In this episode of the Blind Spot podcast for National Braille Week, TPT's Technology Manager speaks to braille teach Norma Williams about learning braille in later life.Find out more about 'Learning braille later in life'
Accessible Christmas gifts
Christmas is almost upon us and as we approach the end of another busy year, the Technology team has a few gift suggestions to share. If you’re wondering what’s hot this year and perhaps looking for a little inspiration to help you find a special accessible gift, read on for ideas to help get you started. It’s been a tough year for many of us, so we’ve highlighted a selection of affordable products that we think will make great gifts.
Accessible books are easier to find than ever before thanks to a host of accessible library services and commercial audiobook and eBook stores.
Blind and partially sighted people can sign up for library services such as RNIB Reading Services and Calibre Audio for free. Assisting a family member or friend to become a member could prove immensely valuable, particularly for someone new to accessible libraries.
The Audible commercial audiobook store owned by Amazon has one of the largest audiobook collections in the world. Books can be accessed through accessible smartphone and tablet apps and even played directly on Amazon Echo smart speakers. The Audible gift centre lets you gift a membership or book of your choice. RNIB also has a reasonable selection of audiobook DAISY CDs for sale from the books section of the RNIB shop.
Board games and leisure
Christmas is the perfect time for dusting off board game family favourites and there are plenty of accessible games for blind and partially sighted people. RNIB sells a range of accessible board and card games.
Here are a few highlights:
- Tactile Connect 4 from RNIB
- Tactile draughts set from RNIB
- Braille Scrabble from RNIB
- Large print playing cards from RNIB
- Standard print with Braille playing cards from RNIB
- Large print with Braille playing cards from RNIB
Chess is also beloved by a few of us here at TPT. The Braille Chess Association can supply tactile sets and clocks and runs tournaments throughout the year.
Sport and leisure
Sports and leisure activities are also more accessible to blind and partially sighted people than ever before. Your local society may be able to help you find a sport or activity of interest to you, and for blind and partially sighted people in and around London, Metro Blind Sport hosts a substantial programme with over twenty different sports and activities to choose from.
Smart tech and accessories
The smart home revolution can be a fantastic gateway to information and communication for blind and partially sighted people.
Smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini offer voice access to news, weather, radio, streaming music, audiobooks and much more on demand. Once you have a smart speaker set up, a smart plug lets you turn electrical equipment on or off through a smartphone app or by asking your smart speaker.
Device accessories such as the Twelve South HoverBar Duo tablet stand on Amazon provide multiple options for height and viewing angles and can help position your screen for the optimum viewing experience.
Item finders can also help with locating lost belongings such as keys and wallets. For example, the Tile Pro can attach directly to a keyring and can be rung if nearby through its accompanying app. The recently released Apple Air Tags are similar, albeit quieter when rung; though their accompanying Find My app can also direct you to your lost property provided you have access to a recent iPhone that supports this feature.
Present ideas for children and young people
If you are looking for present for little ones, young people and children, go have a listen to our special podcast episode to get some inspiration and info on where to find accessible gems!
Festive fun doesn’t have to cost the earth. Should you be lacking inspiration whilst on the hunt for a Christmas gift this year, we hope these suggestions have given you a few ideas.
A range of solutions including magnification, braille hardware and software and accessible apps and services can support blind and partially sighted students to thrive at university.Find out more about 'Accessible technology for students – guidance and resources'