High school juniors and seniors with visual impairments visited Morehead State University for a week-long program called INSIGHT June 9 to June 15.
INSIGHT helps students transition from their hometown to a college environment by teaching them how to do daily tasks like walking around the city or going to the cafeteria alone.
“There’s kids who are using canes and there’s some that have some vision, but if you just took one of us and dropped us off at say Murray State’s campus, it would be a whole lot more difficult to understand where to go, how to get there, if you don’t have the proper techniques that they’re teaching us here,” said Jacob Jones, a student in the INSIGHT program.
Students who attended the program were Kentucky residents who had varying levels of visual impairments, ranging from complete blindness to those like Jacob Jones and Josh Rister, who have the ability to see and even to drive, thanks to specialized technology.
The program is in its thirteenth year and has been at MSU every year due to the campus size and accessibility.
“I just think very highly of it and I think it does a great job at exposing students to some challenges on top of the ones that everybody has when they’re a freshman, so it just gives that much more confidence,” said Evangeline Day from MSU’s disability services.
Students explored campus and the city through the week with activities like visiting the space science center, walking to Main Street, using the recreation center and going for picnics at Rodburn Park.
Rister said doing things like walking places alone is a lot more than many of the people in the program have ever had to do before due to being at home with people to help them complete daily tasks their entire lives.
“A lot of these people have been at home and they’ve been kind of guarded from that experience. I think this is a great way to learn how to adapt to that kind of new environment,” said Rister.
Although many of the students are intimidated by the campus and transitioning to campus life, Rister said it is a good place to go to learn more about life outside of their own homes.
“It’s not a sign of you not being able to do something just if you come to do it, because in the long run, it’s better for you, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of to begin with,” said Rister.
For questions about the INSIGHT program, contact Day in disability services at 783-5188.
Daneyl Tackett can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.