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Blind student praises University for inclusive teaching

A student with sight loss has praised her university for the support she received during her studies.

Eilidh Morrison from Aberdeen is 22, in her third year of studying Physics at the University of Aberdeen, and has the sight loss conditions Retinitis Pigmentosa and Ocular Molar Apraxia.

“My sight loss means that I have tunnel vision and can only see three per cent in the direct centre of my eye," she explains. "It's not great because I also can't scan left to right, so reading and writing in a line can be a challenge for me. You can imagine that it’s not the easiest being a blind student.

“My first practical class was Electronics where we were given a breadboard; a rectangle board with tiny square holes which you use to make a circuit board. However, the components were so small, and I couldn’t tell resistors apart from each other as there was only a small red line to distinguish the different types.

“The first time I was in that class I sat there wanting to cry as I couldn’t complete the lesson due to one issue in my sight.”

But Eilidh’s lecturer and Student Support Advisor were ready to help. They worked with Eilidh towards a solution which would allow her to take part in the class.

A picture of Eilidh Morrison

A picture of Eilidh Morrison

“After support and listening from the university staff, I was given access to a piece of online software- a virtual electronics lab- and this helped me reach my potential. I ended up getting a grade that I was so sure I wasn’t going to get. It is so good that was matched with my Student Support Advisor, she is a big reason as to why I have got this far in my studies.”

Supporting Eilidh is Student Support Adviser, Geraldine Lynch, who works with students with disabilities across the university. She says,

“Eilidh’s story is a great example of where, by listening to our students and working collaboratively across schools and departments, we can implement support tailored to students’ needs which will allow them to meet their own individual potential. We were delighted to be able to match her passion and positivity and would encourage any of our students who require support in their studies to talk to us about it.

“The University is fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Our vision is to create an inclusive environment for work and study which celebrates the diversity of our students and staff.

“Diversity brings new and engaging perspectives and enriches the experience of all who work, study and visit the University, which is why we take a proactive approach to embedding and mainstreaming these principles through our strategic plan, Aberdeen 2040.”

Eilidh’s journey extends beyond the classroom as she also serves as an MSYP (Member of Scottish Youth Parliament), representing Haggeye, a forum for blind and partially sighted young people hosted by RNIB Scotland. The role further reflects her commitment to improving educational opportunities for others facing similar challenges.

"It’s important that we do work together to change things,” she says. “Education is a big topic and I think a lot of blind and visual impaired people often don’t leave school with the grades they should have. Education is a massive area to change all at once, but if we break it down and tackle it an issue at a time, we can make a difference."