Other Blind Tools

How to touble shoot a braille display and find those drivers when it won’t connect correctly-Make sure you have the latest firmware update: http://tech.aph.org/rbd_info.htm Also, make sure that in your talking software setup you have no display selected before updating firmware

Steps: After update

You’ll need to install the usb and serial drivers if you’re using Windows in device manager

Refreshabraille 18

Installing USB drivers on Windows 7 and Windows 8: You can download the newest drivers on the APH website: this is the newest drivers as of April 2015 if you do not have a CD  http://tech.aph.org/rbd_upd.exe

1.       First, insert the CD that came with your Refreshabraille 18 into your CD Drive (or use link above). Then insert the included USB connector into the Refreshabraille 18 and your pc. Windows will attempt to automatically install the appropriate drivers but it will fail.

2.       On Windows 7: press the Windows key to bring up search. Type in “device manager.” Select Device Manager from the list of found items. On Windows 8: press the Windows key and X to bring up a list of options, one of them being Device Manager, select that option.

3.       Look for the Refreshabraille 18 under the heading “Other Devices” and hit enter.

4.       Select the option to Update Drivers.

5.       Windows will now present you with the options to let it search automatically for the drivers or for you to browse for the location manually. Select the option to find the location manually.

6.       Now simply enter your CD drive information into the search bar. Typically this will something such as D:\. After entering this information, hit enter. Windows will now begin installing the driver software and a dialog box will pop up asking you whether you would like to install this device software. Select install.

You have now completed installation of the Refreshabraille 18’s USB drivers. You will now need to install the serial drivers.

Installing Serial Drivers:

1.       First locate the Refreshabraille 18 under the heading “Other devices,” it will be called “USB Serial Port.” Select this item. Now repeat steps 4 through 6 from when you installed the USB drivers to complete installation.

2.       Make note of what com port it has installed to, as you will need this information when getting some screen readers to recognize the Refreshabraille 18.


Watch on YouTube also: Setup Braille display on PC-trouble shooting it


The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)’sEffective Practices for Description of Science Content within DigitalTalking books at: http://ncam.wgbh.org/experience_learn/educational_media/stemdx

The “Accessible image sample book” (DIAGRAM PROJECT) at:

Tthe UKAAF (UK Association for Accessible Formats ) Guidance at:
http://www.ukaaf.org/formats-and-guidance#accessible   and

Other examples of equivalent text descriptions (Accessed) at:

Apps for all types of disabilities or challenges of any age


Information from: “Appy” Transition to Adulthood

Maria Kelley, OTR/L, ATP

Gaby de Jongh

Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP)

800 214-8731




Resources for Disability Apps

AppCrawlr-search site

*        http://appcrawlr.com/ios-apps/best-apps-functional-groups

*        Autism Speaks

*        http://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-apps

*        BridgingApps–IsignioApp Tool

*        http://bridgingapps.org/

*        Daily App Show –blog with app reviews

*        http://dailyappshow.com/

*        Georgia Tools for Life –search database

*        http://www.gatfl.org/favorite-search.php

*        iTunes -App store

*        Special Education Section

*        Smart Apps for Kids

*        http://www.smartappsforkids.com/

*        Sign up for email notifications when apps are on sale

*        OT’s with Apps –blog with app reviews

*        http://otswithapps.com/

*        You Tube –demos of apps

*        http://www.youtube.com/


iDressfor Weather

*        Customizable closet

*        Customizable temp range

*        Location based

*        $1.99



*        See all your bills & accounts in one centralized place

*        Get reminders when bills are due

*        Pay on the spot and schedule bill payments for free

*        Receive alerts when funds are low or credit limits are near

*        Free


Money Counter Calculator

*        Enter amount of coins and dollars and total is provided

*        iPad only

*        Free


LookTel Money Reader

*        Uses camera

*        Speaks out loud

*        Do not need to hold bill steady or in entire frame

*        Supports US dollar, Australian Dollar, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Mexican Peso, Indian Rupee, New Zeland Dollar, Russian Ruble, others

*        $9.99


Shopping List Generator

*        Pictorial shopping list

*        Customize different lists for different users with pictures on camera roll

*        Add your own items and categories

*        Assign item prices

*        Assign item locations (i.e. -aisle numbers)

*        Several accessibility options

*        text-to-speech

*        uses large easy-to-see images

*        item prices automatically totaled

*        $4.99


FaceDialVisual Dialer

*        Call/text/email your favorites contacts, with buttons showing their photo

*        See all your favorite contacts faces in one or several screens

*        Call/text/email them with a single touch

*        Free



*        Translates both voice and text based communication

*        Supports multiple languages

*        Video chat

*        Text

*        $9.99



*        Uses GPS and the compass to locate you

*        Gathers information about the surrounding environment from FourSquare and Open Street Map

*        Has unique algorithms to decide what information is the most relevant and then speaks it to you with high quality speech synthesis

*        $23.99


Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

•Tracks your sleep patterns

•Uses iPhone accelerometer to track how often you move at night

•Set an alarm range

•Woken up gradually when you are in like sleep

•Feel refreshed and energized



Apps for Note taking

Dragon Dictation

*        Voice Recognition

*        Dictate notes, emails, Twitter, and Facebook

*        Supports many languages

*        Convenient editing feature that provides a list of suggested words

*        Voice driven correction interface

*        Free



*        Records your notes, meetings or lectures

*        Can take notes by typing, stylus, or drawing

*        Time stamps so you can go directly to where you want to hear

*        Highlights notes when read back

*        $4.99



*        Full-featured Handwriting

*        PDF Annotation

*        Advanced Word Processing

*        Linked Audio Recording

*        Auto-sync with iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive

*        Library Organization

*        $2.99


Apps for Reading & Writing


Reading: Learning AllyAudible

Learning Ally

*        DAISY format

*        Over 75,000 audiobooks

*        Membership required


*        Over 100,000 titles

*        Works on Android, Apple, and Windows

*        $14.95 per month


Reading: WebReader

*        Text to speech technology for reading web page content

*        Web pages can be read as soon as they are loaded or use Cut, Copy, & Paste to read only sections of webpage

*        Highlights as it reads text

*        Speaking rate control available

*        $1.99


Reading & Writing: ClaroSpeakUS

*        Text-to-Speech

*        Import documents and PDFs into ClaroSpeak from apps such as Mail, or import PDF, Word, Pages and other files directly from Dropbox using

*        Change font and color

*        Save text as an audio file

*        Visual Tracking

*        Send Text

*        $0.99


Reading & Writing: iReadWrite

*        Text-to-speech

*        Word Prediction

*        Phonetic Spell Checker

*        Homophone and Confusables Checker

*        Picture Dictionary

*        Customizable Background and Text Colors

*        Choice of Voices and Fonts

*        Importing and Sharing documents

*        $19.99


Reading &Writing: iWordQ

*        Writing

*        In-context word prediction

*        Access to iPad dictionary

*        Text-to-speech feedback

*        Simple Text Editor

*        Reading

*        Read out loud

*        Advanced proofreading

*        $24.99


Writing: Inspiration Maps

*        Brainstorm new ideas and capture insights

*        Organize thoughts and topics for writing

*        Understand cause and effect

*        Analyze information

*        Organize projects

*        Take notes

*        Study for exams

*        $9.99


Apps for Organization/Memory



*        Keep up-to-date with your school work, grades, to-do's, teacher's information

*        School organizer that can be with you anywhere you go, whether that be on your iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, or Mac

*        $1.99


Key Ring

*        One Place to store all reward cards

*        Organized

*        Android & Apple version

*        Free



•Keep track of medication


•Refill Reminders

•Healthcare Provider Profiles

•Insurance Information


•Works across Platforms



VoCalVoice Reminders

*        Uses tones or recorded voices

*        Echo feature

*        Email reminders to friends or family

*        Calendar synching to iCal

*        $0.99


Picture Scheduler

*        Create visual tasks with attached audio, video or picture

*        Tasks can have alarms

*        Alarms can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly or you can select specific weekdays

*        Tasks can be organized into categories with a picture

*        Can hide task and reveal later

*        $2.99


Apps for Communication


Speak it!

*        Easy to use interface: enter the text you want to say, and press the “Speak it! Button

*        Four high quality voices are included: American Male, American Female, British Male, British Female

*        Highlights words as they are spoken

*        Ability to create audio files and email them

*        Save as many phrases as you would like, and easily repeat them later

*        Localized for French, Italian, German, and Spanish

*        $1.99



*        Uses GPS to track user location and suggests appropriate vocabulary based on location

*        ie: McDonald’;s starbucks

*        A keyboard to type for text-to-speech

*        User can tag their own locations and create vocabulary for each location

*        Lite version free

*        Pro version $130


GoTalk NOW

*        Adjustable page layouts

*        Customizable navigation

*        Recorded and text-to-speech capabilities

*        Included symbol set

*        $79.99 (free version available)


Rocket Keys

*        Sentence Prediction to help support social conversations

*        Create your own keyboard

*        Stabilization feature for users with tremors

*        $160



*        Symbol-supported

*        Text to speech

*        Word prediction

*        Phrase prediction

*        Natural voices

*        Expanding vocabulary

*        Switch scanning access

*        Send email, messages, tweets and Facebook posts

*        $219.99


Apps for Navigation & Location


Around Me

*        Identifies where you are

*        Lists what is around you

*        View route from where you are

*        Add information to contact list

*        Free


Four Square

*        Check in to remember and share the places you visit

*        Search for anything (from 'free wi-fi' to ‘nachos’) or browse food, nightlife, and more

*        Get directions, hours, menus, photos, and tips and tens of millions of places

*        Free


Find my Kids ~ Footprints

*        Tracks movement throughout the day and logs waypoints without user intervention

*        Parental control feature allows for sharing locations at all times, without a disabling option

*        Geofence and movement notifications can alert you when someone moves or crosses a fenced area

*        Speeding notifications can alert parents when their teenagers go over the speed limit

*        Free


Apps for Sensory Needs



*        OCR scan

*        Voice control of some features

*        Read back in a natural voice

*        Customizable

*        Highlight colors

*        Synthesizer

*        Text size

*        Speech rate

*        Low vision users

*        $19.99



*        EyeSight allows to magnify any printed material up to 12X

*        Toggle through 6 distinct color-contrast combinations

*        Becomes the equivalent of a CCTV

*        $29.99


Vision Assist

*        Electronic video magnifier

*        Zoom image up to 20x

*        Can freeze image and pan in

*        Autofocus

*        Optimized for Retina Display

*        Utilizes camera flash

*        $5.99



*        Designed to help blind and visually impaired identify objects

*        Aim camera at an item then double tap the screen

*        Hear the app speak the identification

*        Free


Clear Captions

*        Adds captions to the phones you already have

*        Displays captions of your phone calls

*        Only you see the captions for your call

*        Requires WiFi

*        Free

*        Does require a one time fee to set up


Hamilton CapTel

*        Listen to phone conversations while reading word-for-word captions

*        Requires simultaneous voice and data plans, or WiFi

*        Free



*        Enables people who are deaf or hard of hearing to use an iPhone or iPod Touch to quickly and easily call people who are hearing

*        You type your side conversation, certified IP-Relay operator receives it and voices everything you type to the hearing person

*        Free



*        Useful for sign language communicators

*        Send text and SMS

*        Works on 3G and WiFi

*        Free



*        Sound Amplifier

*        Must use basic headphones

*        $0.99


Apps for Emergency Preparedness


ICE(In Case of Emergency)

*        Emergency contact list

*        Central place for you to record any medications

*        List allergies or medical conditions

*        Pre-loaded medical information to choose from

*        Free


American Red Cross: Shelter View

*        Know when and where shelters have been opened to provide assistance

*        Maps locations and shelter details

*        View shelter details

*        Capacity of the shelter and current population

*        Shelter address and location

*        Shelter information is updated every 30 minutes

*        Free


Emergency Aid

*        What to do in a personal threat, disaster or emergency

*        Detailed medical profile

*        Emergency contacts and health information with photo and customizable notes

*        Distress Signal and light

*        Illustrated instructions with highlighted “What to do”, “Warnings” and “Do Not”

*        One-Tap Call to emergency aid services or web sites

*        $1.99


Apps for Behavior and Relaxation


iZen Garden

*        Choose from 100s of objects, plants and creatures to place in your garden

*        Rake the sand and share your creations

*        Helps you to center your mind, relax your psyche and relieve your stress

*        $4.99


T2 Mood Tracker

*        Monitor moods on six pre-loaded scales

*        Anxiety

*        Stress

*        Depression

*        Brain injury

*        Post-traumatic stress

*        General Well being

*        Rate and track moods over time

*        Free



*        Portable stress management tool

*        Voice instructions for set up and relaxation

*        Easily set length of inhale and exhale to help as a reminder for deep breathing

*        Can help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management

*        Free


Relax Melodies

*        Help block out environmental noises and increase productivity and focus

*        Relax Melodies and White noise Machine Lite

*        Customize sounds and make playlists

*        Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite

*        Customizable sounds coupled with visual nature displays

*        Free


This article from:   I Own 3,000 E-Books. I Paid $0: How to Build an E-Library Free

One of the highlights of my day is to browse several emails I receive that list free e-books. A lot of it is dreck (many self-published books on Kindle's free publishing platform sorely needed editors). But virtually every day, I find something interesting.


LibriVox–library books


The average price of Kindle best sellers on Amazon.com (AMZN) is rising steeply. E-book prices go from 99 cents for unknown and self-published authors to $20 or more for new books from household names, such as John Grisham, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown.

I now have more than 3,000 free e-books on my Kindle and iPad. Many are from Project Gutenberg, which includes books whose copyrights have expired (these are generally a century old). Other, I have borrowed from openlibrary.org (check to see if your local library participates). Authors also briefly offer their books as freemium promotions (sometimes for just a day) in hopes that you'll read them and tell all your friends about them. And bestsellers and new books do appear on these lists occasionally. These may even be available on your own public library's e-reader platform.

Free, Free, Free

These sites for free e-books span the genres, including self-help, children's fantasy, romance, mystery, Christian, erotica and nonfiction. I've found that having an Amazon account is the best access. Also, it's easy to cancel an order if by accident you buy a book that is not free.

  • You can sign up for ZeroFrictionBooks' daily email list or browse the books with the covers on the site. Links are to buy free on Amazon.
  • Bookbub.com lists deals and freebies with links to buy on Kobo from Indigo (IDGBF), Apple (AAPL), Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Amazon. It also lists when the deal expires.
  • PixelOfInk links to Amazon.
  • ChoosyBookworm links to Amazon.
  • BookGorilla.com has some freebies but mostly good deals.
  • OpenCulture.com lists free e-books as well as free movies, courses and more.
  • At Amazon, type in "free Kindle e-books." Today's list had almost 60,000 available. And you don't need a Kindle. Just search for free Kindle apps for your mobile device,

I check these almost daily since many freebies are one-day only or may only be free for Amazon Prime members. I've snapped up several financial books for free that retail for close to $100.
Write for Free E-Books

A more unusual way to get free e-books is to write brief reviews. I've written reviews on Amazon under a nom de plume, not in the hopes of garnering free books, but just to vent. Since then, I've received several offers to review books for authors. The easiest way to become a reviewer is simply to read an ebook from Amazon on your device. At the end, there will usually be a page asking for a recommendation. Write your honest thoughts, and ta-da, you're now a reviewer. A new site called StoryCartel allows you to download a book if you write a review afterward. It has its own standards available on site.

Either a Borrower or a Lender Be

Amazon Prime members can borrow many e-books for free through the Kindle Owners Lending Library You don't need Prime to lend to friends, but there are limitations — the loan can be active for just for two weeks, for example. BookLending.com allows readers to lend to each other, risk-free. Lendle is similar, no Kindle required.

If none of these free choices satisfy you, scribd.com, often called the Netflix (NFLX) of literature gives access to 300 books a month for $8.99.

Now, with all these books, you'll feel like "The Twilight Zone" book lover finding himself among countless books in a post-apocalyptic era, only wishing for enough time to read them.


Recently several of my students have been plagued with adware and malware….AND…Every so often my computer gets infected with malware and adware too and just uninstalling and wiping the browsers does not do the complete job. So if you open a site, even one you know is good and a voice comes up(which is aweful when using talking software) and ad pops up saying their ad, then you are infected. This next option worked well, though I did not download all the software at the end of their to do list, as I plan on just going through this option of picking out the problems each time as it is good to just get a clean start every now and again to rid yourself of other problems you may not be aware of—–Here is the site:


Happy Cleaning

7-128 Software has just published the 2014 edition of the Top 25 Web Sites for Gamers who are Blind.  This list included where to find FREE and commercial games that are blind accessible, game reviews and information regarding games that are blind accessible, and forums and blogs visited by the blind gaming community.

The web sites are ranked according to the criteria at the end of the list, and contain detailed descriptions to make it easier to find what you need.  There is a direct link to each site.

This information is totally FREE.  No registration is required.  

The list can be found at: http://www.7128.com/top25/topsitesblind.html

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released two documents that provide important information regarding the use of emerging technology in educational settings:

  1. On June 29, 2010, ED and DOJ issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter to college and university presidents outlining the legal requirements concerning the use of electronic book readers and other emerging technology in institutions of higher education.
  2. One year later, on May 26, 2011, as a follow-up to this Dear Colleague Letter, ED issued a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the legal obligations of schools (both elementary/secondary and post-secondary) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the use of emerging technology.

Together, these two documents provide helpful guidance for schools to consider in ensuring that students with disabilities enjoy equal access to educational benefits and opportunities when information and resources are provided through the use of technology.

Find out more at: Equal Access to Learning (OCR & DOJ)

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