This is a no-graphics site designed for visually impaired

users who use assistive technology such as screen

reading or magnification software or require high

contrast.


 

eBlind!

 

Assistive technology training and consulting for the

visually impaired and the agencies and organizations who

serve them

Michigan Lions District 11-A2

 

We thank Lions

for their continued generous support!

 

eBlind!

1200 North Telegraph

Courthouse West Wing Extension

Pontiac, Michigan 48341

1888-eblind1 voice or

1888-325-4631

jwhitacr@msn.com

mwhitacre99@yahoo.com

Contact us for fee schedule


 

 

About eBlind!

eBlind!, a Michigan non-profit corporation with 501(c)3

status, was founded on May 5, 1999 as a way of

commemorating the District 11-A2 Pontiac Lions Club’s

75th Anniversary. The Oakland County Library Board,

which oversees the operations of the Oakland County

Library for Visually and Physically Impaired, has been a

primary sponsor of eBlind!, providing its first computer

work station, Internet access and furniture. By also

continuing to provide eBlind! lab space in the west wing

of the Oakland County Courthouse building, next door to

the Library for the Visually and Physically Impaired, the

Library Board has greatly enhanced the services offered

to the patrons of the library and worked to revolutionize

the lives of visually and physically impaired individuals.

 

eBlind! has provided assistive technology training to

many students in southeastern Michigan, as well as

consulting and training services to area organizations.

 

eBlind! has also written business plans for individuals

who have received funding for their new businesses

through the Michigan Commission for the Blind, as well as

providing student tutoring and GED completion, and

college entrance and tutoring assistance.

 


 

 

 

Services

 

eBlind! staff have extensive assistive technology training

experience, as well as rehabilitation services

backgrounds.

 

Whether assessment and trainings are to determine and

improve an individual’s job readiness, or to allow an

individual to increase computer skills for their own

recreation, eBlind! staff are professional and

compassionate and able to find innovative, creative and

personalized technology training solutions for individuals

with visual impairments or the agencies and

organizations who serve them.

 

Computer Skills Assessment:

Services range from basic typing tests to determine

typing speed, to in-depth assessment of software

application knowledge and skills.

 

Computer Training:

Services include development and delivery of basic or

customized hardware and software application training to

improve job-readiness or to assist in the transition of an

employee to the use of assistive technologies in the

workplace.

 

Technology and Training Consulting:

Services include organizational needs assessment related

to assistive technologies as well as instructional

development and delivery.

 

eBlind!

 

Individual Services

 

Working with referring agencies, eBlind! provides a

multitude of services, including :

 

Computer skills assessments, including basic navigation

of systems and keyboard skills, as well as use of popular

applications such as Microsoft Office products, email and

Internet proficiency.

 

Assistive technology needs assessments.

 

Hardware and software recommendations.

 

Purchase, delivery, setup and configuration of computer

system s .

 

Development of targeted trainings to meet individual and

agency needs.

 

Individualized technology trainings conducted in the

eBlind! facilities, referring agency facilities, on a work

site, or in an individual’s home.

 

Education/tutorial assistance whether for the completion

of high school diploma (or GED), or college admissions

and coursework.

 

No-cost lab time in eBlind! facility to provide short-term

technology assistance.

 

Organizational Services

 

Working with governmental and community

organizations, eBlind! has assisted in the development of

multiple assistive technology projects including :

 

State employment agency skills trainings to allow

employees to assist individuals with disabilities to access

job seeking tools including Internet searches.

 

Local libraries to develop assistive technology

workstations allowing visually or physically impaired

library patrons access to all materials.

 

Local seniors centers to develop technology trainings

allowing computer users to access technology built into

their systems, including changes in screen resolution and

contrast, use of magnification and narration features

available in Microsoft operating systems.

 

Employers and service providers to provide technology

consulting services including Braille transcription of

materials for blind employees or clients.

 

Work-site assessments of assistive technology needs.

 


 

 

FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is assistive technology?

An Assistive Technology Device is "any item, piece of

equipment or product system, whether acquired

commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that

is used to increase, maintain or improve functional

capabilities of individuals with disabilities."; (From The

Technology-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with

Disabilities Act of 1988, Sec. 3. l) .

 

Do I need to be blind to benefit from assistive

technologies?

No. There are basic features in the Windows

environment to enhance contrast and readability of the

screen, add sound notification, change keyboard options,

adjust mouse properties and use voice recognition

technology. There are many products on the market to

enhance computer use as well—whether you are low- or

no-vision, have physical limitations, or have hearing loss.

 

Do I need to already know how to use a computer

to benefit from assistive technologies?

No. Individuals can learn to use technology at any time.

 

Am I too old to learn?

You are never too old to learn!

 

Do I need special computer equipment if I have

visual impairments or am blind?

Not necessarily. There are features available in Microsoft

Products that can allow you to use your system. Check in

My ProgramsàAccessoriesàAccessibility Wizard to make

changes to the way your system displays information, to

use magnification or narrator capabilities.

 

How can I make my computer more user-friendly?

Refer to the preceding question. In addition:

 

Monitors have settings controls that will allow you to

adjust brightness and contrast.

 

Use the zoom feature in applications to increase font

size.

 

Adjust screen colors to enhance display properties. Go

to Control PanelàDisplayàAppearance to adjust

colors/contrast. Click on Advanced tab to adjust

Window colors—oftentimes a stark white background is

fatiguing to the eye and a softer color is better.

 

Consider a flat screen or flat panel monitor which can

increase clarity.

 

Consider a larger monitor, within limits. If your field of

vision is limited, too large a screen can be more

confusing.

 

Check the ergonomics of your worksite. Are you sitting

correctly in your chair--with the right support and at

the right height? Is the lighting correct?

 

Are there games I can play on my computer if I’m

blind?

See Accessible Games Home Page, BSC Games Computer

games for the blind and visually impaired, as well as

Computer Games for Students with Visual Impairments.

 

What if I don’t know how to type?

There are typing tutors available—see American Printing

House for Talking Typer.

 

Can I print Braille documents?

Braille documents must be “embossed” rather than

printed. In order to emboss (that is, create the actual

raised dots), a special device known as a Braille

embosser is required. There are several products

available to translate text to Braille, including Duxbury

Braille Translator, available from Duxbury Systems.

 

What is a screen reader?

Software that will speak aloud contents of the computer

screen—primarily only if the screen contains text vs

images. Products include Freedom Scientific’s JAWS and

GW Micro’s Window-Eyes, among others.

 

What is a screen magnifier?

Software that will enlarge the screen—depending on

product—many times. Screen magnifiers often allow

those finding it difficult to read a screen the ability to

discern characters again. Products include: AI Squared’s

BigShot and ZoomText, and Freedom Scientific’s Magic,

among others. Products come with and without speech

capabilities. There are options in Internet Explorer to

increase font size: in menu options ViewàText Size. In

Microsoft Office products, increase the Zoom or font size.

 

What is a scan and read application?

Software or a device that will optically image a document

and translate to text using OCR (Optical Character

Recognition) which the device or software will then read

aloud. Products include Freedom Scientific’s OpenBook

and ScanSoft’s OmniPage, as well as Kurzweil products.

 

Where are there libraries in southeastern Michigan

with assistive technologies?

Rochester Hills Public Library, Waterford Public Library,

Pontiac Public Library, as well as the Oakland County's

Library for the Visually and Physically Impaired. If your

library has assistive technology and is not listed, please

contact us to add it to our list.

 

How can I bring assistive technology to my local

library?

Talk to your local library about your need for assistive

technology and ask them to contact eBlind! for more

information. Contact your local Lions Club for

information as well.

 

How can employers benefit from learning about

assistive technologies?

In addition to complying with

federal mandates relating to making reasonable

accommodations for employees with disabilities, an

employer can enhance diversity in an organization and

build social awareness and acceptance of those with

different abilities in their hiring practices. Employers can

refer to several information sources—most broadly, the

Americans with Disabilities Act. See also the Job

Accommodation Network, check the Individuals with

Disabilities for specific types of disabilities including those

related to vision. See the Five Steps to Choosing

Assistive Technology (AT) as an Accommodation Fact

Sheet provided by the Job Accommodation Network. Use

their Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR)

to find specific accommodation methods/tools.

 

How can educators benefit from learning about

assistive technologies?

Students may benefit, even require, additional help in

understanding materials presenting or in completing

assignments; educators may be mandated to provide

such assistance as stipulated in The 1997 reauthorization

of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted

Education (ERIC EC)/The Council for Exceptional Children

released a publication entitled “Including Assistive

Technology in the Standard Curriculum.”

 

How can parents benefit from learning about

assistive technologies?

As parents, we are often the most influential—at times

maybe the most effective—educator of our children.

Parents should be their child’s most vocal advocate and

have information available to present to professionals to

help their child gain a deserved education. In the home

environment, students benefit from many of the same

assistive technologies—screen readers, screen

magnifiers, and scan and read devices. Parents can also

assist educators in locating textbooks in alternative

formats such as Braille, large print and audio, through

agencies such as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

 

How can I learn to read Braille?

Hadley School for the Blind offers many

classes—including Braille, free of charge, to those with

visual impairments or to family members or service

providers. Also see Braille Through Remote Learning.

 

Are there resources on the Internet for those with

visual impairments or those who are blind?

There are a multitude of resources available on the

Internet. See links below—note, many websites listed

have their own resource listings as well.

 

How are Lions involved with eBlind!?

eBlind!, a Michigan non-profit corporation with 501(c)3

status, was founded on May 5, 1999 as a way of

commemorating the District 11-A2 Pontiac Lions Club’s

75th Anniversary. Lions in District 11-A2 have continued

to generously support eBlind!

 

How do I find out about Lions in my area?

Lions International

Michigan Lions

District 11-A2 Lions

 

Where is the eBlind! lab located?

The eBlind! lab is housed in the West Wing Extension of

the Oakland County, Michigan, Courthouse located at

1200 North Telegraph in Pontiac, Michigan.

 

How can I find out more about eBlind! services?

To contact our offices by phone: 1888-eblind1.

To contact our offices by email: jwhitacr@msn.com

 

To contact our offices by mail:

eBlind!

1200 North Telegraph

c/o LVPI

Pontiac, Michigan 48341

 

 

Assistive Technology

Sources of Products, Information and Support:

 

AI Squared: Assistive technology supplier of various

products including ZoomText and BigShot.

 

American Council of the Blind: Advocacy and resource

agency, has a radio reader service.

 

American Foundation for the Blind: The American

Foundation for the Blind promotes wide-ranging, systemic

change by addressing the most critical issues facing the

growing blind and visually impaired

population—employment, independent living, literacy,

and technology. In addition to its New York City

headquarters, the American Foundation for the Blind

maintains four National Centers in cities across the United

States, and a Governmental Relations office in

Washington, DC.

 

Americans with Disabilities Act

 

Assistive Technology Institute Resource List:

Extensive resource list for visually impaired computer

users.

 

Blind Readers: Internet sources for access to

information in alternative formats including Braille,

recorded cassettes, large print and web audio.

 

Blind World: Easy to use resource listings including

news stories.

 

Detroit Radio Information Service: The Detroit Radio

Information Service-a radio-reading service for people

with disabilities-is a self-supporting special audience

service of WDET-FM at Wayne State University. DRIS

embraces and enhances WDET's public radio mission to

expand knowledge, educate, inform and culturally

enlighten.

 

Empowerment Zone: Vast list of resources designed to

help individuals and communities “achieve

self-actualization and full citizenship.” Interesting

reading.

 

For the People: Online /voice/audio chats with

extensive resource listings. Many Blind user resources.

 

Freedom Scientific: Assistive technology supplier of

various products including JAWS, OpenBook and Magic.

 

Hadley School for the Blind: Alternative formats

available for many subjects—offers GED/Diploma

completion program as well as topics related to families

and professional service providers.

 

JAWS for Windows Lite: JAWS users discussing

specific program helps, other Helpful Hints, JfWLite Voice

Chat, Favorites (links to other sites), Training and

Tutorials for JFW Users, Anti-Virus and Hoax Information

and JFWLite Members Home pages

 

Leader Dogs for the Blind: World-renown training

facility matching man and animal to enable those with

visual and hearing impairments to regain mobility.

Library for the Visually and Physically Impaired: The

Oakland County Library for the Visually and Physically

Impaired was established in 1974 to provide access to

free library service for Oakland County, Michigan,

residents who are unable to read standard printed

material because of a visual impairment or physical

limitation.

 

Library of Michigan: State of Michigan library services

for the blind & physically impaired.

 

Michigan Client Assistance Program: The Client

Assistance Program (CAP) provides information and

advocacy, without charge, to people with disabilities who

are receiving, or want to receive, services under the

Rehabilitation Act. CAP is operated by Michigan Protection

& Advocacy Services, which receives money from the

Michigan Department of Career Development to provide

these services. CAP will assist you with services provided

by the Michigan Department of Career Development

and/or Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Consumer

Choice Programs, Michigan Commission for the Blind,

Centers for Independent Living, and Supported

Employment and Transition Programs.

 

Michigan Commission for the Blind: Michigan’s State

Agency providing services for the blind and visually

impaired.

 

Michigan Rehabilitation Services: A person with a

disability may be eligible for MRS services if the disability

causes problems in preparing for, finding, or keeping a

job. The individual must also require MRS services in

order to work. Persons who are legally blind are served

by the Michigan Commission for the Blind.

 

Microsoft Accessibility: Describes options within the

Windows environment with instructions to modify

computer settings to increase accessibility.

 

National Association for the Visually

Handicapped: Advocacy and resource agency.

 

National Braille Press: Non-profit Braille printer and

publisher offering both children and adults the

opportunity to access desired materials.

National Federation of the Blind: Advocacy and

resource agency.

 

Readings for the Blind and Dyslexic: The nation’s

educational library for those with print disabilities.

 

Talking Information Center--Turning Print to

Sound: Online programs to broadcast readings of

printed materials.

 

The Blind and Visually Impaired Web Ring: A listing

of links to sites that are by, for or about people who are

blind or visually impaired.

 

The Blind Net: Easy to use resource listing.

 

Upshaw Institute for the Blind: Providing information

and education for local residents.

 

Vision Connection: A friendly, accessible, interactive

global Internet portal for people who are partially sighted

or blind, the professionals who work with them, the

families and friends who support them -- and anyone

looking for the latest information on vision impairment,

its prevention and vision rehabilitation.

 


 

 

eBlind!

 

Assistive technology training and consulting for the

visually impaired and the agencies and organizations who

serve them

 

John Whitacre

Director of Services and Instructor

Michael Whitacre

Co-Director of Services and Instructor

Ted Lennox

Instructor

1200 North Telegraph

Courthouse West Wing Extension

Pontiac, Michigan 48341

1888-eblind1 voice or

1888-325-4631

jwhitacr@msn.com

mwhitacre99@yahoo.com

 

 

Contact us for fee schedule

Question or comments, to suggest a link or report a

nonworking link: jwhitacr@msn.com

 

This is a no-graphics site designed for visually impaired

users who use assistive technology such as screen

reading or magnification software or require high

contrast.

 

Updated 3/25/06