Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Assistive technology is an integral part of life for the blind and visually impaired. From a simple 20/20 marker to sophisticated GPS-enabled gadgets, assistive technology for the visually impaired can offer you a greater sense of freedom and independence.

One crucial way that assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired can make a huge difference in a person’s life is by making printed text accessible. People with low vision can use a magnification device to enlarge text. A hand-held magnifier, for example, might help you read product labels while shopping in a grocery store. You may use a CCTV to read your mail or other documents. Some CCTVs will not only enlarge text but will also read the text to you, which is great for those who are blind.

Audiobook reading devices that play or stream recorded content make books and magazines accessible. You may purchase a book reader, or you may sign up for free library services for the blind and print disabled. This free service provides qualified users with the books and the audiobook reader. If you opt to purchase an audiobook reader, there are many options available including the Victor Reader Stream by HumanWare and the Kindle by Amazon.

Software is another example of AT that can help you accomplish daily tasks. There are software applications available like ZoomText or JAWS that can make a computer accessible by either enlarging or reading text. Some computer operating systems have built-in accessibility features as well. In addition to software, users who read braille can use a refreshable braille device to help make a computer more accessible.

Mobile apps are AT that can further enhance your life as well. There are apps like BARD Mobile that will turn your smart device or computer into an audiobook reader. The TapTapSee app allows you to use your phone to take a photo of anything and the app will identify it for you. There are also apps for taking notes, converting text to speech or braille, reading money, streaming music or news, and much more.

There are so many ways that assistive technology for the visually impaired can help. Once you find suitable assistive technology aids, your entire well-being will improve. | 1-800-BRAILLE (1-800-272-4553).