Common Barriers Experienced at the University Level

A student who has a vision impairment may experience one or more of the following barriers to learning and inclusion. Please note this list provides only a sample of common barriers.

  • Access to information — both formal information presented in classes and incidental communication within and external to the class particularly non-verbal information.
  • Access to print material (e.g., reading packs, handouts, textbooks).
  • Timeliness in receiving materials in an accessible format.
  • Attitudinal barriers due to assumptions of what a student can/cannot do or a perception that they will cause additional work for staff.
  • Access to other visual material (e.g., videos, some electronic material).
  • Participation in settings such as tutorials can be compromised due to difficulties in following numerous conversation participants, not knowing who is speaking and not being able to observe non-verbal communications.
  • Social isolation can occur as it can be difficult for students to initiate communication when they are unsure of who is around them.

For additional information on working with students with Vision Impairments