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Visually impaired students face special challenges during distance learning

Teachers and students worry over lack of diversity in distance learning for the visually impaired

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) Many schools and students have adjusted to shelter-in-place orders that have forced them to work from home. This includes students who are visually impaired and dealing with what is now a "new normal" in distance learning.

Jennifer Hirsh is a braille instructor for the Monterey County Office of Education and says those students have to rely on touch braille devices that often take longer to operate and grant students access to the material they need.

Hirsh says her biggest concern is that this could potentially cause some setbacks for the students even on their path to college.

She says teachers should consider other alternative formats when putting together their material to include more braille readings and descriptive videos.

"Distance learning really relies on vision, so can you imagine how hard it would be to try to learn math and science and just have auditory feedback?" says Hirsh.

One of her students is sophomore Monserath Espinola, who says she is doing her best to finish off the school year strong, but admits accessing her work online has been difficult.

"We're trying to do what the teacher tell us to do like go on certain websites and do the assignments on there but that hasn't been easy. There's also a lot of videos they sent for us to watch and someone has to be describing those," says Espinola.

The student says she misses having her instructor there to help her with hands on work and hopes things will go back to normal soon so she can be with her friends.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jocelyn Ortega

Jocelyn Ortega is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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