Toolbox for Vision Loss
"Mike encourages fellow patients, as well as individuals
from his church, to reach for every tool available..."
for Low Vision
Mike McCann began losing his
vision 10 years ago from myopic degenerationa hereditary
disease. But it's hardly slowed Mike's active lifestyle. Since
adjusting to vision loss, Mike has not only successfully incorporated
low vision tools into his regiment; he teaches others how
to do it.
As a patient of the Deicke Center
for Visual Rehabilitation in Wheaton, Illinois, Mike encourages
fellow patients, as well as individuals from his church, to
reach for every tool available, including assistive technology
hardware and software devices, interviewing skills, aids to
daily living, and Braille. The Deicke Center initially helped
Mike cope with his vision loss and continues to provide support.
"Users may rely on
scanning devices with speech output to read anything in print,
regardless of vision loss."
After earning a graduate degree in Rehabilitation Teaching,
Mike has taught or counseled people with low vision or blindness,
mainly as a volunteer. He seeks appropriate aids for every
person. "Adaptive devices are no problem for one woman I work
with," says Mike, "interviewing skills are." Mike helps a
woman obtain job-coaching resources.
Mike has been fortunate in that he was able to integrate adaptive
tools into each aspect of his life. For example, when driving,
Mike wears special glasses and uses biotic telescopic lenses
for reading street signs. At home Mike uses a closed-circuit
television (CCTV) to view hand-written notes or diagrams.
He also utilizes a Jaws for Windows computer screen-reading
program, and an electronic scanner.
Mike reads a large volume of material for work that would be
unmanageable with a CCTV, so he uses a Kurzweil 1000 OCR (optical
character reader ) to scan typewritten documents, including
HTML documents (hyper text markup language used on the Internet),
and then magnify them onto a computer screen (using either Zoomtext
or Magic 6.1) or have them read aloud with synthetic speech
output. Users may rely on scanning devices with speech output
to read anything in print, regardless of vision loss. A person
may also elect to use a Braille output device to convert print
or HTML documents into Braille and read it that way. One has
many options today.
Keep in mind that many of the devices mentioned here, like most
technology, started out very expensive but prices have dropped
and many more people with vision loss can afford assistive technology
"The Braille 'n Speak
is a small, portable device (3 " x 7") that will hang from
the user's neck. Later on, it will read Mike's notes back
Professionally Mike is a senior radiation
specialist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
His job is to evaluate plans from licensees to clean up nuclear
waste, and Mike enforces the clean ups. Mike inspects hospitals,
manufacturing plants, pharmacies, and research labs, entering
Braille notes into his Braille 'n Speak to refer to later.
The Braille 'n Speak is a small, portable device (3"
x 7") that will hang from the user's neck. Later on, it will
read Mike's notes back aloud. Mike also uses a computer notebook
to take along large, electronic files to the inspection site,
as well as a small scanner to read documents there. He is
very well prepared for work.
In his personal life, Mike is married with two grown children
and two granddaughters. He's traveled with his family to Italy,
Ireland, England, and on an Alaskan cruise, among others.
When he's just kicking back, Mike takes advantage of the Library
of Congress's Books on Tape Program that now offers books
for downloading off of the Internet. Mike and his family live
in Oswego, Illinois.
The Deicke Center for Visual Rehabilitation
219 East Cole Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
Telephone: (630) 690-7115
Fax: (630) 690-9037
The Deicke Center's mission is to provide the visually impaired
with the tools and training necessary to function independently
at home, in the workplace, and in the community at large.
For more information, visit: http://www.deicke.org/
Freedom Scientific Low Vision
Personal notetaking, Braille embossing, computer Braille displays
and scanning & reading printed media.Screen reading, screen
magnification, web access, scanning & reading and WYNN
literacy software, accessories, training, support, and an
JAWS for Windows and Magic 6.1
screen magnification by:
11800 31st Court North
St. Petersburg, FL 33716-1805
Telephone: (727) 803-8000 or 1(800) 336-5658
Fax: (727) 803-8001
Visit the Henter-Joyce Web site for a free demo: http://www.hj.com/
Kurzweil 1000 flatbed scanner and voice output system
by Lernout and Hauspie. Get contact information, order, read,
see or listen to an audio file about Kurzweil's new features;
or see a demonstration: http://www.kurzweiledu.com/products_k1000.asp
Innovations for People with Visual Disabilities
Video magnifiers and software, note-takers, scanners, Braille
writers, display, embossers, learning disabilities software,
customer support. Pulse data also took over Humanware.
Braille readers can now read their books on the Internet thanks
to a historic technological breakthrough by The Library
of Congress called Web-Braille. Readers now have
access to more than 2,700 electronic Braille books recently
placed on the Internet for the use of eligible Braille readers
by the Library's National Library Service for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped (NLS). Each year many hundreds of new
titles will be added.
Library users of the national reading program
for blind and physically handicapped individuals access Web-Braille
on the Internet using an individual user ID and password.
The Library of Congress also produces Braille versions of
many national magazines, and is now exploring the feasibility
of adding these magazines to Web-Braille for its users.
For further information contact:
Robert E. Fistick
Head, Publications and Media Section
National Library Service for the Blind And Physically Handicapped
The Library of Congress
1291 Taylor Street, NW
Washington, DC 20542
Web site: http://lcweb.loc.gov/nls/
Note: Infinitec Inc. does not endorse
or recommend the above-mentioned products and has no liability
for the results of their use. Infinitec Inc. has received
no consideration of any type for featuring this product on
this Web site. The information offered herein is a summary;
it is not comprehensive and should be carefully evaluated
by consumers with the assistance of qualified professionals.
The intention of Infinitec Inc. is to offer consumers a brief
overview of various assistive technology devices and their