Technology Services for Teens

Life Was Easier When Apple Was Just A Fruit.

The Carroll Center for the Blind offers a variety of access technology instructional programs that can help blind and visually impaired teens use technology independently at school, home and work. Programs are available in the use of speech output, screen magnification, braille technology, iPhone, iPad, tablets, Microsoft Office applications and smartphones.

Assistive Technology Assessment

Teenagers with vision impairments can greatly benefit from using low vision products, assistive technology, and techniques to access school materials, the blackboard, and computers. However, finding the best solutions require an assessment by low vision specialists and educators who have access to a wide variety of equipment to try with the student.

A variety of both high- and low-tech solutions for accessing a computer, printed material, and viewing a blackboard or other classroom materials are considered for each student. Solutions considered may include: low vision magnifiers or software, speech output, scanners, Braille printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), educational apps and other related technology.

Assessments are conducted by Robert McGillivray, Certified Low Vision Therapist (CLVT) and Eileen Curran, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and Assistive Technology Specialist in Visual Impairment. Together, the team brings over 75 years of experience to the evaluation process. Assessments are conducted at the Carroll Center or at the school site. Solutions considered may include: low vision magnifiers or software, speech output, digital audio recorders, scanners, Braille printers, talking books, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other related technology.

About Bob McGillivray

As a CLVT, Bob focuses his time with the student on evaluating the effectiveness of low vision devices, techniques and technologies in supporting student needs, while also looking at the visual efficiency of the student while trying a variety devices. In the clinical setting at the Carroll Center, Bob is able to evaluate the student and demonstrate a multitude of devices and technologies he has on hand. When a student or family is interested in a specific device that is not regularly kept in the clinic, Bob is often able to borrow specific devices for trial during the assessment.

About Eileen Curran

As a TVI and technology specialist, Eileen views the student through a holistic lens, evaluating how the student currently accesses board work in the classroom, completes assignments, and finishes homework, while also considering student’s strengths and needs. Eileen’s focus includes finding a best match between technology that is already available to maximize student success with current equipment, as well as looking for the most appropriate devices and applications for each individual’s needs. Additionally, she considers mainstream devices that serve multiple uses for multiple users. As a TVI, Eileen also integrates the potential use of non-visual access to curriculum, which students often need to utilize in high school and upper education to keep pace with their peers.

To schedule an assessment please contact Maureen Foley for an application at (617) 969-6200.

Computer Instruction Courses

Specialized computer instruction is available weekdays and weekends to provide students skills that can be applied immediately (teachers are welcome to attend). A wide variety of applications and devices are available for instruction.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY OFFICE HOURS

The Carroll Center for the Blind is now offering Assistive Technology Office Hours to current college students through one-on-one, personalized training on general technology software as well as on assistive technology hardware/software.

Assistive Technology Office Hours is available to current college students who use JAWS, NVDA, Windows Narrator, Fusion, ZoomText, or Windows Magnifier on their Windows PC. Support is also available for students who use VoiceOver on the Mac. Assistance in the use of mobile devices will also be provided to iOS VoiceOver and/or Zoom users or Android TalkBack users. Support is available in the use of specific braille notetakers including the BrailleNote Apex, BrailleNote Touch, BrailleNote Touch Plus, and Braille Sense U2. Questions related to using braille displays including the Orbit Reader, Refreshabraille, and Brailliant devices with iOS devices can also be addressed.

College students are required to be savvy in the use of their assistive technology in combination with mainstream desktop and mobile applications, all while keeping up with their coursework. Today, many more students are engaged in remote learning and college course content is posted to online learning platforms. Students may encounter difficulties related to using their assistive technology to work on projects, complete coursework, and access content posted to online learning platforms.

While some colleges and universities may be able to provide limited ongoing assistive technology support to students who are blind or visually impaired, other schools do not have these internal resources. The purpose of the Assistive Technology Office Hours is to fill in this gap in available support to college students who are blind or visually impaired as they work toward earning their degree.

Assistive Technology Office Hours will be billed hourly, as needed. These support hours are not intended to replace typical assistive technology training. Rather, the Assistive Technology Office Hours are intended to provide students with ongoing supplemental support as needed and an opportunity to ask specific questions relative to using assistive technology to complete their coursework.

 

Topics Addressed

Students will be able to ask questions related to:

  • Accessing content from online learning management platforms such as Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, or others. Utilizing features of these platforms such as discussion boards, mail, and assignment submission.
  • General questions about navigating the Windows, Mac OS, iOS, or Android environments using a screen reader or screen magnification.
  • Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Mac Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and Mail.
  • Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader for accessing PDF files.
  • Navigating specific webpages.
  • Using book reading apps.

 

Communication

  • Communication between Carroll Center trainers and students can be via phone or Zoom.
  • Trainers may provide specific answers or resources, as appropriate.
  • If questions are too broad, such as, “How do I use PowerPoint?” then trainers may recommend assistive technology training in that area instead of office hours support.
  • Use of Assistive Technology Office Hours may include time to research topics.
  • If course content, such as PDF files, are determined to be inaccessible, trainers will discuss work arounds where possible. Additionally, students will be encouraged to follow up with the university’s Disability Services, in these instances, so that students can request that inaccessible material be converted to a usable format.
  • Technical support and installation/removal of most programs will not be addressed during these support hours.
  • Office hours are generally available Monday-Friday.
  • Purchase orders or credit cards will be charged monthly for time rendered.

For questions or to request office hours, please contact Kathy Felt, Director of Admissions, 800-852-3131 or kathy.felt@carroll.org.