July 2011 Issue  Volume 12  Number 7

Editor's Page

Back to School

Lee Huffman

Dear AccessWorld Readers,

Wow, it's hard to believe, but it's that time of year again! I know the students out there don't want to hear these words, but it's time to get back to school. Well, not for me, thank goodness! I can empathize though, because I've been there, believe me.

New classes, new instructors, class projects, oral presentations, tests, meeting new people, and even the possibility of changing schools or moving away to college bring about uncertainty and new challenges. Uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing, though. This time of year can be exciting, too, especially if you plan ahead and prepare in advance.

Pursuing a good education can be difficult under the best of circumstances; doing so as a person with vision loss can be even more challenging. Just as we did at this time last year, for this issue the AccessWorld team has focused on providing valuable information and resources for students, parents, teachers, and professionals in the vision loss field to help make educational pursuits less stressful and more enjoyable.

For the students in our readership: You must take personal responsibility for your education. Ultimately, you must be your own advocate. Prepare in advance, speak to instructors, and tell those you'll be working with exactly what types of accommodations will best meet your needs. Your education will have a tremendous impact on every aspect of the rest of your life, so it's crucial that you do everything you can to get the most out of your studies.

Good planning prevents poor performance. It's never too early to begin planning for the next school term, whether you're in elementary school or graduate school. Acquiring and learning to use the assistive technology that best suits your situation, registering as early as possible for classes, obtaining reading lists, and searching out alternative formats should be done as soon as you can.

Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster, as without proper preparation you will begin the academic year with a deficit. When you get behind, courses can become more difficult than they need to be, you can miss deadlines, score poorly on exams, and get caught in a cycle of frustration. If you're unable to catch up, the deficit may lead to an interruption in your studies, which could ultimately result in not completing your education. Don't let that happen!

The AccessWorld team is excited to bring you the information in this issue, and we sincerely hope you or a student you know will find it useful. I encourage you to read every article, along with the articles from last July's issue, as the ideas and resources we've covered will certainly help improve, enrich, and broaden your educational experience. Please use these articles and resources to your best advantage. We on the AccessWorld team wish you good luck and good planning as you head back to school!


Lee Huffman

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