In about a year Seneg with Apple will be putting a tool out there where you will be able to feel pictures and graphics on a flat screen iPad. Where schools are switching to using iBooks, this could mean the chance for blind/low vision children to interact with the graphics in the text book. If you would like to read more about this incredible upcoming tool, go to:

Rumor: New haptic feedback touchscreen bound for the iPad 3

and another View of the Retinal Display

This young lady posted on YouTube, started computer skills with talking software, early on, so by 3rd grade she could email her work to her teacher. She learned hundreds of keyboard commands to move quickly over the keyboard, doing anything she needed. Teachers today can grade work using TRACK CHANGES and send it back in email. This way, blind people can work independently, checking their own work and score

Lessons to help teach skills

Everything to get you going in WORD Office 2003 and XP

Everything to get you going in WORD Office 2010 and Windows 7 with JAWS

Everything to get you going in WORD Office 2010 and Windows 7 with Window EYES

JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

This situation comes up more often than is good for the blind/low vision population. Having parents who want their child to graduate so badly, but do not really care if they learn along the way. Or, somehow they believe that when they get to that graduation stage all the things they did not learn will somehow miraculous appear through osmosis, escorted by a para of course because the child failed to learn how to walk around on their own. Along the way, the parents insisted a para do the work with minimal effort from the child and when the child went home, the parents pushed the lessons to completion, only to have her do poorly on tests. Parents getting angry because of the low scores, they have the student's work reduced even more. She does not learn the same content as her peers, which will harm her in the future.

The parents do not realize that all their efforts in getting the child's workload reduced and having a para glued to the child's side all day will have a very negative effect on the child's life, her confidence, self-esteem and how she views what or rather what  a blind person cannot do because she was never given the chance to prove herself. They essentially are telling the child: "You cannot do it on your own. You need help all the time. You will fail without help."

The solution–backup. Don't push through, but increase blind skills learning so the classes that are being taken, the student can do on their own. Instead of taking 5 general education classes, reduce that to 3 or 4 (depending on how low the child's skills are–maybe even think about a School for the Blind) and The Teacher of the Blind gives instruction on how to complete the assignments without help from a para or parent. The child's esteem grows as they realize they can do the work on their own, take a bus, go and do what they want.

Yes, this most likely will take longer than 4 years in High School. That is OK…they have a life time to now go out and achieve their goals with their own skills.

If you find you were one of those students…don't lose hope. There are great training centers for the blind around the country. One great one to check in to is Louisiana Training Center for the Blind

I will be giving a presentation on all the different types of technology that help blind/low vision students achieve success in school, on February 23-24. On the 23rd, I will speak on the what and when of technology at 1:30-2:45 and on the 24th will be speaking with a panel on the different types of technology used throughout schooling.

If you are in the area, please do come by and join the conversation of success in school.




How many out there are in school districts where a smart board or  Promethean board with flipcharts are used? These are graphic pictures that anyone with sight can easily see, but to a blind student, it is empty space. Many paraeducators have to take the pictures and turn them into text or braille for the blind student to read. There is the long way to do this, typing one character at a time ( as you cannot copy the images)  or a fast way.

Here is the fast way. You can download a personal  viewer from the company to load on your machine. Open the viewer then the flipchart, go to file, then to print. When the print box opens, you will see the "export as PDF" so save it as such. Place a folder on the desktop with these PDF files, so they are easy to find, especially if you are going to teach the blind student how to do this, and after all, that is what we want. Open Openbook or Kurzweil and go to open file. Go find the file on your desktop and have your OCR program open it. After it opens, go to launch it into Word and it opens in Word. All the great text is there. Now be aware, all those pictures will not translate…they will turn out as a list of letters and symbols, so just go through and delete out what was meant for a picture. Now, all that needs to be done is those pictures are created 3-D by the para to go with this work.

One huge advantage I have discovered is on test day, the students can use their notes. If the flipcharts are in text format, then the blind student can do a quick "find" command on their computer and jump to the theorem they need ….actually faster than a sighted student pouring through their notes visually. Once they have the theorem, they alt+tab back to the exam and continue on answering all the problems.

Now this is just 1 way, but where there is a will there is a way to make the world more accessible

Youtube video: Dr Robinson teaches-Making a Promethean Board flipcharts (smart board) accessible to blind students

Many students were fortunate and acquired an iPhone or IPod Touch for Christmas. Frustration soon turns to success with a few lessons. Learning how to use features in Notes makes these students successful any where else on their iTool. Once they can learn how to Turn contractions on and off, use auto correct features, use the rotor, move around with characters, words, lines,  edit, copy, paste, delete, move and undo mistakes, then Email note to whomever they desire their frustration turns to joy, then they stretch their wings and begin exploring other parts of their iTool.

Lesson at: iPhone, iPod Touch-VoiceOver, using Notes and the refreshabraille

I think all math classes can contribute great knowledge to all children. When parents and teachers ask, "Is it important for this blind student to take Geometry?" which is a VERY visual class, I always reply –YES! Yes, it will be more challenging, but the information they learn applies greatly to life. Blind children should take ALL the same classes as sighted children if they are to acquire the same knowledge.

Here is where talented Para educators come into play. They ask how to design those 1-D or 2-D flat graphics in print or embossed on braille sheets that come from the braille companies (BTW, it is very difficult for blind children to read those flat "embossed pictures") and I describe the methods. We use stiff paper and braille paper works great here for area or a plane, with pipe cleaners sticking through the paper for the angles that will be made. Extra long Slate n stylus embosses the angle points on the paper for the student to read and wikki sticks line the plane or area. This method makes those flat images come to life for the student. The Para holds the design in the air and describes it, as the student feels every angle and area.

In biology and math class, students are asked to draw many figures. A draftsman tool kit is always on hand for these designs that students need to create. The Para assists the student with the design, or if the teacher thought ahead, a tactile design was already created and the blind student can feel it then recreate it on the draftsman. After the student draws the figure, they place the paper in a brailler or use a slate n stylus to braille the labels around the figure. Watch Draftsman Video:

From kindergarten and beyond, when students can create these figures themselves, they grasp the concepts so much easier. The earlier you start using the above method, the easier pictures will be to understand as the student ages, but that is true for most instruction.

Lesson and article to help you

Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

and article Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

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