TORONTO – June 22, 2020 – As students and families adjust to remote learning during COVID-19, the CNIB Foundation has released a free version of its iOS training manual for children with sight loss. The ABC's of iOS: A VoiceOver Manual for Toddlers and Beyond! ensures educators and family members have the tools to teach a child who is blind or partially sighted how to use iOS with VoiceOver.
"Technology can level the playing field for people who are blind or partially sighted – but only when it's accessible, available and affordable," says Suzanne Decary-van den Broek, Executive Director, CNIB Foundation Ontario South (GTA). "Developed in collaboration with Diane Brauner, Educational Accessibility Consultant, the CNIB Foundation created this resource to ensure children with sight loss have the necessary knowledge and training to develop the skills to capitalize on its potential."
The manual was developed alongside children with sight loss, educators, specialists, and family members across the Greater Toronto Area and the United States.
"The iPad is an incredible educational tool, but, more often than not, children with sight loss are not introduced to modern technology until much later than their sighted peers," said Diane Brauner, Educational Accessibility Consultant. "By introducing technology to children at an earlier age – and providing them with the skills and training to operate it – we're empowering children to thrive developmentally and academically."
The free manual provides parents and educators with the age-appropriate information they need to teach a child how to interact with an iPad using VoiceOver. To put the latest knowledge at children's fingertips, it incorporates accessible apps with educational content. The manual addresses VoiceOver skills for children, ages 3-8, who are, or may become, braille readers, dual media, or auditory readers.
"The ABC's of iOS manual provides me with a systematic method to teach my child how to use VoiceOver on an iPad. Janna has learned how to use iOS apps such as iBraille Challenge and Reading Adventure Time with a refreshable braille display connected to her iPad via Bluetooth," says Mabel Chow. "Thanks to the iOS manual and these accessible apps, Janna's reading comprehension and braille reading skills have improved significantly."
Educators and family members will learn how to:
- encourage children with sight loss to explore and interact appropriately with an iPad.
- introduce and teach age-appropriate VoiceOver gestures, Bluetooth keyboard commands and refreshable braille display commands.
- incorporate teaching strategies which address the unique needs of children with sight loss.
- nurture children with sight loss to become confident and independent with iPad skills.
- provide information about accessible apps and activities for educational purposes.
About the CNIB Foundation
Founded in 1918, the CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit cnib.ca.
About Diane Brauner
Diane is an educational accessibility consultant, based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, who collaborates with various educational groups and app developers. She splits her time between managing the Perkins eLearning website (Paths to Technology), presenting workshops and working on accessibility-related projects. Diane’s personal mission is to support developers and educators in creating and teaching accessible educational tools which enable students with sight loss to flourish in the 21st century classroom. Diane has more than 25 years of experience working with pre-school and school-age students as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Elementary Education with certificates in Deaf and Severely Hard of Hearing and Visual Impairments.
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