Library program teaches technology to people with vision disabilities

Americas, June 29 2012

People with low vision may find computers difficult to navigate at best, as icons and keyboards designed for those with normal vision can appear miniscule and inadequate to their special needs.

A new, free program offered through the Macomb Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (MLBPH) aims to offer alternative coping methods for this and other low vision issues beginning June 12. The MLBPH is located at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s Main Branch in Clinton Township. Courses will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Courses are open to any Macomb County resident with low vision, blindness, seniors with vision concerns and caregivers.

“In addition to being able to offer materials to those with low vision, we’re very happy to be able to offer classes to introduce technology and techniques to our patrons to help them be more productive at home or in the community,” Clinton-Macomb Library Head of Popular Materials Emily Kubash said.

Licensed clinical social worker and Work-Life Solutions counselor Sharon Lotoczky will facilitate the course as part of the Vision Network Program. The sessions will help those with low vision learn techniques and technology to improve their lives in a variety of different areas, from home life to real world navigation.

“This is the first time we’re offering low vision programs at the library,” Clinton-Macomb Public Library Community Relations Specialist Jamie Morris said. “With the opening of the Macomb Library for the Blind at CMPL, we wanted to reach out to those with low vision to show them the things we offer that can help make their lives easier.”

Low vision is described in the application at the MLBPH as a person lacking the visual acuity needed to read standard printed materials without special aids or devices aside from glasses, according to Morris.

Each portion of the program will focus on a different topic such as assistive computer technology, low vision aids and other adaptive technology devices.

“The topic for each program is fairly flexible,” Morris said. “We’d like each program to be adaptable to the audience attending, but we will talk about MLBPH services. Another program will focus on computers and what to buy when your vision is a consideration. Another program will demonstrate adaptive technology products, such as magnifiers and ‘talking’ devices such as watches and clocks.”

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn coping technologies and techniques geared toward their individual needs.

“At these sessions, we’ll also be encouraging people to share ways they’ve found to make life easier such as transportation and how to organize the house to make things easier to find,” Morris said. “Future sessions will focus on specific issues brought up by the group of people attending.”

Registration for the programs is encouraged, but walks-ins are admissible. Accommodations are available for a maximum of 24. To register for the program or obtain further information, contact (586) 286-1580.


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