Apps for Visual Impairments Topic of Houston, TX November Meeting

At our November meeting we welcomed Alexa Bowers, Adaptive Technology Specialist at the Lighthouse of Houston. The Lighthouse is a private, nonprofit education and service center dedicated to assisting blind and visually impaired people to live independently. Alexa demonstrated some apps that she uses with those who have visual impairments. She explained that a diagnosis of Diabetes can cause some kinds of visual impairments, so the some of the apps she shared were health related.

Another interesting app was VisionSim by the Braille Institute. It was developed to allow people with healthy vision to see the world through the eyes of a person experiencing one of nine degenerative eye diseases.

Teacher Marla D’Antoni shared an amazing tip in using mobile devices with students who have visual impairments. You take a large Ziploc bag and place it over the mobile device, then open the app you are working with. Marla used the example of the popular music app GarageBand. Take a pen or stylus and drag it over the guitar strings or other area to be touched on the app. Then take the bag off, turn the bag inside out and place it back on the app. Now the student can feel the slightly raised lines on the bag to work the app independently. Marla suggested this bag technique for a number of different apps. A teacher could label them for each app or section within an app so that the student can operate the app more independently.

Our group also discussed keyguard overlays for certain apps to use with students who have visual impairments. The company Lasered Pics makes custom keyguards at a reasonable price for using with particular apps on an iPad. You can find more information about the variety of keyguards available here:

Glucose Buddy – Diabetes Logbook Manager w/syncing, Blood Pressure, Weight Tracking

The Things that Go Bump in the Night

Big Clock HD

Dragon Dictation

VisionSim by Braille Institute


To see a full list of apps recommended by the Lighthouse, click here:


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