Father’s Day is upon us and you needed some gift ideas yesterday! Here’s a short list of really helpful downloads and gadgets for your father who has everything but perfect vision.
iOS Access for All
iOS Access for All by Shelly Brisbin is one of the best books you’ll find on using an iPhone or iPad with the accessibility features, like the screen reader VoiceOver, the screen magnifier, Zoom, or any of the other accessibility features packed into iOS. Regardless of how long you’ve been using your iOS device, you’ll learn something new form this $25 book!
Personal Power: The iOS Edition
Personal Power: The iOS Edition by Michael Feir is another option for the new iPhone/iPad user trying to learn VoiceOver (text-to-speech screen reader). Feir’s book is comprehensive, adds a personal touch to his instructive style, and is free to download from his website.
Here’s a tip. Personal Power is available in a variety of text and audio formats, including a Personal Power: The iOS Edition in DAISY format. This is the format that can be played on the National Library Service Talking Book Player, which will make this much easier to read for those who prefer to read with the Talking Book player. Unzip the file to a USB thumb drive, or blank Talking book cartridge from Howell’s Mobility (be sure to get the cable too), and it’s ready to read.
Does Dad have an Amazon Echo? If not, that’s your Father’s Day gift idea right there! If Alexa’s already a part of the household tell him about all the Radio Reading Services he can tune into with Alexa’s help.
Radio Reading Services with Alexa
Many Radio Reading Services (RRS) broadcast over the internet, as well as on their local FM station over the air. These services use readers for local and national newspapers, magazines and books. Check out their schedules, and you’ll find a time and station to listen to USA Today, the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and other more local papers. Download a list of Radio Reading Services on Smart Speakers and the voice commands to use with Alexa for Dad.
Learn About Alexa at Hadley
If Dad’s new to the Amazon Echo, how about some training with the new Alexa Workshop Series at Hadley. There’s no cost for Hadley workshops. Register online at Hadley.edu, or over the phone by calling 800-323-4238, and take as many workshops as you want. Take the workshops online or have them sent to you on a Talking Book Cartridge, in large print, or braille.
Read the Newspaper with NFB NEWSLINE®
Of course, if Dad’s a really big newspaper reader, and he hasn’t discovered the National Federation of the Blind’s (NFB) NEWSLINE ®, you’re about to become his favorite child! This service is available in most states for anyone with a print disability and offers access to hundreds of newspapers and many magazines.
With NEWSLINE®, Dad can listen to newspapers right over the landline phone, using the dial pad to open menus and make selections—perfect for those who keep their technology simple. You can also use your iPhone, the web, email, other digital audio players, and even the Amazon Echo to access NFB NEWSLINE®.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the Smartphone
If Dad uses a smartphone, here are two apps that will pay for themselves over and over—actually, they’re both free! Microsoft’s Seeing AI for the iPhone, and Google’s Lookout for Android phones.
Both Lookout and Seeing AI are designed to use the smartphone camera and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to read text out loud, describe a picture, or read a barcode. They each have slightly different features and are really handy for reading paperwork, mail, a magazine article, items in the pantry, or currency. While they may lack all the bells and whistles of an OCR scanning app like KNFB Reader or Voice Dream Scanner, these are free and work well for many everyday tasks.
Adjusting to Vision Loss Workshops
Lastly, one of my favorite gift ideas would be the conversation you might have with Dad, particularly if he is new to vision loss, about adjusting to low vision. This conversation can be started by sharing the new Workshop Series from Hadley, “Adjusting to Vision Loss.” In this series of workshops, Douglas Walker talks plainly about the experience of a vision loss, the feelings that may accompany this type of loss, and how to move forward learning some new skills and becoming a good advocate. In fact, this series has something to offer the whole family.
Here’s to a very Happy Father’s Day! And hey, Dad, if none of the kids thinks to wrap up one of these downloads for you, who says you can’t give yourself a a Father’s Day download, or a brand-new Amazon Echo?
Living with Low Vision Webinar on June 15
Getting Started 2020: A Guide for People New to Vision Loss – VisionAware
Getting Started When You Are New to Vision Loss: Part One – VisionAware