case. If the instructor is making continual mistakes in creating handouts, quizzes and homework, I try to bring them in for some training on how to make accessible material. This takes a little finesse and you have to expect them to resist but if you are gentle, they can be coaxed into becoming UDL champions. :) Good luck!

Leyna Bencomo
Assistive Technology Specialist
Office of Information Technology
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, EPC 215
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
(719) 255-4202 / lbencomo at uccs.edu<mailto:lbencomo at uccs.edu>
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From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Adam Kosakowski
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2017 8:27 AM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] A student who is blind has been accepted! Advice?

Hello wise list-ers!

A student who is blind has been accepted to my school and is very interested in coming, this is great news! However, my institution is not used to working with students who are blind. Also, his attendance will require some additional staffing as we'll likely need another staff member for at least 15 hours a week who will primarily help format documents like class notes and exams so he and his refreshable braille display can best access them. He is also asking for assistance as needed with formatting research papers that require footnotes and such. Luckily, he is not interested in being a STEM major so there won't be too many STEM books he will need, but the amount of formatting he'll require help with will be substantial, I am sure, especially since professors here are not used to making accessible documents.

I have a few questions, especially to any assistive technology or alternative media specialists:
How much time do you spend formatting educational materials per class per week for one student who is blind? Is my 15 hours/week estimate safe or not enough?
How much time in advance did you request class notes from professors? What about textbooks?
Did you have to write a proposal to require additional staffing to meet a similar need? How did it go?


Adam Kosakowski
Director of Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
Clark University
Preferred pronouns: he/him/his
Phone: 508-798-4368
Fax: 508-421-3700
SAS is in room 430 of the Goddard Library
To make an appointment, please call the office or stop by!
Student Accessibility Services website<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww2.clarku.edu%2Foffices%2Faac%2Fada%2Findex.cfm&data=02%7C01%7Clbencomo%40uccs.edu%7C7686143c90c84b38bd3a08d5462c7818%7C529343fae8c8419fab2ea70c10038810%7C0%7C0%7C636492079167650618&sdata=lNSYq3RtXFCrB%2BKPl%2FUmoNwX6uiE9OweA2CvDRruFdc%3D&reserved=0>
Diversability<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww2.clarku.edu%2Foffices%2Faac%2Fada%2Fdiversability.cfm&data=02%7C01%7Clbencomo%40uccs.edu%7C7686143c90c84b38bd3a08d5462c7818%7C529343fae8c8419fab2ea70c10038810%7C0%7C0%7C636492079167650618&sdata=M%2FrB3SJduV9hi5h7u6e0BXr%2FeORdVwfgBoQZbUEU1ZM%3D&reserved=0> meets every Wednesday at 4 p.m. in room 402 of Goddard Library, come by!

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