Is There Any Free or Inexpensive Assistive Technology (AT) Out There?

June 2013
By Sue Porter, Adaptive Technology (AT) Specialist

"YES!!!”

“Where?”

Here is a sampling of free and low-cost, blind and low vision AT resources with an emphasis on Washington State. You can find many others on the Internet.

Places with On-Site, Computer-Access Assistive technology You Can Use

Public Libraries
Some public libraries have alternative-access computer and print workstations set up with video magnifiers that can enlarge print documents, special computer software to magnify, enhance and/or read the computer screen and scanners. Check availability within your local library system.

Schools and Colleges/Universities
Students often have access to workstations with AT at their school’s library, Disability Services Office, or computer lab.

Edith Bishel Center
628 North Arthur Street
Kennewick, WA 99336
(800)662-9226
info@edithbishelcenter.org

Lilac Services for the Blind (Wenatchee)
4 Kittitas Street
Suite 203
Wenatchee, WA 98801
(509)888-7597

Lilac Services for the Blind (Spokane)
1212 N Howard St.
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 328-9116

Free or low-cost software for computer users with visual impairments

There are numerous free and inexpensive programs that enlarge the display or mouse or provide screen reading functions. Here are a few links to software you may want to try. You can find many more resources on the Internet.

NOTE: Check that the software is compatible with the Operating System you are using before you download or purchase it. Also be sure your Internet Security Software is up-to-date before downloading any trials or free software.

http://www.magnifiers.org/links/Download_Software/
This site has links to several categories such as magnification, screen readers and mouse enhancement.

http://www.serotek.com/accessibilityanywhere
Accessibility Anywhere is a combination of a screen reader, scanning software and a mobile network including access to Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc. for $21.95 per month, or an annual subscription of $240.00.

http://webanywhere.cs.washington.edu/
Free and can be used on any computer with Internet access but works only for reading the Internet.

http://www.apple.com/accessibility/voiceover/
Built-in, screen reader available on Apple devices including Mac computers, MacBook laptops, iPhones, iPads, and iPods.

http://www.nvaccess.org/about/nvda-features/
A free screen reader.

Apple products also have built-in accessibility features enabling the user to zoom the display, enlarge the text, change the display to white text on black and activate and deactivate accessibility options on the fly with Triple-Click Home.

Another great feature is using the camera on an iOS device (mobile) along with zoom to function as a hand-held CCTV!

Organizations that may provide Assistive technology for individuals

Lions Club

Easter Seals of Washington

Rental and Used CCTVs/Video Magnifiers

Washington Access Fund
100 South King Street, Suite 280
Seattle, WA 98104
(206)328-5116 (Voice)
1(877)428-5116
1(888)808-8942 (TTY)
info@watf.org

SightConnection
The rental program includes both black-and-white and color CCCTVs.
9709 Third Ave NE, #100
Seattle, WA 98115-2027
(206)525-5556
(800)458-4888
info@sightconnection.org

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL)
Unfortunately, the WTBBL no longer has a rental-CCTV program.
2021 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121-2783
206-615-0400 or 800-542-0866 or (TTY) 206-615-0418
wtbbl@secstate.wa.gov

Vendors
Many of the manufacturer representatives of AT for blind and visually-impaired users sell used equipment at reduced prices. Contact your local representatives directly for pricing and availability. You can locate local representatives via the manufacturer’s website or calling the manufacturer for contact information for local representatives.

Loans to purchase Assistive technology

Washington Access Fund
This organization provides low-interest loans for the purchase of AT for business and personal use.
100 South King Street, Suite 280
Seattle, WA 98104
(206)328-5116 (Voice)
1(877)428-5116
1(888)808-8942 (TTY)
info@watf.org

Deaf-Blind
Assistive technology

iCanConnect
Provides free communications technology for Deaf-Blind Persons.
(800)825-4595
(888)320-2656 (TTY)

In the AT Scoop, Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) does not intend to endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. All opinions expressed in this article and in the AT Scoop are those of the individual authors. The views and opinions of authors expressed on DSB's website do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Government, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

For more information on Assistive Technology, email us at info@dsb.wa.gov.