Now that school has begun I want to shine a spotlight on the chromebook. I know that these computer models are not new but I want to highlight the built-in accessibility that is available. I believe that the chromebook is one of the most affordable options for those who are blind or have low vision.
The chromebook comes with a screen reader called Chromevox, it is fully accessible out of the box. The computer turns on when you lift the top, you will be taken to a sign in page. It is very easy to activate the screen reader right from the sign in screen.
Press control, alt and z at the same time to turn the screen reader on and off.
I was so thankful that I was able to set up my chromebook on my own without any sighted assistance.
I will mention that the chromebook is mainly for searching the internet and taking notes and writing papers or creating presentations, and it has a webcam that can be used for meetings. I would not recommend it for gaming.
Here is a short video I shared on my Instagram page where I give a short demo on how it works.
Colors can seem like such a mystery to those who are blind and they can be tricky to identify for those who have low vision. There is a solution that may be helpful. I recently found out about The Scripor Alphabet. This is a tactile code for colors as braille is a tactile code for letters.
This post is not sponsored by this company.
This is braille for colors. This video gives more details.
I am on a journey to learning braille myself and I would like to learn this code for colors as well. This is also a great tool for those who are colorblind to have a way to access colors.
I hope that this is helpful for many out there. What do you think of this tactile color code? Do you already use it or do you want to learn it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Now that the school year is about to begin I want to take this opportunity to discuss the topic of accommodations for students with disabilities. The best advice I can give from personal experience is to take advantage of the assistance that is available to you as a student with a disability.
I have been visually impaired since birth. I went to a pre-school specifically for blind and visually impaired children. When I started the first grade I went to a mainstream class (meaning regular education). During my early grades I had a teacher of the visually impaired (TVi) who tried to teach me braille. I say I tried because I refused to learn because I thought I did not need it.Now that I look back, I really wish I had taken the opportunity to learn it when I was young.
I would advise parents or students to contact their school to set up the services they will need. In grades K-12 this is done through an individual Education plan (iEP). Those in college should contact the department for students with disabilities.
Here are some accommodations that I had throughout my school years.
Large print materials
I did not grow up in the era of ipads and tablets and chromebooks. We did everything on paper. I was able to access my schoolwork by having all worksheets provided to me in large print.
These days laptops and tablets can reduce the amount of paprint material and offer more flexibility in adjusting the size and color contrast.
I often refused large print materials because the papers were very large and I did not want to stand out. I would have loved to have been able to use an ipad or laptop.
There are also CcTV’s that magnify print materials.
Here is an example of one.
Sitting in the front of the class
I always had a seat at the front of the class. The truth is that this did not really help me as I was still unable to see the board.
There is assistive technology such as cameras that can be used to zoom into the board now that can solve this issue. There are also note takers who will sit with you in class and help you tby taking notes for you.
Here is a piece of assistive technology that could help to access the chalkboard.
How to handle tests
I usually got my test material in large print and I also was given extra time to complete the exam. There were times I would complete the test in a separate room and I did have a reader once or twice for a state wide test.
Some extra thoughts
I think that technology has come a very long way and now students can blend in a lot easier as ipads and laptops are commonly used now. There are also braille displays and notetakers available allowing for more independence for blind and visually impaired students.
These are my suggestions for accommodations but you only know what will be the best accommodations for your unique situation.
One more point I want to make is that you must advocate for what you need and do not be afraid to ask for the accommodations you need. I made my school life a lot harder than it had to be by refusing assistance. Technology has made tasks much easier and more enjoyable. So, go on and take on this new school year and get that A!
When businesses disregard accessibility, they can expect to lose out on revenue.
One of the most frustrating aspects for me as someone with a disability is to encounter businesses that completely disregard accessibility. I wrote a post on how businesses can become more accessible, you can read it here.
As someone with a vision impairment, I am mainly looking for any print materials and web pages to be fully accessible.
I recently went to eat at a restaurant and as I usually do I went to their website to check the menu so I would be able to choose my order beforehand as I am not able to read the print menus. Sadly, the website only had a photo of the menu. T did not include any description and therefore was not accessible. I had to ask someone to read the menu to me while at the restaurant.I personally would not return to this place.
It is important to highlight businesses that are making an effort to be accessible to everyone. I recently found out that Starbucks started to provide menus in braille and in large print. This is an excellent step towards accessibility. Learn more in the video below.
I do not usually consider pride to be a good thing to have, but in this case the word “pride” is necessary.
July is Disability Pride Month and it is time that people with disabilities be proud of who they are.
People with disabilities are constantly seen as less of a person just because they are different. Society sees a disability as something to be ashamed of.
I have a disability myself as I am visually impaired.
When I think of being proud of being disabled I do not mean have an arrogant or conceited attitude, because that solves nothing. When I think of pride, i think of coming to a place where you are happy in your own skin.
I think it means stepping out into the world confidently using your white cane.
I think it means going out into the world confidently in your wheelchair or crutches or hearing aids or any other assistive device.
Disability pride is sharing your life and gifts with society even when you are told you don’t belong.
So to everyone with a disability: do not let other people’s comments keep you down. We are here with a purpose and we have unique gifts to contribute to society.
Take pride in your unique life and shine!
I wrote this poem to encourage myself and others not to be ashamed of using a white cane.