Catch up on our latest Parent Support Group panel session on supporting your visually impaired child’s move to Higher Education.

The accompanying text resource is available to view, copy, download, or print here.

As parent carers we are often nervous about the thought of our VI young person taking the next big step to university. In a special Parent Support Group Panel Event, Megan Adams, Student Mentor Project Officer at LOOK, talked through the timeline of applying to university and how to prepare you and your child for this transition. This session is specifically relevant to parents of blind and partially sighted 16 to18 year olds who are thinking about going to university soon. It’s not too early, or late to start planning! 

Meet the panel

Megan Adams is LOOK’s Student Mentor Project Officer who works on our new University Mentor Project. We recently trained and paired our first cohort of University Mentors with younger VI peers who are in Year 13 or in their first year of university. Megan has prepared a VI Roadmap to Uni which is available here.

Emily Lamb is a LOOK Mentor who is Transitions Officer at Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) was on the panel explaining how TPT can help your child with the university application process.

LOOK Mentee Sarah is vision impaired with additional disabilities who shared about applying for university and being an HE student has been like for her.

Mentee Orla, who has just made the positive transition to university, and her mum, Anthea, who shared their experiences and answer questions about what has made the transition work so well. Orla and her mum, Anthea, then answered questions about their experiences.

LOOK supports visually impaired young people to thrive. We recently launched we university-specific mentoring as part of our flagship Mentor Project. Recent VI graduates are paired with VI young people in Year 13 or their first year of uni for structured and safe mentoring. LOOK Mentors share their lived experience and life hacks with their mentees.

Focus on Orla, LOOK mentee and first year student at the University of York, and her mum, Anthea

Orla: I went to school in Manchester, and did my A-Levels at RNC Hereford. I am interested in science, and enjoy sports and reading. I am have just started at the University of York, studying Natural Sciences specialising in Mathematical Bioscience. It is an integrated Masters with the option of either a year abroad or year in industry. 

Anthea: [Starting university] has been a hugely positive experience for Orla! Students have included her, as an example some on her course came to the cafe after her, introduced themselves and invited her to join them. Lecturers have had pre-meetings to ensure everything is prepared to help her access the material. Societies have included Orla and she has got involved with several clubs who have been very supportive.The uni ran a pre-start course, providing Orla with an opportunity to meet other students starting, she has two friends from this. She participated fully in fresher events she was interested in. She has done well avoiding migraines, and managing fatigue.

Orla was at RNC for two years, transition is on the timetable, this includes helping students to prepare for uni. Anthea’s role has been to support Orla, although she was very independent through this, doing the research, completing the forms for UCAS, DSA, university accommodation, on her own. 

Feedback on the Transition to HE Parent Support Group session:  

“Thank you both so, so much  – it was fascinating to hear all about your experiences :).”

“Thank you both so much for sharing your experiences. It is so helpful to hear.”

“Thank you Sarah and Orla, so helpful to hear your experiences and hopefully my Ellen will watch the recording.”

“Thank you all so much for a fantastically useful and informative event! very best wishes Susie – MertonVision.”

“That was brilliant- thank you.”

“Thank you, so useful 🙂.”

“Absolutely brilliant- just what we needed and the recording will be really useful.”