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September 8, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

Visibly impaired student enters varsity

LIFE is never easy for the disabled, especially if they have to compete with physically healthy people.

However, Shen Dawei, whose visibility is limited, has successfully managed to squeeze into one of the city's top universities.

The freshman admitted to Fudan University this semester is blind in his left eye and suffers from severe myopia, 1,400 degrees, in his right eye.

The 1.8-meter Shen wore a pair of spherical glasses and took along a magnifying glass to the college entrance exam, which he passed.

"I will purse my studies for a PhD. I want to be a university professor," said the 18-year-old, exuding confidence.

Due to his poor eyesight, Shen could have studied at a school for the blind and received higher education for the disabled.

But the 18-year-old has made it this far by competing against his able-bodied counterparts.

Wang Wenji, Shen's doctor who provides long-term care for his eyes, called it "a medical miracle".

Shen was born with very weak eyesight due to genetic defects. When he was small, Shen's father took him to see trains, ships and rivers, fearful that if the boy went completely blind he would never see the world.

To make him more confident, his parents decided to send him to a normal day-care center when he was two. Shen then went to a normal kindergarten and onwards to schools, despite his eyes deteriorating and his left eye suffering retinal detachment during his middle school years.

He suffered taunts from his peers when he was very young. Shen had to put his nose into the textbooks to read. He couldn't see things 2 meters away and had to watch out for obstacles while walking.

But the taunts have since turned to admiration. People admire his great confidence and excellent grades.

It has not been easy, though.

Shen has taken great pains to keep up with other students. He needs a week to finish reading what normal people can do in one or two days.

Though sitting in the front row in class, he almost always relied on his ears to hear what the teacher said. He sometimes took photos of the blackboard and would enlarge the pictures on his computer to study after class.

Apart from his diligence, his parents have also made a great contribution. After class, his mother would read all the textbooks to him to help him review lessons and have a preview of new lessons. The habit began when Shen was in primary school and will continue during his university years.


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