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Orientation and mobility specialists are professionals who are specifically trained to teach people with visual impairments how to travel safely, confidently, and independently in the home and the community.
These professionals can also help blind people to practice travelling on specific routes which they may use often, such as the route from one's house Jessica b a convenience store. Becoming familiar with an environment or route can make it Jessica b easier for a blind person to navigate successfully.
Tools such as the white cane with a red tip — the international symbol of blindness — may also be used to improve mobility. A long cane is used to extend the user's range of touch sensation.
It is usually swung in a low sweeping motion, across the intended path of travel, to detect obstacles.
Some visually impaired persons do not carry these kinds of canes, opting instead for the shorter, lighter identification ID cane. Still others require a support cane. The choice depends on the individual's vision, motivation, and other factors. A small number of people employ guide dogs to assist in mobility.
These dogs are trained to navigate around various obstacles, and to indicate when it becomes necessary to go up or down a step. However, the helpfulness of guide dogs is limited by the inability of dogs to understand complex directions.
The human half of the guide dog team does the directing, based upon skills acquired through previous mobility training. In this sense, the handler might be likened to an aircraft's navigator, who must know how to get from one place to another, and the dog to the pilot, who gets them there safely.
GPS devices can also be used as a mobility aid. Such software can assist blind people with orientation and navigation, but it is not a replacement for traditional mobility tools such as white canes and guide dogs.
Some blind people are skilled at echolocating silent objects simply by producing mouth clicks and listening to the returning echoes. It has been shown that blind echolocation experts use what is normally the "visual" part of their brain to process the echoes.
Public transportation is freely available to the blind in many cities. Tactile paving and audible traffic signals can make it easier and safer for visually impaired pedestrians to cross streets. In addition to making rules about who can and cannot use a cane, some governments mandate the right-of-way be given to users of white canes or guide dogs.
Reading and magnification[ edit ] Braille watch Most visually impaired people who are not totally blind read print, either of a regular size or enlarged by magnification devices.
Many also read large-printwhich is easier for them to read without such devices. A variety of magnifying glassessome handheld, and some on desktops, can make reading easier for them.
Others read Braille or the infrequently used Moon typeor rely on talking books and readers or reading machineswhich convert printed text to speech or Braille. They use computers with special hardware such as scanners and refreshable Braille displays as well as software written specifically for the blind, such as optical character recognition applications and screen readers.
Closed-circuit televisionsequipment that enlarges and contrasts textual items, are a more high-tech alternative to traditional magnification devices. There are also over radio reading services throughout the world that provide people with vision impairments with readings from periodicals over the radio.
The International Association of Audio Information Services provides links to all of these organizations. Computers and mobile technology[ edit ] Access technology such as screen readersscreen magnifiers and refreshable Braille displays enable the blind to use mainstream computer applications and mobile phones.
The availability of assistive technology is increasing, accompanied by concerted efforts to ensure the accessibility of information technology to all potential users, including the blind.
Linux distributions as live CDs for the blind include Vinux and Adriane Knoppixthe latter developed in part by Adriane Knopper who has a visual impairment.
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