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A presentation that I did along with a professor from the University of South Carolina Upstate ( Dr. Tina Herzberg.

The presentation covers information about a braille training grant that she was awarded, and my position on the team as creating universal design plugins for Omeka and WordPress, along with other web accessibility items.

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  1. 1. March 18, 2010 South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo Presenters: Dr. Tina Herzberg Cory Bohon
  2. 2. <ul><li>Most people have little knowledge of the abilities of and challenges faced by individuals who are visually impaired! </li></ul><ul><li>People who are legally blind have no sight at all. </li></ul><ul><li>Braille is not very useful for people who are blind. </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals who are visually impaired can successfully hold a wide variety of jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>Technology will soon replace the need for braille, the long white cane, and guide dogs. </li></ul>Myth or Truth
  3. 3. <ul><li>Happy birthday to Louis Braille! </li></ul><ul><li>Braille changes as our language changes. </li></ul><ul><li>Braille utilizes 189 contractions that are governed by more than 450 rules (Ashcroft, Sanford, & Koenig, 2001). </li></ul><ul><li>There are approximately 5,600 braille readers in American public schools. </li></ul>Braille
  4. 4. <ul><li>Primary goals for the first year </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with SC National Federation of the Blind to provide an evening training in tactually reading and writing the braille code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an advanced braille course for professionals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide stipends for individuals to attend training related to braille and access technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide in home training to youth and adults with visual impairments throughout the state </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institute a Technology Olympics next fall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create an accessible website </li></ul></ul>Overview of Grant
  5. 5. Making Websites Accessible <ul><li>Switching the thinking of access from being about disability to ability (How is the user is accessing the site?): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual User (Looking at a screen) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Auditory User (Listening to a screen reader) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tactile User (Touching a refreshable braille display) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Making Websites Accessible <ul><li>It all starts with … Research </li></ul><ul><li>What makes a website accessible? </li></ul><ul><li>Works well with screen readers and other assistive devices (ex. refreshable braille displays) </li></ul><ul><li>Forgoes technologies that hinders web accessibility (ex. Flash, most JavaScript, and Java Applets) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Making Websites Accessible <ul><li>We want to make the web more accessible through “Plugins.” </li></ul><ul><li>Many websites use software like WordPress (for managing blogs) or Omeka (for creating and maintaining digital archives of information). </li></ul><ul><li>We wanted to make software that ties into these web applications that will in turn make them more accessible for our users. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Making Websites Accessible <ul><li>These plugins can then be installed on any website that uses WordPress or Omeka, making them more accessible with just a single-click. </li></ul><ul><li>We have already developed the plugins for Omeka and are actively working to develop the same plugins for WordPress. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s look at two of the plugins to make websites more accessible: Access Keys and Text Zoom. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Access Keys Plugin for Omeka <ul><li>Access Keys let users of a particular website navigate by using keyboard shortcuts that are specified by a web designer. </li></ul><ul><li>Through our Plugins, an Omeka administrator can easily and efficiently create Access Keys for the majority of functions on the website. </li></ul><ul><li>Demo of Access Keys Plugin </li></ul>
  10. 10. Text Zoom Plugin for Omeka <ul><li>For people with low vision, enlarging the text on the screen is important; however, most users have to purchase expensive software to do this task. </li></ul><ul><li>With the Text Zoom plugin for Omeka, a user can enlarge the text on the screen with one click, and their settings will be remembered for 30-days. </li></ul><ul><li>Demo of Text Zoom plugin … </li></ul>
  11. 11. Our Plan with Plugins <ul><li>We’ve developed these plugins for our use on the website, but we wanted to do something extra. </li></ul><ul><li>So, we’re releasing the tools that we’ve developed for Omeka (and soon WordPress) to the public. Free, open source, and usable by anyone that wants to install them. </li></ul><ul><li>You can find more information about the BrailleSC Plugins on </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Have individuals complete or listen to an oral history interview with a community member or friend who reads braille. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn the letters of the alphabet in braille. </li></ul><ul><li>Surf the web for reliable resources and more information. </li></ul><ul><li>Have students do “accessibility surveys” and maps of neighborhoods, schools, and communities that identify various barriers and accommodations. </li></ul><ul><li>Read or write stories with portrayals of people with visual impairment that challenge common stereotypes or misconceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Dream or develop something that might make life easier for an individual with a visual impairment </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas adapted from “Infusing Disability Studies into the General Curriculum” by Phil Ferguson available at </li></ul>Creating Opportunities for Understanding
  13. 13. <ul><li>For young children , </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Point out braille in the environment (such as braille on McDonald’s lids or braille in elevators). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a letter to a relative or friend. Child can “scribble write” with a braillewriter or glue pictures/objects and you can add the print and/or braille using the child’s exact words. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twin vision books have pictures which make them more interesting for sighted siblings/peers and allow the preschooler who is visually impaired to become aware that those “bumps” say things. </li></ul></ul>Creating Opportunities
  14. 14. <ul><li>For school-aged children and youth, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beginning braille instruction must be provided daily by a trained, certified instructor of children with visual impairments (Koenig and Holbrook, 2000). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build in practice throughout day; assume child will use braille for many activities daily, both at home and at school. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop systems and processes that incorporate braille for activities of daily living including storage of objects, cooking, cleaning, identifying medicine, shopping, and telling time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide adequate high interest braille leisure and recreational books. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep a journal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write letters to a friend or relative. </li></ul></ul>Creating Opportunities
  15. 15. <ul><li>American Printing House for the Blind </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Seedlings </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults </li></ul><ul><li>Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired </li></ul><ul><li>Talking Book Program </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s Braille Book Club sponsored by National Braille Press </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Sources for Books
  16. 16. For More Information visit