Programs and Services



This page provides information on technology available to students at ASBVI, and explains how the software and equipment are used by staff and students to access information.

Recent advances in technology have made it possible for persons who are visually impaired to read printed materials which were not available prior to the technological advances. It is now possible for a person who is visually impaired to read current newspapers, magazines, content on the internet,  and to secure any book which is available on the market.

The staff at the Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is making full use of technological discoveries to provide the most current reading materials for students in an appropriate reading media, and to instruct students so that they can make effective use of the vast resources now available to them. To facilitate this process, regular in-services in the use of adaptive technology are provided for all teachers. 

Computer Labs

ASBVI has three (3) computer labs for the convenience of staff and students; and each lab has all adaptive software and equipment discussed on this page. There is also a teacher work room where teachers can produce materials in large print and  Braille, and create  tactile graphics. 

Screen Readers

Screen readers speak text displayed on the monitor screen. They can describe graphics and allow the user who is visually impaired to use almost any computer program, such as CD players, spreadsheets and word processing software.  In addition, screen readers reformat web pages so that frames and tables can be read coherently. Students at ASBVI have available to them the two best screen readers on the market, "Jaws," and "Window-Eyes."

Braille Displays

A Braille display allows the user to read in Braille the text displayed on the computer screen.  Braille displays are very costly. However, ASBVI has a Braille display in the adaptive technology lab for Braille readers.

Scanners and Scanning Software

"Open Book" is an excellent OCR software program to use for text scanning. Open Book has a built in screen reader so that it can be used by persons who require speech output.  With a little editing, printed matter scanned using Open Book may be produced in large print or Braille.   

Enlarging Text on the Display 

Some students need to have the text on the computer screen enlarged. "Zoom Text" allows the user to adjust text size, contrast, text and background colors.  Also, "Zoom Text" will permit the user to enlarge a portion of the screen.  This program is ideal for the user who requires large print.  

Enlarging print in textbooks

Printed matter in textbooks is enlarged by CC television.  The book is placed on a platform which slides on tracks.  As the user moves the book to the right, the text is displayed in large print on a screen.  The size of the display can be increased or decreased depending on the needs of the user.  Also, the contrast, background color and font color may be adjusted to meet the unique requirements of the person using the TV.    

Internet Access

The entire ASBVI campus is networked, and computers are available in all classrooms and dormitories.  Students are instructed in how to access the internet, and are encouraged and expected to employ their skills to read current events and do research.

Note Taker Devices

The "Braille 'n Speak," "Braille Lite," "Type 'n Speak," Type Lite" and "Braille Note" are  note takers which students use at ASB to facilitate their studying and to prepare for college or a job after graduation.  Braille 'n Speak and Braille Note have keyboards identical to the keyboard on the traditional Braille writer  which has been used for years to produce hard copy Braille.  However, they speak the text which is written. The Braille Lite and Note Lite are Identical to the Braille 'n Speak and the Braille Note, except they have a Braille display as well as speech output.   The Type Lite is a Braille 'n Speak with a typewriter keyboard, rather than a Braille writer keyboard. These note takers store text  in memory and speak it.  They interface with printers and Braille embossers to provide hard copy in print or in Braille.  All the note takers can be used in conjunction with a PC to download files. Portable disk drives and modems  are available for all the note takers so that they can function as stand-alone computers.  Software is available so that one can manage checking accounts, keep personal calendars and play games.  One of these note takers is ideal for a college student or a person on the job who is visually impaired.

Braille Translation software and Embossers

If one has knowledge of Braille formatting, he can use a Braille translation program and a Braille embosser to produce material in Braille, regardless of whether he/she can read Braille. If you have a need to produce Braille materials, the ASBVI staff is ready and willing to assist you by providing advice on what equipment to purchase and how to use it.  At ASBVI, the Duxbury Braille translation program and the Romeo and Juliet embossers are used. The Romeo embosses Braille on one side of a Braille page, while the Juliet produces two-sided Braille pages.  Six embossers are available for students and staff to use to produce material from the internet, tests and textbooks.

Romeo Braille Embosser