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Massachusetts strives to improve the quality of life for vision-impaired residents through unique programs and services. Among these efforts, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) – a division of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) – works to make assistive technology more accessible to residents so they can live more independently.

Types of Assistive Technology

The Assistive Technology for the Blind Program offers a number of tools that can be attained through the MCB to help vision-impaired residents go about their daily routines.

  • Speech Technology – Residents can use screen readers and speech technology to receive the text on a computer screen in an audio format.
  • Scanners – A scanner captures all of the text from a printed book or magazine and either saves it to a computer or reads it back to the user in audio format.
  • Braille – Another option for visually-impaired individuals is Braille technology. These tools convert computer text into printed Braille documents, which can be useful when paired with a screen reader.
  • Screen Magnification – Constituents who are not completely blind and have some level of vision can use screen magnification technology, which increases the size of text and other aspects on a computer screen to make it easier to read.
  • Closed Circuit Television – A similar screen magnification tool is Closed Circuit Television, which projects images held to a video camera onto a large screen to make reading small print much easier.

Vocational Rehabilitation Eligibility

The Commonwealth also helps blind residents attain and keep employment through Vocational Rehabilitation Services. There are specific criteria that define eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services:

  • Individuals must be considered legally blind, for which employment options are limited;
  • Individuals must be in a position where an improved employment situation can be gained with such services; and,
  • Individuals will benefit in terms of employment as a result of vocational services.

Additional information for visually-impaired residents

Massachusetts works to ensure that those who are vision-impaired are able to live on their own comfortably and confidently through a number of programs. Explore the many options available, as one may be helpful to a visually-impaired individual that you know.

Do you know of any other resources for the blind? You can let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @MassGov.

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