Abstract of T. Heiman lecture


T. Heiman, D. Olenik-Shemesh, D. Kaspi-Tsahor
The Open University of IsraelIsrael

During 2010, 56 Blind and Visual Impairment (VI) students studied at
The Open University of Israel. Blind and VI students face various
challenges in higher education: They have to adjust to a new
environment, meet academic requirements and build a new social
support system. The current study examined 18 blind and VI students
(9 men and 9 women), aged from 23 to 55 (M=36.22; SD=11.79), with
mean grades of 79.3 (SD=5.98). Students' experiences were
evaluated regarding three topics: Difficulties during academic study,
coping modes, support and accessibility. A special design of 20 openended
questionnaire was prepared based these topics, in addition to
four questionnaires regarding the assistive technology usage,
perceived wellbeing, personal competence, and hope. Results
revealed that students who reported a high personal capability level,
or high level of perceived well-being, also reported a high level of
hope (r = .49, p = .03; r = .61, p = .00; respectively). Most students
reported a high level of positive self-perception in terms of
independence, success, competence and ability to solve problems;
50% of the participants were satisfied with their lives and
achievements, yet, most of them (70%). noted that if they could, they
would have changed aspects of their lives Examining coping modes
and support, revealed that most of them are using various assistive
technologies facilities; get help from friends (61%) or from family
members (77%). The study contributes to our understanding of the
perceptions of students with VI in order to promote their academic
success in higher education.

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