Many people with sight loss use assistive technology to enhance their lives, enabling them to do things they otherwise might not be able to. Our Grants Manager, Kerry Firth, shares an insight into her experience of using assistive technology.
What couldn’t you do without for work?
My screen reader. I use a screen reader on my laptop, which enables me to write and respond to emails. My phone also has a screen reader, so I’m able to make calls and answer messages, and can help with our social media side of things.
Another go-to is my braille display – a machine you plug into your laptop. If I have a presentation on my laptop screen, the contents come up in braille on the display.
How about the tech you use for everyday life like cooking and keeping in touch?
My iPhone is the key to so many things. Along with Android smartphones, they have inbuilt features, so you don’t have to spend lots of money on specially adapted phones. I use it to keep in touch with people. If I want to read cooking instructions or have lots of packaging that feels the same, I open an app called Seeing AI. I place my camera on the packaging and the app reads out what it says.
Any other areas of life where assistive technology makes a difference?
Yes, watching TV! I have an Apple TV, which has a fully functional screen reader as standard. It means I can access TV guides and all the streaming services, then there’s the audio description option which describes what’s happening.
What else is available?
Inbuilt applications on computers that can zoom into text and enlarge it. I should also mention video magnifiers, a form of CCTV you use to enlarge a paper document for example. There are specially adapted keyboards incorporating braille or markers. You can buy raised stickers and place them over specific keys to guide you. Some people use GPS-related technologies to get directions to places. Oh, and there are talking microwaves and cookers too – the list is endless!
If you’d like to find out more about assistive technology, please visit our webpage
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