Friday, October 9, 2015

UIS Disability Programs Offer Students Resources, New Outlook

Close your eyes and imagine a world where all you see is darkness and you had to rely on your other senses.

It's a tough task, but every day 285 million people in the world live their lives this way.

University of Illinois Springfield student Raven Wilson is one of those people. She's a sophomore majoring in English. "I love to read and write. I can spend hours and hours just reading. I love it."

She also loves learning. In chemistry class, Wilson listens carefully and processes everything the professor says.

Being blind doesn't stop her from having tunnel vision when it comes to accomplishing her goals. "My professor has a lot of physical models that I can feel and examine so I can understand what he's going over," said Wilson.

Raven is legally blind. She can only see light and shadows; she uses her dog Dana as her eyes. "Let's say if I'm going somewhere and I go there often, she knows where I want to go. So that's helpful. She keeps me safe. She protects me," said Wilson.

Raven is one of three blind students on the UIS campus. Her friend Jhaliyah is also blind. "We both relate in different ways. If we both have problems with homework assignments sometimes she knows things and I'll say, 'Raven how do you do this?'"

Both women say the university has a helpful staff accommodating, them every step of the way. "Extended times on exams, quiet distraction free environment and a reader and scribe for tests and quizzes," said Sarah Colby Weaver who is director of disability services at the university.

This story appeared online on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 8, 2015.

Read the entire story here.