Contact Information

Office of Disability Services

William H. Moesch
2 Convent Road
Mahoney Library
Second Floor
Morristown, NJ 07960-6989

Phone: 973-290-4261
Fax: 973-290-4244
wmoesch@cse.edu

Office Hours:
M, W, Th 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Blind Low Vision

Blind /Low Vision

DEFINITION

Visual impairments include disorders in the senses of vision that affect the central acuity, the field of vision, color perception, or binocular visual function. The American Medical Association defined legal blindness as visual acuity not exceeding 20/200 in the better eye with correction, or a limit in the field of vision that is less than a 20 degree angle (tunnel vision). Legal blindness may be caused by tumors, infections, injuries, retrolental fibroplasias, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular impairments, or myopia. Visual disabilities vary widely. Some students may use a guide dog, others a white cane, while others may not require any mobility assistance.

Accommodations may include:

  • Reading lists or syllabi in advance to permit time for transferring into an alternate format.
  • Textbooks ordered in preferred medium of the student.
  • Seating in the front of the classroom without glare from windows.
  • Tape recording of lectures and class discussions.
  • Note-taking devices such as pocket Braille computers.
  • Handouts in the medium that the student prefers.
  • Clear black print on a white, pale blue or pale yellow paper.
  • Testing accommodations: taped tests, reading of tests, scribe, extended time, separate testing site, enlarged print, and computer word processing software with speech access.
  • Materials presented on the board or on transparencies read out loud.
  • Laboratory assistance.
  • Advance notice of class schedule or location changes.
  • Passageways kept clear.
  • Professors encouraged to use black felt tip markers on written assignments and white boards.

VISION DISORDERS: NOT ACUITY

Learning-related visual disabilities include, but are not limited to ocular mobility dysfunction/eye movement disorders (such as nystagmus), vergence dysfunction/inefficiency in using both eyes together, strabismus/misalignment of the eyes, amblyopia/lazy disorders, and motor integration. The functional limitation varies according to the intensity of the problem.

The characteristics of these disorders may include:

  • Eye fatigue.
  • Slow reading.
  • Difficulty with maps, charts.

Accommodations may include:

  • Avoiding seats where there is a glare from light.
  • Using a guide for reading.
  • Experimenting with various colors of paper for testing.
  • Using readers for tests.

ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION

Eligibility for Disability Services at the College of Saint Elizabeth is dependent upon the nature of the disability and its impact on learning. A person might meet eligibility requirements of vocational rehabilitation, disabled veterans or any other rehabilitation agency; however, she/he may not meet eligibility at the College of Saint Elizabeth.

One of the reasons that the College has developed these guidelines is to ensure consistency throughout the institution. These guidelines are fairly consistent with those used by agencies administering standardized assessments.

The ultimate decision for eligibility on campus is a judgment that must be made by the Coordinator of Disability Services based upon the guidelines developed for each type of disability. Once a student has been verified as disabled by the College of Saint Elizabeth Office of Disability Services, a disability eligibility form should be completed and placed in a confidential file with the determining documentation.

BLIND/LOW VISION: DOCUMENTATION

Ophthalmologists are the primary physicians involved in the diagnosis and medical treatment of individuals who are blind or who experience low vision. Optometrists provide information regarding the measurement of visual acuity as well as tracking and fusion difficulties. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Required documentation includes:

  1. A clear statement of vision-related disability with supporting numerical description that reflects the current impact the blindness or vision loss has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations).
  2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results including standardized scores.
  3. Present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  4. Medical information relating to the student's needs, the status of the individual's vision (static or changing), and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  5. Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student's abilities that might be helpful in understanding the student's profile including functional limitation, the use of corrective lenses and the ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate).
  6. A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist at the institution collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.