Visually Impaired and Blind Resources

The following resources were assembled in order to assist students, faculty, and staff. Please note that CCNY and the AAC/SDS do not guarantee or validate the services of outside organizations and programs but provide this information for reference purposes and convenience.
 

Overview

Blindness is the inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see while visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces a person's ability to function at certain or all tasks.  Legal blindness (a severe visual impairment) refers to a best-corrected central vision of 20/200 or worse in the better eye or a visual acuity of better than 20/200 but with a visual field no greater than 20° (e.g., tunnel vison). Though many people with eye conditions and blindness excel at school and work, it can contribute to obstacles in these arenas, as well as in social interactions and engagement. The diagnosis of a visual impairment and blindness is made by a qualified ophthalmologist.  It is estimated that 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Individuals who are visually impaired, legally blind and blind have legal rights that include equal access to academic environments.

AAC/SDS Visually Impaired and Blind Resources

The AAC/SDS provides a variety of accommodations and services to students who are visually impaired and blind.  Below are a list of potential accommodations (determined on an individualzied basis) and services for CCNY students with visual Impairments and blindness:

  • Alternate format of texts
  • Note-taking services
  • Permission to record lectures and loan of recording devices
  • Exam accommodations such as extended time or a reduced distraction environment
  • Personal and Academic Counseling
  • AccessText:  Source for accessible versions of text books in accessible formats
  • Bookshare: Source for accessible version of text books in accessible formats
  • Learning Ally: The world’s largest collection of human-narrated audiobooks
  • Assistance with navigating CUNYFirst, Blackboard, and library and learning managment programs
  • Voluntary list for assistance during emergencies on campus 
  • Removal of access barriers on campus 

    Assistive Technology:
     
  • CCTV: Screen magnifier that enlarges paperwork, documentation, or for exams
  • ZoomText: Computer screen magnifier program that enlarges your desktop. Zoom level is adjustable to your preference
  • Use of a larger monitor, headphones, and scanner
  • JAWS: Screen reader for the blind that reads desktop programs and internet browser
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking: Speech-to-text software that allows you to type assignments using voice control: this program is available in The Tech Center (NAC 1/304) in SR rooms.  Students with assistive technology as an accommodation receive an "AA" logo sticker on the back of the ID card. 
  • Enlarged keyboard: Numbers and letters are printed larger on a yellow and black keyboard to help visually impaired students type comfortably
  • Recording device: Record lectures and study notes
  • Braille board
  • Braille Embosser 

GENERAL RESOURCES

New York Public Library Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library: Provides a variety of services to blind and visually impaired, including reader servicers, Braille and alternate format.  

CCNY Access Futures Club: A student-run club that promotes equal access for all individuals on campus

CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities: A CUNY-wide organization that supports and promotes disability awareness

CATS (CUNY Assistive Technology Services): Students and faculty can access free assistive technology through CUNY CATS

Lions Center for the Visually Impaired: Facts about visual impairment and blindness

American Foundation for the Blind: A resource for programs and services for visually impaired and blind students

New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB): A state organization that provides services and programs for the blind

Lighthouse Guild: Nonprofit organization to assist the visually impaired and blind with resources such as job placement, medical center, and other various programs and services

VISIONS: Services for the blind, visually impaired, and the elderly

New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities: Offers city resources for all types of disabilities