Much has been written about the experiences of students with disabilities in Higher Education (HE henceforth), although little research draws upon students who are visually impaired (VI henceforth). Therefore, this research draws upon the topic ‘the experiences of HE for learners who are VI’ and it has three research aims:
- Inclusivity of HE for those who are visually impaired.
- Emotional well-being of those who are visually impaired.
- Support provided by school/college during students’ transition to university.
Reference is made to previous research within this field. This has informed the content of the data analysis. The methodology section provides an understanding of the research design and justification, including reference to ethical considerations in relation to this paper. The data analysis employs illustrative quotes to represent fully the views and opinions of the participants regarding their experiences of HE and enables the researcher to flag up any limitations and recommendations regarding disability policy and practice. Insights into the areas of support, which have contributed to an inclusive HE experience, are recognised and those areas which have worked less well are uncovered.
This paper reflects on the findings from research into the experiences of students who are VI at HEIs within the UK. When support was provided, students were able to engage in their course successfully alongside their peers. However, one of the major issues concerned DSA support not being in place at the start of the participant’s course, which resulted in missed academic and social opportunities. Questionnaires of an open-ended nature enabled a whole host of perspectives to be drawn upon and critically analysed.