I’ll admit it: I did not know who Dónal FitzPatrick was when I decided to attend his session. I had read the title: “I Have a Blind Student in My Maths/Science Class, Should I panic? How to promote inclusion for blind students” and found that interesting enough to attend. So when he said that he wasn’t going to use slides during his talk because that would make us realize how it is for a blind student to attend a lecture, I at first thought that he was just making a point. It took me a couple of minutes to realize why he was the right person to make that point: Dónal himself has been blind all his life.
During his session Dónal talked about a number of problems that blind students face in a Math/Science class. For example: equations that are printed in course material can be turned into audio representations. However, this brings additional cognitive load issues for blind students have. Dónal has researched ways to optimize the audio representations by adding extra pauses, pitch changes etc. to lessen that load.