Across China: Preparatory course paves way for visually impaired college students

Source: Xinhua| 2020-08-18 16:28:37|Editor: huaxia

SHANGHAI, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- After taking a few steps, Chen Huixian stopped at the end of a zebra crossing as roaring vehicles passed by and finally made up her mind to cross the road.

She continued her steps carefully with her head up while waving her hands.

The small step that might seem familiar to ordinary people was a big leap for Chen, 23, a college-bound student who suffers vision impairment. It was the first time that she crossed the road on her own.

On Aug. 16, Chen and 19 others successfully completed a free one-week training course designed for visually impaired college-bound students in Shanghai.

The course, initiated by Shanghai Youren Foundation and Shengbo FM, a social service center for the disabled, aims at helping visually impaired students grasp survival skills before entering college. Training visually impaired students to perform tasks like traveling alone, using computers and fostering social skills is expected to help them adapt better to the forthcoming college life unaided.

By the end of August, Chen will leave her hometown in east China's Shandong Province to a university in Beijing and start a brand-new life. Prior to her departure, she attended the preparatory course and experienced many firsts there: using a blind cane, crossing a road independently and visiting the mall alone.

"The first step is always difficult. After entering university, I will walk around by myself every weekend and participate in some charity activities," Chen said.

Ang Ziyu, a high school graduate in east China's Anhui Province who suffers retinitis pigmentosa, took the college entrance examination for the second time this year. After securing good grades this time, Ang aspires to study at a university in Beijing, a city more than a thousand kilometers away from home. Therefore, he has to prepare himself to face many new challenges.

Ang joined the preparatory course in Shanghai, where he learned how to use navigation, public transportation and online payment apps independently.

"Just like Chen, many blind students grew up in a relatively enclosed environment, such as special schools. They are well protected by their teachers and relatives, and thus may not use a blind cane," said Yang Qingfeng, initiator of the preparatory course.

"However, they will face a bigger world and communicate with more people after entering university, as well as encounter many unexpected difficulties. Only by living and doing work on their own, can they live life without depending on others, and develop personalities and values independently," Yang added.

There are over 17 million visually impaired people in China, among which 23.5 percent are under 30.

Yang said that only some hundreds of visually impaired students are admitted to universities nationwide every year, and the group could become role models for people with visual impairment.

"We would like to spare no effort to prepare them for their smooth entry into universities," said Yang.

So far, the course has been organized thrice and 51 students have attended the program.

Yang said they have been optimizing the course, and this year, apart from necessary living skills, content about career planning and international affairs have been added. Enditem