To get a job, you need more expertise in the area you are applying for than anyone else does. You need to be dressed appropriately for the job you are applying for, also. You are going to need the confidence to show others, you can do this job and great skills will give you this confidence!

Once you get the job, you need to keep up with your skills, especially technology. Make yourself invaluable. Technology is crucial. If you are a K-12 educator or parent, then make sure your children are getting technology training at the youngest grade possibly….preschool is ideal, after that time, just begin …IMMEDIATELY!

If blind, this training is even more crucial. You need to start young to learn what it is like to keep up with your peers and compete with the rest of your class, so when you get to college and the workforce, you have gained the experience you need to prove yourself to the potential employer.

Without technology skills, it is very hard to compete in the world. If you are blind and lack technology skills, it will be harder. Computers and talking software will give you the advantage of getting a job. Once you get the job, continue to gain training to keep up with your skills.

There are many places to gain education: Your local college, online classes and a myriad of information right on the Internet.

If you are blind, be upfront about the issue of your blindness. It is on everyone's mind whether you want to admit it or not. Tell them to ask you any question they have, let them know how you would tackle certain job aspects. If you are not comfortable with your blindness, they will not be either and that will hinder potential employment.

If you want a job and you want to keep your job, then get those technology skills to compete. Word skills enable you to write any type of document to any specification. Excel will help you auto-calculate math and get you organized for all projects and so much more. PowerPoint will enable you to walk into an interview and demonstrate a rundown of you skills on a PP and in the process show the potential employer your skills. PowerPoint will also enable you to give any type of presentation to impress any group of people. Internet skills will enable you to do the research on any project the boss may give you. If you are blind, learning those talking software skills combined with the above will enable you to go anywhere and compete with anyone.

One thing is for sure….if you want to keep your computer running well you MUST have antivirus protection on your computer. There are many types available and many do not cost anything, but do compare the ones that cost to the ones that do not as you may need to pay for that extra protection.

Here is a list of antivirus programs that you can look over to see what fits you best. Antivirus List

For good free Antivirus software, see the following
Microsoft Security Essentials

Many people do not know that there are differences between WORD commands and JAWS talking software commands. Microsoft Word has thousands of it own built in keystroke commands that have nothing to do with JAWS. If you just want to become a faster computer user with keystrokes and never use JAWS, you can.

This wonderful keystroke feature in WORD, Excel, PowerPoint or any Microsoft product, also gives blind students the ability to go to any computer with memorized steps and no talking software, open WORD (or another program) and do what ever they need, according to their memory of steps, because the keystrokes are already built into the program. It allows sighted people to move just as quickly instead of taking their mouse and trying to figure out where a certain option is in a particular menu.

However, JAWS and WORD together are incredibly powerful. When you are in WORD doing those commands and you want to have JAWS read both characters and words, you hit INSERT+2 and cycle through all the options. If you want JAWS to read the whole page to you, you hit CTRL+HOME and then hit INSERT+DOWN ARROW and JAWS reads the whole page.

These lessons all based on keystrokes, can be found here at

Freedom Scientific just released JAWS 13 today

One of the biggest items is Convenient OCR–for all those nasty PDF files that are inaccessible and refuse to be read…AH HAH…there is a solution now

Frequently, you will encounter images that contain textual information. These can include a PDF file, the setup screen of an application, or the menu of selections for a DVD movie. While these images contain text that is readable by a sighted person, JAWS is unable to read the text as it is part of the image.

The new Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature enables you to access any image on the screen that includes text. With just a few simple keystrokes, JAWS will recognize the image in a matter of seconds and activate the JAWS cursor so you can navigate the resulting text. The recognized text will be in the same location as the actual image on the screen. In order to differentiate the recognized text from other text that may be in the window, JAWS will use a different voice when it encounters the recognized text. When you activate the PC cursor, or switch to another application or dialog box, the text is removed, and you will need to perform the OCR again.

To use Convenient OCR, the following layered keystrokes have been added:

INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, W. Recognizes the current application window that has focus.
INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, S. Recognizes the entire screen.
INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, C. Recognizes the currently selected control, such as a graphical button.
INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, Q. Cancels recognition while it is in progress.
INSERT+SPACEBAR, O, H. Speaks a brief help message describing the commands in the OCR layer.

Read about all the new features at JAWS 13


I have been blessed with many musically talented students. I wish I could take credit for this young lady also, but I cannot. See this wonderfully talented young lady, playing the piano and singing like an angel. It does not take sight to be gifted, it just takes practice.

Click on link to watch: Pianogirl281

The Student in the link to a YouTube Video below lost her sight quickly and had never touched a computer before 10th grade. She learned how to use a computer with talking software within 2 weeks, which lead to freedom.

Blind Student Learns FAST video

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

In the upper elementary school, and beyond, students are asked to make their presentation or research papers look colorful. Where sighted children are cutting and pasting onto their work, blind and low vision students are taught how to make their fonts with great color, putting borders of artwork around paragraphs, words or the whole page. Students also insert pictures and position them where they need along with different types of WordArt.

All the Basics of Inserting Word Art and Clip Art just click on Office 2003 or Office 2010 to get what you need.

All the Basics on making your font colorful and stylish are found at Office 2003 and Office 2010 The same commands work in both Office products.

Enjoy and have fun. Students Love knowing they can do anything their sighted peers can do when the teacher starts giving directions, they just do it on a computer. It is a huge confidence builder and reinforces all their skills now and makes them want to learn even more so they can tackle anything that comes up in the future.

Lessons to help teach

Creating BEAUTIFUL cards in WORD-Office 2003

Creating BEAUTIFUL cards in WORD-Office 2010

12 Office 2003 Lessons that teach you how to make your papers look BEAUTIFUL

12 Office 2010 Lessons that teach you how to make your papers look BEAUTIFUL

First!!! Know that braille readers can read material as fast as print readers. I teach it and see it all the time. Attitude is the first hurtle. Once you know a braille reader can read as a print reader, then you are ready for the next step.

Second, if the above is to happen, the child has to start in that 0-5 year old mark. They could read faster if they are older too, but the mental adjustment into braille reading, or the "bad press" on braille being too hard is difficult for many to overcome …thus they are slower braille readers. There are many more reasons off this, but those are 2 biggies.

Third, get the child excited about reading–This applies to Blind and Low vision children. Start with reading print/braille books to them, so if they can see color or pictures, they can look at the colors while feeling those wonderful dots. Put braille all over the house using sticky tape (just go to local hardware store and pick up sticky shelf paper and braille label words on that to put all over house). So wherever they touch, they feel braille. Once again, BOTH low vision and blind. This really applies at any age level…so start doing all these steps, no matter what age….they can get over the "bad press" on braille if you have a really positive attitude about it.

Fourth, when you are reading to them (this is cuddle time on your lap), have them put their fingers over top of yours and you move your hand from left to right across the page with all 4 fingers down on the page and those 4 fingers slightly curled touching the line of braille, so they can feel the smooth motion across the page (You will be holding the book with the other hand, so don't worry about both hands yet). It does not matter you can't read braille yet…fake it until you learn. Just read the print above on the page, as you smoothly move your fingers across the line of braille. It is the smooth movement you want them to learn.

Fifth, when they are babies and toddlers, have all those blind tools around, so they can "scribble" on the brailler, as in pressing the keys, knowing this will be their writing tool. Help them with a slate n stylus to make dots on paper. Also have an older computer around with free talking software, so they can press those letters on the computer and get that cause and effect…They need to learn the computer typing and braille at the SAME time, so they understand how these tools go together later for school.

Sixth, when they are ready to start formal brailling of words and letters, and today most children are doing that somewhere between 2-4 years old, so blind, low vision children need to start then also. You will read the word and then you help them braille it. At first, their hands are on top of yours so they can feel the smooth motion of you pressing the keys. Then they get to try. If their fingers are too weak, then look at something like a Mountbatten brailler with very easy keys, that gives verbal feedback along with the output of braille.

Seventh, When they are brailling, have them braille the same contraction or word over and over, so they can feel the flow of brailling–several lines of the same words or simple sentences—have them braille something to do with their life….it helps them remember the words. Then when you pull the brailled sheet out, they place their hands on top of yours first, to get the feel of smooth braille reading across the page, then you help them position their hands on the braille line — BOTH HANDS! All 8 fingers slightly curled under, all 8 fingers touching the braille line–trust me–all 8 fingers are going to do something, but have them focus on their pointer fingers to do the major reading of the words. You lightly cup all 8 fingers with your 8 fingers to help them, then you read the words as you both go across the page, having them focus on those pointer fingers. (I have had kids come in with bandages on their pointer fingers saying they injured them….their middle fingers got to do the reading for the day–they were amazed at how all their fingers could read the braille–they can if you practice the method above!!)

Now some kids get this right off the bat and do not need help, so figure out your child and how much help they need. Lift your hands off as they begin the journey across the page by themselves…YOU still reading each word before they hit it, so there is NO scrubbing or back tracking on the word to figure it out. As they read, they are going to split their hands several words in on the line and they WILL need help doing this until it is a smooth motion. About 2-4 words in on an 11 x 11 paper, the left hand will go back down to the next line as the right hand finishes the line. As the right hand finishes the line of braille, the left hand begins reading the next line. REMEMBER, you are reading the words for the child before they hit the word, so they get and continue that smooth motion with NO scrubbing.

Keep it simple. Braille sentences with contractions and about 3 words each. I like cats. and so forth…..keep it up and this child will be reading 300-400+ words per minute by high school.

Lessons and articles to help you:

Beginner Braille Reading sheet

Braille Cheat Sheets

Free Braille Books-Where to go to get Books

How to STOP scrubbing While reading Braille

The Synchronicity of Braille & Technology

Braille Rap Song Lyrics

Rap Song to Learn Braille

Fast Braille Reading

Braille Instruction begins at 3 years old

If you are one of those creative imaginative people who can create pictures in your head then you can braille that picture straight out on a brailler, great, but if you need more direction, see below.

Here is some more guidance. You will draw the picture first, then insert into a brailler and braille over the picture. You can tactile the picture while drawing it out on sandpaper using a draftsman tool kit or use a window screen, and lay a piece of paper over it and press down with a wooden tool to draw a basic shape….there are many tools out there to do this. Then once you get the basic shape, go back to your brailler, wheel in the paper and start at the top, brailling over the copy you just designed. Sometimes you are going to braille a full cell with all 6 dots, sometimes, only an L or sometimes 4 5 6 or any combination of dots as you move down the sheet. You can make a beautiful border around the sheet also.

For my wedding, my mentor had made us an incredibly beautiful card. He was a guide through my sight loss and regaining of it who had a big influence in my teaching style and of whom I also became his student teacher. He had been blind all his life, was very creative and quite a genius to boot, had made us the most beautiful braille picture-wedding card. My sister-in-law wanted to frame it immediately. I told her if she put glass over it, that no one could touch it, and that is what needed to happen.

When I student taught with him, we had all the students make cards like this for their parents for holidays. They became very adept…just takes practice, some math, and some perceptual skills. With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and all other holidays coming up, this is a great time to practice. I can guarantee people will be VERY impressed…a great confidence builder too.

Ok, so if you are not THAT creative you can buy a book and read all about it…I love books and learning. Just click on Drawing with Your Perkins Brailler and order a copy to do some great creative drawing with your brailler if the simple lesson from above is not enough. When the site comes up, just do a search for the book.

If the child needs to be quicker about accomplishing a drawing task, Quick Draw Paper is Great, where you just use a very liquid pen and draw away and the paper rises up to feel–but then they may prefer the Draftsman again that is a sandpaper type material and the sandpaper disperses as you draw on it, so you can feel the lines you just made.

If you are a teacher and need something like every type of science graphic around, you may want to pick up a Basic Science Tactile Graphics book….if you are a teacher of the blind, you can order this with quota funds from your resource center who works with American Printing House for the Blind…true for the quick draw Paper and Draftsman too.

For a complete book, go to: Drawing with your Perkins Brailler

In general, everyone, if you are related to or working with a blind or visually impaired child in anyway…go to and ask them to send you a catalog. This is an invaluable site.

Lesson and article to help teach

Beginner Drawing of Pictures on a Brailler

Making pictures come alive for Blind children

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