Vision Australia is set to give Newcastle’s blind and low vision community the chance to improve their technology skills and pick the brains of a world-renowned assistive technology expert.
Across four weeks, the leading blindness and low vision service provider will hold a series of free information sessions designed to show people with vision loss the difference technology can make.
Vision Australia Hunter Central Coast regional business manager Joanne Northcote said the sessions are focused on everyday devices, given the roles they play in peoples’ lives.
“Technology is increasingly how people connect with friends and family, access news and carry out everyday tasks and that’s no different for our clients,” Ms Northcote said.
“It may seem like an iPhone or computer are off limits, but set up the right way or with the right apps and programs installed they can be accessible and allow people with vision loss to remain connected and independent,” she said.
“Features like Siri can allow people to operate their iPhone via voice commands, while many phones and computers have inbuilt magnification or narration systems that will read what’s on screen. There’s also apps and programs that can help with that and also do things like help people navigate their environments, convert written material like labels to speech and identify currency.”
While it can be confusing for people who are blind or have low vision to know where to start when it comes to what technology might suit them best, Ms Northcote said the presence of Vision Australia’s David Woodbridge at the first information session would help with that.
“When it comes to technology in the blindness and low vision community, David Woodbridge is recognised as an expert around the world and has advised organisations like Apple and Microsoft around accessibility,” she said.
“It’s a great chance for people in the region to talk to David about what’s available and what might best suit their needs. If they do identify something, our locally based assistive technology experts will be able to help with training or other support that might be necessary.”
The Tech Friday sessions will be held at Vision Australia’s Newcastle centre, 7-9 Beaumont St, Hamilton, from 1pm to 3pm each Friday.
For more information contact Karen Smith on Karen.Smith@visionaustralia.org or phone 4927 3310.