Visually Impaired Students Prepare for College

When it's time to send the kids off to college, parents of visually impaired students can breathe a little easier. Their kids are getting a practice run.

The Evansville Association for the Blind is hosting its summer college program.

Mark Hooks, a college freshman, says, "You get that full experience of ok this is you. You're doing this for yourself."

Chester Underwood, another college freshman, adds, "I'm looking forward to finding my way around, meeting new people."

For 37 years, the Evansville Association for the Blind has been helping visually impaired students acclimate to college life. Learning disabled students are now welcome, too.

And just like any other orientation program, this one starts with a campus tour. This is absolutely critical for the visually impaired students. So for the entire first week of the program, someone helps them learn their way around campus, pointing out paths and other campus landmarks.

Repetition is one of the tricks that helps them make their way to class. Other tricks take over once their inside. Some use talking calculators and reading textbooks with large print.

And since the students stay in a dorm for six weeks, there are domestic concerns, too.

Krysti Hughes, with the Evansville Blind Association, says, "If they're having problems with their laundry or not keeping up with money management or eating or so on, we're here to help them to know what kind of steps to get on the right track."

Sam Moore will be a freshman at Western Kentucky University in August. He wants to be a broadcaster, maybe a radio talk show host. And since he's blind, he knows before any test, he'll have to arrange for someone to read the questions to him. And that means, it may take some extra work.

Sam says, "You get used to it after awhile. It's one of those things that you find a way to do what you've got to do, like I always say."

And it's exactly that kind of spirit that this program encourages.

When completed, successful students leave the summer program with six credits to start the winter semester.

And out of 14 students in the program, only one is going to the University of Evansville. The other 13 students are going to Vincennes, Ivy Tech or Western Kentucky.