Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Aid for the Blind:
Not-for-profit organisation that provides accommodation and services for people who are blind or vision impaired in Queensland, Australia. Operates a Computer Club for preschool children with vision impairment or blindness.
Albinism Fellowship of Australia:
non-profit organisation providing support, education and fellowship to those with albinism, parents of children with albinism as well as their families and friends.
Australian Braille Authority (ABA):
. Oversees the development and maintenance of Braille codes and specifications used in Australia, acts as a braille accreditation body, and promotes braille as the primary literacy medium for people who are blind, deafblind, or have severe vision impairment.
Australian Paralympic Committee:
Helps Australian athletes with a physical, vision or intellectual disability participate in sport and compete at the Paralympic Games through partnerships with governments, business, sporting bodies and the community.
Dog Guide Handlers Australia (DGHA):
National association which provides peer support, advocacy and information for Australians who are blind or vision impaired, and who are dog guide handlers. DGHA is not affiliated with any dog guide school.
EASI: US provider of online training on adaptive technology and how institutions can provide barrier-free computer and information technology systems for persons with disabilities. Podcasts, Webinars and Online Courses.
Videos, personal stories, and an online community for parents of children with vision impairments that can offer tips and support from other parents of children who are blind or vision impaired. (US).
Guide Dogs Queensland:
Provide services which reduce the disadvantage of vision impairment, including Special Education programs for vision impaired or blind children from a very young age.
Guide Dogs SA.NT
Provide a range of services for people with vision impairment and/or hearing loss, Guide Dogs and Autism Assistance dogs. South Australia and Northern Territory.
Provider of special educational needs software, switches and computer access devices, simple communication aids and assistive technology for learners with a physical disability, sensory impairment or learning difficulty (UK).
International Society for Technology in Education:
(ISTE). Association for educators and education leaders from around the world engaged in improving learning and teaching by advancing the effective use of technology in PK–12 and teacher education. Professional development, networking, Special Education Technology Special Interest Group.
Low Vision Online:
A really good self teach web site and information source in non techno/medico jargon
Group of professionals dedicated to extending knowledge, understanding and best practice in the education of children and young people with Multiple Disabilities and a Visual Impairment (MDVI) regardless of educational placement. 2003-2006 Socrates Education and Culture programme (EU).
Narbethong School in Brisbane, Queensland, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. Links to Word document with information for past and present staff members of Narbethong on how to participate by contributing memories and photos.
NV Access: Non-profit organisation (Australia) with vision that access to technology should not incur an extra cost for blind and vision impaired users. Their open source NVDA screen reader can be downloaded for free from their website.
Queensland Narrating Service offers an online audio book library service for individuals with a print disability only. Online audio books can be accessed with mainstream devices such as Tablets and Smartphones eg iPhone, iPad etc. To become a member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your expression of interest and you will be provided with login access to the website to enable you to gain access to the restricted access audio book catalogue. QNS also offers individuals an On Demand service, which caters specifically for individual needs. Contact phone number: (07) 3324 0004.
Aims to provide information and the opportunity of support to persons and families affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa and other retinal dystrophies.
Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania:
Provides a broad range of low vision services for people with varying degrees of vision, including total blindness.
Overbrook: School for the Blind in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Quantum Reading Learning Vision: Australian provider of regular series of free webinars, or web-based seminars, aimed at students, educators and parents, about the use of assistive technology products that can support people who have a print disability (Low Vision, Blindness, and Learning Disability) in the classroom or workplace.
The vi family network:
Home to the Australian Childhood Vision Impairment Register (ACVIR), and the online support network for families and children participating in the Register. The network offers families the chance to connect with one another, access a range of resources on vision impairment, and find out where to get help.
VIP Online Society:
a private Australia wide initiative connecting the young (16-35 year old) vision impaired community for support, networking and friendship
National organisation providing a wide range of services to people who are blind or vision impaired in Australia
Information and Resources
Access Technology Institute:
Free Training resources for download, such as Windows 7 textbook for either JAWS for Windows or Window-Eyes.
Monthly e-magazine on the latest in access technology for people who are blind or have low vision. Published by the American Foundation for the Blind.
ACCESS: YouTube: Simplified version of the standard You Tube site making it easier to search and play videos, and allows the use of assistive technologies. It allows students with vision impairment and with learning difficulties to use this mainstream technology independently. Developed by Mike Thrussell, Assistive Technology Coordinator at Henshaws College in North England.
Assistive Technology guidelines:
guidelines on assistive technology (AT) by grade level with accompanying resources for instruction. Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach team.
Australia Post Articles for the blind:
Australia Post web site listing what is and isn't allowed to be sent as blind free post. Any form of speech recording for the use by the blind is included.
a web site whose aim is for users to share tips and information about any question regarding blindness & visual impairment (National Federation of the Blind of Utah, USA).
Canes mean freedom:
PDF file with two articles by Daniel Kish, published in Insight Magazine (RNIB) Issue 28, July/August 2010 and Issue 29, September/October 2010.
Charles Bonnet syndrome presentation by Oliver Sacks: Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks talks about the under-reported phenomenon Charles Bonnet syndrome, when people with a vision impairment experience visual hallucinations. Note people who are blind or vision impaired are often reluctant to report these hallucinations to their doctor. Video, 18.48 minutes.
Strategies that facilitate the development of hand function for blind and deaf-blind babies. Links to Word document with resource created by M. and M. Tellefson (2008) for the website of the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Developmental Journal for babies and children with visual impairment:
Each of four Early Support Development journals, including this one for babies and children with visual impairment, encourages families to record and celebrate their child’s learning and development through the early years. It’s designed to support early intervention by improving everyone’s understanding of the developmental processes involved and by providing a shared basis for discussion as a child grows and changes. For parents, for children and for professionals who work with young children. Free for download (UK Department for Education's website).
Disability Awareness Kit:
Training resource for Public Library Customer Service Staff (Victoria, Australia). Includes a section on print disability.
DOTS for Braille Literacy :
Development of Teacher Support, publication by the American Foundation for the Blind. Published three times a year and available online (free download) or in braille, by request.
Dual Sensory Family Forum:
Online forum for families of children with Dual Sensory Impairment or Deafblindness (combined hearing and vision impairment), from the Australian Childhood Vision Register.
The aim of the forum is for families to connect and for professionals to liaise and share information and experiences.
Early Learning Access Technology Framework:
Framework developed to introduce technology to children (early learners) who are blind or have significant vision impairment. It’s a working document and feedback and comments are welcome. Created by Michelle Knight, Access Technology Consultant Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Australia.
Emerald Education Systems:
Online education and Low Vision rehabilitation courses, including by GN Dutton, Keynote speaker at the 2013 SPEVI conference. Some free, some for a fee, such as his course Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children: A Practical Approach, about the causes of CVI, challenges a child with CVI is faced with daily, and intervention strategies for parents and teachers to help the child cope with CVI.
Household preparedness for people with a disability, their families and carers. Free download of resource as a pdf file, MP3 audio file, Rich text, AUSLAN video or Easy English version. Queensland version created by Emergency Management Queensland and Australian Red Cross. Useful reference for teachers and carers to assist people with a disability to develop their own personal emergency planning requirements.
Provides unlimited access to more than 1.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials, with hundreds of new records added multiple times per week. Including our own SPEVI journal JSPEVI
European Guide Dog Mobility Standards(EGDMS) project:
According to research undertaken in the UK, blind people who own guide dogs are twice as independent as those who do not own guide dogs, participating more actively in society and being more likely to be employed. In spite of this, not all European citizens who need guide dogs are able to obtain them, often due to funding limitations which can result in inconsistent criteria and hence poorly trained dogs, or a shortage of instructors and therefore a lack of guide dogs. The EGDMS project aims to address this issue by developing and rolling out a qualifying program of training for instructors, which covers dog welfare and training as well as guidance for clients.
Facebook with screenreader:
A step by step introduction from Freedom Scientific for JAWS and Magic users who wish to join Facebook, but don't quite know how to go about it. Also, the mobile version of facebook is said to be much easier to use with a screen reader, so try replacing the www with an m: m.facebook.com. Source: VIP-List.
A blog on Fashion and Lifestyle for blind and partially sighted people, by a young, fashion-loving woman who is herself vision impaired.
Echolocation technique taught by US mobility expert Daniel Kish. According to Daniel Kish, people who are blind can derive dynamic images not from light, but from sound. Sonar calls are sent out actively for the purpose of soliciting information in a directed, intentional fashion. The environment may be said to respond to these calls with information in an interactive process (echoes).
Fred's Head blog:
This blog contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Fred's Head is offered by the American Printing House for the Blind.
Free online books:
A collection of websites with free online textbooks, audio books and full-text works of fiction and nonfiction for students. Collected by Education Portal Insider, for students seeking money-saving resources.
Activity based intervention. The ImPact MDVI project developed a holistic teaching approach for teachers working with children with Multiple Disabilities and a Visual Impairment (MDVI). The project has arisen out of a recognition that models of teacher preparation in the area of severe and profound special needs often lack an overall vision and strategy to achieve identified goals. The project responds to the needs and rights of children with MDVI which is to participate and be active within natural environments. Support material: the 5-step model. MDVI Euronet project.
In Australia Braille Literacy Matters:
Paper by Dr Gillian Gale, Renwick College, Australia. Presents and discusses several of the most important challenges currently facing the Australian education policy sector in attempting to safeguard braille as a viable medium. Published in Magazine of International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), called The Educator, Vol. XIII, No. 1 – Autumn 2001.
Independent Living Guidelines :
The guidelines are provided by grade level (competencies students should acquire exiting preschool, second grade, fourth grade, elementary, middle school, tenth grade, and twelfth grade); there are also assessment tools in Excel spreadsheets and resources.
Looking at You:
Award winning web site created by three students of the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, Scotland. Their goal is to tell everyone what young blind people can do and to encourage young blind people to become involved in these activities.
Low vision aids and technology: A guide:
This excellent free booklet (pdf-file) is the third in the series from The Macular Degeneration Foundation (MDF), following ‘Low Vision, A Guide’, and ‘Family, Friend & Carer, a Guide’. You can also order a free copy by phoning MDF toll-free on 1800 111 709.
Blog for young people who are blind or vision impaired focusing on technology and inclusion, launched by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB). Readers are encouraged to share their personal experiences by joining the site and commenting within the blog.
Ozzie DotsA systematic program to assist students, their teachers and aides with learning to read and write the contracted braille code (Unified English Braille). A fun and light-hearted resource to introduce contracted braille and tactual graphicacy to young braille readers. Developed and published by Statewide Vision Resource Centre (Victoria).
Perkins WebinarsBroadcast live and for free, Perkins Training and Educational Resources Program introduces webinars, presented by experts in the field of visual impairment and deafblindness. You can also watch recorded Webinars for free, such as the sessions on iPads for Vision Stimulation, CVI, deafblindness and much more.
Blog of the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities. The Round Table comprises over 40 organisation members in Australia and New Zealand, including major accessible format producers, libraries, educators and consumer groups.
Report on the Review of Disability Standards for Education (Australia):
The Review of Disability Standards for Education 2005 was undertaken to determine whether the Standards remain an efficient mechanism for Government to achieve the objectives of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 in the education sector. On 1 August 2012, the Report on the Review of Disability Standards for Education 2005, was released as well as the Australian Government Response to the Review.
Sociability: social media for people with a disability reviewFor people with a disability, social media websites and applications have their own barriers. The ‘Sociability: social media for people with a disability review’ was done by Media Access Australia (2011). Australia’s most popular social media tools were tested for their accessibility. Users with disabilities then contributed their tips and tricks on how to overcome each social network’s inaccessible features. From the website you can download the full report, or access the subpages with the Sociability guides to each social media: Facebook, Twitter.
Sound and Picture:
Project around education of children with Multiple Disabilities and Vision Impairment (MDVI). Many are pre/non-verbal or have severe receptive and expressive communicative difficulties sometimes leading to withdrawal or using challenging behaviour as a means of communication. This project has two aims:
To empower educators in MDVI by developing modes of communication for these children. And to empower and enable children to play a more active role in their own learning. Comenius Lifelong Learning Programme (EU).
Online collection of health, disability and development information resources. These include books, journals, manuals, toolkits, reports, posters, audiovisual materials, websites and organisations. Many materials are from developing countries and include both published and unpublished literature not readily available elsewhere.
informative blog posts and whilst not specifically BVI focused, blog often mentions inclusive resources. By Spectronics Inclusive Learning Technologies (Australia).
Blog of South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment inc. Posts about education and support of children and young people who are blind or have low vision, including children and young people who are deaf-blind and those with vision and additional disabilities.
Support to Learn:
National Disability Services (Australia) Policy Paper: Support to Learn: Educating children with disability, 19 December 2011.
Teaching students with sensory impairments:
Strategies for mainstream teachers. This project is the result of an international, collaborative effort among educators in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, who work with students with vision or hearing impairments. A resource for professionals, parents, and university students involved in fully including students with sensory impairments in our educational systems.
Both free and very reasonably priced paid lessons as well as a blog on using excel, word and power point with screen readers along with some excellent tools for using refreshable braille displays, braillenotes and iDevices etc and loads more.
The International Journal of Orientation and Mobility (IJOM):
Peer-reviewed journal that explores issues and contributes new knowledge to the field of Orientation & Mobility (O&M) (including Guide Dog Mobility). The IJOM seeks to strengthen dialog within the O&M field around the world and to facilitate communication among instructors and service providers from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Free for subscribers in Australia. Outside of Australia the annual subscription fee is $A20.00.
The Multisensory Handbook:
A guide for children and adults with sensory learning disabilities (Paperback). Author: Paul Pagliano. Publisher: Taylor and Francis.
Thinking Outside the Light-Box:
Vision Therapy Support Group (Facebook). A safe place for parents to share ideas and ask questions about their child with CVI (cortical visual impairment).
(ToMat) is a European Comenius school partnership which started in September 2010. The topic is maths education for braille users integrated in mainstream secondary schools. For two years, the six project partners (from Norway, The Netherlands, France, Estonia, Germany and Belgium) visited each other's schools and institutions to learn more about how braille students do maths. Findings, tips, tricks and advice for braille students, mainstream maths teachers, itinerant teachers and producers of tactile drawings.
Touch Typing Tutor:
Freeware software program, designed to assist teaching touch typing skills to vision impaired children. Free download of zip-file.
Typing and computer tutor program program that teaches blind and vision impaired students the computer keyboard in 98 user-friendly lessons. By the end of the lessons, the student will have mastered all the letters, numbers, punctuation, as well as navigation and editing in dialogs and text documents.
UK Association for Accessible Formats: (UKAAF)sets standards and promotes best practice for quality accessible information based on user needs. UKAAF agreed to adopt Unified English Braille (UEB) as an official braille code in the UK in October 2011.
Self-help Resource Center for Vision Loss by the American Foundation for the Blind. Free, practical, hands-on information to enhance quality of life and independence for adults with vision loss, their families and friends. Information for professionals on a variety of issues related to living with blindness or low vision.
Vision Loss website:
Portal by Guide Dogs Australia with information regarding vision loss, treatments, technology, research, forums. For professionals, clients and parents of children with a vision loss.
Voice Based Software and ICT Resources:
List with options to access MS Windows and MAC OS computers with voice. Voice recognition (speaking into a microphone) or text to speech (voice output) need to be carefully researched and scrutinised. With hyperlinks to the web sites where software can be downloaded as freeware, Open source or as trial copies. Compiled by Garry Kennedy.
WonderBaby.org a project funded by Perkins School for the Blind, is dedicated to helping parents of young children with visual impairments as well as children with multiple disabilities. Here you'll find a database of articles written by parents who want to share with others what they've learned about playing with and teaching a blind child, as well as links to meaningful resources and ways to connect with other families. It is primarily an online resource for parents of young children with visual impairments as well as multiple disabilities, but a lot of vision support teachers and professionals find the website helpful, too.
World Report on Disability:
published 9 June 2011 by the World Health Organisation (WHO)and the World Bank. Gives an extensive picture of the global situation of people with disabilities, their needs and the barriers they face to participating fully in their societies.
Mobile devices and Apps
Accessible Games for iPhone and iPad:
List with accessible games recommended and kindly supplied by David Woodbridge, Technology Consultant at Vision Australia. With additional information by Phia Damsma, Sonokids Australia. Links to Word document.
Community-powered site for vision-impaired users of Apple's iOS devices. Seek and share information on the accessibility of apps developed for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Read and share guides, tutorials and tips to help VoiceOver users get the most from their iOS devices.
Apps for children with low vision:
Jessica writes about her journey of raising her son Thomas who has a vision impairment. She lists some useful and fun apps for iPad and iPhone he loves. (comment by Phia: I like BabySymbol, and Tap-n-See Zoo Lite, and I really love Sound Shaker)
Fleksy – Happy Typing:
App for iPhone. Light version is free. Note: this app requires iOS 5.1. Fleksy aims to improve the ability of every user to type as easily on a virtual keyboard (touch screen) as they do on a laptop. It uses the familiar QWERTY layout, coupled with probably the most powerful text prediction engine out there. Fleksy allows users to type text on the familiar keyboard layout, by tapping on the screen. Just tap on the screen and Fleksy will automatically detect the text you meant to enter – even if you have missed every single key.
iPad apps for children with MDVI:
Selection of iPad apps chosen for a workshop with Center for Learning Management of Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (US). The workshop covered working with children who have multiple disabilities, including Vision Impairment, so the apps reflect their needs.
Discussion on Apps for the blind and vision impaired within the iPad Apps forums.
Mobile devices and communication apps:
White paper released in March 2011 by The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement (AAC-RERC), a large research group in the US.
My Talking Picture BoardApp for iPad, for children with cortical visual impairment (CVI). Allows the user to create two-dimensional object identification tasks using their own photos and voice. The app can also be used to create a short talking picture story. Collaborative app from Little Bear Sees and Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children. Cost: $19.
RIDBC Auslan Tutor:
Key Signs for iPad. App for iPhone and iPad. Learn how to communicate 150 common Auslan signs, like “please,” “thanks,” and “how are you?” Each sign is clearly presented, with a photo of the handshape used to form the sign and a video clip demonstrating how the sign is produced.
Tactile screen covers with small raised dots on the keyboard and controls. Can enable to find controls faster and to type quicker and more accurately. For iPhone 3GS and 4S and iPod Touch 4
Talking Tom Cat:
Free app, compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later. Tom is your pet cat, that responds to your touch and repeats everything you say with a funny voice. You can pet him, poke him or grab his tail. This app was suggested by a mother of an eight year old son who is blind. He loves this app. There is also version 2 (free) with new features.
Tap Tap See. App for iPhone and Android designed to help people who are blind or have low vision to identify objects they encounter in their daily lives. Simply double tap the screen to take a photo of anything (right in front of you) and hear the app speak the identification back to you. (Note: Spoken identification requires VoiceOver -iOS- or Talkback -Android- to be turned on). New users can take 20 pictures for free to try it out but then you are asked to subscribe to different paid packages. Astounding detail and precise descriptions. Named App of the Month by RNIB in March, 2013.
ViA (Visually Impaired Apps):
Free app for iPhone and iPad, recommending apps for people with vision impairment. ViA helps to locate apps in the iTunes App Store that were built specifically for vision impaired users, or apps that happen to provide useful functionalities. Braille Institute (US).
App with electronic magnifier for all Apple devices with a camera, including iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. On the VIP List it was recently said that the app can be used to read the packaging of frozen goods in freezer's right through the glass doors, to read price tags or for reading overhead screens at the train station. VisionAssist will provide magnification and enable you to improve the contrast to help you read or see what you want to read. If you are in a dark area, you can use the iPhone's flash as a torch to lighten up what you are reading. Price $5.99
Free app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices that allows people with healthy vision to experience the world through the eyes of a person experiencing macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts. Developed by the Braille Institute of America. Great educational resource.
The no.1 medical app of 2012. Features: Visual Acuity Test, Astigmatism Test, Duochrome Test, Colour Test, Far field vision test, Optician Finder, Eye Quiz, Eye Advice and facts, iPhone / iPod / iPad support. Free.
Funding and Special Programs
Better Start for Children with Disability :
As from 1 July 2011 under the Australian Government’s Better Start initiative, children aged under six years who have been diagnosed with moderate or greater sight or hearing impairments including deafblindness, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or Fragile X syndrome are able to register to access early intervention funding.
Employment Assistance Fund:
Ongoing grant from JobAccess for All States and Territories in Australia. Purpose: To improve access to employment, work opportunities and work productivity for people with disability. The fund encourages and supports the employment of eligible people with disability by providing financial assistance to purchase a range of work-related services and modifications. Subject to meeting eligibility and application requirements, and funds being available. Apply online. Freecall: 1800 464 800.
Leaders for Tomorrow program: Individual leadership program which is committed to developing 200 people with disability to be more skilled, confident and active in leadership roles in business, community, government or their chosen area of interest. Website offers free information package.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (Australia): Information on the NDIS which will make sure Australians with disability have access to the services they need to participate in society, no matter where they live or how they acquired the disability.
YDAN YouTube Channel:
YouTube Channel by Youth Disability Advocacy National (YDAN), for young people with disabilities between the ages of 12 and 25. The purpose of the channel is to discuss issues important to young Australians with disabilities (opportunities exist for young people to contribute to the channel). Information via: email@example.com.
Website by RNIB (UK) for and co-designed and reviewed by young people who are blind or have low vision. Information on a wide range of issues that are important to blind and partially sighted young people under 25. Includes a variety of individual experiences, case studies and information from young people at each stage of their lives.
Games, tools and activities. Leisure.
See also under Mobile devices and Apps
All Abilities ePlayground:
Free online resource offering children who are blind or have low vision, as well as children with other special needs, a range of opportunities to play and learn. Developed by Sonokids Australia.
Preschool educational computer program with special support and design features for very young children who are blind or have low vision and lots of support features for children with other or additional special needs. Playful Early Learning keyboarding, cause and effect. Created by Sonokids.
Hark The Sound Game:
by the University of North Carolina (US), is a series of really simple, free sound games intended for young children who are blind or have low vision. Includes three types of games; Naming Games, Category Games, and Pad Game. The Pad games, including Braille Twister, can be played with the Dance Mat of a Play Station II game console. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.
Help Kidz Learn:
website that allows young children, and students with special needs, to play a wide range of games online. With ten free games (after registration), and a large number of subscription-based games. By Inclusive Technology in the UK.
Educational tools designed to give children with a vision impairment the confidence that with poor vision, or even without sight, they can be in command of the space around them. They can learn how objects are related to one another, and why they look, or feel different when we draw them. Developed by Professor Bob Marek.
Listen up: goalball for all!: Article suggesting that teachers introduce a disability sport unit into their general physical education curriculum.
Sells toys that invite play and enhance early childhood development, toys with universal design to maximize sensory awareness as well as gross and fine motor, language, and cognitive development among children with diverse abilities. The website allows for easy searching for suitable toys for children with a vision impairment. Get a quote for shipping costs for orders from outside the US by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
SCIVIS Space Camp:
A week long camp that takes place at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, US. Especially catering for children with a vision impairment (from 10 years old).
Special Needs Toys Australia: Online shop for parents, teachers and therapists to purchase equipment, toys and aids that can be used in play or as part of a therapy program. In category Sensory, then either Auditory or Tactile, there are a number of toys which can be enjoyed by children with limited or no vision. Under Sensory, then Visual Perceptual there are some toys with bright, flashing lights which could also be used by children with low vision.
Tack-Tiles Braille Systems:
Based on LEGO-type blocks, these Braille blocks are tactile aids that support development of Braille literacy skills in a fun way. They can be used in combination with regular LEGO. Made in the US can be ordered from and sent around the world.
Toys and activities:
List of recommended toys and activities for blind babies, toddlers, and children. Compiled by mother of a now 8 years old daughter who is totally blind.
Toys and Play for Children with Visual Impairments or Blindness:
Source of information, with links to other websites, about how communication, motor skills, cognition, and social interaction are a few of the developmental areas that are stimulated by play activities. Learn how to select playthings, adapt them when necessary, create play space, encourage play, and provide appropriate structure and support.
Toys for Blind Children:
Suggestions and ideas that may get you started on your quest to find appropriate and fun toys for blind children. Written by K. Aqua, M.S.Ed., and mother of daughter with vision impairment.
Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids:
Features specially selected toys that encourage play for children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. Symbols indicate the promotion of different skills, such as Auditory, Language, Social, Creativity and more. All toys featured in the Guide are available online.
A valuable guide by Loretta White (Future Reflections, Fall 2008, National Federation of the Blind, US) on how to adapt the “Twister” game for children who are blind.
Exergames that can be played without visual feedback, with the goal to increase the participation of users with visual impairments in physical activity and to improve their health. All VI Fit games can be downloaded for free and played using a Wii remote and a Windows PC with bluetooth support or a USB bluetooth dongle.
Wii game The Explorer:
Game developed for Nintendo Wii that specifically includes children who are blind or have low vision as well as fully sighted children. The Explorer and the Mystery of the Diamond Scarab (full title) can be ordered via the website.
Tactile, audio and other alternative formats
Accessible Image List:
Discussion List with purpose to discuss graphics and images designed for vision impaired people. This includes the development of tactile graphics, and other types of information designed for the blind and vision impaired. The list is for anyone interested.
Braille Book Files:
The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired braille book download page offers over 700 books in a variety of file formats. Many books are available in contracted and uncontracted braille.
Children Learning Braille:
Factsheet about the different types of braille, with information on the courses available for teaching children to read and write braille, and useful products and publications available to purchase from RNIB (UK).
is Vision Australia’s national story box library for children with a vision impairment. Each kit contains the original picture storybook annotated with braille, an audio CD or tape of the story, some tactual aids to help the child enter the world of the story and a little handbook with tactile graphics so that children can tell the story to themselves or others.
Geoff Gallop Digital talking book librarywith "Audio on Demand" service. The collection can be accessed worldwide and played on DAISY devices and software or on any device capable of the playback of MP3 audio files. Free to qualified print disabled people. By the Association for the Blind of Western Australia
Homai Special Formats Library:
collection can be found in the RNZFB Library online catalogue. The Homai Special Formats Library, located on the BLENNZ Campus in South Auckland, New Zealand, caters for children and young adults up to the age of 21 throughout New Zealand with Large Print, Braille, Tactile and Audio books. Kits at present include a Braille book, print copy of the book and a story cassette.
Formerly known as Recording for the Blind, Learning Ally (in the US) has a collection of more than 65.000 digitally recorded educational materials, textbooks and literature titles - downloadable and accessible on mainstream as well as specialized assistive technology.
Mandeville's Book of Sports:
Specially designed book to introduce young braille readers to the nine Paralympic sports open to blind athletes by the ClearVision children's braille library with help from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. ClearVision has been authorised to share the digital files for this book with schools, libraries and associations for blind people all over the world. Any copies you make should be given away or lent out to braille readers; they must not be sold. Contact ClearVision:
email@example.com if you would like to make copies of this book, free of charge, using your own embosser or swell paper fuser.
Information about Moon, a method of reading and writing that can be easier to learn than braille for those who have all ready learnt to read visually, or do not have a keen enough sense of touch for braille.
Free recordings of children's stories, for blind children aged 4 to 10 years. “Pay-it-forward” schoolproject by students of Eden College, Durban (South Africa), involving reading and recording stories using mobile phones as recording devices. Every day a few more stories, received from around the world (including read by by adults), are uploaded to the website.
email service converting digital text documents into speech, Braille, ebooks, audio files and DAISY audiobooks. Free of charge if it is in connection with study, employment or daily life. The RoboBraille in Education project aims to develop the service as an educational tool for teachers and other educators of students with vision impairment.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children:
Non-profit organisation in the US creating and selling online low-cost children's books in braille that can be ordered from and sent all around the world.
Weekly growing collection of free audio stories. Original stories, fairytales, verse and stories from around the world. There is also a large choice in educational stories and stories to support English language students. Read by professional actors. Easily transferable onto portable audio players (use iTunes).
Tactile books website:
provides advice and information for everyone about designing, producing, using, buying and borrowing tactile books. Guidelines for publishers, authors and illustrators of children's books.
Tactile colouring books:
The Blids tactile colouring books have been designed and tested by children who are blind. Colouring is fun and helps to develop tactile skills, motor skills and imagination. Made in the Netherlands by View-free, the books can be shipped worldwide (surcharge for international shipping). Also tactile puzzle books.
Tactile Graphic Image Library:
Growing database with tactile graphics templates that can be enhanced for your needs. Free account registration and Forum. American Printing House for the Blind
Tactual books and games:
Tips by Statewide Vision Resource Centre (SVRC) in Victoria, Australia on how to create fun and educational resources for tactual learning with a little creativity and some cheap materials.
The Braille Bookstore:
(Canada) stocks over a thousand books in Braille for all ages and interests. Also toys and (Braille) games and some audio books.
The Tactile Graphics Website:
Aims to promote excellence in the design and production of braille graphics. Rocky Mountain Braille Associates, USA.
Typhlo and Tactus:
Organisation aiming to increase the quantity, quality and availability of books with tactile illustrations for young children with little or no sight. Website offers Guidelines for making tactile books, a Guide to children’s books with tactile illustrations and the Results of the Typhlo and Tactus Award 2011, with examples of winning entries.
Blind cooking: 10 tips from chefs:
Emma Tracey, who has been blind since birth, provides experts’ tips on cooking, such as putting ingredients back in the same place each time, focusing on smell, using Audio labels and using talking cooking gadgets.
Stir It Up!:
Cookbook created especially for children with vision impairment. Dozens of recipes from popular children’s cookbooks and cooking blogs modified for young blind chefs. Includes adaptive cooking techniques, and simple instructions for young blind cooks. The print/braille book format allows everyone in the family to cook from the same book. National Braille Press. Price: 20 USD.
The Blind Cook:
Blog written by Texan student Christine Ha (28) who was involved in season three of the US version of TV Cooking Show MasterChef. Inspiring role model for students who love to cook, and for those who want to follow their dreams.
Music, Arts, Cinemas
Accessible cinemas in Australia:
Information about local cinemas with audio description (or captioning) in all Australian states and territories. Audio description is a commentary for blind and vision-impaired patrons about what is happening in between the dialogue. An audio describer provides the commentary. This is transmitted to wireless receivers and headsets worn by the audience members.
Art Beyond Sight:
Free training materials, resources, book suggestions, networking. Model projects and curricula. By Art Education for the Blind, Bringing Art and Culture to all (US).
Arts access for blind people in NSW:
Research report by Zhila Hasanloo, Arts Access Australia. Published 2011.
Comprehensive listing of a variety of arts activities and events in New South Wales, either offered exclusively or as accessible options for people who are blind, or have vision impairment. Some items will be out-dated but the gathered information has potential for application within art-service planning for the blind and low vision and provision of additional resources. Download Word document.
A Survivor's Guide to Braille Music Notation:
Free course that is suitable for adults and children (aged above 12) who are blind or have low vision and new to learning braille, and music teachers who don't know how to read braille. Designed by Vision Australia to teach the basic skills needed to read and write music in braille music code.
Blindness and Arts:
On-line knowledge base providing research resources, information and a gallery about blindness in the arts, in information technology and computing.
Music to teach by:
Information on how to use music to stimulate a baby who is blind or vision impaired.
NewYork beyond Sight:
Sounds from New York. Prominent New Yorkers describe their favorite works of art and culture, architecture, and city landmarks. By Art Beyond Sight/Art Education for the Blind.
Seventeen year old singer from Adelaide, South Australia. Finished in third place in The Voice Australia 2012 TV contest, and she is blind. Listen to her singing and being interviewed on Radio Nova FM. She started singing lessons at the age of nine and she can sing in Italian, French and Spanish. She can also play the piano and flute and has sung in multiple choirs. Great role model.
Simply Listen and Play:
A series of tutorials (currently 3 CD’s) of music lessons without reading sheet music. They give students the opportunity to realize their musical potential, including students who are blind or have low vision.
Save Our Sounds:
Discontinued project by BBC World Service, launched with Save our Sounds two part documentary series (first broadcast July 2009). Great soundscapes and audio collections brought together by ‘sound scavengers’ from around the world. Sounds of streets, cars, animals.
Songs for Teaching:
Creative teachers can use music to teach content across the curriculum – to students of all ages. Thousands of free downloads of children's songs, lyrics, sound clips and teaching suggestions. Songs are categorized by subject (math, language, etc.).
Sydney Opera House Access performances for Kids: The Sydney Opera House’s program now includes a number of inclusive performances for young people with a disability. AUSLAN interpretation, Audio Description; Touch-tours are a service provided for children who are blind or have low vision. Touch-tours occur before the performance to help to capture the atmosphere, costumes, characters and action before and during the course of a performance.
Independence Science: Cary Supalo is a chemistry professor who is blind. His blog and website include information that allows blind students to be successful in science and chemistry courses. Under Tactile solutions, the Science Gear Kit is designed to provide K-6th graders with all the equipment needed to perform science experiments using tactile methods. Special needs, low vision, and blind students will be able to do hands-on science activities with the kit.
Science Techniques for the Blind: YouTube video, by Greg Williams, PhD, Independence Science. Tips for Highschool students who are blind or have low vision to safely conduct and analyze science experiments. Duration: 6.37 minutes.