Browse By Topic: Reading

Literacy is the key to personal independence and access to information. Learn more about the ever-expanding list of available techniques and technologies to help you read, including large print books, low vision devices, audio books, apps, braille, and devices to help you identify your medications. You can also find helpful tips and techniques for everyday living skills, safe indoor movement and outdoor travel, and helpful everyday living products. Register to receive alerts and news relating to vision loss, including the latest updates in low vision and technology research.

Our Readers Want to Know: What Does It Mean When My Eye Doctor Tells Me I Have "Low Vision"?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search online]. Of particular concern to many readers are issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of low vision, as evidenced by the following searches: I've been told I have low vision, but what does this mean? How is low vision different from blindness? Is there a cure for low vision? An Answer from VisionAware: What


New Glaucoma Research: Will Patients and Family Members Pay for a Glaucoma-Specific App? Not Likely, Results Say

New – and highly relevant – research from the Wills Eye Glaucoma Research Center, in collaboration with Drexel University, sought to "evaluate the interest of glaucoma patients and their caregivers in a smartphone-based and tablet-based glaucoma application" (app) that contained a range of features (explained below) designed to (a) increase patients' level of knowledge about glaucoma and (b) improve their adherence to medication and follow-up appointment recommendations. Their research results, which are applicable to doctors, patients, family members, rehabilitation


What's New in iOS 10 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision, and Deaf-Blind Users Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and


Understanding Low Vision Care and Low Vision Devices: Part 2 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,


There is Hope; There is Help: Part 1 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,


AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with


Ten New Tips for Braille Users of iDevices: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive software.


What's New in iOS 9 Accessibility for Blind and Deaf-Blind Users Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


What's New in iOS 9 Accessibility for Blind and Deaf-Blind Users Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


Coming Soon: The National Prison Braille Forum at American Printing House for the Blind

The 15th Annual National Prison Braille Forum (NPBF) will be held on October 7, 2015, in Louisville, Kentucky, in conjunction with the American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meeting. This year, the theme of the NPBF is Transition Success and will feature transcribers who are transitioning out of prison and establishing careers in braille translation. About the National Prison Braille Network The National Prison Braille Network (NPBN) is a growing group of blindness/low vision and corrections professionals who are forming partnerships to produce braille materials in prisons across the United States. Since 2001, the


Download the VisionConnect App Today and Take the VisionAware Challenge

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. About the New VisionConnect™


National Reading Month: Reading with Visual Impairment, Part II

by Steven Kelley, CVRT, VisionAware Contributor Continuing our discussion of reading options, let’s look at some of the reading alternatives available today. Lighting If you have low vision, lighting is a critical component of reading. VisionAware has lots of information on this topic, including a video series entitled


National Reading Month: Reading with a Visual Impairment Part I

by Steve Kelley, CVRT, VisionAware Contributor The month of March is designated National Reading Month, making it the perfect opportunity to highlight the expanding options for readers with a vision impairment. As a vision rehabilitation therapist, one of the most common complaints clients experiencing a vision loss report to me is that they are no longer able to read the newspaper,


Announcing the National Federation of the Blind 2015 Annual Writing Contest

As a sister/fellow writer, I was delighted to receive the following update from author Donna W. Hill about the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) 2015 Annual Writing Contest. Donna is a writer, disability advocate, blogger, speaker, songwriter, and author of the young adult adventure-mystery novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill (pictured at left). You can read more about Applebutter Hill, which depicts the adventures, setbacks, challenges, and successes of 14-year-old legally blind heroine Abigail and her guide dog Curly


Braille Literacy Awareness Month: The Story of Louis Braille

During Braille Literacy Awareness Month, VisionAware is pleased to celebrate the life and work of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852), the creator of the braille code, which revolutionized reading and writing for blind people throughout the world. This month, our examination of Louis Braille's life and work features Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius, authored by C. Michael Mellor and published by


Progress Update: United States Accessible Currency Project for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons

Last week, I received the following update on the United States Treasury Department's long-term and ongoing project to create paper currency (i.e., banknotes) that is independently accessible by people who are blind and/or have low vision. Excerpted from Nationwide Release of the BEP's U.S. Currency Reader Program to Help the Blind and Visually Impaired: The Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is accepting and processing applications


New Research: Which Factors Influence Persons with Low Vision to Pursue Rehabilitation Services?

When is the best time for a person to pursue low vision rehabilitation services? What are the factors that influence a person to make a "positive personal choice" to seek out low vision rehabilitation? A multi-disciplinary group of Canadian researchers has attempted to answer these questions, via a study that (a) categorizes the "predictors of awareness" of low vision rehabilitation services and (b) examines the critical factors that influence an individual's decision to access vision rehabilitation services. They conclude that, even


What's New in iOS 8 Accessibility Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a regional representative for the Region 8 Rocky Mountain area with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his personal picks for book-reading apps and


What's New in iOS 8 Accessibility Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a regional representative for the Region 8 Rocky Mountain area with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his personal picks for book-reading apps and


Do People with Glaucoma Read Less and Engage Less with Reading Tasks? New Research Says Yes

New glaucoma research from Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the official journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), indicates that persons with glaucoma read less, have reduced reading skills, and have less engagement with tasks that require sustained reading. The authors conclude that additional research is critically necessary to define the best reading methods in persons with glaucoma by (a) using


Meet Aries Arditi, Ph.D., Founder and Principal Scientist of Visibility Metrics, LLC

Aries Arditi, Ph.D, is the founder and Principal Scientist of Visibility Metrics, LLC. Visibility Metrics is a new venture for Dr. Arditi, who has devoted his career to a variety of research interests in human visual perception, spanning basic and applied studies in the human factors of vision and visibility and studies of functional visual impairment, including low vision and blindness. Dr. Arditi spent most of his earlier research career at Lighthouse Guild International, with a brief two-year stint at the IBM Thomas J. Watson


My Top Book-Reading Apps for Braille Users by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his top picks for news apps that are user-friendly and accessible to braille users. This week, Scott reviews his personal picks for the top book-reading apps for braille users.


My Top App Picks for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his Top Ten List of useful tips for braille users of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, based upon his personal experience and his work


Part 2: Ten Braille Tips for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed new accessibility features in iOS 7, RoboBraille, and the Humanware Communicator app. In his latest review, Scott


Part 1: Ten Braille Tips for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed new accessibility features in iOS 7, RoboBraille, and the Humanware Communicator app In his latest review, Scott has


Braille Literacy Awareness Month: The Genius of Louis Braille and the Raphigraphe Printer

A miniature portrait of Louis Braille on ivory by Lucienne Filipp During Braille Literacy Awareness Month, VisionAware is celebrating the life and work of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852), the creator of the braille code, which revolutionized reading and writing for blind people throughout the world. Our month-long Louis Braille celebration has featured the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) online Louis Braille Museum and the definitive biography


Braille Literacy Awareness Month: It All Began 205 Years Ago with Louis Braille

It's appropriate to begin our celebration of Braille Literacy Awareness Month with a profile of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852), creator of the braille code. His elegant and enduring code revolutionized reading and writing for blind people throughout the world. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Online Louis Braille Museum AFB's online Louis Braille Museum is a rich repository of photographs, documents, and historical texts that illustrate the life and legacy of Louis Braille, the creator


Part 3: What's New in iOS 7 by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. This month, Scott is reviewing the new iOS 7 release from Apple, with an emphasis on accessibility features for individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision. iOS is Apple's mobile operating system, or OS. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support


The OrCam: A Portable, Wearable Visual System for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons

OrCam is an Israeli start-up company, founded in 2010 by Amnon Shashua, Sachs Professor of Computer Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The mission of OrCam is to develop a "portable, wearable visual system with 'human-like' capabilities" for blind and visually impaired persons, via the use of artificial computer intelligence and augmented reality. The OrCam (pictured at left) is based on computer algorithms that Professor Shashua has pioneered with Shai Shalev-Shwartz, a Hebrew University colleague, and


A New Low Vision Resource from the National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has released a 20-page, full-color, large print booklet with companion videos, in support of Low Vision Awareness Month, February 2013. The booklet and videos were developed by NEI's National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP). The mission of NEI, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is to "conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health


"On Becoming Illiterate" by New Zealand Author Lynley Hood

Guest blogger Lynley Hood, MSc LittD, lives in New Zealand. She is a scientist by training and a writer by occupation with a literary doctorate. Two of her four books have won New Zealand's premier book award. In 2009, Lynley developed visual impairment that compromises her ability to read. You can learn more about Lynley's background and work at her website and on her VisionAware Peer Advisor page. The following post is excerpted from


The Importance of Braille Literacy: An Open Letter to the New York Times from Daniel Aronoff

Guest blogger Daniel Aronoff is New York City's premier blind food critic. You can read about his culinary experiences at The Real Blind Taste Test© blog and @blindblog on Twitter. Daniel received the People's Choice Award in the Dining and Entertainment category of CBS New York's Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011. Following is Daniel's response to Listening to Braille: With New


My Journey Back to Braille by Empish Thomas, Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta

Guest blogger Empish J. Thomas is the public educator for the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta, where she organizes tours, exhibits, presentations and speaking engagements. She also posts on CVI's SightSeeing Blog and the CVI community bulletin board. In addition, she talks with potential clients, medical professionals, social service representatives, family members and others about the services that CVI can offer. In her spare time, she is a career columnist for


Why Braille Is So Important To Me by DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

Guest blogger DeAnna Quietwater Noriega (at left) is an Independent Living Specialist and facilitator of the Vision Impairment and Blindness Exploration and Support (VIBES) Group at Services for Independent Living (SIL) in Columbia, Missouri. She is half Apache, a quarter Swan Creek Chippewa, and has been blind since age eight. DeAnna is a poet, writer, legislative public policy advocate, and Peace Corps veteran. She has written the following tribute to honor Louis Braille (born January 4, 1809) during National Braille Literacy Month. My


Glaucoma, Reading Speed, and Possible E-Reading Applications

A recent study has examined the relationship between reading speed and bilateral [i.e., both eyes] visual field loss from glaucoma and relates the findings to potential applications in e-reading technology, such as the iPad or Kindle. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology Difficulty with Out-loud and Silent Reading in Glaucoma has been published online ahead-of-print in Investigative Ophthalmology


Digital Tablets Can Improve Speed and Ease of Reading for People with Moderate Vision Loss

An innovative new study exploring the potential of the iPad and other back-lighted digital tablet devices to increase the reading ability and reading speed of persons with low vision was presented at the 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, held from November 10-13 in Chicago, Illinois. The study, conducted at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and led by associate clinical professor Daniel Roth, M.D., concluded that subjects with


A "New Perkins" Expands Its Mission and Commitment to Braille Literacy and Employment

Because I have long admired the work of Perkins School for the Blind, I was pleased to read the following press release from Perkins President Steven M. Rothstein: On October 15, 2012, Perkins School for the Blind announced that it is streamlining its name to simply "Perkins." The name change comes after a year-long exploration within the Perkins community. The name "Perkins" supports the


Two for Blindness and Neuroscience

I first published these "advances in neuroscience" stories last year, but believe they remain equally relevant today. I think you'll agree. Why Can Some Blind People Process Speech Faster Than Sighted Persons? In a recent issue of Scientific American, an article by R. Douglas Fields, Ph.D., entitled Why Can Some Blind People Process Speech Far Faster Than Sighted Persons? examines the work of a group of researchers from the Hertie Institute for


The Part of the Brain that Processes Visual Text May Not Require Vision After All

I first published this story last year, but believe it's equally relevant today. I think you'll agree. Congenital Blindness, the Visual Cortex, and Language Processing Two intriguing research reports are shedding new light on the way the brain's visual processing center functions in people who are blind. The first report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled Language processing in the occipital cortex of


RoboBraille: Enhancing Document Accessibility by Scott Davert, HKNC for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in Sands Point, New York. Previously, Scott reviewed vision enhancements and hearing and physical/motor enhancements for Apple's iOS 5 release. This week, Scott reviews RoboBraille, a


To the Moon with "Hear and There"

Hear and There Audio Magazine is a radio program and podcast hosted and produced by Dave Uhlman, a visually impaired accessibility consultant. Dave describes Hear and There as an adventure program that provides detailed audio descriptions of museums, nature walks, art shows, news events, and all manner of life–involving and –enhancing events. Dave "puts words to the visual" that enable his listeners (blind, sighted, and visually impaired) to


A New Study Investigates the Abandonment Rate of Low Vision Devices

As a longtime vision rehabilitation and low vision therapist, I was very interested to read Abandonment of Low-Vision Devices in an Outpatient Population, which has been published online ahead-of-print as an article abstract in Optometry and Vision Science, the


A New Reading Partnership between American Printing House for the Blind and Dolly Parton

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and the Dollywood Foundation have announced an innovative partnership that expands Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) program to provide young blind and visually impaired children with accessible books. The Imagination Library partners with local sponsors in 1,300 communities in three countries to provide a quality, age-appropriate book each


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