Materials In Alternative Format

Students with vision impairments may find it difficult or may not be able to visually access the text books, novels and worksheets that are being used in class. Materials can be made accessible to students with vision impairments by providing them in “alternative format” such as:

  • braille – hard copy braille, refreshable braille display
  • electronic text (etext) – MS Word document, readable PDF, DAISY, ePub, email, webpage
  • audio – mp3, audio CD, DAISY, synthetic speech etc
  • large print – hard copy, electronic text

Etext is the most flexible alternative format as, according to the student’s level of vision, learning task, technology available and skill set, the electronic text can be:

  • viewed in large text, high contrast, inverse colours etc on a computer screen or tablet
  • listened to on a stand-alone audio player or via computer with synthetic speech
  • read in braille via a refreshable braille display
  • read simultaneously in braille, large print and/or audio

Publishers are being encouraged to provide their text books in accessible format and many are available as an online resource with a unique student login or as a PDF.

  • books can be stored on a range of devices including laptop, desktop, tablet, DAISY player, BrailleNote, flashdrive etc; and are considerably more portable than several volumes of braille or large print
  • correct spelling and punctuation is readily available and the device’s dictionary/thesaurus can be used to look up the meaning of words
  • selected sections of files can be copied and produced as hard copy (braille or large print) as required
  • selected sections can be highlighted, bookmarked or copied into another document
  • the Search/Find facility may be used to search for page, chapter, word, quote etc
  • production of etext is somewhat quicker than production of printed text, embossed braille or human voice audio
  • many titles are available for purchase or free of charge on the internet
    people with vision impairments can more easily own a collection of books
  • ABC Shop – audio books https://shop.abc.net.au/t/formats/cd/audiobooks
  • Amazon – audio, etext, kindle www.amazon.com
  • Audible.com – books magazines, radio shows, podcasts available via membership or purchase http://www.audible.com.au/
  • Audio Books Direct – Australian online bookshop http://www.audiobooksdirect.com.au/
  • Australian Plays – purchase the etext or read online http://australianplays.org/
  • Blind Bookworm – ebooks and etext www.panix.com/~kestrell/
  • Bolinda – audio books for children and adults www.bolinda.com/aus/
  • Borrow Box – audio and etext titles for children and adults through your local library
  • Children’s Storybooks Online – illustrated books, some with audio, for younger readers http://www.magickeys.com/books/
  • i-access online – members can borrow audio, etext, braille, braille music etc from the Vision Australia Library http://i-accessonline.visionaustralia.org
  • Project Gutenberg – free download of public domain titles in etext or audio http://www.gutenberg.org
  • Soundbooks – purchase audio books for children and adults www.soundbooks.com.au
    Statewide Vision Resource Centre – production of texts in alternative format for eligible students www.svrc.vic.edu.au

Atlases and Maps

Curriculum materials, such as print copies of atlases and maps, may be difficult for students with vision impairments to access. Accessibility may be improved through the use of:

  • magnifier or electronic magnification used in conjunction with a regular print atlas or map
  • electronic maps (online or on CD) that may be used in conjunction with screen reading and/or enlarging software
  • tactual maps produced for a particular purpose in the school or by a service-provider

Wayfinding for people who are blind or who have very low vision may be enhanced through the use of GPS – including software and apps installed on the user’s mobile device (eg smart phone). Increasingly shopping centres, airports, train stations and other large buildings are
offering improved access via mobile devices (e.g. Google Indoor Maps for PC and Android).

Below are external links to sources of atlases and maps.

Item and SourcePriceComments

About.com: Geography
http://geography.about.com/
Free Country outline maps that can be downloaded, enlarged, and edited
to create a raised line map using stereo/capsule paper
Google Earth
Google Earth
Free Aerial photographs and maps available online
Zoom function
Maps on mobile devices Free Check your iPhone or Android
Example: Google
Indoor Maps
for PC or Android
Melway
Melway
Online – free
App – A$8.99
Online Melway maps
can be enlarged and have street view function
iMelway app can be purchased for for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
Public Transport Victoria
PTV
Free Online information about public transport in metropolitan Melbourne
and rural Victoria – train, bus, tram timetables, route planning etc
Journey planner

List of suppliers

Newspapers

Curriculum materials, such as print copies of newspapers, may be difficult
for students with vision impairments to access. Accessibility may be improved
through the use of:

  • magnifier or electronic magnification unit
    used in conjunction with a regular print newspaper
  • online newspapers that may be used in conjunction with screen
    reading and/or enlarging software

Title and sourcePriceComments

The Age
www.theage.com.au
Free online or by subscription Selected articles from today’s issue
Includes some audio and video clips
Fox News
www.foxnews.com
Free online Today’s international news available on the internet
Includes some audio and video clips
Herald Sun
www.heraldsun.com.au
Free online or by subscription Selected articles from today’s issue Includes some audio and video clips
Online Newspapers
www.onlinenewspapers.com
Free online Links to thousands of worldwide newspapers available on the internet
RPH
www.rph.org.au
Free FM radio – 1179AM (Melbourne) Spoken word access to high turnover print and online media – daily
national, state and local newspspers and magazines

List of suppliers

 

For more information about alternative format production – please contact us.