Seeing Our Way

Technology for Visually Impaired Persons
By Dorothy Troyer
spectrios.org

Anyone under the age of 70 knows what I-Phones and I-Pads are.  You or someone in your household has one.  Right?  But, how about the person who has macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy or another eye condition, which cannot be corrected to 20/20?  These two pieces of technology really level the playing field for persons with low vision.  How so?

An I-Phone has built-in accessibility.  No downloading of extra software.  It has the ability to magnify whatever appears on the screen and with “Voice Over”, it will read aloud anything on the screen.

There’s a built in GPS – talking navigation.  No, it doesn’t work in the car, but visually impaired persons do a lot of walking and this feature keeps them from getting lost and keeps them safe.

An App called Q-Rafter is a camera, which will read bar codes, money, identify colors and Q codes.  There’s an App for audio books.  In short an I-Phone is a pocket size computer with incredible accessibility.  The only thing that may make it inaccessible is the price.

I-Pads are not quite so pricey.  They’re bigger, but not any bigger than a 3 ring notebook with a lot of features that make life easier for a white cane user.  Books, maps, directions, addresses, phone numbers are all accessible in large print.

Six of the 14 Spectrios Staff members have an I-Pad.  Grants have provided three I-Pads for Eye Tec, but the Staff members have all purchased their own.

If you are wondering if you should join today’s world, but a little concerned about spending several hundred dollars for something you might have a hard time learning to use, mark Saturday, March 10th on your calendar.  That’s the date of the next Technology Open House at Spectrios, 219 E. Cole Ave. right here in Wheaton.   From 9:30 to 2:30 you can come and learn how I-Phones and I-Pads work and even have some hands on time.  It costs nothing to take advantage of the Open House.  Bring your kids and Grandpa too.  For more information and to reserve your spot (limited space) call 630-690-7115 and ask for Lynn or Leah.


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