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COMPUTERS: INSTRUCTION AND TUTORIALS

This list of instructional and tutorial materials for visually handicapped computer users is as complete as I could make it, but fortunately the creators of the material are continually producing revisions and additions to their offerings.

ADA Consulting, Inc. has four tutorials, covering "family fun," Windows 95, speech-friendly applications, and the use of manuals, tip sheets, shortcuts, etc. The tutorials are available in regular print, large print, braille, diskette or cassette. The price of each is $12.95 plus shipping.
Linwood Gallagher
ADA Consulting, Inc.
Box 3126
Carson City, NV 89701

The Bartimaeus Group has an interactive CD-ROM tutorial for Windows 95 used with a screen reader; NavigAide covers the basic functions of Windows 95 as well as how to use Windows from the keyboard alone.

"The Blind Programming Site--Resources for Blind Programmers," the creation of Dennis Brown, has valuable links to "speech-friendly tutorials, help files, manuals, documentation, and tools on just about any programming-related topic" including, among many others, C Plus Plus, Linux, Java and HTML.

Books24x7.com is a subscription service that offers "full electronic versions of top technical books, fully searchable and consistently presented." A subscription costs $299.00 per year and a free trial is available.

BRL, Inc.: tutorials on Windows 95/98, Word 2000, a list of blind email addresses, disks of freeware and shareware, a guide to keyboard shortcuts in Windows, and PCBraille (braille translator for WordPerfect 5.1):
110 Commerce Drive, Suite 210
Fayetteville, GA 30214
tel: 770-716-9222
email: brlinc@mindspring.com

CakeTalking is a tutorial combined with scripts for JAWS for Windows designed to give blind users complete access to Cakewalk Pro Audio from Dancing Dots.

The Carroll Center (MA) offers online distance computer training.

Columbia Lighthouse has a tutorial called "Opening Windows 95" consisting of three cassettes and a workbook diskette for $59.00.
Columbia Lighthouse
202-462-2900, extension 3004
202-462-4784
email: tutorials@clb.org

Computing Out Loud, created by Susan Fulton, is "intended to help people using speech recognition software for Windows, whatever the variety, and to do so without the filters of vendors." The section "Do you need speech recognition?" is full of excellent advice and prudent cautions.

CrissCross Technologies has tutorials for Windows 95 and 3.x, Microsoft Word and the Internet.

Justin Daubenmire has an extensive on-line tutorial for blind programmers who want to learn Visual Basic.

Dawnbug (Disability Advice Welfare Network Blind Users Group) has three moderately-priced tutorials designed for blind people: "A Basic Guide for Windows 98," "A Comprehensive Guide to Microsoft Word 97," and "A Basic Guide to E-mails and the Internet."

DB Techies is a mailing list for blind, deaf and partially sighted people where they can talk about new equipment and get help with the technical troubles of old equipment. To subscribe, go to their web site or send an email to: dbtechies-subscribe@topica.com

Desktalk has "Mouse to Keys" manuals (in Braille, large print and tape) for Windows 95, Word 97, Excel 97 and Access 97.

Disability Specialtys is a reseller of a large number of tutorials from diverse sources, as well as a wide variety of other products for blind and visually impaired people. Their catalog is downloadable.

Empowerment Zone has hundreds of links to downloadable tutorials on an extensive range of computer applications (plus a huge collection of other information resources for the blind).

Help-Site is a collection of almost 1,000 links to online manuals and tutorials for a wide range of operating systems and programs. Not all of the links are still active, and some of the active sites are not easy to navigate, but there is much here that is both useful and accessible.

Freedom Scientific has several new tutorials for its JAWS screen reader:
"Word 8 Fundamentals with JAWS for Windows",
"Internet Explorer 4.01 with JAWS for Windows",
"Internet Explorer 5.0 with JAWS for Windows",
"Outlook 2000 with JAWS for Windows", and
"Eudora 4.2 with JAWS for Windows."

Hogan Books offers free online editions of computer and internet books, with 800 titles available. You can download a browsable list or search the catalog online. A search on "HTML," for example, turned up eleven offerings.

intelinfo.com has a huge list of sources of free computer and information technology books, downloadable in a variety of formats. The actual sites from which the books are downloadable differ greatly in their accessibility, but many are easily navigable.

"Java Speechlet is a way for blind people to learn how to program Java even though most courses and textbooks are heavily graphic-based."

KnowWare Publishing has downloadable tutorials for Win9x and Word 97.

The Land-Grant Training Alliance offers online tutorials for about 25 of the most commonly used software programs. The tutorials are designed for sighted people and use screen shots extensively, but the text itself is so clear and well organized that the tutorials may also be useful to blind computer users. There is also an online class on making web sites universally accessible.

"Learn Keys: Verbal Keyboard Feedback," from the American Printing House, provides spoken keyboard feedback, allowing new users to explore an unfamiliar keyboard without accidentally starting special menus or modes.

"Listening In" is a bi-monthly series from CrossCross Technologies, featuring short tutorials on Windows and Windows applications with the screen reader user in mind.

"Listening" tutorials: Tecso, Inc. (Montreal, Quebec) produces a series of interactive tutorials covering "Listening to Me," "Listening to the Internet for Me," "Listening to Word for Me," "Listening to Word," "Listening to the Internet," "Listening to Windows 98," "Listening to Windows 98-Upgrade" and "Listening to Windows 95." The kits include a manual in large print, braille, audio and electronic formats and a tactile guide showing the various screen layouts. The tutorials are distributed in many countries and in a several languages.

Dean Martineau has compiled "One on One: A Directory of Adaptive Technology Trainers for Blind Computer Users" (Boston, MA: National Braille Press, 2000). The directory is available in braille, large print and disk, and costs $12.

Microsoft's Accessibility site has a catalog of aids, accessible documentation, keyboard assistance, technical support, and research; step-by-step guides, tips and tricks, and resources.

Microsoft Guide to Windows 95 Keyboard Commands, in Grade 2 Braille, one volume. Available from BRL, Inc., 800-407-5839; e-mail: brlinc@mindspring.com. Price: $25.00.

Mouse to Keys is a series of reference manuals for keyboard access to Windows 95, Word 97, Excel 97 and Access 97, designed for people using screen readers or magnifiers; available in large print, tape or braille.

Cathy Anne Murtha conducts on-line training courses for blind people in a wide variety of computer applications, including Word, Excel and HTML.

The National Association of State Directors of Special Education offers more than 20 multimedia distance learning courses dealing with assistive technology. They are designed for sighted people.

The National Braille Press produces books on computer subjects in braille and other formats, as well as a series of braille keyboard shortcut reference cards for ten or so of the most popular consumer applications.

One on One Computer Training.

Overbrook School for the Blind: has many links to good tutorials.

Project Assist sells excellent and inexpensive computer tutorials keyed to specific general-purpose programs and specific adaptive programs.

Protonic.com is "an online community which provides technical support to computer users for free." The site is all text and completely accessible.

Quick-Scrybe (Northridge, CA) produces a variety of brailled material, including user's manuals for Creative Labs Awe 64 Gold and the Adaptec EasyCD Pro.

SATIS: "Software and Tools Improving the Screen" (for people with low vision), prepared by the German Retinitis Pigmentosa Association, consists of public domain or shareware software and hints for customizing standard programs. An extensive manual has been translated into English (on the web); the software is on seven disks.

"Talking Typer," from the American Printing House, is a typing tutor using synthesized speech.

MarvelSoft produces the Talking Typing Teacher, which, according to its creator, "is an interactive program for Windows that teaches keyboarding skills. All directions, posture tips, drills and games are narrated entirely with pre-recorded human dialog [rather than synthesized speech] (as well as shown on-screen). Full support for large-print users, multiple student access, and the ability to create customized lessons makes TTT an invaluable teaching tool for individuals and professionals alike." MarvelSoft also sells the Talking Toolbox, a talking word processor, an address manager, a phone dialer, a calculator and an alarm clock. All are self-voicing.

Top Dot Enterprises produces taped tutorials and a bimonthly magazine, "Sound Computing" in cassette and Real Audio formats; they also sell adaptive hardware and software.

A Verbal View of Windows XP, written by Peter Duran, is a comprehensive tutorial, screen reader-independent, designed for beginner and intermediate users. It is available in print ($95), large print ($130), braille ($130), cassette ($95) or email ($55) formats.

Sarah Morley has created WinGuide: Windows Concepts Training and Documentation: Guides and Courses on Windows for Blind and Visually Impaired Users and other Professionals. Her site also has links to many U.K. sources of tutorials and information.
Her book "Windows 95 Explained for Blind and Visually Impaired Users" is available from National Braille Press (in braille, disk, cassette or print formats), as is a set of Windows 95 braille and tactile diagrams (both for $25.00).

Training guides for Kurzweil 3000, version 5 (CD-ROM format) and textHelp, version 5 (on diskettes) have been created by Marlene McIntosh of Cambrian College (Ontario, CA). Both guides include practice exercises and answer files; the Kurzweil guide costs $25.00 and the Texthelp guide costs $20.00.
Marlene McIntosh
Cambrian College
The Glenn Crombie Centre for Disability Services
1400 Barrydowne Rd
Sudbury, ON P3A 3V8
(705) 566-8101 x. 7219
E-mail: mrmcintosh@cambrianc.on.ca

John Wilson has written a "From-the-Keyboard" series of manuals/tutorials in electronic text form for five different off-the-shelf print scanning programs for visually impaired persons. Each manual is self-contained with theoretical explanations and step-by-step examples of the various procedures of scanning and customizing the software for optimum performance for blind people. Wilson covers TextBridge (two versions), OmniPage, ReadIRIS and TypeReader. He also offers similar tutorials for Word 97; for accessing the internet; for audio playing, copying and sound editing from the keyboard; for the Nero Burning-ROM compact disk creation program; and for Excel, Windows 2000 and XP. Prices are 15 Pounds, UK, apiece.

The Web Design group offers material on a wide range of HTML-related topics, all in easily accessible web pages. The materials include web authoring guides, links to HTML tools, FAQ's and tutorials on design elements.

Here is a very basic introduction to searching the net for visually handicapped users.

A number of periodicals dealing with computers are available in accessible formats:


The proceedings of several regular conferences are good sources of news about adaptive computer programs and equipment:

International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs.

California State University, Northridge: Center On Disabilities sponsors the annual "Technology and Persons with Disabilities" Conference; proceedings of the 2002, 2001, 2000,1999, 1998 and 1997 Conferences are available on-line.


The best sources of information about adaptive computers are blind users themselves. There are groups of blind and visually handicapped computer users in:


Training in the use of adaptive computer programs is available in Wisconsin, from:

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