These student stories were produced as part of the "Access and Assistance for All" campaign by the British Youth Council, which aims to increase awareness and access to assistive technology within further education. See the main Access and Assistance for All student stories page to learn more about our campaign.


Could you tell us a little bit about your background?

Hi. My name is Niamh. I am 20 years old and I am in my first year at university studying Criminology and Sociology at Royal Holloway. I love to sail and travel.

What barriers have you have had to overcome?

In year 11, I was registered as blind due to a genetic condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). It causes tunnel vision, along with night blindness. RP is a genetic degenerative condition which means that I will continue to lose my remaining vision. This affected my learning as my eyes become tired easily causing them to struggle to focus; I get migraines when I stress my eyes and I struggle to complete visual tasks, for example creating a mind map.

How did you first learn about assistive technology?

It was collectively decided by myself and professionals that I needed to go to a college that was able to accommodate my needs. I ended up attending a sixth form with a Specialist Centre for the Visually Impaired (VI centre). An EHCP was created so I was able to get the support and equipment that I needed. Some of my accommodations in exams included the use of a computer, 50% extra time, documents adapted into a bigger font, use of a reader and a scribe, rest breaks and a room on my own.

The EHCP also allowed me to borrow equipment from the council so that I could learn effectively. This equipment included a computer, a voice recorder, an electronic magnifier, touch typing teaching software and a braillenote. Many of my teachers did not adapt resources that I needed and this equipment allowed me to access it.

What difference has assistive technology given you?

Assistive technology has allowed me to access both my education and everyday life! I am now able to make the most of the opportunities I have.

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