Assistive technology is a set of tools and devices that enhance communication and allow students who are Blind or Visually Impaired (BVI) to independently access the curriculum.
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an assistive technology device may be "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities."
Featured Apps and Software
American Foundation for the Blind’s AccessWorld Magazine provides an in-depth review of two multi-purpose apps that combine text recognition, currency identification, bar code reading, color identification, and other features.
Freedom Scientific provides an overview of new software that connects Freedom Scientific cameras with any Windows app.
Aira is a service that helps people who are BVI explore their surroundings with the aid of a trained professional who provides directions via a phone app or specialized glasses. This MDE-LIO document provides an overview of the service and how students can benefit. To borrow Aira equipment from MDE-LIO, visit our Assistive Technology Library.
Computer Skills and Tips
These documents provide guidance on various computer needs for students who are BVI.
- File Formats for Note Takers [PDF]
- OCR a PDF in Google Docs [PDF]
- Purchasing an Accessible Computer [PDF]
- Screen Readers and Scanning [PDF]
- Setting up Microsoft® Word Tips [PDF]
- Table Navigation With JAWS and NVDA [PDF]
- Windows Narrator Overview and Key Commands [PDF]
Students need accessible content to learn the core curriculum (e.g., math, English language arts) and to learn the expanded core curriculum (e.g., independent living skills, orientation and mobility).
Many apps and websites offer accessible content through the use of assistive technology features on phones, tablets, and computers. Search through the list of assistive technology resources to find accessible apps and websites for students and teachers to use.
MDE-LIO offers several assistive technology devices that Teacher Consultants for the Visually Impaired may borrow for eight weeks.
The Michigan Assistive Technology Guidelines for Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired is an expanded document based on the Michigan Educational Technology Standards (METS) that guides teachers of students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 who are blind or have a visual impairment with assistive technology.