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Center for Assistive Technology
University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

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Instant Access to Braille

Introduction

Background

The Instant Access to Braille project enables access to learning materials in refreshable braille to students who are blind to support inclusion in the general education classroom. The project provides:

  • a portable refreshable braille note-taking device to student participants
  • training for students, teachers of the visually impaired, and parents
  • training for school teams
  • assistance with converting print learning materials to electronic format

Criteria for Participation

  • Student is in inclusive classroom in grade 3-10 using NY State curriculum
  • On an academic track with Social Studies as a major subject area
  • Blindness as the only disability
  • Using grade 2 braille for written communication
  • A signed participation agreement from the school district
  • A signed consent from the student's parents/guardian

Cost to Participants

An assistive technology evaluation is free of charge to all participants. There is no charge for the Braille note-taking devices, disk drives, printers or setup of the equipment. Training is provided free of charge to students and their teams. Computers and scanners within the school will be used for scanning instructional materials.

Participation in the project is for a one-year period.
Adjustments and modifications are performed to take full advantage of features that will benefit the student and support the educational process. Focus is on operation and use of the technology for educational activities.

Project Scope

Fifteen students in New York State are participating. Eight students from Western New York were recruited for Year One (2001 - 2002). Seven students from Central New York were recruited for Year Two (2002 - 2003).

This project is supported through US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs CFDA 84.00327A

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