Transition Tool Kit for Students with Visual Impairments

Transition Tool Kit: Students with Visual Impairments

The Transition Tool Kit for Students with Visual Impairmentsis to help teens with visual impairments use Bookshare efficiently and effectively after graduating from high school. On this page, you will find important skills teens need to master in order to become prolific Bookshare users, how to continue after you have graduated from high school,esources for college and career specifically for teens with visual impairments, and helpful guides and resources for TVIs.
Skills You Need To Know
Graduating with Bookshare
College and Career Resources
Resources for TVIs

Skills You Need To Know

Do you have an individual membership?

An individual membership is a must if you want to continue to have access to Bookshare. If you are continuing your education (ie. attending college, vocational programs), you are eligible to have a free membership while attending school. If you are joining the workforce, you can still have a membership to Bookshare for a small annual fee. For more information about what post-secondary activities and courses qualify for a free Bookshare membership, please visit our OSEP Subscriptions page.

Teachers: If your student demonstrates that they are responsible (and willing to call customer support on their own if they forget their password), we highly recommend that your student get a individual membership when they begin having Transition IEP meetings. This will help your student learn how to use Bookshare independently. Your student can hold an individual membership and an organizational membership, so teachers are still able to assign books and reading lists.

Can you search for a book on your own?

In order to effectively use Bookshare after graduation, you will need to be able to search and find books on your own! Use the advanced search for a book you are currently reading in school.Try using the Advanced Search feature.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with searching by ISBN. An ISBN is a unique identifier that each book has and can help you find the correct edition of a textbook that you are using.Locate the ISBN for the student edition of the textbook (it’s a 10 or 13 digit number on the back of the book or on the copyright page). Type it into the standard search box at the top of the page. If you don’t get the result you need, you may be able to find additional ISBNs for this title by searching OCLC’s WorldCat. (For example, we may have the hardbound edition, and you have the paperback – it’s the same text, but with different ISBNs.)

If the book you want doesn’t come up, broaden your search by removing author or title. If you get too many results, narrow by adding publisher or words you think might be included in the synopsis (like the main character’s name in a series)

If you want to learn more about searching for books, explore this page to learn how to find books.

Can you request a book you need for school?

Sometimes Bookshare won't have every book you need for school. Bookshare receives books directly from publishers, but at times, publishers have not created or sent a digital version of the book you need for school. Bookshare will add any book you need for school if you request the book. Please note that sometimes it can take months to add a book into our collection. With this in mind, please request your school books as soon as possible by filling out your book request.

Can you use more than one file format available on Bookshare?

Things happen! Especially when we are talking about technology. Be prepared to know how to use multiple formats of Bookshare books. While every format may not be accessible to you, use your time in high school to learn how to use at least 2 formats effectively and independently on a variety of devices.

Who knows? Your favorite device may break, go missing, or mysteriously wind up in a washing machine throughout your early adult life. Make sure you can still read your favorite books or your required reading. For helpful guides on how to use specific devices, visit the Help Center to learn how to use different formats on different devices or follow this link Read Books

Can you create a reading list?

Reading lists are a wonderful tool to help you organize your books. Your teachers probably already told you a thousand times, but organization in college is extremely important. Besides, imagine how embarrassing it would be if you accidentally opened that steamy romance novel you're reading instead of your textbook in a lecture hall. Create reading lists to help organize your assigned reading for each class. You can also create reading lists for all of your "fun" reading.

Can you subscribe to a special collection?

Bookshare's curated reading lists are known as special collections. You can subscribe and have access to these lists. Many of these collections are updated frequently. If you are subscribed, you will have new books added to your lists. You can view all of Bookshare's curated lists by visiting Special Collections.

Can you file a book quality report if you find an inaccessible book?

At times, you may find a book that isn't totally accessible. If a book is missing chapter navigation, missing pages, or all images, file a book quality report. Bookshare is committed to improving the quality of books within our collection, and you can help us by reporting problems that you encounter.

You will need to be logged in to file a book quality report. On the catalog page of the individual book, you'll find a link labelled "Report book quality issue." Fill in the form, including what format, device and reader you're using. The more specific you can be -- including page numbers and examples -- the more effectively we can troubleshoot the problem.

Graduating with Bookshare

Continue Your Membership

Whether you are going to a new school or joining the workforce, make sure your membership information stays updated. Learn how to continue your membership into the next chapter of your life.

If you are attending a college, university, or another post-secondary program, be sure to update your new school on your membership.

If you are graduating and joining the workforce, you can still continue your Bookshare membership. For $50.00 a year, you can continue your Bookshare membership and have unlimited access to books in an accessible media.

Learn how to update your membership after graduation .

Have you connected with your counselor?

For students with visual impairments there are tremendous opportunities and resources available to you at your state agency that serves people with visual impairments. Depending on what state you live in, this could be the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division" of Blind Services, Commission of the Blind). Before heading to college,you will want to connect with your counselor at this agency. Your counselor may be able to help you locate assistive technology devices that you can use in college or provide information on financial assistance that you may be entitled to. Use the Directory at American Printing House for the Blind to help find services in your area:

  • Find Services for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
  • New AT? No Problem!

    A new school sometimes means new assistive technology. This shouldn't stop you from reading or doing your coursework! Bookshare recommends that you familiarize yourself with different file formats so you are prepared if you have a sudden change in technology. Check out our guides on how to use different formats with different devices.

    For college bound students, we recommend that you work closely with your T.V.I. when applying to college. You will want to be familiar with your I.E.P. or 504 plan and know what accommodations you currently are using in school. You will not be guaranteed brand name assistive technology in college, but you are entitled to assistive technology that performs the same function. We recommend that when you apply to college, you meet with the college's Disability Service Office to discuss your assistive technology needs. Below are some helpful questions to guide that conversation:

  • What kind of AT equipment is available to you?

  • Will the Disability Resource Center make the AT arrangements on your behalf?

  • Who should faculty members talk to about utilizing AT in the classroom?

  • Do you need to sign up to use AT equipment? If so, how far in advance?

  • Will you be able to utilize AT devices during exams?

  • Is there AT equipment in the library? How about in classrooms and computer labs?

  • Will the college make texts available in various formats, including electronic, audio, or large print?

  • Is the college’s web platform (including course registration software, library catalogs, class discussion boards, etc.) compatible with screen-reading software?

    Here are some guides for different AT tools that college students contact Bookshare for technical support assistance:

    Getting Started with JAWSWord Icon

    Getting Started with VoiceOverWord Icon

    Getting Started with FS ReaderWord Icon

    Getting Started with Victor Reader Stream 2nd GenerationWord Icon

    Getting Started with the Braillenote TouchWord Icon

    Know Your Rights

    If you are attending college or another post-secondary program, be sure to meet with the Disability Support Services on campus. While it is important to know your rights, make sure to talk with the Disability Support Services office about a student's responsibilities. Some colleges offer a Rights and Responsibilities handbook for students receiving Disability Support Services.

  • U.S. Department of Education's Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
  • College and Career Resources

    Scholarships and Grants for Students with V.I.

  • American Foundation for the Blind Scholarships
  • Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship
  • National Federation of the Blind's Scholarship Program
  • Other College Resources

  • Learning Ally's College Success
  • Career Resources

  • CareerConnect®: For Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
  • Perkins School: Job Resources for People Who Are Blind
  • National Industries for the Blind
  • National Federation of the Blind's Career Mentoring
  • Resources for TVIs

    Lesson Plans

    Advanced Search Lesson Plans Word Icon

    Book Request Lesson Plans Word Icon

    Mock Customer Support Call Lesson Plans Word Icon


    Get Individual Memberships for Students video icon   Transcript Icon   PDF Icon   Word Icon

    How to Use Reading Lists Word Icon

    How to Find and Request Booksvideo icon   Transcript Icon   PDF Icon   Word Icon


    Postsecondary Preparation Checklist  PDF Icon  Word Icon

    College and Other Information