AccessWorld editor Lee Huffman forwarded a grab bag of great links as we embrace a world with increased social distancing. Feel free to copy and paste the links to share with others.
For Parents Who Are Suddenly Homeschooling
Virtual Expanded Core Education Learning (ExCEL) Academy for Students with Visual Impairments offers free daily lessons for students with visual impairments. Paths to Literacy is collaborating with APH (American Printing House for the Blind) and CalState University to present this programming. Qualified teachers of students with visual impairments from around the country will be presenting a range of lessons. You can call in via Zoom or connect via the Internet.
VISTAS Education Partners Inc is offering a National Homework Hotline for Blind/Visually Impaired Students (NHH-BVI): In response to the wave of K-12 school closures across the United States due to COVID-19, a few concerned teachers of students with visual impairments and advocates got together to organize a free, homework help hotline for blind/visually impaired students.
Breezy Special Ed offers distance special education materials. This site has materials for students with a variety of disabilities. Several are specifically designed or blind students and some others are good for any student (such as the independent living skills/chore chart).
Accessibyte Online is offering free access to its entire cloud platform of apps for blind, low vision, deaf and reading impaired students. Highly visual and fully audible typing tutor, games, flash cards.
As AFB’s most famous ambassador once said, “Every book put into the hands of the sightless is a rainbow crystal that reveals the wonders of earth and the spiritual resources within our reach.” Taking a cue from Helen Keller’s wise words, what follows is a list of some of the educational resources that are generally accessible to audiences with vision loss.
Your local public library is a terrific resource. Many are pulling together calendars of virtual events and activities. Most public libraries also have apps like Overdrive or Hoopla where you can download audiobooks, TV shows, and movies.
National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled offers the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download audio and braille books and magazines. BARD is available for IOS, Android, or Fire devices.
If you haven’t yet signed up for Bookshare, now is the time! Read over 800,000 titles on almost any device, including smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, computers, and assistive technology devices. Bookshare for Students
Here’s one I just saw – https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
ObjectiveEd is offering free access to their digital curriculum to schools and teachers to use with their students through the end of the current 2019/2020 school year.
Working Together to Support Students with Visual Impairments to Access Curriculum: AFB’s Director of Research, Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, has launched a volunteer project to support our pre-K through high school students with visual impairments in gaining access to materials.
We know that there are students with visual impairments who do not have full access to online curriculum, supplemental activities, or resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea of this project is to connect students and their families to volunteers who want to provide support during this unprecedented time of need. We’re working to locate volunteers who can support students with needs. Learn how you can provide support.
AFB is offering a free webinar, “Remote Instruction and Services for Blind and Low Vision Participants,” on Thursday, March 25, at 4pm ET. [will send the link as soon as it’s possible! Still figuring out registration.]
Accessible Streaming, Television, and DVD Resources
Fun fact: Adults who are blind or low vision tune in to television nearly as much as their sighted peers. This is according to the results of a 2018 survey released by AFB and Comcast that showed that a majority of people with visual impairments watch four or more hours per day of television— almost as much as the general public. Many reported that assistive technologies like video description, text-to-speech, and voice control are helpful as they watch TV.
Here are a few accessible options for enjoying the many options of movies, shows, documentaries, etc. available. Get the popcorn ready.
The following Current Cinema, DVD, TV, and Streaming titles are audio described in English in the USA via one or more of the following sources as noted in this listing. For details on accessing each provider’s programs, click the links below. This listing is generally updated each Tuesday and Friday.
- Cinema (current first-run movies)
- DVDs (and Blu-ray discs)
- TV Stations (the nine mandated plus a few more)
- Apple TV+
- IMDb TV (a subset of Prime Video)
- Prime Video
Games and Toys
Whether you’re working from home, studying from home, teaching from home or child-watching from home, let’s face it: at some point, you’ll need to unwind. Here is a roundup of accessible options of games and toys, for both children and adults.
Marty Schulz’s video games, ObjectiveEd, are free through the end of the year.
AccessWorld Gaming Articles
AFB’s own in-house tech magazine has a backlog of game reviews you may consider checking out, including:
(Link to Spoonbill Software for blind gamers)
Resources for Seniors
There are many recreation and leisure activities that can be adapted for seniors who are losing their sight, and VisionAware is an excellent resource for activities such as arts and crafts and card and board games. It also holds great information on meal planning and preparation.
Lifetime Connections Without Walls is a telephone activities program that provides opportunities for older adults to connect with others in their community and across the country. They offer social and educational sessions, support groups, and friendly conversation, all from the comfort of home.
BlindyBlog pulled together a good list of general information resources, and tips for getting essentials like groceries and medications delivered.
Hadley Discussions: Hadley creates personalized learning opportunities that empower adults with vision loss or blindness to thrive — at home, at work, and in their communities.