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Te Kotuituinga Mātauranga Pura o Aotearoa

Preparation for Transition to University


Áine in an independent work environment at school

Figure 1 Áine in her “office”

Áine is in Year 13 in a mainstream secondary school.  In preparation for attending university in 2013, she is working with her RTV, Jenny McFadden to ensure a smooth transition.

In figure 1 we see Áine in her “office”, an independent work environment at school.

Time management

Next year Áine will attend university.  Due to her swimming commitments (Paralympic Swimmer 2012) Áine has been unable to attend many of her subject classes so the school has provided a small room for Áine to work in.

Áine relaxing after swimming

Figure 2: Áine relaxing after a swimming session

All curriculum material is either Brailled or sent to Áine in an electronic format. To keep up to date with the curriculum she regularly contacts her teachers by email. Most assignments and essays are sent in this way.

She is currently studying towards her Cambridge Curriculum A levels in Pure Mathematics and Statistics, Spanish, English Literature and Music.

Figure 2 Áine is relaxing after a swimming session.

Looking to the future

  1. Áine uses an Apex BrailleNote and also a laptop with JAWS and Sibelius. Áine has developed highly advanced technology skills, including allocating Unicode characters to advanced Mathematic symbols so that printed copy or work on the visual display can be understood by sighted teachers/peers.
  2. Attained University Entrance in 2011 (Cambridge AS Levels).
  3. Met with School Guidance Counselor to discuss tertiary options.
  4. Immersion Course –visited University of Auckland as part of the Tertiary Immersion Course.
  5. Individual Transition Plan meeting held with goals set by student.
  6. Orientation and Mobility skills towards independent travel.
  7. Visit to the university to meet with the Coordinator of Disability Services and also Faculty Heads of Arts and Music.
Playing the flute

Figure 3: Áine playing her flute

In figure 3 we see Áine playing her flute.

Next steps for success

  • Decide on course selection.
  • Complete University enrolment process.
  • Sit and attain Cambridge A Levels.
  • Ensure technology is appropriate to needs.
  • Weekly visits to University with O&M instructor in preparation for 2013.
  • Research and apply for available scholarships.

Teaching methods and strategies

  • Self-reflection and the development of an independent approach to studies.
  • Problem solving skills in relationship to how to obtain information from class lessons/discussions from which she is absent.
  • Feed-back from teachers to ensure Curriculum content is covered
  • Time management to ensure that she uses her study time profitably.
  • Self-Advocacy to communicate, convey, negotiate for her own needs, and rights. Make informed decisions and take responsibility for those decisions.

Learning adaptations

  • All Materials/texts in an accessible format- Braille, tactile or electronic
  • Separate office space provided for Áine to work in
  • Subject teachers’ cooperation in meeting the needs of the student through email as opposed to an in-school setting.


Results from Cambridge AS Levels led to Áine’s subject choice for 2012 and beyond. After discussion with Áine and the IEP team individual goals were set that would see her furthering her education by attending university. She intends to study towards for a conjoint Performance Music (Flute) and Arts degree (Spanish and English Literature).

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