As with all disabilities, the accommodations you receive for a vision loss will be based upon the severity of the limitations. In this case, the ODA will require your current visual acuity in the form of a recent eye exam (preferably within the last 3 years) and a Certificate of Blindness from the State of Texas. In Texas, legal blindness is defined as having a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in your better eye. A Certificate of Blindness may also make you eligible for a tuition exemption. To apply for a certificate, contact your local office of the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services' Division of Blind Service.
For students who are legally blind (but not severely visually impaired), reasonable accommodations include, a reserved seat near the front of the class, enlarged font sizes, extended test time, use of magnifiers and other equipment in class. For vision loss worse that 20/200, students have access to Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) to magnify their readings and documents, extra time for exams and in class work, assistive technology, alternative formats for required class materials.
For severe to total blindness, the reasonable accommodation process involves the cooperation of the ODA, the Texas Division of Blind Services and Learning Ally. The most essential service is the conversion of textbooks into an alternative format. This is accomplished by either requesting textbooks from publishers, Learning Ally or the ODA, which uses a high speed digital scanner to create digital texts which can be read back to you using JAWS or other screen reading software. The key to this process is placing your requests for alternative formats as early as possible. The creation of alternative formats takes time, so please decide what classes you want to take as early as possible. If you are approved for alternative formats through the ODA, you are also eligible for early registration through our office. Come to the ODA to register early for these classes and then place your request for alternative formats. You can access the Alternative Format Request form here to request this service. If you are a new student, remember you must apply for ODA services before any of these formats can be created. Complete the steps found on Apply for Services. You must bring the ODA the actual book or a receipt showing you purchased the book before conversion begins. Occasionally, instructors do not release their booklists until a few days before the start of the semester. Or book vouchers from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) can be delayed. Contact your ODA counselor if this is a problem.
After alternative formats, orientation to our campus is probably the next most important step in preparing to attend classes at UNT. Orientation and mobility services are considered a "personal service" which most universities and colleges do not provide. You must either hire your own orientation specialist or request this service from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services' Division of Blind Services.
The above are only examples of typical services students may receive. All services are individualized and based on your medical documentation.