Case example: Low vision

Used with permission from DO IT:Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking & Technology University of Washington)

Derek and Access to Information


I'm Derek, a freshman studying Japanese and political science. I'm visually impaired. I can read large print but have trouble with the computer screen, especially when the lighting is poor. For the most part I am able to read large print text without any problems.

Access Issues

I need large-print materials for all of my courses. I also need access to a computer with enlarged images, a large screen, and reduced glare.


The disabilities services advisor helped me contact my professors two months prior to the upcoming semester. I was able to get reading lists for three out of four classes and producing materials in large print was arranged. I was also accommodated with a large monitor, screen magnification software, glare guard and talking grammar/spelling software for the computer in my dormitory. Each of the instructors also received guidelines from the student services center to provide any handouts in large-print format. (It turned out that some of my professors have many of their handouts posted on their websites; making it easy for me to view or print these flexible digital formats in a large font.) In addition, for each of my classes I was given preferential seating in the front row. Lectures were recorded on tape.


This case study illustrates the use of high and low technology solutions to support a student with visual impairments. In Derek's case, simple accommodations made by the instructors (preferential seating, enlarged handouts, taped lectures) were adequate to allow full participation in the courses.