Browse By Topic: Helpful Products

Learn about the wide range of helpful products and vision rehabilitation services that can help you live independently with vision loss, including low vision devices, computer adaptations, apps, and devices for identifying your medications. You can also register with VisionAware to receive email alerts about new blog posts in this – and other – topic areas.

My Experience Using the LinkedIn Website and App

I have had a profile on LinkedIn for a couple of years now, and I am fairly familiar with the website. I will post news I want to share or will say congrats on a connection's work anniversary from time to time. Sometimes I will even post a comment on one of my groups when an interesting link to an article is posted. But admittedly, I have not been using LinkedIn to its fullest capacity. The reason is that there have been some updates to the website that are making it more challenging to use with my screen reader. This has discouraged me from using it as much as I should. Like most social media platforms, LinkedIn has frequent updates so by the time I learn a workaround for something new, my strategy or technique no longer works. Because LinkedIn


Listen with the Lights Out: 19 Podcasts About Blindness

Editor's note: This blog post by Susan Kennedy was originally posted on The Bello Collective, a newsletter and publication about audio storytelling and the podcast industry. Listen with the Lights Off: 19 Podcasts About Blindness Ever since I loaded my beloved orange iPod mini with Fresh Air episodes, I’ve enjoyed podcasts. Gaining a disability a few years ago didn’t end my love of the audible word, it enhanced it. Currently,


Television on the Internet

Editor's note: The information in this post has been updated in this article, Television on the Internet. For additional information on watching TV, check out Enjoying Television with Vision Loss. TV on the Net by Steve Kelley, CVRT Cut the cord! Television viewing has


Feel the Power of the Disability Vote By Using the Accessible Voting Machine

As an African-American who grew up with parents who lived under segregation, I have known and understood the importance and power of the right to vote. My dad, who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, would constantly tell me that when I grew up to always have handy a copy of my government ID, library card, and voter’s registration card. He always stressed the importance of having those three things in my purse. Today, I am a 45-year-old living in Atlanta with vision loss, and guess what I have in my purse? You got it; my government ID, my library card, and my voter’s registration card. All with


Getting Your Feet Wet in the Access Technology Wading Pool Part 3

In Part 1 of this series I talked about the National Library Service (NLS) player and its many uses. In Part 2, I covered how to download an application for NLS and the books they offer as well as other sources of downloadable books. In the this third part of the series I discuss using a computer. Read on! <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=7704" alt="Image of man diving off board into pool by David Shankbone [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL


My Father's Day Gift List for Your Dad Who Is Visually Impaired

Dear Son, I recognize this is a bit selfish, but I am not above offering a few suggestions for Father’s Day, on June 19, 2016 (no doubt this is already on your calendar). You are probably already fretting about what to get me anyway, and searching the internet for appropriate items. So I thought I could make it easier for you and the rest of the family, by highlighting a few things I’ve had my eyes on…besides, of course that stunning Ducati motorcycle! Amazon Echo The whole family will fall in love with Alexa, the text-to-speech voice within the Amazon Echo. Check out my article,


Are You Afraid to Take Up New Smart Phone and other iDevice?

Like many of you who still use those good old flip phones for your communication needs, I also resisted giving up my flip phone until one day when I accidentally took it swimming with me. It fell into salt water and had a massive seizure. My little flip phone was dead. So my daughter insisted that I get my first smart phone. Learning About My First Smart Phone When I got it, it did take me some time to get used to swiping tapping, flicking, and touching a smooth screen but I finally got the hang of it. I use the Siri feature all of the time now. She can do almost everything except drive me around and cook a meal. (smile) <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=6848" alt="Maribel holding 'old faithful' to her ear and


Say “Hello!” to Alexa the Digital Assistant Within the Amazon Echo

Editor's note: For you last minute shoppers, here is a gift you might want to check out. But be sure to read our other gift ideas. by Steve Kelley, CVRT and VisionAware correspondent. A Multi-Purpose Assistant Imagine having a digital assistant in the house that doesn't require using a keyboard, or learning to use a tablet computer, or smartphone—an attentive digital assistant within earshot, that could open and read a book, provide a weather report, access recent news updates, play music you like, help spell a word


Part 2 of the White Cane Safety Day Debate: The Impact of New Colors on the Long Mobility Cane

Happy White Cane Safety Day!! Author's note: In Part 1, we reviewed the history of the white cane. In Part 2, we will explore the perspectives of users of the long white cane, professionals in the field of orientation and mobility, and product manufacturers. For newcomers to the field of vision rehabilitation,


Part 1 of the White Cane Safety Day Debate: The Impact of New Colors on the Long Mobility Cane

Author's note: The nation celebrates White Cane Safety Day on October 15. As this celebration occurs, the historic white color of this "visible symbol of a blind person's ability to come and go on his own," as President Johnson stated in the original proclamation, is competing with a growing interest in choice of colors by users for their canes. This post is part one of a two-part series that will (1) give a brief historical evolution of the white cane in the U.S. and Europe; (2) explore the perspectives of users of the long white cane, professionals in the field of orientation and mobility, and product manufacturers;


Five Great Reading Apps for Booklovers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Updated 1/31/2017 Electronic Access to Books Has Changed Tablet computers, like the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy, have dramatically changed how we read. For individuals experiencing any type of vision loss, these devices have also increased the overall ease of access to print. The digital formatting of print into electronic text allows for enlarging text by


Just in Time for School: Shopping Online Made Easier for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Back to School Shopping Online Fleets of bright yellow school buses, children toting backpacks and lunch boxes are all signs of one thing-school time. And yes, if you are a visually impaired parent or a visually impaired adult student the months of August and September is the time of year that you are preparing for a return to that old school house. Now, you don’t’ have to take that long list of school supplies and rush off to the local office supply or big box store; you can shop easily and hassle-free from the comfort of your home. How is this possible? Through accessible online shopping. Next to the Christmas holiday season, back-to-school shopping is the largest shopping time


I Finally Got an iPhone!

I Got an iPhone About two years ago I wrote a post for VisionAware on why I don't use an iPhone. In the post, I vividly described how I was totally unconcerned about the fancy bells and whistles of this growing technology. I shared how an old fashion flip phone suited me just fine. I explained how I was uninterested in downloading books, reading my stock portfolio, or listening to music on my phone; how I just wanted to make a simple phone call and hang up. Well, this past December I turned over a new leaf and purchased an iPhone.


Reading My Own Phone Bills Empowers Me as a Person Who Is Blind

Editor's note: This week the 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference is underway. We will be hearing much more about it from AFB staff who are attending as they report on the latest and greatest technology coming down the pike. To get us started, Mary Hiland reports on how the invention of a flatbed scanner and optical character recognition in 1975 by Ray Kurzweil has transformed lives and continues to do so, in many different and exciting ways! Being in Control of My Personal Business Who would ever think that being able to read my


My Experience with Using the Be My Eyes App

I am visually impaired and recently tried this app on the recommendation of my optometrist John Henahan, who has written a post about his experience. I recommend that you read what he has written as well as a recent review. History of Be My Eyes The idea behind Be My Eyes originates from the Danish 50 year old furniture craftsman Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who started losing his vision


Accessible Kitchen Aids for Successful Holiday Cooking with Vision Loss

Editor's note: This post of the first of our "Cooking With Confidence" series, associated with the new Peer Guide to Cooking Safely with Visual Impairment. It Is That Time of the Year It is that time of year when family and friends gather for warm cups of cider or hot chocolate, friendly conversation, laughter and of course lots of delicious things to eat. For those of us who are blind and visually impaired there is no reason that our vision loss should keep us from joining in on the fun and festivities. People with vision loss can


Free Bill Readers Offered to People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

How Do You Identify Your Money? One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a blind person is how do you identify your money? Since US paper currency is printed with the same color ink and each denomination has the same shape and texture it is very difficult to determine differences. This challenge reduces the level of financial independence for those with vision loss. It also creates opportunities to be taken advantage of by dishonest people. Multiple Ways to Identify Money It can be hard for me to answer that question about identifying my money because there are multiple ways to do it. As a result, I have strayed away


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