This page is a compilation of resources and products commonly found helpful by students in the National Association of Blind Students. The National Association of blind students does not endorse or is not sponsored by any of the resources featured on this page. We hope you find these empowering in your academic and or professional endeavors!
One of the most important ways to equal the playing field for blind students is ensuring that textbooks are available in accessible formats. While the National Association of Blind Students does not endorse any products or services directly, below is a list of textbook resources commonly used by blind students.
Bookshare is a library of accessible E-books, which are available in multiple formats, for individuals with print disabilities.
Learning Ally is a nonprofit in which volunteers read books, allowing students to listen to recordings of real people reading with no use of text to speech. https://learning.ally.org
BARD, the Braille and Audio Reading Download from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), is a web-based service that provides access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music scores.
Vital Source is a website containing over one million e-textbooks for purchase, which can then be accessed both on and offline on computers, tablets, and mobile phones. https://vitalsource.com
Accessibility Guides to Common Online Platforms
Since thousands of schools across the country have transitioned to online education, the NABS Legislative and Self-Advocacy Committee has been working hard to create digestible resources to support students as they navigate remote classes. Follow these links to read more:
- Zoom Essentials for Windows and Mac
- Blackboard Essentials for Windows
- Canvas Essentials for Windows
- Google Classroom Essentials for Windows
- Google Drive Essentials for Windows and Mac
From screen-readers to talking calculators, there are many technologies that empower greater independence for blind students in and out of the classroom. Here is a non-exhaustive list of commonly used assistive technology, both software and hardware, amongst members of the National Association of Blind Students. The National Association of Blind Students does not endorse any of the products or services listed below.
A popular screen-reading software for the Windows OS is Job Access With Speech (JAWS). This upon-purchase software allows the blind to interact with and navigate on their computer by listening to JAWS announce text that appears on the screen.
Another popular screen-reader for Windows users is Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA). This free software announces text that appears on the screen, enabling users to interact with their computer without looking at the screen.
VoiceOver is a built-in screen-reader on all IOS products. VoiceOver can be enabled in the Accessibility Settings page on any IOS product without additional downloads or purchase. As a screen-reader, VoiceOver announces text that appears onscreen, enabling people to use their devices without looking at the screen.
Orion TI84+ Talking Graphing Calculator
The Orion TI84+ is an accessible Talking Graphing Calculator that enables blind users to perform basic and complex mathematical operations, graph functions, perform statistical analysis, and any other function on a traditional TI84 graphing calculator.
The Talking LabQuest is an accessible version of Vernier’s popular LabQuest, which is a commonly used tool in STEM classes for classroom lab experiments. The Talking LabQuest enables students to make measurements, listen to sonifications (auditory representations) of graphs, and more. https://independencescience.com/product/sci-voice-talking-labquest-2/