Technology has come a long way toward providing accessibility to all forms of communication for employees and students who are low vision or blind. While more work needs to be done, the gap in connectivity is closing. New technologies for the blind have enabled educators to develop programs that promote and teach communication, connectivity, and functional training.
A common misconception is that individuals with vision impairments or low vision are unable to use many communication tools that are so seamlessly integrated into modern society such as smartphones, computers, the internet, etc. However, it is precisely through many of these technologies that individuals who are blind or have low vision have discovered the ability to communicate like never before.
All that is needed is sufficient training and education. That is why education for the blind that focuses on utilizing low vision products is the best way to improve practical computing and work related skills, and to provide individuals who have vision loss with the professional and scholastic skills required to succeed in today’s world.
These educational programs typically begin with a brief assessment that offers students the opportunity to try a variety of technologies for the blind that can best serve their needs. A wide selection of devices, software applications, and peripheral equipment is available that can improve the skills of low vision students and employees. Education for the blind is tailored to each individual in order to find the most effective methods of training and coaching.
The primary goal of education for the blind programs is to provide the necessary skills to thrive in today’s busy work and school environments. There are many different technologies for the blind that assist with tasks such as creating emails, taking notes, scanning documents, using web browsers like Internet Explorer or Firefox, and using software such as MS Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
Training and evaluation services that can prepare a blind or vision impaired person to use a computer proficiently for their goals and interests are available for people of all abilities from the novice to the expert. Technology courses for the blind are available for children, students, working age adults, and seniors, as well as for educators and rehabilitation professionals in the use of technologies for the blind.
In addition, many useful methods have been developed for people with low vision to learn the necessary skills to be independent in their homes, in class settings, and in their work places. When glasses just aren’t enough, individuals don’t have to feel afraid or lost because so many services are available such as, vision rehabilitation services, vocational and transition programs, assistive technology training, educational support and recreation opportunities for individuals of all ages who are visually impaired. Individuals with low vision have many options and programs available to them right at their fingertips!
These skills are just a small part of what The Carroll Center for the Blind, in Newton, Massachusetts teaches to its clients. Visit their website for more information at http://carroll.org/.