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Assistive technology for students with visual disability in schools for the blind in Delhi

Assistive technology for students with visual disability in schools for the blind in Delhi

Disability and Rehabilitation. Assistive Technology 2019: 1-7

To understand the awareness and utilization of assistive technology in students at schools for the blind in Delhi. A cross sectional study was conducted among 250 students selected randomly from 10 blind schools in Delhi. Binocular distance presenting and pinhole vision acuity were assessed using Snellen "E" chart and a multiple pinhole occluder. Students were also interviewed using a questionnaire about 42 assistive devices to understand their awareness and use. Male participants were 72.8%. Of the total, 27.6% students had best corrected visual acuity <6/18 to 1/60, and the rest had <1/60 vision. The awareness about tactile and sound-based technology was good among students: Braille books (98%), Braille slate and stylus (99.2%), handheld audio recorders (77.6%) and screen readers (77.2%). Good awareness was reported for abacus (88.8%), walking long canes (94.4%) and smart cane (89.6%), audible balls (96%), Braille chess (82.8%) and talking watch (98%). Among the students with <6/18 to 1/60 vision, the awareness of visual based technology ranged from 0.8% (typoscope) to 43.6% (video magnifiers). Braille technology was used for reading by 96.4% (books) and for writing by 96.8% (Braille slate and stylus) irrespective of visual status. Other devices were poorly used ranging from nil (typoscope) to 55% (screen readers). The use of math and science learning devices was poor (<20%). Walking canes were used by 59% of students whereas 87.2% students used audible ball for games. The results showed that majority of students used tactile based technology irrespective of visual status. Implications for rehabilitation Students with visual disability need assistive technology for a wide range of activities including academic learning. Students in schools for the blind who have binocular best corrected vision acuity of 1/60 or better should be encouraged to use visual based assistive technology instead of tactile based. Students with binocular best corrected vision acuity less than1/60 should be encouraged to use other available tactile and sound-based assistive technologies as well as Braille books and Braille slate and stylus for their academic activities including maths and sciences. Teachers should be trained in the use of various assistive technologies for reading, writing, maths, sciences, sports, mobility and activities of daily living.

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Accession: 066715995

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 31012740

DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2019.1604829

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