ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (SPECIFIC TO VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS)
Assistive technology is any service that directly assists a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device. This includes: evaluation, customization or maintenance of devices; coordination of services; and training for the student, family and professionals. A range of assistive technology devices are available. Some are considered "low tech" and inexpensive while others are more "high tech" and can be more expensive. Assistive technology devices are available in a variety of categories to address functional capabilities of students with disabilities. Categories of assistive technology include: academic and learning aids; aids for daily living; assistive listening devices and environmental aids; augmentative communication; computer access and instruction; environmental control; mobility aids; pre-vocational and vocational and vocational aids, recreation and leisure aids, seating and positioning, and visual aids. The following are some assistive technology specific to visual impairments.
Computers & Technology
Impact of V.I.
History of V.I.
Expanded Core Curriculum
Dog Guide Resources
Organizations & Agencies
Networks & Foundations
Globe & Bar Magnifiers
Globe & bar magnifiers are portable and are placed directly on a page to view print. The following is just a small sample of magnifiers available. You will find a large selection of globe and bar magnifiers in the Visual Impairment Store on this site.
Video Magnifiers (CCTV's)
Video magnifiers, or Closed-circuit televisions (CCTV's), electronically enlarge printed materials on a screen. They can be used for both reading and writing. There are a variety of choices in CCTV's. Some feature a camera that can be toggled to view information presented at near or distance (this is a great feature to have in a classroom setting!). There are also portable CCTV's that are beneficial as they are compact and of course, portable. The following is just a small sample of video magnifiers available. You will find a large selection of video magnifiers in the Visual Impairment Store on this site.
Monoculars & Binoculars
Monocualars and binoculars are both used to view information at a distance. A monocular is a small telescope that is great for spotting information at a distance. They are hand-held, but there are also models that can be mounted to a pair of glasses. The downside of monoculars is that they provided a restricted field of vision. Binoculars provide a wider field of vision. A low vision specialist will prescribe these to students who can benefit from their use and take into account the students unique visual needs. The following is just a small sample of monoculars and binoculars available. You will find a large selection of monoculars and binoculars in the Visual Impairment Store on this site.
Braille Related Devices
Braille related devices will need to be identified in the Assistive Technology section. The following are just a few items you may need to identify. Depending on the student, other devices may may be listed including a braille note-taking device (i.e. Braille and Speak, Mobile Manager, etc.), a refreshable braille display or a book reading/recording device (i.e. Book Port Plus). More information on braille related devices can be found on the Tactual Adaptations page of this site.
Slate & Stylus
A slate & stylus provide a portable way to produce braille. There are a variety of slates and stylus' available. The following is just a small sample of slate & stylus' available. You will find a large selection in the Visual Impairment Store on this site.
A recording device allows a student to record an instructional lesson for studying and notetaking purposes. It is important to gain permission from the school prior to implementing this as many schools have policies against recording classroom instruction. A permission for the use of the device may be required.
Screen Enlargement Software
Most schools are moving toward computer software programs for testing particularly for high stakes testing. The internal computer accessibility functions are typically not compatible with these tests. The best option, for students with low vision who will be required to take this form of test, is for the school to purchase a screen enlargement software program.
Computer with access to technology.
Due to shortage of funds, many schools are using outdated equipment. Although it is understandable that schools are "tightening their purse strings," administrators need to understand that the majority of the special software programs and technology needed by students with visual impairments will not operate functionally on old or outdated equipment. When funds are tight it may require looking to alternative sources for funding.
Scanners allow the user to scan printed information that can then be accessed on the computer.
Talking or Large Print Calculator
Talking or large print calculators are essential for students with visual impairments, particularly those in academic classes. The following is just a small sample of calculators available. You will find a large selection in the Visual Impairment Store on this site.
Low Vision, Talking or Braille Watches
Low vision, talking or braille watches are important for students with visual impairments who are learning time management skills. The following is just a small sample of watches available. You will find a large selection in the Visual Impairment Store on this site.