Visually Impaired - Visual Impairments can mean a number of things. If you are visually impaired it doesn't necessarily mean you are blind, it could mean you are blind or have impaired vision. A person who is totally blind can not see light or anything else. Some people use different things to help with their visual impairments by using adaptations such as glasses, Braille, seeing eye dogs, canes, and adaptive computer technology. Around 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.
Technology tools that help people who are visually impaired navigate their computer, use the Internet and email will be demonstrated in free sessions in April and May at the nonprofit St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired, which serves children, adults and senior citizens throughout greater St. Louis.
"These free sessions will show how new assistive technology can help people with low vision or severe vision impairments surf the Internet, access email and navigate their computer desktop," says Society President David Ekin.
For example: ZoomText software allows people who are visually impaired to see and hear everything on a computer screen, and provides access to applications, documents, email and the Internet. This software can assist individuals with early vision loss, and visual impairments such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.
The Victor Reader Stream is a device that enables people who are visually impaired to store and listen to "talking books" available from many resources, and from any text file on computer; it doubles as a voice recorder for personal notes, meetings or lectures.
MAGic screen magnification software helps people with low vision view text and images on a computer screen in large size, while hearing content spoken through a speech synthesizer. The user-friendly software magnifies the screen as much as 16 times its normal size and includes powerful features that allow users to customize screen display for efficient and comfortable use.
In addition, JAWS for Windows is an enhanced, multi-lingual software speech synthesizer and "talking text" system whose languages include American English, British English, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, French Canadian, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Finnish. Its applications help users operate computers and visit Internet websites.
The free demonstration sessions at the Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired are scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 27 for ZoomText software and on Friday, May 11 for the Victor Readers Stream and Friday May 25 for MAGic screen magnification. RSVPs are required but individual demonstrations and training lessons for assistive technology demonstrations are available by appointment.
To attend a scheduled session, call Sirrendrick Smith, the Society's Assistive Technology Specialist at 314 301 7363. For individual demonstrations or training lessons by appointment, call 314 986 9000. The Society and its Drews Low Vision Clinic are located at 8770 Manchester Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63144.