** Editor's note: We will continue to update this post as we create and gather additional resources. Bookmark this page and check back often! **
As everyone adjusts to our new reality of working from home while simultaneously homeschooling our children, AFB staff have pulled together some online resources that may be helpful.
AFB also offered a free webinar on how to provide Remote Instruction and Services for Blind and Low Vision Participants, as part of our Virtual AFB Leadership Conference. An archived version of the presentation will be available soon!
- For Parents Who Are Suddenly Homeschooling
- For College Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision
- Reading Resources
- For Teachers
- Technology Resources
For Parents Who Are Suddenly Homeschooling
#AtHomeWithAPH Resources: APH is putting together a list of activities for you to do at home including experiments, lessons, and art. Also, stay tuned for a series of free webinars on some of their favorite products.
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.
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. Update: Thank you so much to the 48 teachers who have signed up to volunteer! Families, let us know if you need support. Learn how you can provide or request support.
Each Thursday at 11 am, NFB is offering interactive lessons for blind children and their families on Zoom. They are also developing online educational activities and lessons, including a braille story time. NFB is also collecting information on the needs of their members in order to more effectively serve them and direct NFB’s advocacy.
For College Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision
Free Offer for College Students in Need of Aira: "We know that many universities and colleges are rapidly shifting to distance learning. We’ve heard that some materials and software being used are inaccessible so we will be offering free Aira for any college student for the remainder of the spring semester ending in May 2020. If you know of a student who could benefit from Aira for their distance learning, please email email@example.com for more information on the program.”
The National Federation of the Blind's "Self-Advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit" is designed for blind students seeking to better understand the higher education accommodation request process, mitigate access barriers on campus, and ultimately to succeed at your schools and in your chosen areas of study.
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 reading 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 (and Bookshare for Students), now is the time! Read over 800,000 titles on almost any device, including smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, computers, and assistive technology devices. Bookshare has also created a useful list of resources for students, educators, and parents.
Benetech provided a useful roundup of the resources they are providing to support Inclusive Access to Information, and remote learning during COVID-19 school disruptions.
Audible is also offering hundreds of free audiobooks for kids during COVID-19 school closures. Just go to audible.com/stories to access audiobooks for preschoolers through teens.
The Accessible Books Consortium’s (ABC) Global Book Service has passed a major milestone, with half a million accessible works now available for cross-border, clearance-free exchange to benefit people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ABC Global Book Service is an online catalogue for the international exchange of accessible books by participating libraries for the blind, which share items in their collections and distribute accessible books obtained through ABC to their patrons who are print disabled.
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.
The Perkins eLearning Blog offered helpful strategies for teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) who are preparing to use virtual instruction to reach students.
Freedom Scientific, a leading worldwide brand of assistive technology products for those with vision impairments, announced on 3/24/2020 that they are offering free home-use software to those affected by COVID-19.
The Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults is offering their courses free of charge through May 31. The extensive list of their courses is at: https://www.helenkeller.org/hknc/available-classes
Educators who have at least one student who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind can use the Described and Captioned Media Program's free services to help ensure that educational videos are accessible for students learning at home.
Additional Resources for Teachers
- OLC Continuity Planning and Emergency Preparedness (Free Webinars and Resources)
- Working and learning online during a pandemic (Pearson)
- Assistive technology provider OrCam is offering free customer support to its users and recently uploaded several free tutorials.
- Additional Resources for Remote Instruction, compiled by Dr. Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky
- Chromebook accessibility tools for distance learning
- 5 Accessibility Actions You Can Take When You’re Moving Your Conference or Classes Online
- A new, free WordToEPUB tool from the DAISY Consortium, developed with support from Microsoft
- Free audiobook, “Meet Me Accessibly – A Guide to Zoom Cloud Meetings from a Blindness Perspective”
- Hot Keys and Keyboard Shortcuts for Zoom
- Zoom Accessibility FAQ
- Google Hangouts Meet Accessibility
- Google for Education Accessibility Features