Adaptive and Assistive Technology (AT) refers to devices that help compensate for the effects of a person’s vision impairment. AT devices range from Braille embossers, electronic labelling devices and talking mobile phones, to talking GPS systems and electronic note-takers. It also includes computer-based devices (hardware), computer programs (software) such as screen reading and screen magnification programs and video magnifiers that can be used to magnify print or handwriting.
An Orientation and Mobility or Independent Living Skills program from RGDT may involve the demonstration and prescription of adaptive technology devices. For further information about other RGDT services, refer to the Orientation and Mobility, Independent Living Skills and Low Vision Clinic services pages.
Most people are familiar with optical magnifiers: glass lenses of different shapes and sizes, often with a handle. Optical magnifiers increase the size of text or image at a set magnification somewhere between 2-15 times the normal size. Video magnifiers, on the other hand, each have a range of magnification which may be somewhere between 2-60 times the normal size (the range of magnification varies for each aid). Some video magnifiers are desk-based systems, some are portable and others connect to your TV or computer screen. Some devices allow you to view objects or to magnify what you are writing. Video magnifiers range from monochrome (black and white), to full colour. Monochrome units can switch foreground and background colours from light text on dark backgrounds, to dark text on light backgrounds.
RGDT can provide information and demonstrations of a small range of video magnifiers that may suit your needs but we do not sell the equipment. Client Services staff can direct you to the companies who sell the products, and can also provide further advice regarding which equipment may be appropriate for individual needs, costs and provide over-the-phone assistance with at-home installation.
For computer users, RGDT can provide limited information and advice regarding computer adjustments for low vision including large print keyboard stickers (that can be applied to a regular keyboard), adjustments available through Microsoft Office and strategies for reducing visual fatigue and glare. For information regarding computer hardware and software, RGDT can refer you to specialist AT companies for advice, training and purchase.