Technology Opening New Doors to the Blind
For those who are blind or who suffer from low vision, this is an exciting time to be alive. Advances in technology are rapidly and permanently opening new doors that have long been closed to these individuals. In some ways this can be overwhelming to someone who has had to live with some degree of imposed limitation for at least some portion of their life. Now that these limitations are disappearing, a blind person must begin to view the world in a new and at first unfamiliar way. People that haven’t had to face the everyday struggle of living in a sightless world may sometimes lack empathy for these individuals, which is understandable. It is ultimately up to each blind or sight-impaired person to determine how they will employ technology in their lives.
Assistive or Adaptive Technology: What is it?
One of the more exciting developments in recent years has been the emergence and incremental improvement of assistive or adaptive technology. There are many different types and categories of tools available, including such things as electronic braille readers, digital book players, computer software and computer scanners, large print calculators, and others. These items can range in cost from a few dollars to a thousand dollars and up. The most basic definition as to what one of these devices are is this: Any tool or device that provides greater ability and freedom to someone who otherwise would lack these things. it is important to note that with many of these tools, first having a basic understanding of braille makes them much more effective and helpful.
Is Braille Still Important?
For this and many other reasons, being “conversant” in braille is as vital a skill for the blind in today’s world as it has ever been. Although there are some both within and outside the blind community that have advocated for a decrease in the value placed upon learning and using braille, the evidence is clear that this is still a critical capability to have in the world today.