Sending an email or chatting on the phone can be challenging for people with both significant vision and hearing loss.  iCanConnect is a national program that provides free equipment and training to help people stay connected with friends, family, and the world.

iCanConnect provides equipment including smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille equipment, and software to people with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income and disability guidelines.  

Find your local iCanConnect contact at iCanConnect website or 800-825-4595.  Click on the program flyer for more information iCanConnect Flyer - English.pdf or iCanConnect Flyer - Spanish.pdf

Assistive Technology

Computers for the Blind (CFTB) is a volunteer organization devoted to providing computers to persons who are blind or visually impaired. It is our hope that each person who is visually impaired may experience the information age in a positive and productive manner. We believe technology opens new worlds and creates opportunity for greater personal freedom. Click here to learn more about Computers for the Blind.

Braille Books

The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF) is making its free Braille books for blind children available online as downloadable BRF files. Since 1997, the AAF has provided popular and award-winning children’s books, including titles from popular series, to blind children throughout ​the United States as well as to libraries and other organizations that serve blind children. The books have been and will continue to be distributed by mail, but now readers and libraries will also be able to download them from the American Actio​n Fund website. Click here to download the free books. The BRF files are ready to be used on Braille notetakers and other Braille-aware devices.

Braille Touch Application for IPhone

Looking for a faster and easier way to type on your iPhone or iPod touch? You can use VoiceOver to read and navigate. Click here to view a list of supported braille displays that you can use with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. 

Camp Tuhsmeheta (Camp T)

Bring your students & sign up today for Camp Tuhsmeheta! Located in Greenville, MI, this camp is open all year round! The cost is $50 per day. Food is included. Click here to visit the Camp Tuhsmeheta website.

Comic Book Store for the Blind - Online

Click here to visit the online comic book store​ for the blind and visually impaired!

Control Your Mobile Device with BraillePen

​No mobile app or device can raise braille dots, but that doesn't mean blind people can't use braille to run their smart phone or tablet. The BraillePen 12 and BrailleP​en Slim​ are Bluetooth braille keyboards that give users hands-free access to and control over popular Apple iOS, Nokia, and Windows Mobile devices.​ Click here for information on BraillePen12 and BraillePen Slim

CVI Range Endorsement

Coritical Visual Impairment (CVI) has become the leading cause of visual impairment in children in the United States and many developed countries. Find out how you can earn an endorsement in the Perkins-Roman CVI Range, and be listed in the directory of specialists. Search resources. Share ideas. Ask questions. Join the community! Click here to learn more about the Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsement.

DBI: DeafBlind Interpreting National Training & Resource Center

​Western Oregon University's Regional Resource Center on Deafness is pleased to announce it has received funding to establish a national center on DeafBlind interpreting. Within a framework of evidence-based practice, the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center (DBI) will enhance communication access for persons who are DeafBlind by increasing the number of interpreters able to effectively interpret utilizing tactile communication and other strategies. Click here for more information.

Described and Captioned Media Program 

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), funded by the U.S Department of Education, offers unlimited access to thousands of educational videos that can be viewed instantly online through their Learning Center.

DCMP also offers videos for learning American Sign Language (ASL), as well as many topical videos related to Deafness, Blindness, and Deaf-Blindness. DCMP’s Map It: What Comes Next curriculum provides resources to engage and guide students to develop the skills necessary for transition to post-secondary.

Family members, school personnel, and other professionals who work with early learners through Grade 12 students with a hearing or vision loss all qualify for DCMP membership. Registration is free. Please visit the DCMP website for more information and fill out the Membership Application online today. 

For additional information, please click on DCMP Parent LetterDCMP Teacher Letter, or ASL Titles (revised_1-2018)

Down Syndrome - David Egan's Success Story

David Egan has worked at Booz Allen Hamilton for nearly fourteen years. He is an athlete, a public speaker, and has testified before the U.S. Senate. He also happens to have Down Syndrome. Below is an excerpt from his story of inclusion, thoughtful transition planning, and meaningful employment​​, which was taken from the NICHCY blog (no longer available). 

"There are many people like me who are seeking to be valued members of our society. People with intellectual disabilities can succeed on the job. People with intellectual disabilities have dreams; we want to be included; we want to be a part of the community. We want employers to hire us, and we want to be useful members of our society - because, we want to show OUR ABILITIES and to contribute to the goals of the businesses we work for. Let me tell you how it all started for me and why I am able to succeed. It did not all happen suddenly. It took many years to prepare, and there were a few things I learned along the way:"​ Click here to visit David Egan's website.

Guidance on Meeting the Communication Needs of Students with Hearing, Vision, or Speech Disabilities

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs - Retrieved January 15, 2015 

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has updated their online collection of Memos and Dear Colleague Letters to include guidance dated November 12, 2014 on meeting the communication needs of students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities. 

Hearing Aids and Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids

Below are links to resources for hearing aids and financial assistance in purchasing hearing aids and ALDs:
Hearing Charities of America
Better Hearing Institute and Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids 
Let Them Hear Foundation 
Vaudient - An Alliance for Accessible Hearing Care 
Hearing Loss Association of America

Hellen Keller Nation​​al Center

Click here to visit the Hellen Keller National Center​ website. Their team of experts will work closely with you to develop an indi​vidualized action plan tailored to your needs and goals, and everything yo​u learn will have practical, real world applications. One-on-one training, cutting-edge technology, hands-on learning and the opportunity to interact with people who know firsthand the challenges you face—it's all part of the HKNC experience.​​​

iPhone Tactile ScreenShot Quick Reference Guide

Produced by Tom Dekker, VRT with Tactile Vision, Inc. Braille, large print and tactile diagrams - all in one booklet for $27. The perfect companion to Getting Started with the iPhone and
26 useful apps for blind iPhone users! Click here to visit the Na​tional Braille Press website.

Kid President's "Guide to Being Awesome"

YouTube sensation ten-year-old Robby Novak pulls together lists of awesome ideas to help the world, in this 306 page Braille edition of his Guide to Being Awesome.  Awesome interviews with celebrity friends and a step-by-step guide to making pretty much everything more awesome. Click here to email BeatonR@Michigan.Gov if you have a student that may be interested in a copy (indicate whether you want an electronic file or a bound hard copy).  Please also provide the student's UIC # and shipping address.

Letter from the US Department of Education Regarding Braille Instruction​​

As part of the delivery of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), visually impaired students are entitled to instruction in Bra​ille if deemed necessary. Despite this, parents and advocates of blind/VI students report that these services are being delivered less frequently. The Department of Education released a letter reaffirming the importance of Braille instruction, clarifying the circumstances in which it must be delivered, and identifying resources for state and local education agencies to meet the needs of blind/VI students. Click here to view the letter from the U.S. Department of Education regarding Braille instruction.​

Mobile Audio Description - Disney​

With a new, major update to the Disney Movies Anywhere app, you can now take control of your own personal audio descriptive track, on your own smartphone, on your own terms. Click here for more information on this free, mobile audio description from Disney Movies Anywhere. It is smart and user-friendly; it listens and syncs automatically with their films (starting with the sixteen classic Disney•Pixar titles), including today’s home release of The Good Dinosaur. In accomplishing this, Disney•Pixar is leading the way for accessible films; and soon, we at the LightHouse are confident that this mobile Audio Description experience will be possible for all movies, everywhere.​

​MyTalkTools Applications for Android, iPhone, iPad (with Online Workspace)

Created by the parent of a child with special needs, MyTalkTools is an easy, cool and affordable augmentative, alternative communication (AAC) device. MyTalkTools' Apps for Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are easy to use, easy to manage, highly customizable and affordable. MyTalkTools enables users to express and connect in a while new way.  Click here to visit the MyTalk Tools website for more information

Nemeth - Braille Code for Higher Math

APH has a free downloadable tutorial for Nemeth. The Nemeth Tutorial teaches students and teachers how to use the Nemeth code from introductory topics to advanced topics in Mathematics. Click here for more information on the Nemeth Tutorial.

QRead - Most Affordable E-Book Reader for the Blind

Blind readers can access eText for less than the cost of an evening out! QRead is a program that provides blind users with fast and efficient screen-reader access to the most common e-book formats, including both PDF, the industry standard for textbooks, ePub, a format popular for technical titles and fiction as well as many others.   Users can open and tab between an unlimited number of books, place an unlimited number of bookmarks, and return to their current place in each book even after a session has ended. QRead offers the ability to read continuously, "skim" through a text by percentage, and even search for specific passages with its "Find" feature.

QRead interfaces directly with all major screen reading software, including JAWS for Windows, Window-Eyes, Super Nova, System Access, and the free and open source NVDA. Click here for more information on QRead

Spotlight Gateway

Dedicated to providing students with visual impairments or print disabilities the opportunity to access a library of over 500,000 titles through Bookshare® and the use of Spotlight Gateway. Spotlight Gateway is an e-reading application specifically designed for people with eye disorders. Click here for more information on Spotlight Gateway.

Steps to Success Translations

The Steps to Success T​ranslations brochure offers specific communication skills that may be helpful to parents as they develop and maintain partnerships with their child's school. The publication is newly available in twelve different languages along with English. Click here to visit CADRE's website for more information, which includes a link to download the Steps to Success brochure.

Technology Quick Tip: How to Access Audio Described Content on iTunes - Blindy Blog

Did you know that you can now access and purchase high quality movies from the iTunes store with audio description? You heard right, Apple is finally offering hundreds of titles with the audio description tracks built right into the file! Accessing them is easy too – just click here to visit the iTunes store and enjoy! As a bonus if you purchase any traditional movies (i.e. a hard copy from the store or Amazon) with the digital copy for iTunes, when you load it into iTunes you will have access to the audio description right on all of your Apple devices too! ​

Toy Inventory for Learners who are DeafBlind

The Toy Inventory for Learners who are DeafBlind is a user-friendly booklet that pulls together a list of tactile/visual friendly toys for young DB learners. Click here to view this compilation of toys that was put together by our Network of Teachers working with DeafBlind Students (NTDB) in the Rochester area of NY. (NTDB is a community of practice for educational team members who work with students with combined hearing and vision loss throughout New York State.  This community of practice began in the downstate area of NYS but has been replicated and is active in four regions of the state. The groups generally meet every 6-8 weeks in the evenings and discuss relevant content that is self-identified by the respective members. NTDB provides a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer mentorship that is beyond the constraints of classroom and district settings).

Transitioning to Adulthood Toolkit - ODEP

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor, through its Youth Technical Assistance Center, announced the release of "Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood."​ Click here to download a Word or PDF version of the toolkit. This guide is designed to help transition-age youth with significant disabilities as well as their family and friends navigate the complex world of PAS. ​

Video-on-Demand Children's TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilitie​s

On March 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of free, video-on-demand​ children's television programming for thousands of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. Click here for more information.   

​​White Cane Day Song​

On October 15, 2015, New Zealand recorded an uplifting and triumphant song on YouTube that was written to celebrate White Cane Day​. ​​Click here to watch or listen