Let’s Talk Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments

illustration of world globe surrounded by electronic devices and signals

Whether you’re 14 entering high school or 40 entering graduate school, I’m certain you have assistive technology on the brain. After all, a successful student who is blind or visually impaired will master methods to access written material, access electronic material, and produce text.

This begs the question: What assistive technology do you utilize in the classroom? I know it would be helpful for others to read what works well for you across a variety of academic situations. Share your helpful resources and tools in the comments section.

If you are in need of AT guidance, in addition to reading the comments from students with visual impairments, consider accomplishing the following:

  • Peruse AccessWorld’s most recent Back to School issue. AccessWorld is AFB’s AT magazine; become familiar with it!
  • Read Lee Huffman’s, AccessWorld Editor-in-Chief, charge to students regarding assistive technology (AT) in the classroom. He speaks of the responsibility of selecting and utilizing AT falling on the student; he also reminds students to plan for classroom AT well in advance.
  • Learn how one determines the most suitable technology for the job by reading technology considerations.
  • View AFB’s accessible videos on a variety of high-tech AT commonly used in classrooms and workplaces.
  • Find a local service provider who can provide assistance in selecting AT and teaching you how to use it efficiently; use our directory of service providers.

Lastly, remember that “Assistive Technology” encompasses optical devices and non-optical devices; the non-optical devices include both low-tech and high-tech tools. [AFB’s FamilyConnect provides a wonderful resource explaining the differences.] Ensure you’re taking advantage of all the above. To do so, 1) visit a low vision specialist who can provide you with optical devices such as bifocals and a monocular (small telescope) enabling you to best utilize remaining vision, 2) gather an assortment of aids to be used in the classroom such as bold-line paper, large-print calculator, and a reading stand, 3) come to class prepared with your personal high-tech AT, and 4) know where to access additional AT, such as in a university’s disability resource center.

If you are a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), Rehabilitation Specialist, or Assistive Technology Specialist and want to read in depth on AT options for students, as well as selecting appropriate tools and strategies, please read Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment.