(T) Tactile Graphics for Blind and Visually Impaired People (#AToZChallenge 2021)

The 2021 blogging from a to Z April Challenge letter t graphic is on top center. Text below reads tactile graphics
The 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter T graphic is available here.

My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired. I also hope to address misconceptions regarding the blind and low vision community.

In this post I want to bring attention to tactile graphics. This allows people who are blind or have low vision access maps, graphs and drawings.

I have not had an opportunity to use these tools myself but I wanted to put this out there and I hope it will help others. These tools make math and science accessible and easier to grasp for those who are blind or have low vision.

Here are some helpful videos.

(P) Phones | A Person who is Blind or has Low Vision can use a Cellphone (#AToZChallenge)

The 2021 blogging from a to Z April Challenge letter p graphic is on top center of image. Text below reads phones a person who is blind or has low vision can use a Cellphone
The 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter P graphic is available here.

My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to break down the misconceptions that still exist regarding the blind and visually impaired community. In this post I will discuss the topic of phones. 

A few years ago there was a post on Facebook that showed a photo of a woman with a white cane looking at her mobile phone. And in the post she was accused of faking her vision impairment because she was able to look at her phone. You can read an article on this here.

This post is an example of the lack of education there is regarding vision impairment and the spectrum that exists when it comes to visual impairment. Blindness can range from total blindness to light perception to some usable vision. 

I have low vision and I use glasses with a high prescription and I use a white cane when I am out on my own to let others know I can not see well and for safety reasons. This could have been me looking at my phone. This could have also been any  screen reader user trying to listen to their phone. 

Blind and visually impaired people are able to use mobile phones with the help of assistive text to speech software that reads out the text on the screen and the user can interact with items on the screen by swiping and double tapping. 

(O) OrCam | Assistive Technology for People who are Blind or have Low Vision (#AToZChallenge)

The blogging from a to Z April Challenge letter o graphic is on top center of image. Text below reads OrCam assistive technology for people who are blind or visually impaired
The 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter O graphic is available here.

My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired. I also want to show that it is possible for a person who is blind or has low vision can lead an independent life. I hope to break some of the misconceptions that exist about people who are blind or have low vision. Today I want to highlight a piece of assistive technology that makes it possible for a blind or visually impaired person to complete many tasks independently.

This piece of technology is called OrCam. It is a small device that can be attached to glasses if desired. This device is able to read text, turning it into speech. It is also able to recognize faces after images are programmed.

This device is able to identify products allowing independent shopping. It is able to identify products via barcodes as well. This device can identify money and colors as well. It does not need an internet connection to work.

I think it is important to have this kind of technology because it allows a person to be fully independent as they do not have to rely on a shopping assistant as this can be used to identify products. It may take longer but it could be done independently.

Here are some demonstrations of how it works.

I would like to get one of these for myself as it would be very helpful for me. I am very thankful for this technology.

You can learn more about OrCam here.

(K) KNFB Reader | Assistive Tech for Blind and Visually Impaired People (AToZChallenge)

The 2021 blogging from a to Z April Challenge letter k graphic is on the top center of image. Text below reads knfb reader assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people
The 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter K graphic is available here.

My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to address some of the misconceptions regarding the blind and low vision community.

Technology has come a long way in the last decades. This is true in the area of assistive technology. Artificial intelligence allows a computer to recognize images, read text aloud and now it is possible for these types of software to read handwritten documents.

This has opened the door to those that are blind or have low vision allowing them to access many items independently. This technology is now available on cell phones expanding accessibility.

In this post I want to highlight the KNFB Reader.

This app is available for Apple, Android and Microsoft Windows 10 devices. It is able to read printed material from brochures to receipts to product labels. The app converts the text to speech.

There are several other apps available that perform the same task but I want to give an example of how accessible things have become. These apps make it possible for documents to be accessed independently and in a much more expedient manner. This opens the doors to more employment opportunities and independence in all aspects of life.

You can find out more about the app here.

(I) Independent Living (#AToZChallenge 2021)

The blogging from a to Z April Challenge letter I graphic is on the top center. Text below reads independent living
The 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter I graphic is available here.

My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to squash misconceptions regarding blindness and low vision.

One of the misconceptions that some people have about blind or visually impaired people is that they are not able to live independently. People think that they need a caregiver at all times. In this post I want to share that it is possible for a blind person to live independently. I am visually impaired myself and I do still live with my parents but this is my choice and it has nothing to do with my vision impairment. 

How a person who is blind or has low vision handles money

First, to have money, you must have a source of income. It is true that over 70 percent of people that are blind or visually impaired are unemployed, but it is possible for a blind or visually impaired person to hold a job in various career fields and to perform the work as well as their sighted peers due to assistive technology. I will be discussing jobs in my next post in this series. Let’s get back to the matter of money. There are apps that can identify dollar bills and there are ways to organize money in a wallet to keep track of each amount. Most banks have now moved online and this makes things even more accessible information can be accessed using screen reads which are text to speech programs that read the text on the screen. Banks also offer large print checks and some banking cards can have braille added to them. A person who is blind or has low vision is able to manage their finances independently. 

I will also add how the mail and Bill’s are read.

How a person who is blind or has low vision cooks and shops for groceries

A person who is blind or has low vision shops for groceries like everyone else. They can go to a physical store and the only difference is that they may ask for a shopping assistant to help them locate items. All stores should offer this service to their customers that need it. There is also an app called AiRA that connects to a trained agent over video call and they can assist a vlind or visually impaired person to navigate a store and locate items. Delivery services have become more widely available as well allowing all the shopping to be done online from home.

Cooking without sight is not much different from cooking with sight. There are tools that make certain kitchen tasks more accessible. There are talking food thermometers and talking scales There are measuring spoons and cups with braille and large print labels. There are tips and hacks that make things safer and easier but it is very possible to cook without sight.

How a person who is blind or has low vision handles daily living and household tasks

When it comes to getting dressed a blind or visually impaired person is able to pick out their own clothes and have their own style. I wrote more about that here..

A blind or visually impaired person is able to do laundry independently. Machines can be made accessible with bump dots to identify buttons on a touch screen. This system works for all touch screen machines around the home. 

Cleaning can be done by touch and it may not be perfect but it is doable. 

Some extra thoughts

I hope that this gives you a better insight into what is possible. Please leave any questions in the comments below.