Accessible Cooking Tools for Those who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Photo description
Text reads accessible cooking tools for those who are blind or have low vision.
There is a photo of a George Foreman grill below the text.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, people who are blind or have low vision are able to cook independently. It is possible to cook without sight and it can be done with few adaptations.

Every visually impaired person has a unique level of comfort in the kitchen and I am sure this is true for fully sighted people as well. Well the good news is that technology has come a long way and cooking has become even more accessible.

Today I want to highlight some tools that can make cooking more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. I have to add that I am not good at cooking at this time but I want to improve in the future. This is research that will help me as a visually impaired person and everyone else as well.

If you don’t believe that blind people can cook just watch Master Chef winner Christine Ha in action in her kitchen.

There are talking food thermometers to ensure that meat or fish is well done. There are talking kitchen scales to measure out correct amounts of ingredients. There are sets of measuring cups and spoons labeled in braille or large print available as well. Sight is not needed to cook a meal.

For those who may be like me and are not yet fully comfortable in the kitchen, here are some tools that may make things a little easier.

The George Foreman Grill

A George Foreman grill is on a table in a kitchen

I love my George Foreman grill. It is easy to use and a good tool to practice cooking easy meals like grilling chicken or vegetables. I use it to toast bread or heat up sandwiches or to heat up waffles. I hope to expand my use of it in the future. There are many recipes that can be done on the grill.

** This post is not sponsored by any of the items mentioned **

Air Fryer

I am not a fan of fried foods but I think this is an interesting product and it seems to be a healthier alternative to frying. The buttons can be made accessible by adding braille or bump dots and you would have to memorize the temperature settings or you can use an app that reads text to read the machine.

Smart oven

I recently found out about a company called Tovala. They have a smart oven that cooks food at the scan of a barcode and they have a meal delivery service to go with it. Now, I would like to learn to cook from scratch but this is still cooking for me because they send you all the ingredients you need but all you have to do is put it in the oven. This is a good way to begin to learn to cook.

I would also probably get a regular toaster oven to practice baking instead of the smart oven.

Some extra thoughts

Cooking is accessible to all. To make the stove accessible you can put bump dots to identify the low, medium and high settings. Cooking is an adventure and I hope to start on mine soon. What are some of your favorite recipes to cook?

Spotlight: The Scripor Alphabet | A Tactile Code for Colors

Photo description
Text reads a tactile color code
There is a graphic showing the colors of the rainbow below the text. Text is white and the background is black
Rainbow graphic is by stux from Pixabay via the Canva library

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.

Accommodations for Students who are Blind or Have Low Vision

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Text reads accommodations for students who are blind or have low vision
Text is white on a black background

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!

Spotlight: Traveleyes – A Unique Travel Experience for People who are Blind or have Low Vision

Text reads a unique travel experience for those who are blind or have low vision. There is a photo of Parlament, the palace and big ben in england below the text.
Photo of the palace, Parlament and Big Ben in England is by derwiki via Pixabay

*This post is not sponsored by Traveleyes*

Do you enjoy traveling? Do you find your loss or lack of eyesight to be an obstacle to travel, or has it made travel less enjoyable? Well, today i want to spotlight a company that offers a unique travel experience to people who are blind or visually impaired. 

Traveleyes provides independent group travel for people who are blind or have low vision. The unique aspect is that each group is made up of a mix of sighted and blind and visually impaired individuals. The sighted participants help to provide sighted guide and to describe the sights. There is a 50% discount for sighted participants. This allows those who are blind or partially sighted to travel independently without having to rely on family. 

Traveleyes handles all of the details including the entire itinerary.  Click here to learn more about how it all works.

I have not used this service myself but I hope to be able to do so in the future. I would love to visit England one day and other places as well. Individuals, couples and small groups are welcome. I think it is important that this allows a person who is blind or has low vision to travel independently because they do not have to rely on family or friends to travel and they can go on their own schedule. I know my family would probably not want to fly all the way to England or other far off destinations. This service would give me an opportunity to travel on my own. It is also nice to know that the sighted individuals want to contribute and help guide and describe the sights as they agree to this when signing up for the trip. I would not feel like I was asking for too much or feel like a burden when asking for descriptions or for sighted guide. I think this would make the vacation much more enjoyable for me. It is a great benefit that sighted participants get a discount because they offer a very helpful service. 

Click here to learn more about the destinations you can explore with them.

I should add that you should check the site to find out when the tours will be taking place as the pandemic has changed travel rules.

So if you feel safe enough to travel again or when you do feel safe enough you should look into Traveleyes.  I hope to take part in one of their travel tours one day.

(Z) Zzz’s | Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder Impacts about 70% of People who are Totally Blind (#AToZChallenge 2021)

The 2021 blogging from a to Z April Challenge letter Z graphic is on top center. Text below reads Zzz's  non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder impacts about 70% of people who are totally blind
The 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter Z 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 the misconceptions regarding those in the blind and visually impaired community.

In the final post in this series I want to bring attention to a sleeping disorder that impacts some in the blindness community. According to this source Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder impacts about 70% of people who are totally blind. This may cause disruptions to daily life and adds an extra challenge to life. Read more information here.

The more awareness that there is around this and other aspects regarding the blind and visually impaired community will help to further decrease misconceptions. I hope that all of these posts have given a small glimpse into the blind and low vision community. Thank you for reading them.