A Conversation With Emily… Helping Us Help You

Tips from a Tunxis Community College Student who is Blind

“I will do the work and I am not afraid of challenges.  I have learned when certain things are in place, I succeed.“ – Emily

Presented by Disability Services for Students, Faculty and Staff


Emily, a Tunxis student majoring in Human Services, enjoys performing in a church choir and accessing videos on YouTube.  She is also a student who is blind.

Emily met with Learning Disabilities Specialist Cathy Ann Felice to share her 9 Surviving College Tips.

“I hope my message helps others to understand and feel comfortable talking with people who happen to have a disability.  I successfully completed four semesters at Tunxis because I will do the work and I am not afraid of challenges.  I have learned when certain things are in place, I succeed.” – Emily

Getting Started

Emily, what do you do to prepare for each semester?

Tip 1 Once registered for classes, one of the first things I do is contact disability services to request textbooks in digital format.  Reading involves listening to a CD or converting print to Braille format.  This takes time so I start as soon as possible and it depends on the textbook information being available.

When do you contact faculty?

Tip 2 I e-mail my professors and introduce myself right away.  It is helpful when a copy of the course outline and syllabus are sent to me as Word attachments.  This information is read by the screen reader on my laptop.

What else goes into preparing for each semester?

Tip 3 I contact Disability Services

in the Academic Support Center for room numbers and come to the campus a few weeks before classes start to practice finding the rooms.


How do you take notes, Emily?

Tip 4 I use my own laptop in class to take notes.

What else helps you when you are in class?

I have a few things to mention here:

Tip 5 It is helpful when faculty use e-mail.  I send my essays directly to the instructor and then if the paper is emailed back to me with comments/suggestions, I have feedback like other students.  I make the corrections immediately.

Tip 6 I recognize people by their voices.  Please say a student’s name when calling on someone.  And if writing on a board, please read aloud so I may take notes.

Tip 7 Also, when handing me a paper, it is important to tell me what it is.  I need to know since it may need to be scanned in the Academic Support Center and e-mailed to me.

Tip 8 If an information video is shown in class, I can hear and take notes.  However, if it is visual with charts or pictures not explained, I will need to meet with someone in the Academic Support Center to describe what is shown.

How do you complete tests, Emily?

Tip 9 I need at least four days notice to schedule to test in the Academic Support Center.  I use a reader and have a scribe if the test is multiple choice format.  I use my laptop for essays.

And as we finish Emily, do you have any updates to share?

Yes, I meet with a rehabilitation instructor from the Board of Education Services for the Blind who is helping me to use my screen reader with the Internet.  Researching when using the Internet is still a challenge because most of the websites add a lot of pictures.  A screen reader is designed for reading texts and does not know how to handle all the graphics.

I hope my tips help others to understand what has helped me; I hope this guide provides direction for all.

Thank you Emily for choosing Tunxis and sharing your tips in Helping Us, Help You!

To speak with a disabilities specialist, please contact:

Cathy Ann Felice  (860) 255-3572

Amanda Testo  (860) 255-3578

Visit http://www.washington.edu.doit for additional information concerning learning techniques, accessibility, adaptive technology and appropriate accommodations for college students who have visual impairments.

Academic Support Center



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