Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Ike Presley and Frances Mary D'Andrea

APPENDIX C

Case Study: Semena


The case study of Semena Thomas is presented here because she is an elementary school student with no usable vision, in contrast to Bill Alonso, whose example was presented in Chapters 6–8 and is a high school student with usable vision. Thus, since Semena's primary learning medium is different from Bill's, her assistive technology assessment would involve carrying out some different procedures, as represented on the forms completed for Semena on the following pages. The recommendations presented here for Semena also suggest some different technologies and incorporate different rationales.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT

Student's Name: Semena Thomas               Birthdate: 1/22/1980              Grade:    3     

Name of parent(s)/guardian(s):      Seth and Maryanne Thomas               

School: Main Street Elementary School ____________________________________________________

Teacher of students with visual impairments: Samantha Higgins           

Referred by: Samantha Higgins               

Reason for Referral: Difficulty completing assignments               

______________________________________________________________________________________

Initial or Ongoing Assessment: I / O

Additional Disabilities: Y / N Describe: _________________________________________________________

Current medication(s): none                                             

Reported/observed visual side effects: __________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Eye Report Summary (see Eye Report)

Dr.: Sarah Johnson                     O.D.           Date of last examination: 2/15/06               

Eye condition: retinopathy of prematurity _____________________________________________________

Prognosis: stable                                                                                                                                                   

Visual Acuity

                                        Distance                                                            Near

          Without Correction                    With Correction     Without Correction               With Correction

OD      NLP                                   ______________     _________________     ______________

OS      NLP                                   ______________     _________________     ______________

OU      NLP                                   ______________     _________________     ______________

Field restriction(s): Y / N     Degrees: ________     Location:_________________

Recommendations Not applicable

Eyeglasses     _ Wear/Use Constantly     _ Wear/Use as Needed

Contact Lenses

     For distance? Y / N     _ Wear/Use Constantly     _ Wear/Use as Needed

     For near? Y / N          _ Wear/Use Constantly     _ Wear/Use as Needed

Low Vision Device(s) (specify): ___________________________________________________________

Other: ________________________________________________________________________________

Information from Learning Media Assessment

Primary learning channel:    _ visual         X  tactile     _ auditory

Secondary learning channel: _ visual        _ tactile      X  auditory

Other: ________________________________________________________________________________

Other current accommodations and technology (see Considerations Checklist)                    

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Reading Preferences (if reported): Not applicable

Preferred visual format without device (specify): ____________________________________________

     Point size: ____________     Font: ____________     Distance: ____________

          Approximate reading rate: _______ wpm

Preferred visual format with device (specify): _________________

     Point size: ____________     Font: ____________     Distance: ____________

          Approximate reading rate: _______ wpm

Lighting preferences: ___________________________________________________________________

Braille: approximate reading rate: _______ wpm oral     _______ wpm silent

Experiences visual/physical fatigue after reading ____ minutes

Relevant information from functional low vision assessment: Not applicable                    

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Relevant information from medical, psychological, and academic evaluations: No auditory _____________

deficits or processing problems were reported in Semena's psychological evaluation.               

______________________________________________________________________________________

Relevant information from teachers' observations and assessments: Teachers report that                    

Semena needs additional time to complete lengthy writing assignments.                    

______________________________________________________________________________________

Additional comments: __________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY CONSIDERATIONS CHECKLIST

Student: Semena Thomas                     School: Main Street Elementary          

DIRECTIONS

1. Complete the student information section below to provide information on the student's needs, abilities, and difficulties as well as environments and barriers to success.

2. Please check (_) the instructional or access areas in Column A that are appropriate for the student. Please leave blank any areas that are not relevant to the student. Specify all relevant tasks (for example, copying notes from board, responding to teacher questions, and so on) within each area in the space provided. Check the settings in which the task is required. GEC: General Education Classroom; SEC: Special Education Classroom; COM: Community; and HOM: Home.

3. In Column B, specify the standard classroom tools (low technology to high technology) used by the student to complete relevant tasks identified in Column A. Place a check ( X ) in the boxes in Column B if the student is able to independently complete the tasks with standard classroom tools. For areas in which the student can complete the tasks independently, it will not be necessary to complete Columns C or D.

4. In Column C, specify the accommodations/modifications and assistive technology solutions that are currently being utilized. Place a check ( X ) in the boxes in Column C if the student can adequately complete the tasks specified in Column A using the identified accommodations/modifications and assistive technology solutions.

5. Complete Column D if the student cannot adequately complete the task with accommodations/modifications and assistive technology solutions specified in Column C.

Student needs, abilities, and difficulties: Semena is functioning at grade level in all academic areas but experiences difficulty in completing lengthy writing assignments in a form that her teachers can access.          

Student environments:

 X  General Education Classroom (List all classes): _________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

_ Special Education Classroom (List all classes): __________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

_ Community (List all settings): _________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

_ Home: ____________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Barriers to student performance and achievement: Semena's writing assignments in braille cannot be immediately read by her classroom teachers. These assignments must be interlined by her teacher of visually impaired students and returned to the classroom teachers. This creates a delay in providing feedback about her work and progress.

Source: Reprinted with permission from the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology, Georgia Department of Education, Atlanta.

A. Instructional or Access Areas B. Independent with Standard Classroom Tools C. Completes Tasks with Accommodations/ Modifications and/or Assistive Technology Solutions Currently in Place D. Additional Solutions/Services Needed, Including Assistive Technology
Accommodations/Modifications Assistive Technology Solutions
 X  Writing
_ GEC      _SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
  Semena uses a standard Perkins braillewriter to complete most written assignments   Accessible computer word processor for longer written assignments
 X  Spelling
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
      Talking dictionary
 X  Reading
_ GEC         _SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
Yes, but needs additional opportunities for reading braille Braille books and other materials   Accessible PDA with refreshable braille display
_ Math
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
       
_ Study/Organizational Skills
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
       
 X  Listening
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
Yes, but needs additional opportunities for reading braille     Introduce recorded and synthesized speech
_ Oral Communication
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
       
_ Aids to Daily Living
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
       
_ Recreation and Leisure
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
       
_ Prevocational/ Vocational
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _HOM
       
_ Seating, Positioning, and Mobility
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM       _HOM
       
_ Other (specify):
_ GEC        _ SEC
_ COM      _ HOM
       

Narrative description

Consideration Outcomes:

    _ Student independently accomplishes tasks in all instructional areas using standard classroom tools. No assistive technology is required.

    _ Student accomplishes tasks in all instructional areas with accommodations and modifications. No assistive technology is required.

    _ Student accomplishes tasks in all instructional areas with currently available assistive technology. Assistive technology is required.

     X  Student does not accomplish tasks in all instructional access areas. Additional solutions including assistive technology may be required.

Specify any assistive technology services required by this student.

Requesting an assistive technology assessment to determine what assistive technology might be of greatest benefit to Semena.

Consideration Checklist Completed by:    Position:                                 Date:

Samantha Higgins                                       Teacher of Visually                 5/23/08

                                                                     Impaired Students


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST FOR STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS

Student's Name Semena Thomas         Person Completing Checklist Samantha Higgins

Student's Grade 3rd                Position Teacher of Visually Impaired Students

Student's Date of Birth 1/22/1980         Date(s) of assessment 9/3 & 9/10/2008

This document is a summary of information collected during the above-named student's assistive technology evaluation. Information for this assessment was obtained from the student's learning media assessment, the clinical low vision evaluation, the functional low vision evaluation, and from observation and assessment of the student's use of specific devices, as outlined below.

The assessment covers three main areas:

  • Section I: Accessing Print, which covers how the student uses visual, tactile, and/or auditory tools to access textbooks, workbooks, assigned novels, and other printed information generally used in the classroom, including information presented on chalkboards or whiteboards
  • Section II: Accessing Electronic Information, which covers how the student uses visual, tactile, and/or auditory tools to obtain information from electronic means, such as computers, electronic dictionaries and similar devices, digital books, and electronic braille devices
  • Section III: Communication through Writing, which includes manuscript (print) and cursive writing, braille writing, and the use of electronic writing tools

The assessment sections of this document are followed by a recommendations section. The notations made will become part of the final written report detailing the rationale for each recommendation submitted to the student's Individualized Education Program team.

Directions: Indicate in the space provided the date each section is completed. All items not assessed should be marked NA.

Source: Adapted with permission from the "Assistive Technology Vision Aids Assessment," from the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology, Georgia Department of Education, Atlanta.

* Sections that deal solely with visual access have been omitted from this version of the checklist since the student has no usable vision.

Section I: Accessing Print

B. Tactile Access and Braille                              Date completed 9/3/2008

When accessing graphical information the student is able to discriminate tactilely

      X  solid lines of various thickness.

      X  dashed lines.

      X  dotted lines.

      X  raised-line drawings of simple shapes.

      X  the boundary between two clearly defined textured fill patterns.

     _ the boundary between three clearly defined textured fill patterns.

     _ the boundary between four clearly defined textured fill patterns.

The student is able to identify tactile information most accurately when it is presented as a simple tactile graphic

      X  tooled onto braille paper.

      X  produced as a collage of varying textures.

      X  thermoformed onto plastic.

      X  embossed as dots and lines onto braille paper by a computer-controlled braille embosser.

      X  produced as raised lines and patterns on capsule paper.

The student is able to read materials in

      X  uncontracted braille.

      X  contracted braille.

 X  Results of formal or informal braille assessments conducted by the teacher of students with visual impairments are attached.

     Student's oral braille reading rate is 28 words per minute (wpm).

     Student's silent braille reading rate is 35 wpm.

When accessing print information with a refreshable braille display, the student is able to

      X  read instructional-level text.

      X  press correct key combination to issue forward and reverse navigation commands

           X  with verbal prompt.

           X  without verbal prompt.

      X  read 25 wpm orally and 30 wpm silently.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

C. Auditory Access

1. Live Readers and Recorded Information                              Date completed 9/3/2008

When listening to instructional level information read aloud by the evaluator, the student is able to

      X  repeat words and simple phrases without having them repeated more than twice.

      X  paraphrase the information (a sentence or story).

      X  answer simple comprehension questions.

When listening to an analog or digital recording of a story, the student is able to

      X  repeat words and simple phrases without having them repeated more than twice.

      X  paraphrase the information (a sentence or story).

      X  accurately answer simple comprehension questions.

When using an analog or digital player-recorder, the student is able to

      X  insert and remove a tape or CD from the player-recorder.

      X  inactivate play, pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind functions (underline those demonstrated).

     _ understand and comprehend compressed or "fast" speech.

      X  manipulate variable speed and pitch controls.

      X  identify index tones, bookmarks, and page locators.

The student is able to

     _ listen to recorded speech and follow along with a print copy of the text.

      X  listen to recorded speech and follow along with a braille copy of the text.

     _ listen to synthesized speech and follow along with a print copy of the text.

      X  listen to synthesized speech and follow along with a braille copy of the text.

The student is able to read approximately

      40 words per minute (wpm) when listening and reading print or braille.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

2. Scanning Systems for Accessing Print Information Auditorily                              Date completed 9/3/2008

When accessing printed materials scanned into the computer with a specialized scanning system (such as Kurzweil 1000 and 3000, OpenBook, and WYNN), the student is able to

     _ adjust the rate and other speech parameters.

     _ navigate through the document when provided instruction by the evaluator.

     _ select items from the menus or tools from the toolbar when provided instruction by the evaluator.

When listening to text read by the program, the student is able to

      X  repeat words and simple phrases without having them repeated more than twice.

      X  paraphrase the information (sentence or story).

      X  accurately answer simple comprehension questions.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

When accessing printed materials using audio-assisted reading the student is able to read

____ words per minute (wpm).

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

D. Reading Rates                               Date completed 9/3/2008

Optional; may be used to support use of various adaptations.

When accessing print information, the student is able to read

     _____words per minute (wpm) orally when reading materials in 12-point type using prescribed spectacles or contact lenses.

     _____wpm orally when reading materials in the optimum point size and font:

          _____-point print and ___________font.

     _____wpm orally when reading with a prescribed optical device.

     _____wpm orally when reading with a video magnifier (CCTV).

      28 wpm orally when reading braille.

      40 wpm when using audio-assisted reading.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

E. Accessing Information Presented at a Distance            Date completed 9/3/2008

When accessing information presented at a distance on a chalkboard or whiteboard or by an overhead or computer projector or TV/VCR/DVD, the student reported that he or she

     _ sits close enough to view the information, at a working distance of approximately _____ feet.

     _ uses a handheld or spectacle-mounted telescope.

     _ uses a video magnifier with distance-viewing capabilities.

      X  gets an accessible copy from the teacher.

     _ uses a peer notetaker.

     _ uses an electronic whiteboard connected to an accessible computer.

      X  has information read aloud by a peer or paraeducator and

           X  brailles information on a braillewriter.

          _ writes information on paper.

          _ inputs information into computer or accessible personal digital assistant.

          _ records information on tape recorder or digital recorder.

     _ other (specify): _________________________.

Are these options working adequately?

      X  Yes

     _ No

     Explain briefly: These options are working adequately for Semena at present, but they do not provide Semena the opportunity to develop independence in accessing this type of information in the future.

The student is willing to use these devices and accommodations (the examiner may wish to list them individually)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Section II: Accessing Electronic Information

A. Computer Access: Output Devices

1. Visual Access                              Date completed 9/10/2008

The student is able to view electronic information on a desktop computer or in the computer lab without additional adaptations and identify or read

     _ text   _ icon titles   _ menus   _ dialog boxes   _ other system items on a

          _ 17-inch monitor at approximately ___ inches.

          _ 19-inch monitor at approximately ___ inches.

          _ 21-inch monitor at approximately ___ inches.

          _ other (specify): _________________________

The student prefers viewing text in a word-processing program on the computer in

     ___-point type in _ regular _ bold print

     _ Arial

     _ APHont

     _ Tahoma

     _ Verdana

     _ other (specify): _________________________

     displayed on a ___ -inch monitor at approximately ___ inches.

The student is able to view electronic information on a

     ___ -inch computer monitor with the use of

          _ screen magnification hardware at approximately ____ inches.

          _ an articulated flexible monitor stand at approximately ___ inches.

The student is able to view electronic information using the computer operating system's screen enhancements such as

     _ screen resolution (specify): ______________________.

     _ Windows Display Appearance Scheme (specify): __________________.

     _ Windows Display Appearance Settings. (Record specific settings selected on the Windows _ Display Properties Appearance Checklist appendix to this form.)

     _ Microsoft Magnifier

          _ magnification level: ____

          _ other setting (specify): _______________________

          The student is able to use the Microsoft Magnifier to

                    _ identify screen elements.

                    _ read text in menus, dialog boxes, and text documents.

                    _ navigate around the screen.

                    _ locate the file names listed in the Open file dialog box.

                    _ select a requested file to open.

(If the school district uses Macintosh computers, complete the previous sections for the accessibility features provided in the computer's operating system.)

When using a dedicated screen magnification program, the student is able to

     _ read 12-point print enlarged to ___× magnification at a working distance of approximately 13 inches.

     _ locate and select menu items, buttons, and other screen elements with the mouse or other pointing device.

     _ locate and select menu items, buttons, and other screen elements using keyboard commands.

     _ navigate around the screen and maintain orientation.

     _ use an automatic reading feature at a speed setting of _______.

The student's color preference is _______ text on a ________ background.

 X  The student is unable to access the computer visually.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

     _ to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

     _ at home to complete school assignments.

     _ while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

2. Tactile Access                              Date completed 9/10/2008

When accessing electronic or computer-based information tactilely, the student is able to

     _ read braille text displayed on a dedicated braille display connected to a computer.

      X  read braille text displayed on an accessible PDA braille display connected to a computer.

      X  execute navigation commands with instruction.

      X  enter text through the braille keyboard, if available.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: see report for details                                                                                                                   

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

3. Auditory Access                              Date completed 9/10/2008

When accessing electronic information auditorily, the student is able to understand synthesized speech produced by

     software synthesizers:

      X  Intellitalk      X  Write:Outloud          X  Kurzweil

     _ TrueVoice     _ DECTalk Access 32     _ Eloquence (JAWS)

     _ OpenBook     _ Microsoft Speech Engine

     _ Other (specify): ______________________

     hardware synthesizers:

     _ Type 'n Speak, Braille 'n Speak, Braille Lite _ DECTalk Express

     _ Double Talk LT           X  Other (specify):           Braille Note mpower               

When accessing electronic information auditorily through synthesized speech and a screen reader the student is able to understand and identify

      X  sentences and lines.

      X  words.

      X  distinctive sounding letters (such as a, f, h, o, s, w) when spelled in words.

     _ similar sounding letters (b, c, d, e, p, t, z) when spelled in words.

      X  distinctive sounding letters (such as a, f, h, o, s, w) when spelled in isolation.

     _ similar sounding letters (b, c, d, e, p, t, z) when spelled in isolation.

When accessing electronic information auditorily through synthesized speech and a screen reader the student is able to execute navigation commands with instruction to

      X  read by characters.

     _ read by words.

     _ read by sentence and lines.

      X  move forward (to the next character, word, line).

      X  move backward (to the prior character, word, line).

_ When accessing electronic information auditorily, the student was not able to grasp the concept of navigation.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: _________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

B. Computer Access: Input Devices

1. Keyboard Use                              Date completed 9/10/2008

 X  The student is able to use a standard keyboard without adaptation.

     The student

      X  demonstrates keyboard awareness (has a general knowledge of the key locations).

     _ is able to search for keys and type individual letters.

     _ is able to locate and identify alphanumeric keys.

     _ is able to locate and identify function keys.

     _ is able to activate two keys simultaneously.

     _ is able to touch type while looking at his or her hands

          _ from dictation.

          _ from braille copy.

          _ from copy that is presented in the student's preferred font and point size and positioned on a flexible-arm copy holder.

     _ is able to touch type without looking at his or her hands

          _ from dictation.

          _ from braille copy.

          _ from copy that is presented in the student's preferred font and point size and positioned on a flexible-arm copy holder.

     _ does not demonstrate excessive miss-hits or key repeats.

     _ uses good mechanics when typing (posture, wrist elevation, etc.).

     _ types with ___ fingers of right hand and ___ fingers of left hand.

     _ is able to type approximately ___ words per minute (wpm)

          _ from dictation.

          _ from braille copy.

          _ from copy that is presented in the student's preferred font and point size and positioned on a flexible-arm copy holder.

_ The student is able to utilize a standard computer keyboard with the following adaptations: (Seek assistance from an occupational or physical therapist as needed.)

     _ zoom caps     _ keyguard     _ tactile locator dots

     _ other (specify): ____________________________

_ The student is able to utilize a standard computer keyboard with the following keyboard utilities: (Seek assistance from a assistive technology specialist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist to complete this section.)

     _ sticky keys     _ repeat keys     _ slow keys

     _ mouse keys     _ toggle keys

_ The student is not able to utilize a standard keyboard with or without adaptations. (If checked, refer student for a computer access evaluation.)

Comments: ___________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

C. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)                                Date completed 9/10/2008

The student is able to

_ read the text displayed on a standard PDA.

_ read the text displayed on a portable word processor with scalable fonts.

     Specify font ______________and point size _____.

 X  understand speech produced by a talking PDA, including

      X  sentences or lines.

      X  words.

      X  distinctive sounding letters (such as a, f, h, o, s, w).

     _ similar sounding letters (b, c, d, e, p, t, z).

 X  read the braille produced by a PDA with a refreshable braille display.

 X  execute navigation commands with instruction.

_ execute navigation commands without instruction.

 X  enter text through the      X  braille or     _ QWERTY keyboard.

The student prefers using a/an

     _ portable word processor with scalable fonts.

     _ accessible PDA with speech output only.

      X  accessible PDA with refreshable braille display and speech output.

The student was able to answer simple comprehension questions about information presented on a/an

     _ portable word processor with scalable fonts.

      X  accessible PDA with speech output only.

      X  accessible PDA with refreshable braille display and speech output.

The student was able to read approximately

     ____ words per minute (wpm) when using a portable word processor with scalable fonts.

     ____ wpm when using an accessible PDA with speech output only.

     ____ wpm when using an accessible PDA with refreshable braille display and speech output.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

D. Electronic Calculators and Dictionaries Date completed 9/10/2008

The student is able to

_ use a calculator with an enlarged display containing ___-inch numerals.

_ accurately locate and press the keys on the calculator keypad.

_ perform basic operations

     _ with prompting.

     _ without prompting.

 X  use a talking calculator and

      X  demonstrate understanding of the synthesized speech by repeating

           X  single digits spoken by the calculator.

           X  whole numbers spoken by the calculator.

      X  accurately locate and press the keys on the calculator keypad.

      X  perform basic functions

           X  with prompting.

          _ without prompting.

When using a talking dictionary, the student is able to

      X  understand and identify distinctive sounding letters (such as a, f, h, o, s, w).

     _ understand and identify similar sounding letters (b, c, d, e, p, t, z).

      X  understand and identify individual words.

      X  understand definitions spoken as continuous speech.

     _ accurately locate and press the keys on the dictionary's keyboard.

      X  perform basic functions

           X  with prompting.

          _ without prompting.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: _________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

Section III: Communicating Through Writing

A. Nonelectronic Tools for Producing Written Communication

2. Writing Tools for Students Using Tactile Access                              Date completed 9/10/2008

When using a manual braille-writing device, the student is able to use

      X  a standard Perkins Brailler to emboss characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

           20 words per minute (wpm) from dictation.

           8 wpm from copy.

     _ a manual brailler with extension keys to emboss characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

          ___ wpm from dictation.

          ___ wpm from copy.

     _ a unimanual brailler to emboss characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

          ___ wpm from dictation.

          ___ wpm from copy.

     _ a slate and stylus to emboss characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

          ___ wpm from dictation.

          ___ wpm from copy.

_ The student is able to sign his or her name legibly in cursive using

     _ a signature guide.

     _ the edge of a card, ruler, or some other similar device.

The student is willing to use these devices (the examiner may wish to list these separately)

      X  to complete assignments in the regular classroom.

      X  at home to complete school assignments.

      X  while working with the teacher of students with visual impairments.

Comments: _________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

B. Electronic Tools for Producing Written Communication                         Date completed 9/10/2008

When using a computer with a scanner and imaging software, the student is able to

     _ scan a worksheet or form.

     _ use the software text tool to insert text into the worksheet.

When using an accessible computer running a word-processing program, the student is able to enter characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

     ___ words per minute (wpm) from dictation.

     ___ wpm from copy.

When using the Mountbatten Brailler or another electronic braillewriter, the student is able to emboss characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

     ___ wpm from dictation.

     ___ wpm from copy.

When using an accessible PDA with a QWERTY keyboard, the student is able to enter characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

     ___ wpm from dictation.

     ___ wpm from copy.

When using an accessible PDA with a braille keyboard, the student is able to enter characters, words, and sentences at the rate of

      18 wpm from dictation.

      6 wpm from copy.

Comments: __________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Assessment Information:

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY RECOMMENDATIONS FORM

Student Name: Semena Thomas

Date(s) of Assessment: 9/3 & 9/10, 2008

Based on the results of the assistive technology assessment, the following recommendations are made regarding assistive technology to support this student's educational objectives.

Section I: Accessing Print

Students with visual impairments will use a combination of tools and strategies to access printed information. Some will be appropriate for short reading passages and others will be necessary for longer assignments.

A. Accessing Print Visually

Check all that apply.

_ Student should use regular print materials with the following optical devices:

          _ prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses

          _ prescribed handheld magnifier

                type: ______     ______ power          _ illuminated

          _ prescribed stand magnifier

                type: ______     ______ power          _ illuminated

          _ prescribed handheld telescope

                type: ______     ______ power

          _ prescribed spectacle-mounted telescope

                type: ______     ______ power

          _ other optical devices recommended in clinical low vision evaluation

                specify: _____________________________________________________

_ Student should use materials written with felt-tip pen on regular blue-lined notebook paper.

_ Student should use materials written with felt-tip pen on bold-lined paper.

_ Student should use materials written with felt-tip pen on unlined paper.

_ Student should use regular print materials enlarged on a photocopying machine.

     Specify: ______times at ______% enlargement

_ Student should use large-print books.

_ Student should use regular print materials scanned into a computer, edited, and printed in ___ point print in the ____________ font.

_ When possible, student should be provided with overhead lighting

     _ from an incandescent bulb.

     _ from a fluorescent bulb.

     _ from a halogen bulb.

     _ adjusted with a dimmer switch.

_ When possible, student should be provided with window lighting adjusted with

     _ blinds.

     _ shades.

     _ Other (specify): _____________________________________________________

_ When possible, student should be provided with additional lighting from

     _ desk lamp with a/an

          _ incandescent bulb.

          _ fluorescent bulb.

          _ halogen bulb.

          _ LED bulb.

     _ floor lamp with a/an

          _ incandescent bulb.

          _ fluorescent bulb.

          _ halogen bulb.

          _ LED bulb.

_ Student should use a book stand or reading stand. Specify type:

     _ braille book stand

     _ desktop model

     _ portable model

     _ floor model

_ Student should use regular print materials with a video magnifier (CCTV). Specify type:

     _ desktop model

     _ flex-arm camera model

     _ head-mounted display model

     _ portable model

     _ electronic pocket model

     _ digital imaging model

     Specify essential features: ________________________________________________________

     ________________________________________________________________________________

     ________________________________________________________________________________

_ Student should use regular print materials with the following type of scanner and imaging software:

     _ standard imaging program

     _ specialized scanning program

Additional comments or recommendations: ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

B. Accessing Print Tactilely

Check all that apply.

      X  Student should use materials in braille.

      X  Student should use an electronic refreshable braille display to access print and electronic information.

      X  Student should be provided opportunities to use tactile graphics created by various production techniques and in a variety of media, including real objects, models, collage, tooling and stenciling, thermoform, capsule paper and fuser, computer-generated, and commercially produced.

      X  Student should use tactile graphics to access maps, charts, and diagrams.

Additional comments or recommendations: see written report for details          

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

C. Accessing Print Auditorily

Check all that apply.

 X  Student should use a live reader for accessing certain materials.

          Specify: see report                                                                                 

 X  Student should use recorded materials for accessing some print information.

          Specify: ________________________________________________

_ Student should use a computer-assisted reading system such as Kurzweil 1000 or OpenBook.

Additional comments or recommendations: ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

D. Accessing Information Presented at a Distance

Check all that apply.

 X  Student should be provided an accessible copy of information presented on chalkboards or whiteboards, overhead projectors, computer projection systems, and so forth.

_ Student should use a handheld telescope for accessing chalkboards or whiteboards, overhead projectors, computer projection systems, and so forth.

_ Student should use a video magnifier with distance viewing capabilities for accessing chalk-boards or whiteboards, overhead projectors, computer projection systems, and so forth.

_ Student should use a digital video camera connect to an appropriate size monitor for accessing chalkboards or whiteboards, overhead projectors, computer projection systems, and so forth.

_ Student should use an electronic whiteboard connected to an accessible computer.

 X  Student should be provided audio-described videos when available.

_ Student should be provided a separate ____-inch monitor for viewing DVDs, movies, and other video presentations.

Additional comments or recommendations: ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Section II: Accessing Electronic Information

A. Computer Access—Output Devices

1. Visual Access

Check all that apply.

     _ Student should use a standard computer monitor

          Optimal size: _________________

     _ Student should use a standard computer monitor with the following hardware adaptations:

          _ adjustable monitor arm

          _ hardware screen magnifier

     _ Student should use a standard computer monitor with the following Windows or Macintosh

     _ Display Appearance Settings (list on separate page if needed):________________________

          ________________________________________________________________________________

     _ Student should use the following Accessibility options in the computer's operating system:

          _ Macintosh                    _ Windows Accessibility.

     _ Student should use the following screen magnification program provided in the computer's

     operating system:

          _ Macintosh Zoom          _ Microsoft Magnifier.

     _ Student should use a dedicated screen magnification program.

          Specify essential features: ________________________________________________________

2. Tactile Access

     _ Student should use a refreshable braille display.

          Specify essential features: ________________________________________________________

3. Auditory Access

Check all that apply.

     _ Student should use a talking word processor to develop basic computer skills.

     _ Student should use the following screen-reading program provided in the computer's operating system:

          _ Macintosh VoiceOver     _ Microsoft Narrator.

      X  Student should use a dedicated screen-reading program.

          Specify essential features: support for refreshable braille display

          Additional comments or recommendations: ________________________________________

          ________________________________________________________________________________

          ________________________________________________________________________________

B. Computer Access—Input Devices

1. Keyboard Use

Check all that apply.

      X  Student should use a standard keyboard.

     _ Student should use a standard keyboard with

          _ large-print labels, white text on black background.

          _ large-print labels, black text on white background.

          _ braille labels.

      X  Student should use a standard keyboard with locator dots to develop or improve keyboarding skills.

      X  Student should receive individual keyboarding instruction.

     _ Student should use a talking word processor for keyboarding instruction.

      X  Student should use a talking typing program for keyboarding practice and reinforcement of skills taught by instructor.

     _ Student should use a standard keyboard with Windows Accessibility or Macintosh Universal

         Access options:

     _ StickyKeys

     _ FilterKeys

     _ ToggleKeys

     _ Other (specify): __________________________________________________________________

     _ Student should use a standard keyboard with hardware adaptations.

          Specify:_________________________________________________________________________

      X  Student should use an alternative keyboard.

          Specify:_________________________________________________________________________

2. Pointing Devices and Other Tools

Check all that apply.

     _ Student should use a standard pointing device like a mouse or trackball.

     _ Student should use an alternative pointing device.

          Specify:_________________________________________________________________________

     _ Student should use a voice recognition system to control the computer.

     _ Student should have access to a copyholder that allows printed materials to be positioned at a comfortable viewing distance.

     Additional comments or recommendations: ___________________________________________

     ___________________________________________________________________________________

     ___________________________________________________________________________________

C. Accessing Other Electronic Information

1. Specialized Scanning Systems

      X  Student should have access to a specialized scanning system.

          Specify essential features: see report          

2. Accessible Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

      X  Student should have access to a personal digital assistant with the following features:

          _ scalable font display

          _ screen magnification capability

           X  synthesized speech output

           X  refreshable braille display

          Specify essential features: _________________________________________________________

3. Other Electronic Tools

      X  Student should use a           X  basic or          _ scientific talking calculator.

     _ Student should use a computer-based calculator program with

          _ screen magnification software.

          _ screen-reading software.

     _ Student should use a dictionary or thesaurus program on a computer with

          _ screen magnification software.

          _ screen-reading software.

      X  Student should use a portable talking dictionary.

     Additional comments or recommendations: ___________________________________________

     ___________________________________________________________________________________

     ___________________________________________________________________________________

Section III: Communicating Through Writing

Students who are blind or visually impaired will use a combination of tools and strategies to produce written communication. Some will be appropriate for short writing assignments and others will be necessary for longer assignments.

Check all that apply.

     _ Student should use pen or pencil and paper

          _ for short writing assignments.

          _ for most writing assignments.

     _ Student should use felt-tip pen or other bold marker.

     _ Student should use     _ bold-lined     _ raised-lined notebook paper.

     _ Student should use     _ bold-lined     _ raised-lined graph paper for math.

     _ Student should use crayons and a screen board for beginning handwriting.

     _ Student should use a whiteboard with erasable markers.

     _ Student should use a computer with a math writing and editing program.

     _ Student should use a computer with a scanner and imaging software to complete forms.

      X  Student should use an accessible computer with word-processing software.

     _ Student should use manual braillewriter.

     _ Student should use manual braillewriter with extension keys.

     _ Student should use a unimanual (one-handed) braillewriter.

     _ Student should use unimanual (one-handed) braillewriter with extension keys.

     _ Student should use slate and stylus.

     _ Student should use an electronic braillewriter.

          Specify: ________________________________________________________________________

      X  Student should use an adaptive analog or digital recorder for notetaking.

      X  Student should use an accessible PDA for notetaking and other short writing tasks.

     _ Student should use an accessible laptop or notebook computer for notetaking.

Additional comments or recommendations: ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Section IV: Additional Hardware and Software

Student should be provided with access to the following hardware and software:

     _ Macintosh computer system with

          ____MB memory     ____ GB hard drive     _ CD/DVD drive

      X  Windows-compatible computer system with

           2 MB memory      80 GB hard drive      X  CD/DVD drive

      X  word processor      X  printer

      X  Internet access      X  flatbed scanner

   other:__________________________________________________________________________

          ________________________________________________________________________________

          ________________________________________________________________________________

Equipment needed to produce materials for student in appropriate format:

      X  Macintosh or Windows-compatible computer system with

           2GB MB memory      80 GB hard drive      X  CD/DVD drive

           X  Internet access      X  flatbed scanner         X  OCR software

           X  word-processing software      X  braille translating software

           X  inkjet or laser printer              X  braille embosser or printer

           X  tactile graphics production equipment:

               Specify: see report                                                            

Additional comments or recommendations: ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

The recommendations made here do not all have to be implemented immediately. These suggestions are designed for a two- to three-year plan in which the student masters certain skills and is provided access to additional technologies that can facilitate his or her educational program. During that time, new technologies are likely to become available that will enhance the student's ability to maximize his or her educational potential. The specific devices recommended may no longer be the most appropriate, but the assistance that they provide will continue to be a need for this student.

Samantha Higgins                                                         Teacher of students with visual impairments

Assessment Completed by (signature)                            Position

Beatrice Collins                                                              Assistive Technology Specialist

Assessment Completed by (signature)                            Position

_______________________________________      _____________________________________

Assessment Completed by (signature)                           Position

_______________________________________      _____________________________________

Assessment Completed by (signature)                           Position


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Student's Name: Semena Thomas

Date(s) of assessment: 9/3, & 9/10/2008

Semena is a third-grade student functioning on grade level in all academic areas. She has no usable vision. Semena uses braille as her primary learning medium and auditory information as her secondary medium. Many of Semena's educational objectives involve accessing printed information, accessing electronic information provided by the school's computers, and producing written communication that is accessible to both her and her teachers. An assistive technology assessment was requested and conducted to determine the tools that might assist Semena in accomplishing these educational objectives. To meet these objectives she will need a toolbox full of technology and the appropriate training to assist her in these tasks.

Some of the features of the devices and software recommended will be used by Semena and her service providers immediately and in the near future, while others will need to be learned over the next few years. Semena will need to master the basic functions of the technology in the next several years and then will need to develop competence and efficiency with their more advanced features in order to take advantage of her educational program in middle and high school. The variety and complexities of the recommended technology are such that Semena cannot be expected to be learning how to use them at the same time that she needs them to accomplish educational tasks. It is essential, therefore, that she be provided access to these tools in the next few years so that she has time to develop the required skills to use them proficiently.

Accessing Print Information

Semena uses braille as her primary method for accessing print information. She will need to continue to be provided with textbooks and other educational materials in braille. Continued improvement in her reading efficiency in braille will be essential for Semena to take full advantage of both her educational program and future employment opportunities. In order for Semena to improve her braille reading skills she will need additional opportunities to read materials in braille.

Currently Semena is provided braille in several ways: some textbooks are available in braille from the state Instructional Materials Center (IMC); textbooks not available from the IMC may have to be produced by and purchased from outside vendors; some textbooks are produced by Semena's teacher of visually impaired students, Samantha Higgins; almost all the supplemental educational materials used in her classes are produced in braille by Ms. Higgins; and a small number of books and magazines are available in braille from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. These resources are not adequate to provide Semena with a free and appropriate public education as required by law. Semena's classmates have full access to all of their textbooks and any associated supplemental materials, while she does not. Furthermore, through the school's library and media center, Semena's classmates have access to hundreds or even thousands of volumes, while she only has access to a very small number of books and magazines in braille.

  1. Semena will need to use an accessible personal digital assistant (PDA) with a refreshable braille display. This device will serve as a major tool for accessing print information, accessing some electronic information, and producing written communication. It will also meet several of Semena's other educational needs, as discussed later in this report.
    1. a.  An accessible PDA with a refreshable braille display can provide Semena with access to some of her textbooks. Textbooks, magazines, and a wide variety of other books are becoming available in electronic formats that can be downloaded into an accessible PDA and read with a refreshable braille display. This is the first feature of this device that Semena will need to learn to use. The teacher of visually impaired students will develop goals and objectives for Semena to acquire the skills necessary to use the other features of the accessible PDA during the next few years.
    2. b.  This device can save the school system money by
      • reducing the number of books that will need to be produced and purchased in braille from outside vendors;
      • decreasing the number of books and materials that the TVI will need to produce in hard-copy braille.
  2. Semena also needs access to the graphical information found in print materials. This type of information needs to be provided in the form of tactile graphics. Some tactile graphics are available in braille textbooks, but a great deal of the graphical information she will need is not. Some of these materials can be purchased from outside vendors, but many will need to be created by the teacher of visually impaired students. In order to produce and provide these tactile graphics, Ms. Higgins will need the following tools and materials:
    1. a.  Tactile Graphics kit from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
    2. b.  one of the following electronic fuser systems:
      • Pictures in a Flash (PIAF)—from HumanWare
      • Swell-Form Graphics Machine—from American Thermoform
      • Tactile Image Enhancer (TIE)—from Repro-Tronics
  3. Semena will also need technology tools that will allow her to access print information auditorily. During the next few years, Semena will need to learn to use the tools and techniques to take full advantage of information in an auditory format.
    1. a.  Semena will need to begin to receive instruction in the use of live readers, recorded speech, and synthesized speech.
    2. b.  To begin this process she and Ms. Higgins will need access to a modified tape recorder such as the Handi-Cassette II available from APH on quota funds.
    3. c.  As her auditory skills improve, Semena will need access to a Digital Talking Book player and Digital Talking Books. These tools will not replace her need for braille materials, but will supplement them as additional tools for accessing print information.
  4. 4.  Semena will need to be provided with an accessible copy of information presented on chalk- or whiteboards, overhead projectors, and computer projection systems in the classroom. The teacher of visually impaired students will need to have access ahead of time to the information that is presented in class whenever possible so that she can provide it in braille for Semena. Semena can use some of the auditory skills she will develop, based on recommendation #3a, to make use of a reader. She can have someone read information to her and use one of the writing tools recommended later in this report to record the information for future reference.
  5. 5.  Semena's classroom teacher and the school media specialist will need to search for videos with audio description when selecting videos to use in her class.
  6. 6.  During middle school, Semena will need to learn to use a specialized scanning system (see recommendation #5 under Accessing Electronic Information).
  7. 7.  Semena will need individualized instruction in the use of these technologies. In order for Semena to receive this instruction, her teacher of visually impaired students will need professional development opportunities to learn about these technologies and ample time to practice with them before beginning instruction.

Accessing Electronic Information

Semena will need to learn to use the school's computers to access electronic information. This will require her to develop skills in several areas:

  1. 1.  Semena will need to learn to use the accessible PDA recommended in item #1 under Accessing Print Information as a tool for gaining tactile access to the school's computers. This is a long-term goal that should be completed by 7th or 8th grade.
  2. 2.  Semena will need to receive instruction in the use of screen-reading software for the computer during the next few years. This will be facilitated by her development of keyboarding skills, as detailed in the following recommendations.
  3. To develop the keyboarding skills necessary to access electronic information on the computer Semena will need the following tools:
    1. a.  Standard keyboard with locator dots
    2. b.  Screen-reading software
    3. c.  Word-processing software
    4. d.  Talking typing tutor software for drill and practice
  4. 4.  Semena's teacher of visually impaired students will need to provide the keyboarding instruction. She should begin by teaching Semena to use the screen-reading software and a word processor. The synthesized speech provided by the screen-reading software will give Semena immediate feedback about the keys she presses, which in turn will enhance her ability to learn the keyboard. Using the word processor will give Semena an opportunity to print out her work to share with family and friends. It will also provide Ms. Higgins with a tool to track Semena's progress. Semena can use the talking typing tutor to practice letters and groups of letters that she has already learned when Ms. Higgins is not available.
  5. 5.  During middle school, Semena will need to learn to use a specialized scanning system so that by the time she reaches high school she will be prepared to independently access both print and electronic information that is not available in alternate formats. Serena will use a computer with synthetic speech or her accessible PDA with refreshable braille to access the information that has been scanned.
  6. 6.  Semena will need to have access to an accessible PDA to access electronic information. (See item #1 under Accessing Print Information.)
  7. 7.  Semena will need access to a talking calculator later in her educational program. This is one of the additional features of the accessible PDA recommended in item #1 under Accessing Print Information.
  8. 8.  Semena will need access to a full-featured talking dictionary such as the Franklin Speaking Language Master Special Edition. This is a tool that she can use now to check the spelling of words. As her needs and skills develop, she can learn to use some of the more advanced features of the device so that she will be proficient with them in middle and high school.
  9. 9.  Semena will need individualized instruction in the use of these technologies. In order to receive this instruction, Semena's teacher of visually impaired students will need to have professional development opportunities to learn about these technologies and ample time to practice with them before beginning instruction.

Tools for Writing

  1. 1.  Semena will need to learn to use an accessible computer with word-processing software for longer writing assignments.
  2. 2.  Semena should continue to use a manual braillewriter as a personal writing tool for short writing assignments.
  3. 3.  Semena will need to learn to use the slate and stylus as a portable writing tool.
  4. 4.  As Semena moves into middle school, she will need to learn to use the features of a digital recorder for recording class lectures and notetaking. This can be accomplished with the accessible PDA recommended in item #1 under Accessing Print Information.
  5. 5.  As Semena moves into middle school, she will need to learn to use the word-processing features of the accessible PDA recommended in item #1 under Accessing Print Information as her primary tool for notetaking. She will need to begin learning the recording and notetaking features of this device so that she will be able to take notes independently when needed in middle school, high school, and beyond.

Additional Hardware and Software

  1. 1.  Semena will need access to a Windows-based computer system with an adequate memory and hardware configuration to run the software noted in the previous recommendations.
  2. To produce materials in braille and other alternate formats Semena's teacher of visually impaired students will need access to a Windows-based computer system with the following hardware and software:
    1. a.  Adequate memory and storage capacity for all the software noted here
    2. b.  Word-processing software; high-speed Internet and e-mail access; optical character recognition (OCR) software such as Omni Page Pro or Abbey Fine Reader; braille translation software such as Duxbury, MegaDots, Braille 2000, etc.; flatbed scanner; braille embosser

It is imperative that everyone involved in Semena's education be aware that these recommendations are designed to meet her current and future needs. Some items will need to be implemented as soon as possible, while others will need to be met during the next few years. Many of the technology tools that Semena will need to be successful in her educational pursuits cannot be learned in a short period of time. Therefore it will be necessary for Semena to begin learning the skills necessary to take advantage of these tools in the next several years. The goal will be for her to become competent in their use by the time she needs to rely on these tools to accomplish her educational objectives.

Semena's assistive technology needs will need to be addressed at each of her annual IEP reviews throughout her educational program. A partial or complete reevaluation will be required before she makes the transitions to middle school, to high school, and to college or work or any time that her program requires her to complete tasks that cannot be completed practically with the tools she is currently using.

Previous | Next | Table of Contents

Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired © 2009 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved.


www.afb.org | Change Colors and Text Size | Contact Us | Site Map |
 
About AFB | Press Room | Bookstore | Donate | Policy Statement


Please direct your comments and suggestions to afbinfo@afb.net
Copyright © 2008 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved.

  Valid HTML 4.0!