Xavier Magazine

Independence Day

When Jan Danner crossed the stage to receive her diploma in community counseling at this year’s graduate commencement, a four-legged friend stood by her side—Andrew. Danner lost her sight when she was 25 and relies on Andrew, her seeing-eye dog, to keep her independent.


“A lot of people think folks who are blind need help everywhere, but we don’t,” she says. “A dog really does help us travel independently.”

To help her study independently, as well, Danner relied on the resources at Xavier’s learning assistance center. Professors sent the class syllabus to the center where it was put into a Word attachment and e-mailed to Danner’s computer. Danner then used screen reading software to check her e-mail and complete assignments. She also subscribes to a service that offers recordings for the blind, including most broadly used college textbooks, and tapes class lectures on a mini cassette.

Now that classes are over, Danner can focus on studying for her licensure exam. “I can’t tell you how I ended up at Xavier,” she says. “One foot went in front of the other, so that’s still my M.O. My next foot is going to study for my licensure exam. And then I will look all around and see what’s out there.”

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