Tools of the blind and visually impaired

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MOBILITY
The White Cane: read great information on the history, etc regarding this widely recognized tool of the blind and visually impaired http://www.acb.org/tennessee/white_cane_history.html

Guide Dog: A choice of many blind and visually impaired people, the Guide Dog is a specially trained dog that helps a blind/VI person navigate the world. For information of guide dogs and the special training programs, visit http://www.seeingeye.org/ and http://www.guidedogs.com/site/PageServer

ENLARGING DEVICES
CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) is a device that typically has a camera and a screen. The visually impaired person puts the paper they are trying to see on a tray under the camera and the camera enlarges the image on a screen similar to a tv or computer monitor. Size and color contrast are a couple of the features on CCTV’s that help the visually impaired see the material. For a comprehensive list of CCTV options, go tohttp://www.independentliving.com/departments.asp?dept=28

Handheld Magnifiers are typically small, portable devices that can be used to enlarge small print or picture areas such as a restaurant menu, paper money, etc. Handhel Magnifiers come in several sizes and many have light options. For a list of handheld magnifiers visit http://www.independentliving.com/products.asp?dept=79&deptname=

BRAILLE
Braille is a system of raised dots that is used by the blind and visually impaired to read and write.

The Perkins Braille Writer: Almost every blind/VI child’s first experience with creating Braille happens on a Perkins Braille writer. The Perkins Braille Writer looks much like an old typewriter. For pictures and more information on this visit http://www.perkinsproducts.org/store/en/3-braillers

Electronic Braille Writer Thanks to evolving technology, many Braille readers/writers choose the more compact, light, and versatile electronic Braille writers. These have a refreshable Braille display and many can connect to a printer to produce “regular” print. For more on these visit http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/products/blindness/braillenotes

Slate and Stylus is a small, portable system of creating Braille. To view slate and stylus options visithttp://www.perkinsproducts.org/store/en/35-slates-styluses

Braille Book Resources: 
Seedlings Braille books for children http://www.seedlings.org/
National Braille Press http://www.nbp.org/
Interesting tip: Many Braille children’s books are available in a “twin vision” design, meaning there is regular print as well as braille on the pages. These are a wonderful resource for sighted parents, siblings and teachers to share a book with a blind child.

More Braille Resources:
http://www.brailleinstitute.org/
http://www.perkinsproducts.org/store/en/
Braille literacy courses: http://www.hadley.edu/braillecourses.asp

COMPUTER ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
Screen readers (JAWS, ZOOMTEXT) Screen readers are special programs on the computer that read the computer screen out loud to the blind/VI user. To view examples of screen readers visit
http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/jaws-product-page.asp
http://www.nvaccess.org/
http://www.aisquared.com/zoomtext

Screen enlarging software allows the blind/VI user to enlarge the screen of the computer as well as enlarge key components such as the pointer or cursor. For an example of a screen magnifier visithttp://www.aisquared.com/zoomtext/more/zoomtext_magnifier

Portable Scanner allows blind/VI people to scan a printed document into a computer and then utilize enlarging or document reader technology to access the document. For examples of this visithttp://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/pearl-product-page.asp

MUSIC NOTATION
Dancing Dots offers an accessible music program for blind and visually impaired people.http://www.dancingdots.com/main/index.htm

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