Dr. Christopher Craig
Director of the School of Education and Child Development
Office: (417) 873-7344
Director of Media Relations
Office: (417) 873-7390
Mobile: (417) 839-2886
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 14, 2010 – Around 15 blind high school students from three states will spend a week on the Drury University campus, June 21-25, to learn about opportunities in higher education for students with disabilities.
"There is 80 percent unemployment among legally blind people," says Dr. Chris Craig, director of the Drury School of Education and Child Development, who is blind. "We want kids to understand that college is a possibility and that we would want them here at Drury."
While at Drury, the students, who come from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, will learn about the special technologies available to them, including programs that turn text into speech and electronic Braille note-takers. In addition, the students will attend classes, learn about social opportunities in college, get an introduction to wellness and gain knowledge about the non-academic aspects of college, such as, how to deal with a roommate.
Shawn Askinosie, who owns Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, will host the students at his chocolate-making facility on the morning of Wednesday, June 23 for a tour and some simulations involving the production of chocolate bars.
There is no cost to the students. Rehab Services for the Blind, a state agency, provided funding for the students' room and board. Additional funding was secured through a grant from the Musgrave Foundation and from Drury's Office of Diversity Support Services.
A mix of Drury graduate education students and graduate students from other colleges will work with the blind students. Drury master's degree students in the class "Psychology of the Exceptional Child" will work with the blind students as well as graduate students from other universities who are pursuing a master's in special education with an emphasis in orientation and mobility.
Recently, Dr. Craig received a grant from the Greene County Developmental Disabilities Board to start the Drury University Children's Center for the Visually Impaired. Currently, the center is working to identify blind children from birth to three-years-old that could benefit from support services. "The concept is to develop a set of services that blind students are otherwise not getting until they reach school age," Craig says.
Drury is an independent University, church related, grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to personalized education in a community of scholars who value the arts of teaching and learning. Education at Drury seeks to cultivate spiritual sensibilities and imaginative faculties as well as ethical insight and critical thought; to foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge; and to liberate persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to a global community. For more information, visit www.drury.edu/strategicplan.
University Communications staff are available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 839-2886. Visit the Office of University Communications online at http://news.drury.edu. Resources include a searchable Expert Guide, staff contacts and downloadable print-quality images and logos.