Introduction to Vision Impairments

Module 3.2. Assistive Technologies for Literacy

All of us use several methods and tools to read, write, share and obtain information including watches, calendars, sign boards, printed books, magazines and words on a computer or mobile phone screen (via internet). We use tools like pens, pencils or a computer keyboard to write. 
Similarly, not all of us prefer accessing information through reading. Some prefer hearing or seeing the same information over a video than reading about it. Hence, the medium of accessing information varies, irrespective of whether it’s a person with disability or a non-disabled individual.  
A person with vision impairment may also use a variety of literacy tools and choose a medium of accessing information that matches his or her needs and which he/she can use very easily and effectively. A functional vision assessment will help determine the level of the impairment and what size print he or she would be able to
There are various options/modes to obtain/read printed information. These range from using optical aids like magnifiers, audiobooks or through tactile script- braille, which is traditionally embossed on heavy paper but is today available in input-and- output electronic devices called refreshable braille displays. Machines are available to convert visual information such as graphical images and diagrams into a tactile format. Let’s go through each of these tools in detail.