Research Guides

Disability Resources for Vision and More

This research guide focuses on disabilities and the connection to college. In many areas of this guide, there is an emphasis on resources for students with visual disabilities.  This guide also has resources for anyone who wants to learn about disabilities and related topics. 

Guide Created by: Kiana Geiger - Library Scholar, University of Miami Libraries   (2016 - 2017)
                                                                   Master Occupational Therapy, Colorado State (2017 - 2019) 
“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life.” Emma Thompson

What is Disability?
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity
  • According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability.
  • Between 110 million and 190 million adults have significant difficulties in functioning.
  • For the latest news on disability, click here
What is Disability Legislation?
Please click here for a breakdown of the standards of Section 508

Together, these acts work to eliminate barriers in order to provide access to educational programs and facilities, free appropriate public education, and academic adjustments in higher education 
  • The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted in June 2013 in order to provide copyright exceptions for publications in order to improve accessibility for the print disabled. 
What is Web Accessibility?

Guidelines for Web Content
  1. Information should be presentable to all users in ways they can percieve
  2. The components and navigation should be operable for all users.
  3. Information and the interface should be understandable
  4. Content should be robust in order to be accessible to a variety of user agents, such as assistive technologies

Check if your website is accessible, and ways to improve it, with this tool

Dragon Dictation transcribes your speech into anything from tweets, to emails, to personal notes. Available around $150/year

predicts your intended word providing suggestions that can be read with a swipe. Text-to-speech is also available after composition to help proofread
Available for $19.99 for Apple

can increase your QWERTY keyboard size, utilize gestures to maximize typing comfort, and provides incredible autocorrect
Available for $0.99 for Apple and Android

Text Expander
allows you to type more with less effort via custom abbreviations called snippets. Create snippets of frequently used words and phrases to insert quickly and easily into your documents
Available for $4.99 for Apple

: the Official iOS Notetaker App from the American foundation for the Blind.  Provides highly efficient note taking combined with other iOS features and functions.
Available for free for Apple

- identifies and reads out loud an object the user has identified by double tapping on their screen
Available for free for Apple and Android

Be My Eyes
- links the blind with sighted volunteers who are able to assist using video chat
Available for free for Apple

-remixes photos on the camera, allowing colorblind to see color and differences
Available for $2.99 for Apple and Android 
Other Resources
Windows offers a variety of built-in accessibility options in the areas of vision, hearing, dexterity, language/learning, and more. Click here for a comparison chart of all their features

Apple offers built-in accessibility features to support seeing, hearing, literacy, and mobility interactions for all their devices. This page shows all those features for Apple computers, as well as linking to features for other apple devices. 

The American Printing Huse for the Blind provides a collection of apps they have developed for both iOS and Android. These are available for free or low cost. 
- copy and paste any text, or instantly upload a webpage, to hear it read back to you
Available for free for Windows and Mac OS

Voice Dream
-allows you to read any text, while also helping you proofread your own work by reading it back and keeping an outline
Available for $0-$9.99 for Apple and Android

-read faster and more efficiently with a color gradient that guides your eyes
Available for $1.99 for Apple and free for chrome and Firefox

-a customizable text-to-speech app for Mac users that allows you to convert texts to audio files to listen on the go
Available for $24.99 for Mac

Claro ScanPen
-scan any printed text and Claro ScanPen speaks it back to you
Available for $6.99 for Apple and Android 
  • The Special Needs Alliance is a national, non-profit organization comitting to providing attorneys to those with disabilities, their families, and the people who work with them. 
  • The American Association of People with Disabilities works to increase the politcal and economical power of people with disabilities in order to increase access and equality. 
  • The Arc is a national organization that serves people with intellectual and physical disabilities via advocacy, support, and service. 
  • The National Organization on Disability works aims to increase employment for those who are disabled and unemployed. 
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America supports people with learning disabilities, teachers, and professionals by providing information and a network of research
  • The International Disability Alliance aims to create a worldwide inclusive environment by advocating at organizations such as the UN
  • The US Department of Labor provides a range of resources for disabled citizens to assist with aspects ranging from civil rights to employment. 
Stay Updated
  • Cornell University created a website that provides interactive disability statistics about prevalence, employment, earnings, and common issues
  • Disability Studies Quarterly: first journal in the field of disabilities. This multidisciplinary journal covers emerging theoretical and practical knowledge concerning disability.
  • CAST is a nonprofit organization working to expand learning through the Universal Learning Design. 
Organizations for Visual Impairment
  • The American Foundation for the Blind teaches, connects, advocates and improves accessibility for those with visual impairment. Their website provides an excellent exapmle of web accessibility for users with visual disabilities. 
  • As the nation's largest provider of reading materials for the visually impaired, Brailleworks aims to make "The World a More Readable Place."  
  • The Lighthouse Guild provides vision and healthcare services, education, and community outreach to those with visual impairments and other disabilities 
  • The National Federation of the Blind is an organization created by the blind aiming to enhance the lives of the blind through a multitude of programs. 
  • The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired is an organization that supports those who provide services to those with visual impairments through publications, professional development, scholarships, and adovocacy 
  • The American Council of the Blind strive to create policies that provide opportunities to people with disabilities. 
Preparing for College
Click here to discover rights of students with disabilities as well as helpful steps for considering colleges, visiting, and enrolling. Additionally it includes useful software, websites, and apps for post-secondary students.
Scholarships for Disabled Students

Scholarships for the Visually Impaired
  • Career tips for college students during college up through graduation
  • We Connect Now links college students with disabilities to job opportunities
  • Cornell's Career Link Mentoring project program pairs disabled graduates with professionals in various fields to mentor as they find careers. 
  • Lime Connect is a not for profit organization that connects disabled college students  and alumni with scholarships, internships, and employment opportunities.
  • The US Department of Labor provides information for both disabled individuals looking for employment and those who are employed. 
Resources for College Students with Visual and Hearing Impairments
  • Guidelines for transitioning to college as well as helpful college resources for those with visual impairments
  • Advice for succeeding in college along with scholarship opportunities for visually impaired students
  • Pepnet provides options for free resources to help those with hearing impairments in postsecondary education
University of Miami Resources
  • The University of Miami has many resources for students with disabilities. Please see the Office of Disability's website for more information.
    • Once students are accepted, they must claim their disability to obtain access to the resources
  • The University of Miami Library has a CCTV scanner that students can use to enlarge anything from texts to pictures to diagrams. In addition, there is a Kurzeil 3000 text reader that will read aloud to students. Both of these are located in the assistive technology lab on the second floor. 
  • The University of Miami is one of the 120 members of HathiTrust. This enables all students access to HathiTrust's extensive digitized book collection, along with specialized features for those with print disabilities. 
  • The Camner Academic Resource Center, located in Suite 2400 of the Whitten University Center, offers peer tutoring in various subjects as well as learning specialists for all University of Miami students
  • Based at the University of Miami, CARD provides support and services for those with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities
  • Miami Upup educates students on guide dog training and standards
  • Toppel Career Center provides resources and assistance to students with disabilities in the search for internships and jobs. 
Florida Resources
Contact Information
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