ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES
By: Carmen Willings
Any adaptive device or service that increases participation, achievement or independence for a student with a disability may be considered assistive technology (AT). The following is a list of AT resources for students who are blind or visually impaired.
Ability Hub offers assistive Technology solutions for people with a disability who find operating a computer difficult, maybe even impossible. This site includes resources to adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers.
AbleData is a publicly funded organization through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education. It provides objective information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources to consumers, organizations, professionals, and caregivers within the US.
AccessWorld is a branch of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) that offers comprehensive product evaluations, user-friendly explanations of current technology, practical tips on using technologies, news and reports from the field specific to technology. It also features interviews with industry leaders. All current and past issues and articles can be accessed online or through the AFB Access World app, AFBAW.
The American Foundation for the Bind (AFB) provides a comprehensive product database of assistive technology products used by persons who are blind or visually impaired. Users can browse products by category, manufacturer, or by task. You can also link to product reviews found on AccessWorld.
Alliance for Technology Access (ATA)
ATA is a national network of community-based resource centers, product developers, vendors, service providers, and individuals that provides information and support services to persons with disabilities. Their mission is to increase the use of technology by children and adults with disabilities and functional limitations.
ATIA is a membership organization of manufacturers, sellers, and providers of technology based assistive devices and services. They hold an annual conference on assistive technology.
Beyond Sight specializes in independent living aids and adaptive technology. Products include braille embossers, computer technology, games, kitchen aids, magnifiers and mobility aids. In addition, they provide training for using the products
Bookshare provides access to books that are legally scanned for people who are visually impaired or print disabled. The books can be read with adaptive technology or in embossed braille.
CANnect is a consortium of schools and philanthropists who provide courses designed toward people who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible and comprehensive online courses cover a wide range of subjects specific to visual impairments as well as the core curriculum and workplace tools like spreadsheets and word processing. CANnect solves problems for people with vision impairments so they can get on with learning.
Closing The Gap provides information and training necessary to best locate, compare and implement assistive technology into the lives of persons with disabilities. They hold an annual international conference, online magazine and live webinars.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a membership association for educators and education leaders who are engaged in improving learning and teaching through the advancement of technology in pre-k-12 and teacher education.
Michigan DOE Assistive Technology Resources List
The Michigan Department of Education has compiled a great list of Assistive Technology Resources. Visit there site and view all the resources or use the filter feature to locate the exact AT support you are looking for.
Paths to Technology
Paths to Technology is designed to assist educators and families in learning and staying current on ever-changing technology for students with visual impairments and blindness. The goal of the project is to enable students with visual impairments and blindness to succeed in paperless mainstream classrooms and post-school opportunities for employment by achieving digital literacy and by staying current with rapidly evolving technology. Paths to Technology is a resource for defining and disseminating best practices, training, and support for teachers of the visually impaired, braille transcribers, other education professionals, parents and students.
National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials
The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials features the AIM Navigator. The AIM Navigator is an interactive tool that facilitates the process of decision-making around accessible instructional materials for an individual student. The tool helps teams determine the need of AT; select the format; consider the acquisition of formats; and select the supports for use.
The VI/Assistive Technology program at the Region 10 Education Service Center in Richardson, TX has developed Technology Olympics, a great activity for motivating students with visual impairments to develop their assistive technology skills. Technology Olympics provides students the opportunity to compete at their individual skill levels using the latest technology equipment available for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Check out the information and forms on their site to develop a Technology Olympics for your area!
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings