Students who are partially sighted or who are blind and/or find reading print to be problematic may find the following information useful.
Classroom Activity Access
Access to Text/Print
Some courses or programs may require the ability to see in order to complete specific activities (e.g. laboratory work). However, in general, reasonable accommodations or modifications can often be implemented to compensate for this ability in doing the activity.
The method to demonstrate mastery of knowledge is commonly at the discretion of instructors. While some courses require this demonstration through papers and projects, students are more likely required to illustrate how much they know through exams. It is possible to accommodate students through different testing environments and formats. Although some instructors may factor effort into determining final grades, passing a course is dependent upon how well a student can demonstrate the material was learned.
Students are encouraged to explore the requirements of specific courses the semester prior to enrolling in such courses so that appropriate accommodations or modifications can be arranged in a timely manner.
A student may be able to meet with a faculty member prior to taking a course to discuss the specific requirements.
A student may also wish to discuss specific courses with an RDS Accommodations/Advocacy specialists to determine whether or not the course can be adequately accommodated for participation. Student cooperation and collaboration are expected in developing an effective accommodation for specific activities.
With advanced notice, print material can be converted into an alternative format through RDS. The general alternative used by most students is electronic auditory output. Material can also be converted into Braille through a scanner and Braille printer. Before text is converted to an alternative format, RDS will refer students to the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) for an assessment of their needs. This assessment is to help determine the most effective format for the student and gives direction to RDS in the conversion process. Contact a RDS Specialists or Coordinator of Alternative Text for more information.
The Morgan Library provides several electronic resource room that houses adaptive equipment for students to use independently. Some of the equipment available includes: CCTV (closed circuit TV for enlarging text, pictures, etc.), screen enlargers and readers, talking word processors, voice activated computing, and computers with Braille translation software and tactile output. The library also offers Internet access with a screen reader. Some prior training is required for some equipment. Contact ATRC for specific training information.
The provision of an accommodation begins only once the need is made known to appropriate university personnel. A student must be considered eligible for an accommodation based on the documented presence of a disability and the significance the limitation has to participating in a course or program.
A student who needs accommodations in courses should first meet with one of the RDS Accommodations/Advocacy Specialists. After an assessment of needs, the RDS Specialist will provide the student with a letter that will be given to each faculty member for each course for which an accommodation will be needed. This letter verifies for the faculty member that the accommodation is appropriate for a student's need. A faculty member need not provide an accommodation simply on the word of a student.
In addition, if specific arrangements need to be made with a faculty member, one of the RDS Specialists will be able to facilitate these arrangements, providing the RDS Specialist is contacted in a timely manner.
There are no guarantees that a student will receive exactly the accommodation requested. Accommodations are provided that give effective access to the academic environment and for which resources are available.
The presence of a vision limitation does not automatically exempt a student from any academic requirement, including science and mathematics education. Many courses and activities can be adapted with prior planning. Some courses may require individual tutorial assistance while others may need adaptive computer equipment. Other accommodations may also require the direct involvement of instructors for specific modifications.
Students are encouraged to discuss their accommodative needs with an RDS Specialist prior to enrolling in specific courses so that accommodations can be arranged appropriately.
The Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) provides individual assessments for adaptive devices for both classroom and other academic activities. Short term loan of equipment is offered for students who do not have access to their own equipment. Equipment available for loan includes: alternative keyboards, large monitors, screen enlargers and readers, and voice activated computing. Training is provided through ATRC. Students are referred to ATRC as early as possible so that appropriate equipment can be located or purchased for a particular classroom or course accommodation.
A student who has his/her own assistive technology (hardware and software) may need to check on its compatibility with university systems prior to using it for specific course work. Some courses may require the use of course-computers only for the completion of assignments. In those cases, specific adaptations may need to be in place prior to the student starting the class and require training in order to use specific software to access specific assignments. For more information concerning computer and other technology access, contact ATRC, 305 Occupational Therapy Department, (970) 491-2016.
Transportation in the Fort Collins for those who are unable to drive consists of a bus service, a para-transit system, and taxis. The Transfort bus service is available at a reduced cost for students through an activities fee. Dial-A-Ride is a para-transit system that provides door-to-door service. Local cab service is available from Shamrock Yellow Cab. For more information on bus routes and Dial-A-Ride, contact Transfort, (970) 221-6620. Shamrock Yellow Cab can be contacted at (970) 686-5555.
RDS also provides limited transportation to students through its Transportation Services. Rides are limited for academic activities only and are dependent upon availability of drivers. Students must schedule their rides through the RDS Van Services Coordinator.
The residence halls do permit dog guides. However, a student may need to negotiate with the Office of Housing and Dining Services as to where the animal is allowed to relieve itself for grounds maintenance purposes. Contact Housing and Dining Services, Palmer Center, (970) 491-6511, for more information if you are considering living on campus.
Students interested in improving the accessibility of campus are welcome to join the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility (CDSA), a student-run group that uses a portion of student fees for small accessibility projects around campus. Contact RDS for more information.
Specific community activities of interest for individuals with vision limitations vary from year to year. For example, the Loveland/Fort Collins area features a Beep-Baseball team and the National Federation of the Blind has had chapter representation in Fort Collins. For more information on community services and activities for individuals with vision limitations, contact the local independent living center, Disabled Resource Services, at 424 N. Pine, Suite 101, Ft. Collins, CO 80524, (970) 482-2700.
Many students with vision limitations have their text books converted to electronic audio text. Formats include MP3 files as well as audio CD files. The process of conversion requires time so the earlier a student informs RDS of the need for Alternative Text Services, the sooner a student receives the reformatted text. For compliance with copyright laws, students are expected to purchase their books which will be unbound and scanned as part of the conversion process. Once scanned and converted, the books are rebound and returned to the student.
Students may also apply to Learning Ally (formerly RFBD) for electronic Daisy formatted textbooks. A student must have appropriate equipment in order to access this format. See the RDS Coordinator of Alternative Text for more information.
Text material can be Brailled through the use of a scanner and Braille printer. See the RDS Coordinator of Alternative Text for more information.
Students also are eligible for assistance with test taking. RDS offers alternative testing services that allow students the use of a reader, scribe, or adaptive computer technology. Arrangements for Alternative Testing are negotiated between the student, instructor and the RDS Coordinator of Alternative Testing.
RDS will assist students in locating other appropriate services and information as needed. If you have further questions concerning Colorado State University and the accommodations that are available to you as a student, please contact RDS.
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