Barriers to Successful Transition for Students with Blindness and Visual Impairment (Session 9B)
Main Topic: Transition, Inclusive Postsecondary Education, and Self Determination
Session Type: Skill Share
For the past 5 years, Perkins School for the Blind has explored barriers to college readiness and graduation for students with blindness and visual impairments. Through exploration of the data derived from student profiles from a 9 month, residential gap year program, which ran two cohorts, 2018-19, and 2019-20, collaboration with local colleges, and qualitative research with a range of stakeholders involved with K-12 education, we will explore what we have learned about the deep drivers of these barriers. The roots begin early in a student’s educational journey. The technology revolution of the past 20 years, while offering extraordinary opportunities for access, has not yet been integrated into our students’ K-12 education systematically. These, and other factors, lead to invisible, but debilitating barriers to college and career readiness. Understanding these roots can inform your processes, practice, and knowledge of resources. The discussion from this session will support the development of a “Promising Practices Guide for Disability Services Offices”, due out in the Spring 2022, a project of College Success@Perkins, a college readiness initiative.
- At the end of this session, participants will be better prepared to respond when they encounter students with vision impairment and blindness.
- At the end of this session, participants will be able to consider more informed on-boarding questions with deeper understanding of the K-12 experience of BVI students as well as the broad range of vision impairments, and impacts on accessing higher education.
- At the end of this session, participants will develop a better understanding of how blindness and low vision affects student experiences in and out of the classroom in higher education.
- At the end of this session, participants will have a list of resources to refer to when encountering students with blindness and visual impairments.
Keywords: Blindness, Low Vision, Transition, Self Determination
Ms. Leslie Thatcher College Success@Perkins Perkins School for the Blind - Director, College SuccessMs. Leslie ThatcherCollege Success@Perkins Perkins School for the Blind - Director, College Success
College Success@Perkins Perkins School for the Blind
Leslie has taught for 20 years, after 7 years in college admissions and student life, leveraging her background in student development to create innovative programs in mainstream and blindness education to move diverse students forward in their chosen environment. Leslie has presented at several regional and national conferences, including multi-hour presentations to practitioners. Currently, as Director of College Success@Perkins, a national college readiness initiative designed to address the staggering statistic that over 60% of our students with vision impairments do not complete their college program, Leslie is leading a multi year project to create a national conversation about the college readiness crisis for students with visual impairments.
Ms. Linda Sullivan Harvard University Office of Continuing Education - Executive Director, Disability ServicesMs. Linda SullivanHarvard University Office of Continuing Education - Executive Director, Disability Services
Harvard University Office of Continuing Education
As the Executive Director of the Accessibility Services Office at Harvard University’s Division of Continuing Education, Linda works with dozens of students with visual impairments each year. As a partner to the College Success Program with Perkins School for the Blind, Linda has worked with students and administration to develop practices that support students with blindness, or visual impairments in their pursuit of a college degree.