Myopic attitudes

October 8, 2004

I run a small company that produces documentation for visually impaired people. Last year, we were approached by one of the oldest universities in the country - it had a visually impaired student but no Braille production resource.

We did the work but several times almost pulled out, mainly because of the volume and late arrival of work, so poor was the response from a minority of the tutors.

We gave a lecture to tutors to help them understand the problems of turning their slides and notes into Braille and I tried emailing the vice-chancellor, pointing out that two pensioners working part time were all that stood between his university and a potential infringement of the Disability Discrimination Act. I received no response.

Another academic year has begun and guess what? Another student and no internal Braille translation resources. Curiously, a modern university nearby has fielded a speaker at this week's conference of the UK Braille Producers' Association, so great is its commitment to supporting its visually impaired students.

Why should one of the richest and longest established universities in the country continue to neglect its responsibilities to disabled students?

Name withheld

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