Julie Duffy is the Visual Impairment Officer for Portsmouth Library Service, part of Portsmouth City Council (and works closely with the Sensory Impairment and Deaf Services team). Julie runs the visually impaired phone advice line and provides help and guidance on any aspect of vision impairment. Julie has been at Portsmouth CC since 2001 and is completely blind. Many of the people Julie advises are elderly, new to sight loss and nervous of technology. Julie is thrilled to be able to confidently recommend a simple computer solution for email, internet and typing documents.
Do your learners struggle to access the curriculum? Would the students and pupils you support benefit from accessible textbooks? Do they struggle with reading print materials? Do you need talking eBook editions of textbooks?
RNIB Bookshare and the EasyReader app can help.
Sign up today for the next in our series of short 'Lunch & Learn webinars' that are designed for educators with a busy schedule!
This 20 minute webinar will introduce you to the free EasyReader app, that not only enables you to easily deliver accessible materials to your students, but also empowers you to deploy the perfect reading accommodation to their devices!
We are delighted to have another guest blog, this time by Roger Wilson-Hinds, founder of the Georgiephone app. Roger, who has been blind since birth, describes what he sees and suggests simple ways to maximise minimal vision.
Roger says “what I see depends as much on my brain as my eye defect. My brain constantly makes the best guess about what I see. The smallest visual clue can be enough for me to guess or know what I am looking at. I get tired looking – it’s hard work with so few clues and so much effort. And I get tired quickly when trying to sort the detail, especially with reading print and close work”.
We have an informative Guest Blog today by Naomi Dainty, Marketing Manager of Deafblind UK. Naomi writes:
A lady once came up to our stand at a low vision event. She had sight impairments and was wearing two hearing aids, indicating to that she was hard of hearing. She saw that we were representing Deafblind UK and said to me “wouldn’t it be awful to be deafblind, those poor people!” What she didn’t realise was that she herself was actually one of nearly 400,000 deafblind people in the UK.
Ruth lives on the Isle of Wight with two grown-up children. Her sight condition is cone-rod dystrophy. Ruth first noticed a deterioration in her central vision when she was just 9. She stayed in mainstream education though, as she says “I just struggled through and used my friends”.
Ruth was registered blind in 1998 and believes that because the deterioration was so gradual, she simply adapted and was able to manage well.
As a senior IT systems engineer for an international employer, Stefan Kaiser has proven expertise in current technology and a personal interest in accessibility. We asked him about his experiences and what led him to choose and recommend SuperNova for himself and his colleagues.
How long have you worked for WACKER?
I have worked for WACKER since 1990. I started my career as a trainee. In Germany it is common to get an overview for 3 years, working in the different departments of a company. During this trainee phase I had a big 20 inch Monitor – it was very heavy – so around 25 kg. I was the first visually impaired employee at WACKER. So the company really supported me to start my job and have continued to support me during my whole career. After I finished the trainee program I worked for different departments in the human resource unit.
Recently, we were contacted by a student who had won a competition we ran previously. He was applying for PhDs and while he had gained places at two universities, unfortunately he had been unsuccessful at securing competitive funding through the usual channels. He asked whether we had any suggestions for funding opportunities through charities or organisations that help people with SPLDs/SEN – we did! Here are the funding opportunities currently available:
We hope you enjoy our Guest Blog by Holly Scott-Gardner, a 25-year-old blind student, blogger and Youtube creator.
"As far back as I can remember my life has revolved around books. When I was a child I would eagerly await deliveries of heavy volumes of braille in the post, relishing the distinctive crackle of Velcro as I pulled open the bags they were stored in. A new book meant a new world to explore. I was sustained on a steady stream of library books and the audio books my family bought for me. But at times I lamented how few books I could read. So few were available in braille or audio and I sat on the side-lines as friends shared new discoveries I didn't have a hope of reading.