Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
Freedom Scientific is a company that markets, develops and manufactures technology-based equipment/products providing equal access to information and computing for individuals with vision impairments or learning disabilities. Freedom Scientific offers one-day low vision awareness seminars around the country providing information, exposure and changes to manufactured assistive equipment. Attending a seminar can help an individual find new developments and changes to assistive technology and experience new inventions allowing the visually impaired/blind to live independently.
One of the products developed and manufactured by Freedom Scientific is a screen reader program called JAWS. I have used the JAWS program for the past three years. I have found the screen reader program very effective. I can access the Internet and use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint efficiently. I completed my masterís degree through an online program using the JAWS screen reader program. The JAWS program made it possible for me to earn my degree online. JAWS software is one of many types of equipment/technology demonstrated for the participants at the one day seminars.
During the months of February and March Free, low vision awareness seminars are held around the country. The seminars are great places to find solutions for a variety of vision issues. Below is a sample of products presented at the seminars.
1. Video magnifiers
2. Screen magnification software (screen readers)
3. Accessible pocket PC
5. Bar code readers
6. White canes
Who can benefit from attending a low vision awareness seminar?
1. Staff members of blind organizations
2. Instructors and trainers of the visually disabled
3. Parents/family members/family friends experiencing or influenced by vision loss
4. Senior citizens concerned about vision issues
5. Leaders/members of support groups
I have attended several seminars where Freedom Scientific presented the different types of equipment the company manufactures and distributes. The seminar is divided into sessions covering different topics with an expert available for help and questions. Each session includes a short presentation followed by equipment demonstrations. Participants have the opportunity to experience practical use of products in each session. Manufactures spend time teaching participants how to use new technology and learn what is available to upgrade previously purchased equipment. The seminars provide a great platform for upgrading dated software and products.
**Last but not least, fun events like door prizes, session drawings and gift bags along with lunch.
***For more information on the Low Vision Awareness Workshops call:
1-800-444-4443 Extension 3009. You can find a list of upcoming vision awareness seminars in the vision issues forum and newsletter periodically. I usually check the Freedom Scientific website once a month for an updated list of seminars.