We are set to have a blind pupil start school next september. Currently she has a stand alone laptop with HAL which converts text into spoken words.
I have been told there is a possibility that she could use a brail keyboard for inputting and outputting work. Although we do have some special needs children in our school, we have never had to provide any special equipment for a blind pupil. Has anyone got any experience with specific hardware/software that can be used by a blind user and how it integrates with your network?
I'm after general advice here as i've never looked into it before and need to get something setup over the summer.
Have a look at http://www.yourdolphin.com/
Do you know the level of visual impairment which she has? If not, I would speak to her/her parents about it before you go and get in any new equipment.
You said she currently has a laptop - what sort of keyboard does that have? It could be that you don't actually need to make any additional provisions for her...
You may also need to consider screen magnifiers, but again, I would say discuss what provision she does and doesn't need first. Blindness isn't a "yes/no" kind of thing, but like many other disabilities, comes in stages - as does her ability to cope with her difficulties.
I have only spoken to the support worker who currently works with her, and will be staying with her through our school also. I believe she is completely blind but has been working with a laptop for a number of years and is very confident on using it (Provided by county - which will be staying with her). At the moment there are stickers on the keypad to identify certain keys so it makes typing easier. The only software that she uses is HAL but the only work she uses the laptop for is Word processing.
When she comes into our school the work that she will be needing to do will be more diverse than primary and as a result I have been asked to look into how to integrate her laptop into our network. I have been told that she can use the internet but with the support working copying the text from websites into Word or HAL reads everything on the webpage.
At the moment she does not move around her school and can print via 2 printer - one a brail printer. When she comes here she will be taking the laptop into every lesson so it may mean there needs to be a central point where they need to go to print out.
As I have never had to do this I was after some info from people who already have a system in place so thanks for the feedback guys.
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