An individual with a visual disability is someone who has limited functional vision or no vision at all (blindness). Individuals who have low vision or who are blind can use some of the following assistive technologies to assist in meeting their academic and personal goals:
JAWS is a screen reader software designed to run on the Windows platform and is commonly used by blind and low vison students. Students can access the computer and many of its applications using a variety of keyboard commands. JAWS is also used to navigate websites and other internet applications.
Kurzweil 1000 is a software that uses a scanner to make printed materials accessible on the computer for individuals who have low vision or who are blind. Materials can be imported from other documents and the internet as well. Text scanned or imported from other sources can be converted to audio files to be listened to on mobile devices.
OpenBook is another software that allows the user to convert printed documents or graphic-based text into an electronic text format to be read aloud on the computer. A variety of file formats can be imported to be read as well.
The Duxbury Braille Translator software converts text into a Braille format to be embossed (printed) by a Braille printer. The converted Braille file can also be accessed on Braille Displays and various Braille Note Taker devices.
ZoomText is a screen magnification software that can magnify the computer screen at different levels to accommodate many degrees of vision loss. It can be used with many applications, including popular internet browsers. Text may be read aloud as well while magnified. The mouse pointer color and the screen contrast can be adjusted to meet different users’ needs.
Fusion is the integration of ZoomText with all its screen magnification and visual enhancements combined with the screen reading features of JAWS. Fusion is for students who need magnification and advanced screen reading capabilities simultaneously.
The Victor Reader Stream is a device that plays audio and electronic textbooks and files. It enables individuals to use audio books to navigate by units, chapters, pages, etc. However, the audio books have to be designed to use these specific navigation features.
The CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) is a desktop device used to increase the magnification of hard copy materials. This unit is designed to help students who are low vision. Our model allows the student to take pictures of printed materials which can then be read aloud.
Small and used for on-the-go, these devices are used to increase the text size on hard copy material. Background & text color can be changed to enhance contrast when viewing materials.
These are basic low tech magnifiers that enable students to magnify hard copy text at various levels.
Braille Note takers are used by blind students to read, type and complete coursework. The devices are equipped with a refreshable braille display and braille-style keyboard. A blind student can navigate the internet, access cloud services and even access videos on YouTube.
The Braille embosser outputs documents that have been translated into Braille.
This typewriter-like device is used to create Braille for blind individuals.
This machine is used to create simple raised line diagrams and drawings.
A standard keyboard where the keys are also labelled in Braille.
For low vision users who need to visually identify the keys on a keyboard; this keyboard contains all of the standard keys of a traditional keyboard, in additional to shortcut keys designed to work with the ZoomText screen magnification software.
A basic calculator where large numbers are displayed on the screen and on the keypad.
The following models are available:
- Graphing calculator
The Franklin Language Master is a talking electronic dictionary, thesaurus and spell checker. This device is helpful to individuals with low vision and those who are blind.
The Livescribe pen is a smart pen that uses unique micro dot paper to record lecture audio that is synced with the student’s handwritten notes. It allows the student to go back and review the recording of incomplete or missed notes by simply tapping on the notes with the pen. The Livescribe pen can be used by students with low vision.
Tablets are equipped with a variety of built-in assistive technology apps and features to accommodate individuals who are visually impaired. Additional apps can be purchased and downloaded from the devices’ respective app store. There are apps to assist with scanning and reading text, downloading and organizing eBooks, etc.