Supporting Parents and Carers of children with a Visual Impairment
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Transitioning to University

September is often the month of transitions: transitioning to a new school or college, transitioning to university or starting a new job. Whatever it may be, change can be scary, but it can also be positive. In this blog post, Brigitta discusses her thoughts and feelings about change, and she also shares some top tips for blind or visually impaired students starting university. So if you’re a fresher, then you may find this post helpful!

 

Change can cause mixed feelings. Some people will be excited about change, some people will be nervous about change. But whatever your feelings about it, change can be a positive thing.

In the past change was scary to me. When I started secondary school I was terrified, the same with college, university and even starting a new job. On top of these changes I had the added challenge of making these changes with my visual impairment. However, every time I made these changes I eventually settled down and my surroundings began to become more familiar.

My biggest challenge so far has been university. I study Anthropology at Oxford Brookes. I chose this university for the course and because the support network here is very good for disabled students. As a VI student, finding a university with good disability support was important. I needed to make sure the university would support me and provide me with what I needed. Researching your university and getting in touch with their support team is something I would really recommend doing. Then you can discuss with them what you will need and how they can aid you.

If you’re moving into halls or shared residency when you start university, I think being open and honest with your new flatmates is always a good thing and even breaks down a couple of awkward barriers. From telling your new flatmates about your visual impairment you can ask them for help, such as reading a label or using the cooker. Don’t be afraid to be open about your condition. This is true in lectures and seminars too.

My biggest and scariest challenge for me was finding my way around university and finding my lecture rooms. I spoke to my disability adviser and they helped immensely. I had someone show me around the main campus and where some of my lectures could be. Then they set up for someone to meet me at my halls and walk me to my lecture room for the first few weeks. If you’re worried about finding your lectures, I would highly recommend you to ask the disability support at your university to set up a guide for you in the first few weeks.

Student tip: buy a pizza wheel. Best thing I took with me.

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