Assistive devices and gadgets

Warning: before you spend any money on devices to help you, be sure that it is going to be beneficial for your specific problem. What works for one visually impaired person may not necessarily work for you. (I have so many magnifiers, screens etc. given to me with good intent, but have not been useful at all)

Ordinary things I have found helpful …

A small pair of binoculars
My dad bought the Nikon 7×20 bino’s for me when I was at school. I used them for seeing the board (on days when I felt brave). I now use them for watching my children play sport, for music concerts, plays and to see if the gate is closed at the end of the driveway. At times I even use them in church to see the words on the screen. I used to bother about what people would think of me, but now I don’t care because it is only me that misses out!

An old television screen
The screen is on a side table next to the couch and it is plugged into the normal TV . This way I can watch without blocking the view for others and we can still hold hands on the couch. When I sit close to the normal TV I feel separated from others in the room, as they are all sitting behind my back. This way I can still feel part of all conversation.

Smart phone
I have an iPhone on which I record my shopping list. I use the camera as a magnifier for reading signs, seeing my toenails, and enlarging the TARGET puzzle from the newspaper, or zoom in on the prices in shops. I can also take a selfie to check my make-up

The Siri voice activated functions allow me to make calls, send texts and put reminders on my calendar. I can ask Siri for the time, date, weather report and many other useful and interesting bits of information. All of this is possible without even turning on the accessibility functions. I have a Bible App on my phone that reads the text to me and I also stream audio books.

I have also tried the Galaxy SIII, SIII mini, or later. It also has similar cool features once you learn how.

Video presenter
I use a Samsung video_presenterVideo presenter plugged into a normal TV monitor in order to read, write, thread needles, paint nails, etc. It is a high resolution camera that projects the focussed image onto the screen as large as I want it. It takes a while to learn to write in one place whilst you are looking in another.

Remember that technology is very useful, but only if you are the type of person that enjoys learning new things. Having the right mind-set is important in determining whether these will work for you or not.

Don’t try and do this alone. Connect with others who use the devices, try them out and double check if this is really going to help you in your present circumstance. Having a consultation with a low vision specialist is definitely the first step and could save you from spending unnecessary funds.

‘Sensory Solutions‘ has helped me to set up and learn how to use Zoom text. Check out their website for all kinds of access technology:

“Sensory Solutions is a South African company with considerable experience in the field of accommodating persons who are visually impaired ie. who are either blind or partially sighted. We specialise in the field of providing Access Technology solutions for individuals, schools, universities, government departments etc, in particular to make the environment more accessible for the visually impaired. Part of our mission is to advise individuals and institutions on the best solutions available for particular environments, to design such solutions and finally to implement them on site. As such, we are approved African distributors for a wide range of Access Technology products selected specifically for their suitability to the African environment and our specific situation.” (From website)

1 thought on “Assistive devices and gadgets

  1. Kariem Bapoo

    Hi my name is Kariem Bapoo. I found a reference to your site in the latest Helen Keller newsletter. After scanning through ylur site and your low visionsuggedtions, I think that you are amazing. The banner on your home page “Vision With Insight” Iis fantastic. Thank you.



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