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Assistive technology lets blind students independently participate in chemistry labs

Posted Sep 12 2008 10:24am
Again, I am humbled by the advances in assistive technology.

By no means, do I claim to be the all knowing swami of assistive technology, nor do I have an over-inflated ego and really believe that people consider me to be such. However, I do my best to stay abreast of the latest assistive technologies particular to those with low vision and blindness, and learn what I can about other types of AT out on the market.

So, I now sit here in awe of the technologies that have evolved to allow
blind students to participate in chemistry labs
at both the high school and college levels.

Besides not knowing the degree of doctorate level blind people in the world of chemistry mentioned in the article, I had no idea that such tools existed that would let blind and low vision students know what their sighted classmates know. These include a tooll that lets the blind student know when a solution changes colors, indicating a reaction has occurred. Also, there is another electronic sensor that aids in determining the color of solutions.

It appears that the key for access is the screen reader program scripts that have been written specifically for the software applications that are used in the classroom, similar to those used by JAWS and the like with other computer applications.

The article also discusses some low tech solutions the teachers have employed. Some of these, like the notched pipettes, seem like common sense. Others like the pie tin used with a drop counter to give a blind student the same information audiotorally that his sighted classmates get visually, demonstrate the instructors’ will to innovate.

Finally, the article also mentions by name some resources for finding adaptive devices. It also has links to other outlets for news about students with disabilities and assistive technology information.
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