Assistive technology is a set of tools and devices that enhance communication and allow students who are BVI to access the curriculum independently. High-tech digital devices may include switches, eye gaze devices, alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices, notetakers, tablets, magnification and screen reading software, and keyboarding apps. Low-tech devices could include adapted books, real objects, magnifiers, a manual braille writer, and active learning supplies.

MDE-LIO does not endorse the purchase or use of any non-State Board of Education-adopted commercial products. Products and services noted below are included for information only and their inclusion should not be interpreted as a recommendation of MDE-LIO.

Assistive Technology Library

MDE-LIO offers several assistive technology devices that teacher consultants for the visually impaired may borrow for eight weeks. To borrow a device, view the list of available products on the Assistive Technology Library page.

Assistive Technology Guidelines

The Michigan Assistive Technology Guidelines for Teachers of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is an expanded document intended to guide teachers of students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 who are BVI with assistive technology.

Assistive Apps

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.

Online Resources

Alt+Shift Lending Library
Alt+Shift, an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant-funded initiative through the Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education, offers a Lending Library that includes assistive technology equipment and software available for PreK-12 public schools and intermediate school districts (ISDs) to borrow. Educators can also request custom 3D printed keyguards, order pragmatic organization dynamic display (PODD) communication books, and request items to be added to the library.

Conducting Essential Assessments During COVID-19 [PDF]
This MDE-LIO tool provides information on conducting essential assessments during COVID-19 for students who are BVI, including assistive technology assessments.

Assistive Technology Consideration Flowchart

The following documents can be used to help individualized education program (IEP) teams make decisions about pairing assistive technology with a student.

Featured Devices and Software

Screen Readers

The documents below include screen reader overviews, updates, and comparisons, including Job Access with Speech (JAWS) and NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA).


Adaptive Switches

Adaptive switches allow users with movement-limiting and/or cognitive disabilities to use technology and various devices.

Duxbury Braille Translator

Brailliant BI X Series

HumanWare's Brailliant BI X series brings portable braille to users' fingertips. Brailliant offers 20-cell and 40-cell braille displays and features Bluetooth connectivity.

Additional resources are available on HumanWare's Brailliant BI X Series page, including Setting up and using Brailliant with JAWS Screen Reader [Word].

Computer Skills and Tips

These documents provide information and tips on various computer needs for students who are BVI.