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Accommodations for Vision Disabilities

"Low Vision" Accommodations

  • Glare Protection Screen - Minimizes visual fatigue associated with glare on the monitor.
  • Large Monitor with High Resolution (19" - 25") - Increases character size in proportion to monitor dimensions and provides a crisp, sharp image.
  • Magnified Display of Computer Screen - Either software or hardware solutions exist to present the images on the computer in a larger format. Character size can be increased up to 216 times.
  • Magnified Display of Hardcopy Material - Hardware exists that will magnify any item placed under a CCTV camera. Documents, drawings, phone messages, etc. can be seen enlarged on a CCTV monitor.
  • Large Print Production - Several software packages are available that will print large, bold text with either a dot matrix or a laser printer.
  • Copy Machine with Enlarging and Reducing Capability - Provides enlarged print copies for persons with impaired vision that find magnification helpful and small print copies for persons with visual impairments such as tunnel vision which restricts the field of view.
  • Color and Contrast Selection - Systems or applications which allow the individual user to choose the color combination and level of screen brightness and contrast displayed.
  • Keyboard Orientation Aids - A raised dot or bleb can be added to certain keys such as the home row keys or the number five on the numeric keypad to give a tactile orientation to the keyboard to augment visual orientation.
  • Other Keyboard Aids - Adhesive backed keycap labels can be purchased and applied to the standard keyboard that have very large, bold letters. These labels can be purchased in either white on black background or black on white background.

"Blind" Accommodations

  • Speech Synthesizer - A hardware device used in conjunction with a screen reader to convert screen contents into spoken words by using synthetic speech.
  • Screen Reader Software - Software package that allows the individual to read the screen by directing the screen contents to a speech synthesizer. The individual can choose to listen to the information appearing on the screen by the letter, word, line, entire screen, etc.
  • Braille Printer/Embosser - Braille printers provide hardcopy braille documents.
  • Braille Translation Software and Firmware - Before a standard word processing document can be printed on a braille printer, it must be converted into the proper format. Both software and firmware exists that will perform this translation function.
  • Refreshable Braille - A device with a row of braille cells that change to reflect what is being presented on the computer screen. The individual reads the screen contents by touching the dynamically changing braille display.
  • Braille Notetaker - Small, portable device that allows braille code entry for notetaking, editing and storage of information.
  • Braille Input Devices - This refers not only to portable notetaking systems that can generate a file to be transferred to the PC, but also to other devices designed to be connected to the PC in place of the standard keyboard to provide a braille input mechanism. In addition, there are software packages that will configure a standard keyboard so it can be used for braille input.
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) - Printed documents may be converted to speech output or written to a PC by a scanner and OCR software configured to support use by a person with a visual impairment. OCR enables blind or low vision individuals to independently access many printed materials.
  • Keyboard Enhancements - A raised dot or bleb, or a braille marker can be added to the standard keycaps on selected keys such as the home row keys, "control", or "alt" keys to provide tactile keyboard orientation. In addition, auditory status indicators for toggle keys, such as "shift lock" or "num lock," can often be provided by software.
  • Speech Recognition - Some computer users who are blind utilize speech input systems to enable voice-activated commands and/or mouse movements instead of using the keystroke equivalent. This technology is becoming increasingly useful with new applications employing pulldown menus that may be more difficult to access using only speech output and keyboard commands.
  • Tactile Output (Non-braille) - Tactile output such as raised line drawings may be useful for some individuals who are blind. Several braille printers and wax jet printers have the capability of producing raised line drawings. There are also handheld devices that use an array of vibrating pins to present a tactile outline of the characters or text under the viewing window of the device.
  • CD-ROM - There are dictionaries, encyclopedias, and magazines currently available on a CD-ROM format. For braille readers, CD-ROM offers a more easily manipulated format for accessing information.
  • Telephone Light Pen - Blind individuals that use a multibutton phone set may have problems identifying which line is ringing, on hold, or not in use. A light pen is a device that will give an auditory signal when it is held next to the phoneset button that is lit or blinking.