Assistive Technology for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
Technology is everywhere in today’s society—from the computer you are using to visit FamilyConnect to the debit card you used at the grocery store this morning to the remote you click to change channels on your television. Your visually impaired child will use technology in all facets of her life. Sometimes it will be the everyday technology that all people use; sometimes it will be assistive technology, and sometimes the two will overlap.
As your child grows, her technology needs will change. At the same time, the technology available to her will be changing as well. To help your child make the best use of both mainstream and assistive technology to maximize her independence, you will need to know about these ever-changing options.
This section will introduce you to the basics of assistive technology for children with visual impairments. This section includes:
- an overview of assistive technology,
- tools for accessing printed information and electronic information,
- tools for writing,
- tips for taking care of assistive technology devices,
- examples of visually impaired students using various devices at school and home,
- and information about kitchen appliance accessibility.
There are other resources available to help you and your child learn about new technology. One way to keep up is by subscribing to AccessWorld®, a free, online technology magazine published monthly by the American Foundation for the Blind. Each year it publishes a back-to-school issue in July and a gift guide in November. You can also download the free AccessWorld app to read AccessWorld on your phone.
You may also wish to explore the AFB database of products for people who are blind or visually impaired, a comprehensive listing of assistive technology products used by people with vision loss. You can search for a product or manufacturer, find out what products are available, and get a sense of which products are the best options for your child.
Additionally, the following resources provide information regarding the accessibility of technology used by the general population:
- The AppleVis website provides written guides, product reviews, forums, and podcasts to help you learn about all of the accessibility features of the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
- Inclusive Android is a website that is similar to AppleVis but geared toward Android smartphones and tablets.
- The Blind Bargains website offers articles, a podcast, and various audio demonstrations that will help you stay aware of emerging trends in assistive technology.
- Microsoft’s accessibility page is a great place to learn about the company’s commitment to accessibility across their entire range of products.
- Finally, here are links to the accessibility pages for Apple, Amazon, and Google.