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Image of book on table surrounded by coffee cup and plant. Access Technology Book Advocates for New Terminology

What is it like to live and work with technology in 2020? Technology isn’t just for computer programmers – it’s also invaded our personal lives, and is important to almost every career path.

People who are blind and visually impaired should have equal access to technology so they can pursue their passions, goals and responsibilities. Access Technology for Blind and Low Vision Accessibility, expected to be for sale in March,will introduce you to technologies that support people who are blind or visually impaired. You’ll learn about specialized products designed for people with a visual impairment, and you’ll learn about universal design.

“This book represents a shift in how blind and low vision individuals can be empowered to engage, produce, and design their own access to information,” explains one of the book’s authors, Yue-Ting Siu. “The emphasis is not on how sighted assistance can provide support with assistive technology – rather, the emphasis is on how technology can be leveraged for interdependence so that every individual can better dictate how, or if, assistance is needed.

A Change

Access Technology for Blind and Low Vision Accessibility is the second edition of the book, previously named Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment.

So, why the change? We feel the change in terminology better reflects the role technology plays in the lives of  people with disabilities. Instead of focusing on a perceived need for assistance, it focuses on the real need for access.

Siu says “tools that were once ‘assistive’ now simply provide universal access to information with diver rather than ‘specialized’ technologies.”

Moving from assistive to access changes the narrative and presents a more accurate image of what technology can do for those who are blind or visually impaired, especially for those who do not know about our field.

As leaders in the field of blindness and visual impairment, it is important that we advocate for, and guide the conversation around, those we support. We want to work with you to ensure our words help destigmatize  people with disabilities.

We hope you’ll join APH and the APH Press in leading the way, and changing how we talk about disability.

More About the Book

Access Technology for Blind and Low Vision Accessibility emphasizes opportunities for independence, leadership, and timely access to information for people who are blind or visually impaired. This follow up to the 2008 edition gives an overview of currently available technologies and tools, and presents a new process for technology evaluation that ensures every student is supported to build the toolbox he or she needs to break down barriers to access.

“The ultimate purpose of access technology is to facilitate one’s independent and efficient engagement with information,” says Siu. “Access technology is best considered with this question in mind: How can a tool or device optimize this student’s experience in a particular situation? Our goal is to empower the student to be in charge of his or her own accessibility.”

Rather than using pre-determined checklists to evaluate technology skills, Yue-Ting Siu and Ike Presley present an inquiry-based approach for identifying needs related to individual instruction, advocacy for accessible formats, and how to achieve equity in information-rich environments.

The central theme of the textbook is equity. This edition raises important questions of how to empower student who are blind or visually impaired when it comes to finding the right tools for their needs. Service providers must facilitate students’ mediation of accessibility challenges and foster the development of skills for technology proficiency and independence in physical and digital worlds.

Ready to purchase your copy of this important book? Visit the APH Shop Page.

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