Teaching Assistive Technology to Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Material in this section is specific to teaching individuals who are blind or visually impaired how to use certain assistive devices.

General Resources

Assistive Technology Checklists
California School for the Blind (CSB)
The CSB's Assistive Technology Center includes checklists for Word 2003 and 2007 formats. Scroll to center page for these individual links

Assistive Technology Guidelines
Michigan Department of Education
Guidelines, checklists, and handouts, in Word and PDF regarding IEP and Expanded Curriculum goals for Assistive Technology skills.

CSB Assistive Technology Center
You'll find a wealth of resources on the California School for the Blind's Assistive Technology Center page.  For information on teaching assistive technology to students who are blind or visually impaired, take a look at the CSB Curriculum Guides, assistive technology checklists, JAWS exercises for Internet searching, and simple daily living topics such as grocery shopping and cooking without vision.

Environmental Considerations for Assistive Technology
Keep the environment in mind when providing assistive technology for student use.  TSBVI provides a simple question-checklist for considering the student's environment.

Laptops, Braille Displays, Screen Readers & Screen Enlargement - Assistive Technology for the Blind
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
A short video that demonstrates how laptops, refreshable braille displays, screen readers, and screen enlargement devices are being used by the blind and visually impaired students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida.

Overview of Assistive Technology
Begin your understanding of assistive technology with this overview of the tools and devices used by the visually impaired to assist their daily activities.  TSBVI also offers this overview specific to student use, including technology assessments, training materials, lesson plans, and other technology-related information.  Additional links provided by TSBVI are available in their Resources section.

Principles of Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments
Within educational settings, and the language of IEPs, "assistive technology" has specific legal definitions.  Learn more about the terminology of assistive technology and guidelines for educational settings from TSBVI.

Special Education Technology British Columbia Index
The Canadian Ministry of Education's Provincial Resource Program assists school districts in serving their students with disabilities.  The resources index can also be browsed by topic, using the tabs at the top. Use the "Vision" tab to limit your search.

VI Assistive Technology Assistance
Region 10 Education Service Power (State of Texas)
This Region 10 website provides an extensive list of professional development coursework and other online resources related to Assistive Technology

Virtual Instruction
Denise Robinson YouTube Channel
Educator Denise Robinson shares video of her hands-on lessons with students, featuring JAWS, refreshable braille, Google, note takers, accessibility settings, and more!

Evaluation and Assessment

AIM Navigator
The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials provides a tool to assist in making assistive technology decisions.  be advised that the Navigator is not a diagnostic tool; its purpose is to "facilitate the process of decision-making around accessible instructional materials for an individual student."

Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT) 5th Edition
Download the complete text of this resource by Chapters in Word or PDF. Chapter 12 is specific to Blindness and Low Vision. The Vision questionnaire is also a useful deadline.

Assistive Technology Assessment Summary
Looking for a template for assessing students with visual impairments? TSBVI provides an example for download, which can be modified as needed. Includes assessment of accessing and producing written communication, physical requirements for computer use, and recommendations.  Other templates are available in PDF and RTF form for the major types and brands of assistive technology for users who are blind or visually impaired.

Assistive Technology Evaluation: Computer Access
Quick talking points on the valuing of matching students to the best technology for their needs.


Information For...

Braille Readers
Paths to Literacy provides a portal page to various resources for braille technology, refreshable braille, and other electronic devices that incorporate braille.  Screen readers and talking devices are also addressed.

Children with Visual Impairments
A presentation by The Carroll Center for the Blind to the 2002 AER International Conference, entitled "Teaching Computer Skills To Children with Visual Impairments: A Concept-Based Approach."

Emerging Readers
Paths to Literacy collects papers and presentations on the topic of technology and emerging literacy.  You will also find here information on the latest applications for iPad and other iOS devices that engage students who are visually impaired in the learning process.  For more topics on technology for literacy, visit the Paths to Literacy technology section.

General VI Technology Training
This thorough list of resources from TSBVI includes general training information, specific device information, and programming accessibility.

Students with Low Vision
For topics and technology specific to low vision, explore this area of the Paths to Literacy website.  Optical aids, magnification, CCTV, are discussed here.  A link to the Visually Impaired Resource Guide from SET-BC (Special Education Technology, British Columbia) is also provided.

Students with Multiple Disabilities
Information on switch technology, multimedia/multimodal learning, programmable keyboards and Smart Boards can be found here, as well as links to academic papers on deafblindness and multiple disabilities including visual impairment.