WBU-NAC (Junior Group) Fine Work
My Tools for Independence
U.S.A. Aspen Poole (15/Female)

Do you know what tools blind people use to be independent? I have many pieces of assistive technology to assist me in life.These pieces include Bookport, Victor Stream, and Braille Note.I also use Jaws on the laptop and my S D cards as another way to acquire information.Duxbury is a program that is used to translate print into braille.These pieces of technology help me acquire information, and be more independent.

The first tool I use to acquire information is through reading and writing braille.I have been reading and writing braille for more than ten years, and I like to use the Perkins Brailler to write myself notes because it is quicker and easier to read than it is to use an audio device.I find reading braille is harder than audio because I have to focus on the braille and cannot comprehend as well at the same time.However, I find that reading small amounts of braille at a time is fun.For example, when I participated in the Braille Challenge in Batavia, New York, I had to read some small articles probably about two or three pages long.I enjoyed doing this because I found that the multiple choice questions were understandable for me.

Another example where braille could be helpful is if something has a braille label on it.For example, I use braille stickers to label my folders at school and other items.Another example is when I braille on index cards to write notes to myself.However, I do not like reading an entire text book or novel in braille, so therefore, I download the book in audio format.Even though I download it in audio format, the braille is still necessary because I read the chapter first in braille and then listen to it on audio.These are some of the ways I use braille to acquire information.

The second tool I use to acquire information, is through audio devices.The two audio devices that I have arethe Victor Stream and the Book Port.I use the Victor Stream to store text books, and novels for school.I use Bookshare to download these books.I can listen to these books and take notes on my Braille Note.One book that I recently listened to is The Giver by Lois Lowry.I found that book interesting because of the technology of transmitting memories from Jonas to the Giver.I have used my Bookport to read books for school before I received my Victor Stream, but when I won it at the Braille Challenge, I decided that it would be better to use it for school, and use the Bookport for recording only.I made this decision because the Victor Stream does not have as good recording capabilities as the Bookport.The Victor Stream cannot record information directly from other audio devices.

I have a Braille Note Apex which has a thirty two refreshible braille display that I use for both school and home.I can use it to take notes for school, do my homework, and much more.With the Braille Note, I actually type it with six keys just like on the Perkins Brailler.It does not have a qwerty keyboard.I also use my Braille Note as a dictionary, calculator, and calender.In the past week, I used my Braille Note to read a social studies test and I wrote the answers on my laptop.Another example of how I used my Braille Note is to read over notes that were saved on my thumb drive.The greatest advantage of the Braille Note is that it is smaller, lighter, and has braille input.

Another way I acquire information is through the use of braille translation software.My Mom uses Duxbury which allows her to take printed documents, scan them into the computer, and print them out in braille.She can use a scanner and scan papers.After they are scanned, she can put the information into Duxbury.She also uses a Romeo embosser to emboss braille materials.This embosser is the machine that actually prints out the braille material.After the braille is embossed, mom binds it into packets that I take with me to my classes and then read them.

In addition, Ialso use thumb drives and S D cards to store information.I currently have one thumb drive, and 3 S D cards.Two S D cards are used for home, and one stores all my text books on it.I can put them in the computer and transfer information.I have a lot of audio files and music that I listen to in my free time for fun.My main thumb drive is used to store all my information that I type into my Braille Note, which is 8 gigabytes.Some of these files, I keep backed up on an S D card in case I lose my thumb drive.An advantage of this is the portability of the devices.These are all good reasons to have thumb drives and S D cards.

Finally I also have a laptop with a program called Jaws that reads whatever is on the screen out loud.I can navigate Microsoft Word independently to type, print, and save documents.I can also cut, copy, paste, underline, and highlight.I also know how to make a search on Internet Explorer.I do not use Jaws as often because I find the Braille Note to be more efficient for me.The Braille Note is smaller and takes up less room.

In conclusion, my tools for independence are necessary and helpful for my every day life.Without these tools, I would not be able to function in school, and use them at home.I would recommend that blind and visually impaired people should look into purchasing these pieces of equipment.


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