Submitted by: Empish J. Thomas, CVI’s Public Education Manager
The snag of heavy morning traffic, fleets of yellow school buses and kids dressed in their new school outfits loaded down with heavy backpacks can only mean one thing…it’s time for back to school! Summer is rapidly coming to a close and students have returned to the classroom. With that being said, the traditional school supplies of notebook paper, pencils, three ring binders, rulers and notebooks might not be the best school supplies for a student with vision loss. So, to help parents, friends, teachers and anyone else purchasing supplies, we have created a list that meet the needs of a visually impaired student.
- One of the first things when preparing for back to school is getting to class on time. Successful students get up and get ready in the morning without parents having to constantly nag them. They also arrive to their classrooms on time before the bell rings. Low vision, talking and Braille watches can help every visually impaired student keep track of time. Additionally, low vision and talking alarm clocks will help ensure each child gets up bright and early to meet that school bus.
- When taking notes in class or doing homework it is important to have the proper writing tools. Low vision students can take notes with dark-lined paper and 20/20 pens. Blind students can use a slate and stylus with Braille paper.
- Reading a textbook for upcoming exams or to complete homework assignments can be a real chore. But using hand-held magnifiers can make life a little easier. Magnifiers come in a variety of sizes making them perfect for use on-the-go. Some even have built-in illumination for students that need extra lighting. Others, like the Compact Plus Viewer, have magnification plus speech output.
- When writing that A- term paper it is essential that students check for proper spelling and grammar usage. A Talking Children’s Dictionary is a great asset. With over 40,000 definitions, along with speaking letters, words and definitions this dictionary is useful to any student’s writing assignment.
- In addition to going to class daily and doing homework, some students can have a busy social life. Participating in school functions and socializing are all a part of those precious school years. To keep up with all of these activities, students need to have calendars and organizers. Depending on personal preference, students can use large print calendars or electronic talking organizers.
- Of course, students have to remain stylish while taking classes and participating in those social activities. So items like metal Braille clothing labels and talking clothing identifiers will help those fashion-conscious students stay trendy. Additionally, for students with a creative flair for fashion design or taking home economics, there are a variety of accessible sewing supplies available.
- Keeping up with time tables and math equations can be tuff for some students. But with a talking calculator, a student is sure to become a math whiz or at least get pretty close. Additionally, there are talking scientific calculators for older students working out tricky physics or chemistry problems.
So, whether a student is visually impaired or blind, these are just a few items that are excellent for back to school. But many more can be found at CVI’s VisAbility Store. The store is located on the main floor of CVI and is opened Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For more information call 404-875-9011 or visit www.visabilitystore.org. Happy back to school shopping!