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Assistive Technology Labs Helping The Visually Impaired To Access Technology

Picture this, you wake up one day and all you see is darkness. This is a reality hundreds of thousands of young Kenyans are facing. After...

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Assistive Technology Labs Helping The Visually Impaired To Access Technology
A group of visually impaired students attending the inABLE event at the Sarova Stanley.

Picture this, you wake up one day and all you see is darkness. This is a reality hundreds of thousands of young Kenyans are facing. After the onset of panic, the realisation that life must go on begins to settle in. For young Kenyans, a part of life moving on is getting back to education and the processes of learning. But just how does this happen for visually impaired people?

This is where assistive technology steps in. Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities, also including the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

This new adaption of technology promotes greater independence by enabling visually impaired people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

At an event organised by InAble Kenya at the Sarova Stanley yesterday, deliberations were held on empowering visually impaired in Kenya through assistive technology. With accessibility being at the core of what inABLE do, it was emphasised just how important it is to make practicality for visually impaired people the driving point behind new locally made applications.

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The team behind the Inable computer labs urged local product developers to incorporate the blind in their products. With this in mind, it would allow inABLE to continue offering assistive technology training and promote the advancement of digital accessibility and assistive technology in Kenya.

Over the last ten years, inABLE has established 8 assistive technology labs in 6 schools for the blind in Kenya, offered over 35,000 hours of assistive technology in computer skills training, enrolled over 7000 blind and visually impaired teachers and students, and they have also hired and trained 15 assistive technology teachers.

With independence being a key point behind assistive technology, items designed specifically to help people with vision loss or other disabilities, including everything from screen readers for blind individuals or screen magnifiers for low-vision computer users, video magnifiers and other devices for reading and writing with low vision, to braille watches are being implemented.

With technology slowly becoming the centre piece of every puzzle, assistive technology is critical for a more digitally inclusive world.

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