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Assessing Support Needs of Visually Impaired Students in FE and HE Vicki Jackson Access Centre Manager The Sheffield College.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessing Support Needs of Visually Impaired Students in FE and HE Vicki Jackson Access Centre Manager The Sheffield College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessing Support Needs of Visually Impaired Students in FE and HE Vicki Jackson Access Centre Manager The Sheffield College

2 Context of Assessment within Disability Equality Debate Assessing support needs of individual students will remain vital alongside: the ‘mainstreaming’ of inclusive practice within the teaching and learning agenda across both FE and HE; on-going development of equitable funding methodologies.

3 Principles of Assessment Aim is always to enable students to: access the curriculum whatever their level of study; be in a position where they can take a greater responsibility for their own learning; feel more confident and in control of their learning.

4 Student Background The assessor must understand the implications of a very wide range of factors relating to each student’s: 1.eye condition; 2.previous education and employment experience; 3.course requirements.

5 Eye Condition Vision –acuity; –field of vision; –visual fatigue; –light/dark sensitivity; –colour vision; –control of eye movement; –depth perception; –prognosis; –total blindness – congential or acquired.

6 Eye Condition cont’d. Social Consequences –Problems recognising familiar faces at a distance. –Problems maintaining eye contact. –Eccentric viewing techniques. –Seen or unseen disability.

7 Eye Condition cont’d. Additional Disabilities and Mental Well Being –Dual Sensory Loss. –Multiple Sclerosis. –Charles Bonnet Syndrome. –Low mood or depression. –Dyslexia. –Others.

8 Eye Condition cont’d. Personal attributes. Confidence, self-image, self-esteem. Resilience and motivation. Learning Style: –visual; –auditory; –kinaesthetic.

9 Previous Education and Employment Age at onset of sight loss and rate of progression. Level of academic attainment. Specialist teaching and study skills. Mainstream school/college and peer group. Specialist school/college. Support from family, partner and friends. Previous employment and current status.

10 Course requirements Length of study (and future aspirations). Weekly contact hours. Full-time or part-time. Range of study activities and settings. Methods of course assessment, e.g. multiple choice or open-book exams. Use of online resources, learning environments etc.

11 Impact of visual impairment on study activities Reading. Writing, Note taking and Composition. Typing and Computer Skills. Researching and Analysing. Practical Work. Work Placements. Orientation, Mobility and Travel. Planning and Organisation. Examinations. Communication with Tutors and Peers.

12 Reading Reading speed, Braille and print. Print size (including superscripts) and font type. Use of audio resources. Reading diagrams. Reading handwriting. Tracking skills, line spacing and length. Paper size and finish, i.e., A4/A3; matt or glossy. Contrast between background and text. Fatigue and rest breaks.

13 Writing, Note Taking and Composition Fluency of handwriting, touch typing and Braille skills. Spelling. Note taking in class. Note taking from texts. Skills and strategies for composing essays, reports etc.

14 Typing and Computer Skills General level of computer skills. Touch typing skills, speed and accuracy. Use of shortcut keys. Tracking onscreen pointer/cursor. Microsoft Windows settings. Onscreen magnification and/or screen reader software.

15 Researching and Analysing Confidence in research skills, appropriate for course. Accessibility of texts at different study venues Accessibility of online resources.

16 Practical Work Specific tasks. Group work. Presentations. Access to venues.

17 Work Placements Disclosure to placement provider. Access to computer networks. Access to handwritten records.

18 Orientation, Mobility and Travel Orientation and mobility skills and experience: –Long cane, guide cane, symbol cane, or guide dog user. Consideration of mobility needs both inside and outside buildings on campus and within student accommodation.

19 Exams Type of exams and time constraints. Format of papers. Volume of reading and writing required. Fatigue and rest breaks. Writing answers: –Handwriting; –Typing; –Braille; –Scribe.

20 Communication with Tutors and Peers Potential for isolation. Confidence in social situations. Group work. Contribution in tutorials and seminars. Support from friends and family.

21 Recommendations Equipment. Personal Support. Orientation, Mobility and Transport. DSA Travel and General Allowances.

22 Equipment needs may include: ‘Computer’: laptop; desktop; tablet PC; AlphaSmart Neo, Braille Notetaking Device. Soft Braille Display. Additional Large Monitor. Printer, Braille Embosser, Scanner. Digital Recorder. CCTV: handheld, desktop, integrated with PC Ergonomic: laptop stand; BookChair, writing slope.

23 Software Windows Accessibility features versus magnification/speech output software. MS Office and/or course software. Software to facilitate access to DAISY formats. Typing tutor software.

24 Personal Support Specialist tutor for VI students. Transcription of learning materials. Note taker. Library assistance. Reader. Personal assistant, e.g. scanning books. Orientation and Mobility specialist.

25 DSA - Transport Allowance towards costs of taxi travel in circumstances where independent travel is not possible or very stressful. DSA – General Allowance Access to the internet is usually vital and may be funded via DSA. Photocopying, printer consumables etc.

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