Quick Lesson on scanning, spell checking and using a braille translation program: You need a scanner that is configured correctly to open in Word in addition to its other features, Duxbury braille translation program. Click on highlight words above which are links to find these programs.

1. Place the sheet of printed text on the scanner. If the scanner was configured correctly then open WORD, you should have a feature under your File menu (if you are using office 2003) Office 2010 deleted this feature so scan using your scanner options.
2. In Office 2003, hit ALT+F to go to your file menu and down arrow and you will see scan (with whatever OCR program you have) and enter and it will scan into WORD (if this is not configured correctly just call in the school tech and they can config this for you)
3. If you have Office 2010, scan then copy and paste the document from your scanning OCR program into WORD to spell check–CTRL+A to select all, CTRL+C to copy, go to WORD and CTRL+V to paste
4. Hit F7 to do a spell check, which will quickly take you through the corrections (ALT+C in spell checker to say change or backspace over the mistakes and type the correct word in then alt+c to change your correction)–far faster than doing it by hand–when finished with spell check–you can save it but this next way is faster right now. Do a CTRL+A to select all of the text, then do a CTRL+C to copy it
5. Open Duxbury, do a CTRL+N for new and enter on print layout,
6. To enlarge windows quickly do a START KEY+UP ARROW–it works faster than even ALT+SPACE then hitting x–this will give you a full visual field
7. Hit the command ALT+2 for contracted braille
8. Then hit CTRL+V to paste the text
9. CTRL+T to translate and it translates into contracted braille
10. CTRL+E to emboss–if embosser is not configured correctly, call your school tech people also to configure it correctly

Practice those hotkey commands again to remember them

Other lessons that will help

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
Bookshare.org and JAWS-Eight lessons to get you moving  
GMAIL- Everything you need to use in basic HTML or standard view  
SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind  
JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

 

For all those who are a bit unsure about accessing the Internet, I want you to try these few commands

Computer and JAWS 11 or 12 on–do not try this with an older JAWS–it will not work well, you need to upgrade (you can download a free 40 minute demo in the meantime)
Open Internet Explorer (IE). In general, you can do a START KEY+M to access your desktop and hit the letter I until you come to Internet Explorer and ENTER to open–try that feature first.
Once IE is open
ALT+D to jump to your address bar. It is highlighted, so type in google.com and enter to open Google (you can do all these commands up to this point even without JAWS)
JAWS will hopefully say, "edit, type a text" if it did not say that, hit the letter e until you hear something close to that and enter for forms mode on–a form is an area where you can type information
Type: blue angels and enter to open selection
Hit the letter H for headings to jump to each heading–you will hear your search choice, landmarks then your headings
Keep hitting H several more times
Now hit SHIFT+H to go backward until you reach: Blue Angels: Official site and enter to open–listen for awhile and then we will go somewhere else
That is only one way to do this
Now CTRL+O to open a dialog box
type: gmail.com and ENTER to open
You are now in gmail to set up an account if you want or sign in if you have an account
ALT+F4 to close all windows
START KEY+M to access your desktop and hit the letter I until you come to Internet Explorer and ENTER to open
ALT+D to go to your address bar and type in: hj.com and ENTER to open
Freedom scientific now opens
Bring up your links with insert+f7 and hit the letter d for downloads and enter to open
Next page, bring up your links again with insert+f7 and hit j to listen to where jaws link is, then down arrow to Real Speak voices and enter to open
TAB through this page and try out all the real speak voices by hitting enter on the voice and a media player will open and play the voice
After you listen to the voice close it with, CTRL+F4 and TAB to next voice
When you find a voice you like, just TAB to the download button after the voice you like and ENTER to begin download. Just follow the wizard and the real speak voice will automatically install in your JAWS
ALT+F4 to close out of everything when done

Other lessons that will help

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
Bookshare.org and JAWS-Eight lessons to get you moving
GMAIL- Everything you need to use in basic HTML or standard view
SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind
JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

 

When a child has lost sight or is losing sight, no matter what age, they need multiple areas of instruction. If they are older, they need this more than ever.

If you can get a child when they are young, you can put them on a brailler, or Mountbatten for small fingers, a computer with talking software and some type of player for audio books: teach them the Nemeth and other blind skills needed and they can grow with the class.

If however, you have an older child come to you, especially if they are in middle or high school, they need a way to get that heavy bulk of work done within the day. If they are going to learn all those blind skills, you will need to show them the relevance of what you are teaching them. If you choose to teach them from an outside curriculum such as one of the braille curricula, which are great, BUT, they will fight you on this, whether passive aggressive or a direct "No". You will be adding to their burden of trying to do their regular classes already…they will think, "HOW am I going to do one more?"

The multi-level approach: Out of the students' day, they will have some type of English class. This is the ideal class to adapt into braille and use technology. You go to Bookshare.org and download the book, or rather you show them how to do it. You show them the thousands of their favorite stories are right there to read. You get him excited. You also download Victor Reader soft and install on the computer or you have a handheld reader. You go to JAWS and download Real speak voices of their choice so when they listen to books they are listening to a voice they enjoy. You get them signed up with the state book and braille library, you get them signed up with everything blind–for a list, go to a free download copy of web site resources on the OTHER TAB. He will need a minimum of an hour a day with you and you can pull him periodically from English because you will be working on the same lesson. If he is older and about ready to graduate, he will most likely need more time.

Now the student has the book on the computer. You also have him emboss the chapter he is presently reading right now in class. He will braille the pages, read the pages and listen to them on his computer, so he always has a way to keep up in his class. When reading braille, you will paragraph jump with him, as in you read and he follows then he reads. Go to Braille–Get them Hooked on this site. You show him how to type out all his answers to everything in WORD and then he emails the lessons off to his teacher. He will learn the technology incredibly fast. Even if he has never touched a computer before, which will happen if the child comes from another country, he will learn the keyboarding in about 4-5 hours, an hour a day over 4-5 days…don't try and do this in one sitting. The brain does not work that way. He will know enough JAWS commands to be fairly independent in 2 weeks. It happens fast. If he has something like a Braille Note, his braille skills will accelerate also because he is getting the audio, tactile feedback when he presses the keys. For orientation and mobility, you blindfold him so his listening skills are enhanced and honed and you quiz him on how to get from point A to point B in the building…then an O&M instructor takes him outside and they begin learning about city blocks.

As long as you the teacher know the braille strategies, the JAWS and computer commands, you will see him sail.Teach him the help menu so even if you don't know something he will learn it himself.

Lessons that will help

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
Bookshare.org and JAWS-Eight lessons to get you moving
GMAIL- Everything you need to use in basic HTML or standard view
SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind
JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

 

I use many methods for getting students going on their blinds skills. One way is using the Synchronicity of Braille & Technology. When I set up elementary rooms or my classroom for all the equipment to fit, I use the L shape of 2 desks, that way you can place braille books on one side so the child can read, then turn to the other side of the L and type out information on the computer. This is perfect for the elementary school setup. By the time they reach middle school and have all their blind skill foundation, they can move into almost all their books being electronic, minus the Nemeth books which, for now, need to be hard copy braille.

The students will have a brailler, or Braille Note in front of them along with the keyboard to the computer with talking software and the braille work on the other side of the L. I will have them read a line of braille, then braille it, read from display if using an adapted laptop or brailler, then type it on the computer. This way they are taking the braille and seeing how it relates to the print. They quickly learn that braille is braille with all its contractions and print is print and the contraction for" the" is t-h-e and so on. There is no confusion between braille and print and the children go onto become good spellers because of this knowledge and way of learning. If I am ever with them on their computer and they type a word, I will ask "What is the braille contraction for that word?" and they tell me. When the focus is on a braille lesson and they come upon contractions, I ask them, "How would you spell that on the computer?" Once again solidifying the Synchronicity of Braille & Technology.

When the children get to class, they have the familiar L shape arrangement, which helps them keep organized also. They know where to place their books as the computer is taking up one side. Each side of the desks shaped in an L has slots or drawers for storing tools underneath. Organization is key to any blind child so they can find their tools when they need them. When the child is organized and ready they can follow along with class and do just what everyone else is doing. Since the students have and know about many tools, they can choose what they will need at any given time. They learn the joy of reading through braille and the joy of being able to output information quicker than their sighted peers due to the use of the computer. If you know key commands, it is far faster than trying to locate a mouse with your eyes, and I am talking about sighted kids here. My students are far faster on the computer than sighted kids. When the sighted students get stuck, it is my students they turn to and who can get them out of trouble by telling them a keystroke. They know that and are very impressed with their speed and agility on technology as well as watching them read those beautiful dots with their fingers.

Here is kudos to our kids.

I am always blessed when teaching. I love teaching and seeking out the best methods that will help my students the most keeps me going, so I have to phrase this next sentence carefully because all my students bless me in different ways.

In the last few years, I have been so incredibly blessed by one particular child. The second grade teacher had gotten a hold of me at the end of the school year, saying this particular student was having a great deal of difficulty seeing and accessing her school work and wondered if I had any ideas for her. This young lady was not on grade level and struggled with everything. She has a condition where she was very small and has partial limbs; she had a useable finger, and half-useable thumb on one hand and a tiny finger extension on the other fixed limb. She had had many facial surgeries and just many surgeries in general. I could easily pick her out when I walked into the room. I just watched her for some time, in her adorable pink outfit, on her tiny frame. She had figured out how to grasp a pencil and was leaning over about 2 inches from her paper, slowly but surely printing out letters. When recess came, I asked if she would stay in with me and she agreed. The first thing I always ask children is "What do you want to be when you grow up?" She immediately replied, "A Princess." I smiled. Of course. Most girls want to be a princess. She was just like everyone else. We all are inside and it does not matter what the outside looks like.

Because it was the end of the school year and she had several more surgeries scheduled, I could not begin instruction with her until the middle of third grade. During the fall, I worked with the special education teacher, the Para educator and mom; teaching them braille and the technology that she would be using. She had an incredible team, all dedicated to her success.

After Christmas, as we began instruction, I noticed that the "finger" on her one fixed limb did not really have receptors to read braille, so I was depending on that one little finger on her other hand to read. I did have her use that special finger on the other limb to track the braille as she read with her right finger so she could create some type of speed. Over a couple of years and a lot of braille reading and computer instruction, that wonderful brain created enough nerves in that "finger" to start reading braille or at least the first word or two of each sentence. She increased her reading speed to 115 words per minute with LOTS of practice. Those tiny little fingers started to fly across the page. Her computer skills accelerated her also and with her blind skills, she is now on grade level. I might add that she has the most supportive mom who followed through on every lesson I handed out. Truly, her team of people at school and home has contributed greatly to her success.

She has become one of my brightest shining stars…literally. She is the first student I try out my new technology adventures with and she loves it. She can email, text or SKYPE me, which has become her favorite mode because of its accessibility features and when she is in school, she can text me to ask how to solve a problem. With a simple reply, she can fix whatever her issue is within seconds. She gets it, remembers and is now excelling and succeeding in life. Where humans place such value on beauty, her brains and abilities now can take her further than any pageant queen.

Lessons and articles to help you:

First Steps in Great Braille Readers

Beginner Braille Reading

Braille Instruction begins at 3 years old

Braille Cheat Sheets

How to STOP scrubbing While reading Braille

Fast Braille Reading

Tricks to Learning Braille in your Teen Years or Later

Free Braille Books-Where to go to get Books

The Synchronicity of Braille & Technology

Braille Rap Song Lyrics

Rap Song to Learn Braille

There is a quick easy and fairly inexpensive way to adapt a child's inability to see in the distance in the classroom.

For the Low vision child: Most classrooms today have a document camera or computer hooked to a projector that projects the teacher's work to the front of the room. Where it is completely inaccessible to children with visual impairments. With a simple VGA splitter, you can hook any size of monitor to that document camera and the world in front of the classroom is immediately brought to the child. In a pinch where something was not enlarged, the document camera can be turned into a CCTV (closed circuit TV) where the paper can be placed under the camera and immediately projected onto the child's monitor.

For the completely blind, I take a different approach. As teachers use their computer and projector to project to the front of the room, I have installed JAWS talking software on the teacher's computer. Then I hook the Braille Note to the computer or any other adapted laptop. With today's Bluetooth option, the cable can be eliminated now. However, if you have an older Braille Note that needs a cable, the information that is projected to the front of the room, immediately goes to the Braille Note and the child can read from the display while listening to the teacher. Now the blind child can "see" in the distance too. You can also connect a VGA splitter to the computer and project directly to the students monito so they can see right from their desk as everyone views information in the front of the room

Other lessons that help

 Low Vision Skills-Windows 7 Office 2010  
Low Vision-XP-Office 2003

 

JAWS talking software uses a special command to do so much: Insert+4 is "Symbol to Print"
Open Word, turn JAWS on and have some fun

When you are in WORD and need to type all those fancy characters for Spanish….Insert+4 will bring up your Spanish symbols
¡Buenos días!
Adiós.
Hasta mañana.
¿Cómo está usted?
¿Qué tal?
or you speak a bit of Portuguese and need a cedilla mark: Açai

When you are in Math class, Insert+4 will bring up your math symbols
7 • 5


4÷2
5€
8×9


¾

and give you the ability to do those fancy symbols easily and quickly AND JAWS will say the names correctly

Insert+4 does so much more, so try it out!

Other lessons that will help teach

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
 Eight lessons on Bookshare.org and JAWS  
 Everything you need to use GMAIL in basic HTML or standard view  
 SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind  
 JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

 

I use this one particular method repeatedly because it serves me so well. Well, it actually serves my students well. Especially those who lose their sight later: Later is later than 3rd grade. You just need to employ different strategies to achieve the same goals.

One small example. A student came to me during the summer to gain Braille skills. He had been low vision trying to "do Braille" but poor vision gives poor speed.  He had learned most of the alphabet and a handful of contractions, but could not read Braille at all and had a difficult time remembering how to braille in general. I told him to close his eyes and feel…his fingers tuned in as his poor vision tuned out.  I had him place his fingers over top of mine as I placed my hands on the Braille sheet of words. I slowly moved my hands in the "butterfly" motion, which I call it, because your hands glide together across, split a few words in, and the right hand finishes the sentence and the left hand begins the next in a smooth floating motion…just like a butterfly. I increased the speed so he could feel the gentle and easy movement across the page. He had no idea it was that easy.

I told him he would be reading Braille by the end of summer if he would commit at least an hour, but I asked for 2 hours a day…Ok, I know in my head, what teenage boy is going to read for 2 hours a day in the summer, or really ever?..but I put it out there. I know with even a minimal amount of effort he can do it with the next method I use.

He first begins with brailling. He only brailles about himself. His life. What he likes or does not like. I have him braille 3-4 rows of the exact same words in a sentence, using all contractions. He first tells me the sentences he wants to use. I pick out all the contracted words and have him braille these first, over and over until his fingers start to flow. Then I have him braille the sentences. Example. I like to fish. (he will braille that for 3-4 rows–sometimes more depending on the ability of the child's learning patterns). Next row. I like to fish with my dad.
I have him use 11 x 11 paper, so really, only those 2 sentences fit on a page. He takes out what he has just brailled and positions his hands on the braille paper. At first, I need to help him read the page. However, by the second reading he can do it almost independently. Before he goes home for the day, he has his braille sheets to practice for the next couple of days along with flash cards of a brailled words that he had difficulty with in reading.

There are a couple things going on here. I need him to get the flow of his hands reading well so he cannot be struggling with reading the braille. That is where we get all those bad habits from; scrubbing the braille, flying fingers, 1 handed reading. The reading must be easy at first and if it is about the person, they remember. With the constant repetition of the words, he begins picking up the feel of the contraction and the word and flows through the page.

By the end of the summer, as in 2 months, he was reading Braille at 32 words per minute and he only practiced reading about 3 hours a week. On his final day of testing his skills, I asked him, "Are you surprised at how fast you can read Braille?" Very matter of fact, he said "No, you told me I could, so I expected it."

When he went back to his school, he emailed me and told me his teacher was very impressed with his braille reading ability, both ability to read it, but read it with a beautiful 2 handed flow.

Lessons that will help teach

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
 Eight lessons on Bookshare.org and JAWS  
 Everything you need to use GMAIL in basic HTML or standard view  
SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind  
JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

 

I have had many past students and people who just found me along the way ask why their Jaws does not work well with the Internet any more. As soon as I ask them what version of JAWS they are using, I have my answer.

In general, when you update the Internet, you need to update your Jaws. Example, when JAWS 7 was out, it ran great with Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), but then IE8 came out and if you did not update to JAWS 10 you would have problems. JAWS 11 worked even better with IE8 and JAWS 12 works great. So, if you would have purchased the upgrades when your purchased JAWS 10, you would be a happy camper because the upgrade fee would have been a lot cheaper than buying 3 whole new licenses.

Exceptions to the rule. However, when IE9 came out, JAWS 12 did not work well with it. IE9 needed a lot of work and JAWS worked on its updates also to make these 2 work together. Now it works well…but that took months.

In general, if your JAWS is working well with what you have, don't be anxious to update quickly. Let the companies work out the bugs in their hardware and software. Talk to people around you about their experiences and when you get the green light, update your JAWS and Internet together. And if you are having problems with your JAWS, it is most likely too old.

Lessons that help teach–Jaws 12 and above, where Jaws is indicated

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
Bookshare.org and JAWS-Eight lessons to get you moving
GMAIL- Everything you need to use in basic HTML or standard view
SKYPE—for Regular Vision, Low Vision, and Blind
JAWS and Internet—how to get Going and Moving

 

 

I have many browsers on my machine as each one does something different…some very annoying features and some fantastic.

When I want a great virtual connection with video plugins and there is not a blind child on the other end, but I will be joining a meeting, I go Chrome. It truly is a fast browser. However, if I try to turn JAWS on while Chrome is open…. JAWS will NOT open. As soon as I close Chrome, JAWS starts chatting away. Let's just say there are compatibility issues here.

Internet Explorer (IE) offers some good features and in general, you can move around quite easily and get to where you want to go. There are hotkeys for almost everything and in general, it is very friendly. However, if you want to do video plugins, for example, Google chat or video plugins, JAWS in general will tell you what you are typing, if you hit backspace he may just say blank, blank, blank. When someone replies to you, you will NOT hear what is typed. So there are inaccessible features with IE and JAWS.

For a great browser that makes a huge majority of things accessible where they would not be, Firefox is it. Example, if you want to chat using Gmail, you hear everything you type, JAWS repeats the letters you erase, AND you hear everything the other person is typing. JAWS will even tell you someone is texting you and JAWS will tell you who it is. Firefox keystrokes can take you far and wide easily with JAWS.

Safari is completely inaccessible…well, you can fool it in some places, but forget it, and it is too much work.

However, none of the browsers offers you keystrokes to access video. Shameful!

So what should a blind person do if they want to video chat to their Mom and Dad in France or Argentina? Or a student to teach?…enter SKYPE. You can download special JAWS scripts to allow JAWS to talk everything in SKYPE. You can make calls, video, chat, add contacts, you name it, all for free, even calling thousands of miles away. When someone is texting you, SKYPE tells you their name and you hear a typing sound as they type in their text. When they hit enter and send the text to you, you hear everything in the text. You can disconnect and connect with ease. You can do everything you want using JAWS.

So for now, or at least with the knowledge I have right now, I find SKYPE to be the best in video, chat, text, and all features accessible with JAWS though it is not a browser but a great addition to browsers: Internet Explorer is good for a huge majority of surfing and Firefox if you just want everything accessible…or at least most things.

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