Lauren Tappan chooses iPad over Surface 3

August 30, 2015

I recently compared Microsoft’s new tablet, Surface Pro 3 and Apple’s I-pad. My initial experience was more positive for the I-pad. It seemed that there were more steps I had to go through to pull up an accessible feature on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. The accessible features on the I-pad were much more available. The I–pads camera was much easier to use. The I-pad air was less expensive than the Surface Pro 3. The local services for the blind has ongoing classes using the I-pad, and it seems harder to find AT classes on Surface Pro 3. This is my initial investigation, and more comments will be made in the future. Lauren Tappan.


Pilot Study on ChromaGen Lenses helping with reading problems

August 26, 2014

We have a Life Changing Optical Lens Solution that Treats Reading Disorders that Changes Lives!

Pilot Study on ChromaGen Lenses 

ChromaGen Lenses help those struggling with reading problems such as dyslexia by using selective wavelengths of light to dynamically balance the speed of information as it travels from the eye, through the optic nerve to the patient’s brain. They look like regular eyeglasses with tinted lenses.

Once the appropriate ChromaGen Lenses are prescribed for each eye, unruly words and sentences are brought into focus. Our patients describe that the words “are standing still for the first time”.  In addition to seeing improvements in reading and handwriting, our patients also report a significant reduction in headaches, nausea and fatigue while reading or working on the computer.

Recently Clear Solutions for Reading LLC completed a Pilot Study of 51 subjects in order to prepare for our FDA clinical Trial planned for later this fall.  See details below. 
If you would like to see the results of the Pilot Study, please email me and I will forward them to you. 
Clear Solutions for Reading LLC (“CSR”), working in conjunction with ChromaGen Vision LLC, carried out a Pilot Study in Tampa, Florida in May and June of 2014. The principals of CSR are Jeanne Howes PhD, an educational psychologist, who has been practicing for twenty-five years with an emphasis on children and families, and Edward Huggett Jr, OD, who is a licensed optometrist with a twenty-five year practice with an emphasis on binocular vision.
Goals of the Pilot Study.  ChromaGen Vision was seeking to determine if a student with a reading problem who uses ChromaGen Lenses would receive benefits in the following four areas:

Increase in Reading Speed
Increase in Reading Comprehension
Decrease in Word Movement Symptoms that cause problems with reading
Decrease in the Vision Related Issues that cause the “nagging symptoms” of headaches, nausea, fatigue, eyestrain, and loss of place when reading. 


It’s Time to Go Mobile

August 26, 2014

The following is by Lauren Tappan, It is a quote from the AI Squared blog.

Who would have thought a decade ago that a smartphone or tablet device with a non-tactile touch screen could be operated completely non-visually? With Apple’s VoiceOver and Google Android’s TalkBack as the major players in touch-based screen reading, one can slide, swipe, and tap on the screen to make a phone call, check the weather, look at your calendar, or even play a game without seeing what’s on the screen. There’s not a lot of memorization or training required because the screen reader tells you what you’ve selected and then may give you hints on what to do next. Zooming in is also an option if you have partial sight, but I use this only occasionally to view a picture or familiarize myself with an app. On small touch screens, I find zooming is just not an efficient way to navigate around.

On the Apple iOS side, which is all I’m familiar with, you can pretty much bet that you’ll have complete access to all the native apps that come pre-installed on the device using VoiceOver. For example, when sliding your finger over a button, VoiceOver will tell you what that button is. Now you can double tap anywhere on the screen in order to select the button that was just announced. As for third party apps that you download for free or purchase from the iTunes store, it’s anyone’s guess whether you’ll have VoiceOver access to all the buttons and features within the app. Then there’s the question of whether updates to the app will decrease the accessibility. For the sighted, updating is usually a good idea, but VoiceOver users tend to hesitate or simply cross their fingers and hope for the best because it’s not possible to “go back” and download a previous version from the iTunes store.

The notes and reviews for the app in the iTunes store or the AppleVis website might give you some clue regarding the app’s level of accessibility, so it’s always good to check before you download. As an example, when a developer doesn’t label a button, you may come across the ever-helpful announcement of “button” for some (or all) buttons. While the user has the ability to label buttons, this may be futile if the app keeps changing in subsequent updates. The best solution for developers is to use the tools that Apple gives them to make their app accessible. Depending on the app, this may take little to no extra effort at all on the developer’s part.

At any rate, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is resolved to encourage Apple to not accept apps into the iTunes store until they are accessible. Apple is adding even more features in its developer toolkit to make it pretty effortless to do so. So in the Apple world, I suspect the frustration of purchasing an app that you can’t effectively use with VoiceOver will become a thing of the past in the next few years.

If you still haven’t jumped into the mobile market due to your low vision, or can’t decide which solution is right for you, here are some articles that might help:


Accessibility Features of Apple’s iOS 5

October 23, 2011

This article is dedicated to Herb Halbrecht. Herb was always a strong proponent of Assistive Technology, the Apple devices and Accessibilty features. Sadly, Herb passed away Oct 2 from a heart attack. He will be missed… Gail Johnson and John Logan.

Apple users have long known about the company’s commitment to accessibility in most (if not all) of its devices.

In iOS 5–the latest version of the operating system used by the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod Touch–Apple has provided even more accessibility features for their mobile platform. Apple’s attention to built-in accessibility features allows people with disabilities to use these products right out of the box instead of needing to purchase costly accessibility software.

With the current release of iOS 5, Apple has added the following features:

Text Size Changes
Speak Selection
Hearing Aid Mode
Custom Vibrations
LED Flash for Alerts
Mono Audio
Incoming Call Route
Assistive Touch
The last of these new features is really amazing, so let’s take a look at Assistive Touch in a little more detail. These accessibility features really can help anyone, not just those with certain abilities. Assistive Touch is a way for users with physical or motor impairments to better control their iOS devices. Turn on this feature by tapping Settings > General > Accessibility > Assistive Touch > ON.

When you turn this feature on, you will get a small bubble in the lower, left-hand corner of the screen. This bubble will appear on every iOS 5 screen, and in any application. Tapping on the button will present you with 4 different options: Gestures, Device, Home, and Favorites. This menu is different actions that can be performed with Assistive Touch. Let’s explore the Gestures.

After tapping on the Gestures link, you will see additional buttons for 2, 3, 4, and 5-finger gestures. So, if you need to perform a 2-finger gesture, but can only use 1-finger to perform the gesture, simply tap on the 2-finger button, and then perform the gesture. The iPhone will recognize your 1-figner on the screen as 2-fingers.

Aside from Gestures, you can also tap on Device to get access to the following device settings that would normally require extra button presses:

Rotate Screen
Lock Screen
Volume Up
Volume Down
For more accessibility features in iOS 5 and the new iPhone 4S, check out Apple’s Accessibility Guide for iPhone or iPad.

How about you? Do you take advantage of any of the iOS accessibility features? Tell us about it in the comments.

Cory Bohon

Mac OS X Lion even more Accessible

July 22, 2011

This post is from Gail Johnson:

From the OS X Lion Apple website:

Built-in voices

VoiceOver in OS X Lion includes built-in voices that speak 22 languages: Arabic, English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Cantonese, Mandarin (China), and Mandarin (Taiwan). In addition, other languages are available for downloads including Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Romanian, Slovak, and Thai, as well as alternative voices with different dialects such as English (UK), English (Australia), English (South Africa), and Spanish (Mexico).

High-quality voices

In addition to the built-in voices in Lion, you can download higher-quality versions of the languages from VoiceOver Utility. Choose Customize from the Voice pop-up menu in the Speech pane.

Set up your Mac in your language

Lion supports 22 different languages in VoiceOver, so you can set up your Mac in almost any language.

Picture-in-picture zoom

The screen zoom feature in Lion offers a picture-in-picture view, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. Choose to have the window follow the cursor, or keep the window in one place to show only areas you navigate.

International braille tables

Lion includes built-in support for more than 80 new braille tables serving a wide range of languages.

Braille verbosity settings

You can now specify the default verbosity level (amount of information you want to receive) for use with a refreshable braille display. And you can set verbosity levels for specific controls, such as applications, checkboxes, and Dock items, as well as headings, images, and links.

High-resolution cursor

In Lion, the cursor is crisp and sharp at larger sizes.

Improved drag and drop

VoiceOver in Lion offers an improved drag-and-drop experience for users who are blind or have difficulty seeing. Simply mark the item you want to drag, then mark the destination — OS X moves it into place.

VoiceOver activities

With VoiceOver activities, you can create groups of preferences for specific uses. For example, you can create an activity to use a certain voice and faster speaking rate when you’re shopping online catalogs. Create a second activity to use a different voice and slower speaking rate when you’re reading online newspapers. You can switch activities manually or have VoiceOver switch automatically based on the applications you use.

Single-letter quick navigation in web pages

Assign VoiceOver commands to single keys to make it even easier to browse the web using VoiceOver.

Search in VoiceOver Utility

VoiceOver Utility includes a search field to help you find the feature you’re looking for.

For those with the Mac Air and the Mac Mini

For AllMac owners




Yahoo! Mail: Navigating the inbox with a screen reader

June 13, 2011

In a YouTube video, Todd Kloots, of the Yahoo! Accessibility Lab, shows how to navigate the new Yahoo! Mail inbox with keyboard shortcuts. This demonstration uses the NVDA screen reader and Firefox 4.

And a written supplement.

Message from

May 18, 2011

Lauren Tappan has posted this item from

3 Photos of Student Members Listening
May 17, 2011

Your immediate action is needed to help hundreds of thousands of students with print disabilities.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is wavering on his commitment to hold a competition to fund accessible educational materials and textbooks for the hundreds of thousands of students who cannot use a standard textbook.

You need to e-mail Secretary Duncan’s office today to urge him to hold the competition and preserve the program.

Under the FY 2011 budget passed by the Congress, Secretary Duncan has the discretion to hold a competition for the development, production and distribution of educational materials in accessible formats to students with visual impairments and other print disabilities. The US Department of Education has supported this project for more than 30 years, and President Obama included it in his FY 2011 budget plan. Now the Secretary might use these funds for other projects!

The Secretary needs to hear from you today to prevent the shifting of funds away from this vital program.

The Secretary might make his decision as soon as the end of the week so we need you to e-mail him today. Your voice and that of hundreds of other supporters urged the Congress to preserve the funding in the budget, and Congress heard you and took action. Now we need your voice to urge Secretary Duncan to preserve the funding for accessible materials and to hold the competition.

Hundreds of thousands of students benefit from this program each year and if the Secretary does not fund it this year its future is unknown. We need your voice to be heard again!

Please e-mail Secretary Duncan’s office today. We have included the sample language below to help you in making your e-mail. Please add your personal story, name and hometown to your message!

Secretary Duncan’s e-mail is

RE: Urgent Support Needed for Students with Print Disabilities

Dear Secretary Duncan:

I am writing to share with you my support for the accessible educational materials project and Learning Ally.

Learning Ally has a long-established relationship with the Department of Education and has had broad support in Congress, state departments of education and 10,000 schools from coast to coast. I urge you to continue that support by holding a competition for the development, production and distribution of educational materials in accessible formats to students with visual impairments and other print disabilities.

Learning Ally is a critical partner in the success of hundreds of thousands of students, and federal support of their efforts, leveraged with private philanthropy, has made much of their work possible. Continue USDE’s 30-year commitment to students with disabilities and hold the competition.


As we keep the pressure up on the Department with our allies in Congress, we will update our Policy Advocates’ Center with developments as they occur. We will also share critical Advocates’ Action Alerts with you when key decisions are to be made.

Your support has helped to preserve this program so far, and will be a key to its future!