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nearly blind how do i do education degree??

Hi! its jillian again. I need some seriuos help or advice or tips or anything anyone can tell me. I have done a year a half of college so far i am now at chris cole rehab center for the blind in austin, texas bc ive lost most of my vision but when i am done here i am going to go back to school I am having a major problem, i am going after a degree in special education, and of course i am legally blind. The school has never had a nearly blind student go through there ed. prgram!!! they have no idea how to help me or what to do and i dont know what to ask for either. The last meeting i had with the disability office the guy was very discouraging and tried to talk me out of going after an education degree because of my vision. I know its possible to do i know theres totally blind teachers out there i just have no idea how to do it, especially the math and science classes with pics and stuff. So here is my question, how do you get through it? what accomodations are there to help? how did you get through the blocks and then student teaching? we are so stuck with this. any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! please

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Special Education Continued

Hello, all.

First of all, let me take a moment to introduce myself and the situation that I am currently faced with.

My name is Nathan Bullock, and thus far, I attendLiberty University located in Lynchburg, Virginia. As of this year, I finally obtained enough credits to be classified as a sophomore;however, similar to Jillian's situation, I too have been outright discouraged from pursuing a degree in special education. Interestingly, I consulted with the Dean, who holds a PH.D. in the subject and was beyond frustrated when I heard her response. Over the phone, the dean informed me that I could not teach special education because I am totally blind and hearing impaired. As I tried to articulate that indeed it is possible, she kept discouraging me further. Eventually, my end objective is to work with those who are blind and visually impaired, and I thought it would be intriguing to learn about other disabilities.

In addition to the special education discouragement, I have now altered my degree to Digital Media with an emphasis in broadcasting. I have not received any information from the school, as to how I might be able to work in a radio station without any sight.

I think I metSharon while attending Guiding Eyes for the Blind and she is awesome!! If my memory serves correctly, She received a German Sheperd named Jude.

Thank you for your assistance.



P.S.: My hearing impairment is moderately severe at the moment, but it is projected to get worse as I age.

Re: nearly blind how do i do education degree??

Hi again,

Joe's advice to volunteer in classrooms while you are still in school is solid. I started volunteering in classrooms in my first year of undergraduate and by the time I actually graduated with my teaching degree I had a lot of diverse classroom experiences, a lot of references and experiences that had helped me to problem solve for various situations in a classroom. I had the benefit of being able to work out how to's while under the mentorship of the classroom teacher. I know it can seem huge because you already work harder, and it takes longer in many regards, contrasted with those who have sight just to address issues of working with little or no sight, but I found that being in the practical settings of classrooms also gave a great reinforcement in advocating for myself.

I could be hearing negativity at the faculty of education and then head into a classroom to volunteer and it would validate my dream and desire.

Peace and Positivity


Re: nearly blind how do i do education degree??

It will be a tough journey -- the courses will be tough, but all of your experiences prior, plus the ones you will experience will help prepare you. The best experience is to get out and volunteer in the school while you are in school. I taught prior to grad school, but continued volunteering in public schools. Getting that real life experience can help you too.

It definitely wasn't easy. Learn from as many people as you can, get tips adn advice. Keep those contacts for down the line. You can make it happen with a lot of work and passion. I know I had to work a lot harder and many more hours to compete.

Joe S.
AFB Staff

Re: nearly blind how do i do education degree??

Dear Jillian,

All this is not easy. You are the one living this challenge of extra advocacy and education for others and you just want the freedom to be able to pursue your studies and make your teaching dream a reality. Though most of us have long dealt with the life's not fair realities, this must feel like a huge obstacle right now. Be gentle with yourself and while it is hard when you are so busy. Try to provide as much self care for yourself as you can. Be aware of what and who is taking your energy and how you are able to re-energize yourself.
If teaching is your dream, the passion you bring to this commitment will go along way in providing you energy to add this torch to the many you have no doubt already picked up and carried in your life.

Please feel free to post your questions.


Re: nearly blind how do i do education degree??


Sharon is right on -- great thoughts and advice! Thank you so much, Sharon! Jillian, Sharon is right on.

Joe S.
AFB Staff

Re: nearly blind how do i do education degree??

Hi Jillian,

First let me echo Joe's words that it is very disheartening to hear that your faculty of education has treated you poorly. Do not let their fear disempower you. They probably think they are protecting you. If this is your dream, it is do-able. I am totally blind and teach a regular class of grade three students, all subject areas. I started out in special education when I was first hired.

To the concrete of getting through your faculty of education. The challenges of teaching math or science are no different than your everyday adventures of living life! You can do this. Having made it this far, you are likely very good at thinking outside the box. It is likely that all of your students may have fully functional eyes and you can allow them to be the eyes of whatever task you are taking on. Students can be very articulate about what and how they are doing. It is like doing a task analysis step by step. If you can do the task, you can teach it or if you know all the steps needed, you can use students to help orchestrate the task needed.

You will want to be very organized and prepared. This could take the form of organizing resources, such as marking demonstration/model pieces with Braille or using the computer so you have notes or having audio prompts or whatever best suits your comfort.

If you have some reliable peer mentors for yourself they can assist in putting together the visuals you will want.

If your professor's can alert you ahead of time about the lesson focus, you can have time to think ahead as to how you can organize yourself such as a Science lab requirement.

We are most fortunate to live in a time and place technologically where we have lots of resources at our disposal.

If there are "road blocks" that your faculty of education is suggesting are concerns, it is likely you yourself may be wondering how to take on such a thing. Bring your questions forward and we'll do whatever we can to support.

Discouragers can become encouragers once they get beyond the fear. Don't let yourself fall into the place of doubt if this is your heart's desire. Yes, it is a lot of work, but I suspect you are no stranger to lots of hard work.

Thank-you for your courage in bringing your concerns forward.

I am happy to be part of your cheer leading squad.


Believe in yourself!

Peace and Positivity,


Re: nearly blind how do i do education degree??

I am sorry you are dealing with that from your school. That is rediculous that they are trying to discourage you from becoming a special education teacher. I think you will be connected to a number of teachers through this message board and through CareerConnect's mentor search.

What area is special education were you focusing on?

I have worked in multiple special education areas including visually impaired and emotional & behavioral. I was more low vision while doing the emotional and behavioral special education. I was definitely closer to blind while working with students with vision loss.

What types of questions do you have?

Classroom management?

I think planning ahead is smart. I can try and help, but I know others will also offer some great advice. You just have to be clever and think ahead. I hope I can help you.

I am more then a bit upset that they are discouraging you from this path. This is out of their own fear and lack of awareness of persons who are blind. The National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind, both have divisions specific to teachers. These groups would be great resources as well. I know you will get some responses on here too. I will try to help as well.

Joe S.
AFB Staff

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