Kim Avila is a former board member of the Fairfax Area
Chapter and holds dual master degrees, one in Education for the Blind and
Visually Impaired and the other in Orientation and Mobility. Her masters
thesis was titled "Blind, But I Can See." It addressed
Orientation and Mobility methods and low vision.
Kim is currently a teacher of the blind and visually impaired
at Robinson High School. Her experience has shown her that students who are
transitioning from high school to college need to master certain skills to be
successful. The following is Kimís list of necessary skills, along with
Checklist Steps to college success
1. Self Advocacy
Communicates needs clearly
Solicits aid when appropriate
Good problem solving skills, not always going to a sighted
person for help all of the time.
Knows how to find and use resources, such as vocational
rehabilitation services, the college office for students with disabilities and
Orders adaptive materials independently.
Consults with professors well before the semester begins and orders
Manages time effectively
Has appropriate adaptive devices and maintains their care.
Is well acquainted with how they operate and knows how to have them
repaired or replaced if necessary.
2. Independent living
Takes care of self and personal care needs
Maintains a clean dorm room and living space, including:
use of laundry facilities
sweep, mop, dust and may need to know how to clean a bathroom
Organizes and maintains an orderly environment
Provides for own needs, can shop for clothes, food and
personal care items.
Manages money, checking, savings accounts, credit cards,
loans, other bills
Takes care of health needs, manages insurance, makes and
meets medical appointments.
3. Orientation and Mobility
Can travel effectively with appropriate mobility aid or
sidewalks, street crossings of varying types, busy hallways, cafeteria etc.
of transportation resources, bus, paratransit, taxicab, driver, etc.
4. Social Skills
Interacts appropriately with peers, professors, employers etc
Makes appropriate health and life style choices
Knows how to report a problem to proper authorities
Uses mode of literacy that is appropriate
Has effective study skills
Operates current computer applications well with adaptive
technology. Must especially know
how to operate the Internet, Email, word processor, spread sheet and slide show
program (such as PowerPoint).
Electronic note taker or other device for taking notes in
Ability to adapt print materials by scanning, braille
transcription, enlarging etc.
Has a variety of methods for computer back up.
Can use non-electronic adaptive devices, such as a slate and stylus