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College Guide For Students With Visual Impairments (Part 2)

March 10, 2017

Special technologies, software, and applications are crucial in terms of integrating visually impaired students into the academic process without any damage to the quality of education that they receive. Take a look at top tech innovations and apps for students with visual disabilities.

  1. Screen Reader. It allows reading text using a synthesizer of speech. This device is operated by entering various combinations of letters on a Braille display. It makes speech synthesizer read the printed info.
  2. Video Magnifier. It projects graphics and magnified text on a screen by means of a handheld or mounted camera.
  3. Screen Magnification. It zooms graphics and text. Magnification is handled with the help of a mouse or keyboard commands. Screen magnification also shows study materials in an easy-to-read font.
  4. Braille Embosser. It can be connected to printers to create Braille print documents which are essential for people with sight disabilities. All you need is thick paper. Know that you can only print on one side of a document.
  5. Braille Display. They use pins to transcribe text which is displayed on screen into Braille. Braille displays are usually connected to the PC with a cable.
  6. Portable Note-Taker. This convenient device has Braille-friendly buttons. Students can read books, find directions, compose assignments, and record lectures with its help.
  7. Adaptive Keyboards. These are specialized keyboards that come with locator dots on certain keys for those who can’t use a standard keyboard. Adaptive keyboards usually have removable Braille overlays.
  8. Optical Character Recognition. It scans text and saves it or repeats it aloud with the help of speech synthesizer. Unfortunately, OCR devices can’t interpret the text written by hand.

Guide for Students With Visual Impairments (part 2)

Top Apps for Visually Impaired Students

  1. Voice Brief ($2.99) – reads aloud content from social media, e-mails, text messages, etc.
  2. Ariadne Gps ($5.99) – has fingertip-accessible maps for people with sight disabilities.
  3. Looktel Money Reader ($9.99) – scans American currency paper bills to define their value.
  4. List Recorder ($0.99) – makes it easy to record and store lists. It’s integrated with Braille display and VoiceOver for maximum convenience.
  5. Dragon Dictation (Free) – records and transcribes audio messages with punctuation.

Additional Resources

  • The National Federation of the Blind 
  • The American Council of the Blind 
  • The American Foundation for the Blind 
  • United States Association of Blind Athletes 
  • Lighthouse Guild 

Despite federal law which requires accessibility and inclusiveness for disabled students, visually impaired students must make their own research in order to determine if the prospective educational institution can meet their needs and if it has the necessary resources, campus services, counselors, special accommodations, and dedicated personnel. When the choice is made, the student should talk to disability counselor at the college. Talking to professors about special needs before the start of every semester is highly advisable.


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