Reading is a wonderful pastime that can help you in so many ways, whether you’re looking to expand your mind, pass the time, relax, learn something new, or even get through mundane daily tasks like grocery shopping or just get through the month without falling behind on the bills. In reality, however, reading presents significant challenges for those with visual impairments. The good news is that if you have a visual impairment, it doesn’t have to keep you from reading.
Some accessible book forms, such as audiobooks, may be rather pricey. The good news is that you can read just as well as a sighted person by using low-cost tools and techniques designed to aid people with visual impairments. Here’s a breakdown of some of the options available to blind and visually impaired people who want to satisfy their need for knowledge and learning.
Go for Large-Font Books
If you have problems reading the small print in books, it would be best to look for books with bigger font sizes. In certain libraries, you can find different copies of the same book, each of which has a distinctively different font size. Choose the books in which the font is the largest or which you find to have the most legibility.
On the other hand, magazines, newspapers, and comic books are restricted to using just small print. Some assistive technologies like screen readers, magnifiers, and low-vision aides may be helpful. Focus on finding books written in easily readable typefaces like Ariel, Tahoma, Sans Serif, or Verdana. Fancy typefaces make reading more difficult for those with vision impairments.
Read Braille Literature If You Can
This, of course, presupposes that you can read Braille. A person who has lost most or all of their vision may find this reading style a huge help. Braille is a reading method that uses raised dots to help the visually impaired read. Books for the blind are increasingly being published in Braille. Though many Braille books are available online, the best resources for the blind and visually impaired remains the free books for the blind offered by local libraries and the National Library for The Blind. Some of them are charitable organisations (like Living Paintings) that do amazing work and should be recognised for it. Without these groups, those with visual impairments would have far less access to written material.
Text-to-Speech Apps Can be of Great Help
The text-to-speech features of many programs and utilities allow the visually impaired and the blind to have printed items read aloud to them. With the help of a sighted person, the visually handicapped can take advantage of the text-to-speech feature found on most modern electronic devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Listening to the story being read aloud might be helpful if you are completely or partially sighted or if you have a lot of reading material to go through.
Look for Books with strong Colour Contrasts
To facilitate easier reading, certain books are printed with text in a colour that contrasts with the backdrop (for example, a black background with white lettering). You can get high-contrast books at shops and libraries. If you cannot locate the books you need in this format, you can read them through a yellow acetate overlay or filter. Most writing on the internet can be read with enough colour contrast. Adjusting the colour contrast on a computer screen may be done in a variety of different ways to make reading easier.
The best colour contrasts for reading are often black and white. Either a white background with black text or a black background with white text. Other contrasting colours can be challenging for your eyes while reading.
Living Paintings: Free Postal Library of Accessible Literature
A staggering two million people in the U.K. are blind or visually impaired. Accepting that you have an irreversible vision impairment might take time. At Living Paintings, they aim to provide the blind with a newfound sense of optimism by opening up the world to them. To achieve this goal, they develop, produce, and distribute Touch to See books for readers of all ages. These books have raised tactile images and accompanying audio instructions that are both educational and amusing. For more information on resources for the blind, visit their website.