Vision

Vision

Vision Assistive Technology - the What, When, Who and Why

What is Vision Assistive Technology? Assistive Technology for Vision is technology that helps people see better, or better comprehend what they cannot see. Vision AT includes devices and software to magnify printed materials, provide auditory support, and support braille reading.

Where and when do students need to use Vision AT? Vision AT can be used in a variety of settings depending on the needs of the student. In fact, a student may use multiple tools depending on the setting and what tasks he or she needs to complete. For example, a student with low vision may use a desktop electronic video magnifier to read in the school library, and a handheld magnifier in class. A student who reads braille may use an electronic braille notetaker to complete assignments in class, and an audiobook player to listen to books at home.

Who needs Vision AT? Individuals who are blind, have low vision, or conditions which limit their ability to comprehend visual stimuli may benefit from assistive technology for vision. Students with reading disabilities may also benefit from certain tools designed for the blind and visually-impaired, such as accessible text readers.

Why aren’t glasses/corrective lenses enough? Many eye conditions cannot be fully corrected with glasses or surgical interventions. Assistive technology helps students with visual impairment to maximize the use of any remaining vision, and access their environment using other senses, such as hearing and touch. Some eye conditions are degenerative or unstable, meaning that the student could eventually lose more of his sight or even become blind. This makes learning braille, tactile, and navigation skills all the more important. When considering the needs of a student with visual impairment, future needs should always be taken into account.


Information on this page addresses Assistive Technology for people with vision disabilities in...

EDUCATION   |  EMPLOYMENT  |  COMMUNITY LIVING
(click the titles above to jump to the content area)

For more information, please contact Kimberly Berry, Teacher of the Visually Impaired,
at kimberly.berry@okstate.edu or 800-257-1705

EDUCATION

AT-Disc-Vision-Hdr_Triptych

Talking Points for Vision Assistive Technology in Education

The category of Education encompasses children - young and old - who are participating as a student whether at the pre-school, elementary, middle/junior/high school levels as well as institutions for higher education. The following talking points are most applicable to students grades preschool through high school.

For children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). You'll find this information in the Community section below.

For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. You'll find this information in the Employment section below.

Situations where a child might need assistive technology for vision:

School Environment

  • Accessing textbooks and other reading materials
  • Viewing teacher lectures/whiteboard
  • Using a computer
  • Recreational activities and interaction during lunch or recess
  • Dining

Socialization

  • Interacting with friends
  • Sports coaching
  • Music, games, TV
  • Groups and club activities

Family / Home Environment

  • Activities of daily living, i.e. hygiene, dressing, cooking, cleaning
  • Traveling in a car or bus
  • Texting, social media

Community

  • Church or Sunday School
  • Movie theater
  • Grocery store
  • Doctor's office
  • Plays or musicals
  • Dining out
  • Other family settings

Frequently Asked Questions for Vision

Please listen to this section and/or download a transcript here: TXT format

Solutions for Students with Visual Impairment or Blindness
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Funding Sources for Students with Vision Impairment

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for vision devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma:

EMPLOYMENT

Vision Employment Matrix

Talking Points for Vision Assistive Technology in Education

“The category of Employment encompasses those people of working-age who are currently employed or who are seeking employment.  The following talking points may be applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as employers.
When matching a person to a piece of assistive technology, one can use the Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) model. This model has been used below in the sample case studies.“

For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor.

Situations where an individual might need assistive technology for Vision

Work Environment

  • Interview process
  • Meetings
  • Trainings
  • Daily tasks

Socialization

  • Work lunches
  • Social media
  • Telecommunication
  • Group and committee activities

Family / Home Environment

  • Talking on the phone
  • Paying bills
  • Safety - smoke alarms, tornado siren, or other emergency alarm
  • Preparing for work
  • Preparing meals

Community

  • Doctor’s office
  • Shopping for essentials
  • Transportation to and from work

Commonly Asked Questions for an Individual Who Has Vision Impairments

Q - If an employee is blind, does that mean we will have to provide all employee materials in braille?

A - Not necessarily… First, you’ll want to ask the employee what format they prefer. If electronic documents are formatted properly, the employee will be able to access them on a computer using text-to-speech, or on an electronic braille display.


Q - What about an employee with low vision. Will the company need to need enlarge materials and provide brighter lighting?

A -It depends… bigger and brighter are not always better. Sometimes magnification doesn’t help- for instance, if a person has great acuity, but a narrow field of vision, making letters bigger will only make reading more difficult.

Likewise, with lighting. Due to various eye conditions, some individuals will need brighter lighting, while others will need to avoid bright lights and glare. Sometimes a person will benefit from natural light, while another will need to be seated away from windows.

Q - Will a student will need the most expensive, and most high-tech device?

A - This also varies. High-tech is not always better than low-tech. This depends on the condition, as well as the degree of vision loss, and when and where the tool may be needed.

You many wonder if you there is one tool that will meet all of a person’s needs. This is usually not the case for those who are blind or have visual impairment. Multiple tools may be needed- for instance, an employee may have a large desktop magnifier at his desk, and a handheld magnifier to carry around. A braille reader may need a large braille display to connect to his or her desktop computer, and smaller portable device to use in other places.

Each person is unique, so how can you tell what they need?

Consult with a professional! Providers such as a low vision optometrist, occupational therapist, and an orientation and mobility specialist can help determine what accommodations and assistive technology to consider depending on an individual’s unique needs. Trialing devices of various makes and models will help you determine what works, and avoid costly purchases that end up not being beneficial.

Solutions for Individuals with Vision Impairment or Needs
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Funding Sources for Adults with Vision Impairment

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for hearing devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma:

COMMUNITY LIVING

Vision Community Living Matrix

Talking Points for Assistive Technology for Vision in Community Living

The category of Community Living encompasses infants and toddlers who are under the age of 3 and not yet in school, those people who were born with or have acquired an injury and are otherwise participating in community activities (not as students or employees) as well as those who are aging in the home.  The following talking points are applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as family members and others providing support and care to these individuals with disabilities.

Sometimes an individual will make it to adulthood and have the necessary assistive technology to participate in the community and at home.  When that is the case, these pages will show other considerations regarding accessibility and accommodations.  When the person requires additional tools to participate, the Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) model will be used to show how an individual might best match up with a piece of AT to be used in the community and at home

For those children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Link to Education section

Situations where an individual might need assistive technology for Vision

Socialization

  • Lunches
  • Social media
  • Telecommunication

Community

  • Doctor's office visits
  • Dining Out
  • Entertainment and Sporting Events
  • Transportation to, and from, events
  • Volunteer activities
  • Shopping
  • Library

Family/Home Environment

  • Cooking
  • Paying bills
  • Reading
  • Doing chores
  • Games
  • Computer tasks

Solutions for Individuals with Vision Loss - Impairment - Needs
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Funding Sources for Persons with Vision Needs

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for hearing devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma: