Visual Impairment

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Guide for Visually Impaired College Students

All About Vision

Starting college can be an intimidating experience for any prospective student. Picking classes, navigating the campus and gathering all the course materials can feel like a lot to juggle. Students with visual impairments have even more to consider to prepare them for that first day of class.

With the help of this guide, blind or visually impaired students can feel confident setting out on their academic journey.

Supporting the Achievement of Learners with Vision Impairment in Higher Education

This guide has been produced to aid Higher Education (HE) professionals understand how they can best work with students who have vision impairment, to facilitate a positive and inclusive experience.

This resource has been produced by the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR), University of Birmingham with support from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the Thomas Pocklington Trust and the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP).

The content (including illustrative case studies) has been informed by the research evidence based on the experiences of students with vision impairment in 25 different HE UK institutions.

Mobile Assistive Technologies for People with Low Vision and Blindness

While smartphones and tablets are helpful in everyday life, those with low vision and blindness may find it difficult or even impossible to use them. Fortunately, smartphone manufacturers and software developers are aware of the problem and work to implement many accessibility features on mobile devices so people with low vision can use them.

Free JAWS tutorials for Microsoft Office

Freedom Scientific have recently moved these tutorials so that they are free for students to access [Accessed 11 October 2019]

Academic Referencing for blind or visually-impaired students, using NVDA or JAWS

Developed by Ros Walker in June 2018

Academic Referencing for blind or visually-impaired students, using NVDA or JAWS


For drawing a Venn diagram or flow chart, a VI student might use an APH Draftsman or an EASY sketchpad (less expensive than a Draftsman), along with a stylus, compass, stencils, etc.

For creating a graph on a coordinate plane, a student could use an APH Graphic Aid for Mathematics (rubber graph board) with push pins, rubber bands, etc.; raised line graph paper with Wikki Stix, high dots, etc.; Talking Graphing Calculator from Desmos (ask to play with their accessible one with audio and braille), Audio Graphing Calculator from ViewPlus; Orion TI-84+ Talking Graphing Calculator from APH.

Accessible graphing calculators:

One limited/free the other for purchase. [Accessed 11 October 2019] [Accessed 11 October 2019]