Screens Aren’t Just Visual
Today I’m back with some information on a topic which comes up frequently in the lives of many students with limited or no vision: [drum role please]: screen readers! A screen reader, also known as screen-reading software, is a computer…
Today I’m back with some information on a topic which comes up frequently in the lives of many students with limited or no vision: [drum role please]: screen readers!
A screen reader, also known as screen-reading software, is a computer program which speaks aloud text on the screen. Picture your child typing letters and numbers on the keyboard and hearing them as they are spoken; that’s what a screen reader does in a nutshell. We have so many uses for the computer, and a screen reader can help someone who is blind with nearly all of them. From reading recipes online to word-processing to presentations and spreadsheets to some games, screen readers take the place of eyes on the monitor when someone with a visual impairment operates a computer.
Screen readers such as JAWS are prevalent on a wide range of computing devices from traditional desktops and laptops to smartphones to tablets to your local ATM. More and more applications are becoming accessible to users who are blind. In my life now as a doctoral student, I use a screen reader to make phone calls, send text messages, utilize email, serf the web, shop online, order takeout, buy groceries, find and read research articles, analyze data, and write practically everything, including the blog you are currently reading. Screen readers, it seems, are now ubiquitous and are only growing more and more prevalent. Over the next several months, I will be guiding you through how to use screen reader accessible applications and how to teach such applications to your child. I realize that some of your children are very young, and some are older alumni who have long since graduated from Anchor. I will make my descriptions of the process of using a screen reader relevant to as many of you as possible, and if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about this or any other part of the blog, please feel free to send them my way. For now, instead of diving into instructions, I encourage all of you, parents, alumni, current Anchor students who are old enough to understand computer use, and anyone else interested to think about the things you would like to learn how to do with the screen read aloud to you. Are you most interested in how to surf the web? How about email? Social Media? Educational games? Something else? Take this survey to help me create more blog posts about these subjects!
Emily Romero was born in Denver, CO in 1995 and attended Anchor Center from 1996—2000 and an Anchor Center contributor. She received a B.A. in Spanish along with a B.S. in psychology in 2018 and an M.A. in applied psychology and creative writing in 2020 from Regis University, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. She acts as a Spanish instructor for five private students as well as freelance writing. Emily Romero enjoys reading (especially science and historical fiction), creative writing, playing board games, cooking, and trivia. She lives in Northglenn, CO with her parents, sister, grandmother, two crazy dogs and two sneaky cats. Find her on Linked In.
Read Emily’s other posts: Learning During Uncertain Times: Remote Resources for You, Highlighting the Colorado Talking Book Library and the BARD Mobile App, Listening to Stories over the Phone and Braille in Spanish.