2006 Conference General Sessions

DIGITAL TECHNOLGOY AND PRINT DISABILITIES LOOKING FORWARD

 

 

Presenter(s)

Brenda McBride

54 Rendek Crescent

Regina S4X 1B8 Saskatchewan

Day Phone: 36-352-0006

Fax: 306-543-8732

Email: Brenda.mcbride@humanware.com

 

Students who are print disabled due to blindness, low vision or a learning disability have more advantages today than ever before.

This presentation will discuss the challenges print-disabled students had in the past and the new opportunities available to them today with access to digital content. The presentation is a discussion about the supports for students with print disabilities, through the support of Daisy formatted material provided by Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. What are the accommodations and strategies that players and software provide to help students reach their full potential if they have a print disability?

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) based in Princeton, New Jersey is a distributor for the victor Reader products. The presentation will summarize the tremendous work done by RFB&D to create thousands of DAISY digital talking school text books which they call AudioPlus books. RFB&D makes these text books and other reference books available to over 130,000 print-disabled American students. Any student who has a diagnosed print disability can become a member of the RFB&D and obtain a victor Reader talking book player from them to enjoy the AudioPlus books.

Before the wide availability of digital materials the print disabled student had only three alternative formats to print. These included large print, paper Braille, and audio cassette books. The presentation will show how many of the difficulties accessing information in the past are being overcome in the digital world. It will show how analog audio books on cassettes are being replaced today with digital audio which can be navigated much like the equivalent print book with the look at new possibilities to help support the learning disabled population.

For the learning disabled student, reading a book which is recorded in human voice has advantages such as proper articulation of words and extra descriptions of what is on the printed page. This human component provides valuable information that is sometimes missed with other accommodations. The descriptions of the recordings can help students understand the details of books to fully experience the material they are trying to comprehend within the class and at home. The navigation that the players provided allows students with print disabilities the opportunity to access the printed word in a timely manner within the classroom with less frustration. As technology improves, accommodations continue to improve which help students work with their weaknesses so they are able to participate in activities that were a struggle in the past.

With the ability to navigate in text books students are supported to move back and forth between the text and audio or read the text visually while listening to the equivalent audio. This provides them with the independence and confidence that is missing many times with students that are not able to access printed material within the classroom and home.

HumanWare has developed the victor Reader line of CD and software based digital talking book players to access these new DAISY digital books. Victor Reader technology will show how each of the products provide opportunities for the student that afford advantages never before experienced. We will be discussing the new player and the accommodations this provides for students with learning disabilities.


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