Access Tools

Inexpensive "screen reading" (synthetic voice) and magnification software offer people who are blind or visually impaired access to information via computers never thought possible.  With "assistive devices" virtually any job can be productively performed by an employee with low vision or no vision.

Here's a quick overview of some of the tools that are useful for people with vision impairments:

For Reading Print:

  • Use a hand/stand magnifier
  • Enlarge information on photo copier
  • Provide information in large print
  • Improve lighting or use task lighting
  • Use a closed circuit television system (CCTV)
  • Use alternative optical wear, i.e. clip-on monocular or loupes; prism spectacles; binocular systems, or a hand held monocular
  • Use an optical character recognition system (OCR)
  • Use a "20/20" pen or felt marker on heavy lined paper
  • Provide a reader

For Computer and internet Access:

  • Increase font size or change Accessibility Options in Windows Accessories control panel
Use text based web browser
  • Install screen magnification software
  • Use an anti-glare or anti-radiation computer screen guard
  • Install screen reading "synthetic speech" software
  • Use a computer Braille display

For Reading Telephone or Pager Display:

  • Provide a light sensor or light probe
  • Add large print labels or locator dots on telephone keypad
  • Use a hand/stand/optical magnifier
  • Change the way telephone calls are received and distributed to others
  • Use a talking digital display reader (for LED displays)

For Using Telephone and Speech Output on Computer at the Same Time:

  • Use dual channel headset
  • Provide an earplug for the computer and a monaural headset for the telephone

Sensitivity to Light:

  • Lower wattage of overhead lights
  • Provide task or alternative lighting
  • Place desk or work station so person has their back to the window
  • Place blinds on windows to reduce glare

Source: Job Accommodations Network, A Service Of The Office Of Disability Employment Policy of The US Dept Of Labor, "Job Accommodations For People With Vision Impairments," www.jan.wvu.edu; VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, www.visionsvcb.org. 

 
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