[nabs-l] struggling with Math

Elizabeth Mohnke lizmohnke at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 28 20:32:43 UTC 2016

Hello Kayla,

I think the suggestions in this email message are all really great suggestions. The only additional suggestion I would make would be paring up with another student in the class to help out with the textbook and assignments outside of class. Since they are required to do this themselves, they may be willing to help out a fellow blind student along the way. Perhaps bringing some snacks or coffee to these peer study sessions can help serve as a form of payment to other students who help you if you cannot afford to pay them.

And although this may not help with the actual problems you are required to do from the assigned textbook, it may be possible to receive the textual information that explains the concepts of the problems in other formats that are currently accessible. I would check Bookshare, Learning ally, as well as search Google for relevant math concepts that will be covered in your class.

I did not schedule my classes very well, and I have found that I have been putting off my math classes for other classes that are more interesting and appealing to me. However, the one math class I have taken, I used a reader from the disabilities office to help me go through the textbook in a lab style class rather than a lecture style class. This is an class format that is available to all students on campus. I would say this would be like a structured independent study type format that is available at my college for students who need extra help with lower level math classes. Perhaps something like this might also be an option worth investigating before you get too far behind in your math class.

I find it can be rather difficult to catch up in classes once I fall behind in them, and I have dropped a couple of classes after falling behind in them when I was not able to receive the accommodations I needed for the class in a timely manner. However, I would give all the suggestions mentioned here on the NABS email list before thinking about dropping the class.

I know how frustrating math can be for anyone who feels as though they are not good at math. And math can even be more challenging for blind students. However, it sounds like you have a good foundation of blindness skills that will allow you to find the best way for you to complete your math class. I am sure with a lot of hard work and determination that you will be successful in passing this math class.

Warm regards,

-----Original Message-----
From: NABS-L [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Steve Jacobson via NABS-L
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2016 3:50 PM
To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list' <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Steve Jacobson <steve.jacobson at visi.com>
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] struggling with Math


Kenedy or others here can probably give you more specific advice on this since I am removed from the college scene, but I think your best bet is to concentrate on working with someone to go through your textbook at this point.  Whether one calls that person a reader, a tutor, or maybe even a note-taker, doesn't matter.  In general, it is really very difficult to count on being able to scan a math or statistics book effectively and have that be your only source.  I'm not saying it is impossible, but ideally, one would check ahead of time to see if an accessible version is available from the publisher or from another source.  Checking BookShare and Learning Ally is still not a bad idea just in case,.  However, while you are doing that checking you need to look for other options for moving ahead before you get too far behind.  If you are using a note-taker already, going through what was covered in class will make up some for not having the textbook right now.  If your DSS office will not make a reader available even if your textbook is not available, it is possible that your state agency could still help although they will be reluctant to do so.  As I understand it, Vocational Rehabilitation can still provide money for readers, but they don't like to do that and might need a lot of convincing.  You might also be helped by contacting whatever tutoring services are available at your school, and possibly between tutoring services and your DSS office there might be a creative way to get the information from your textbook.
Unfortunately, having to work all of this out after your class has started is not a simple matter.  .  You can likely still get through this course, but you will probably have to use a number of approaches at the same time to do it.  Being certain to check whether your book is available in an accessible format from another source is probably the first thing to do if you have not done that already.  Along those lines, if the same book is available from a source but it is an older edition, it is still likely worth using.  I once got a copy of the fourth edition of a math book in braille and my instructor was using the fifth edition.  I only found a couple of the exercises to be different.

Good luck to you.

Best regards,

Steve Jacobson

More information about the NABS-L mailing list