New Technology Helps Blind, Deaf Users Stay Connected

Summarized by Joelle Chasse, staff writer

A new technology has opened up communication possibilities for deaf and blind individuals. The device is called a BrailleNote Apex. Smaller than a laptop, the BrailleNote helps deaf and blind people connect to others in new ways.

It has allowed Agnes Allen, a 90-year-old former teacher, to communicate in an entirely new way. “It’s changed my life that I have a quick easy way to communicate to people,” she states.

The BrailleNote allows people to browse the internet, read e-books, organize contact information, compose emails, tabulate and keep track of bills, and much more, similar to a standard personal computer.

“As they type into the device it will speak to them and it will show them in Braille what they’re inputting,” says Allen’s trainer, Steve Famiglietti. “If information is coming in like an email they can read it line by line on the display.”

Arlene Lugo with Access Through Technology/iCanConnect states, “Giving them access to email, internet and social media allows them to communicate with family and friends and stay connected.” Before the BrailleNote, Allen had been confined to using a Braille typewriter to compose letters. She was unable to send emails and could only visually communicate with those who could read Braille. The BrailleNote opens up Allen’s communication possibilities to everyone.

Allen is now able to send emails to family members for small day-to-day matters. “It will be a quick conversation…can you please pick up some milk,” states Allen’s daughter, Barbara Logsdail. Allen is happy to master the new technology. “People who are my age and those who are not my age are missing out when they don’t take advantage of these new opportunities that are available to us.” The National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program works to provide people with combined deafness and blindness technology such as the BrailleNote Apex.

For the full story here.

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