Help Us Expand Braille and Technology Literacy
For the 25 million Americans with vision loss, it's essential to know how to read, write, and use assistive technology in order to fully engage with the world. AFB is partnering with Lions Clubs International to increase literacy and access to learning resources through their Reading Action Program. You can help us make literacy a reality!
Help Children Thrive in School
Learning braille in the classroom
Astronaut, doctor, scientist, poet, or president...a child's dream should always be within reach. But for thousands of children living with vision loss, these dreams fade away far too quickly. Many students with visual impairments lack access to critical classes and educational tools. To promote and ensure delivery of high quality special education and related services to students with visual disabilities, our current priority is the Anne Sullivan Macy Act, dedicated to helping children learn braille, assistive technologies, and other life skills that ensure a more level playing field.
In collaboration with the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), AFB's FamilyConnect Program offers a virtual lifeline to parents of children with vision loss. We provide information and resources, and host an online community where families find support, comfort and help.
How You Can Help
- Join our campaign to advocate for schools and teachers to receive the resource and they need to reach and educate their students by supporting the Anne Sullivan Macy Act.
- Join in the discussion and share our literacy resources with parents of children with visual impairments in your community, at www.familyconnect.org.
- Connect parents with resources for braille and reading instruction as well as libraries and alternate media providers through AFB's Directory of Services
- Make a gift to support FamilyConnect
Ensure Adults New to Vision Loss Can Continue to Read
Finding the right tools to continue reading
An estimated one in six people aged 65 and older, and one in three people aged 85 and older, has some degree of vision loss. With the graying of our population, more and more people cannot read a prescription bottle, pay bills, operate a stove, or move around safely in their home or neighborhood.
Loss of vision can mean loss of independence and lead to a serious decline in quality of life. For adults losing their sight, one of the greatest concerns is no longer being able to read. Literacy is a key to personal independence and access to information.
With today's technology, however, there is a lot less to fear. Large print books, magnification tools, braille, audio texts, and a constantly growing number of products will allow you to continue to read everything from the morning paper to the latest bestseller to a monthly phone bill.
How You Can Help
- Share our reading and writing resources with adults new to vision loss
- Connect adults with vision loss services in their communities through AFB's Directory of Services
- Volunteer at AFB's Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, Texas. The Center houses an innovative model apartment which utilizes environmental modifications, adaptive products, and current assistive technology via tours with hands-on demonstrations to assist people with vision loss in living safely and independently.
- Support the Center on Vision Loss with a gift
Expand Access to Technology
Demonstrating the use of a video magnifier at the AFB Center on Vision Loss
Technology revolutionizes life for people with vision loss in the classroom, the workplace and at home. However, technology literacy rates remain low among people with visual impairments. To address this problem, AFB's Professional Development Center provides technology training for service providers who work with individuals with vision loss.
In addition, many of today's critical devices remain out of reach for people with vision loss due to accessibility barriers. AFB works to remove those barriers. Our Tech team evaluates mainstream and assistive technology products and collaborates with companies such as Apple, Canon, and Whirlpool to ensure their latest products meet the needs of blind and visually impaired consumers. In particular, the AFB Tech team has worked with partners such as Marshall University, the VA Medical Center in Atlanta, and Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System to take on the task of making small screen displays readable for people with visual impairment. Contrast (the distinct differential between light and dark) of digital display screens on cell phones, calculators and personal medical testing devices is, more often than not, insufficient for people who are visually impaired. What may seem like sufficient contrast for a person with 20/20 vision is most likely inadequate for people who report having difficulty seeing.
How You Can Help
- Learn about AFB's technology workshops for professionals who serve people with vision loss
- Learn more about the critical work being done by AFB's Tech team by reading AFB's online technology magazine AccessWorld® and downloading the AccessWorld mobile app.
- Reach out to technology companies (through letter-writing campaigns or telephone inquiries) to let them know that making their technologies usable by people who are blind or who have low vision is not only critical for literacy, but also leads to better technology design and makes good business sense for companies and their bottom line.
- Spread the word about NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) and other appropriate free or low-cost technological access solutions for people with vision loss.
- Make a donation to support AFB's work on accessible technology
We are thrilled to work in partnership with Lions Clubs International to promote braille and assistive technology access to people with vision loss. Support of our programs and services enable AFB to advocate for the rights and interests of people with vision loss, and to provide resources for everyone affected by blindness or visual impairment—senior citizens, parents, families, friends, and professionals in the vision loss field. Thank you for your support of the American Foundation for the Blind.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please consider making a donation today to support our free information, programs, and research.