How to prepare to receive a Computer
If you or someone you know is interested in requesting a computer from us, there are several important tasks that should be taken before applying and receiving the computer. Starting to use a computer as a blind individual is not a simple task. There are many things to learn and a lot of it at the beginning will require another person as a guide. After you have reviewed this page, follow the link at the end to move to the next step.
Requirements to receive a computer
Our computers are available to anyone who has a visual impairment that prevents them from using a computer without the help of software that enlarges the screen or reads the screen. We also offer grants to individuals who are currently on SSI or SSDI, as well as to parents of a child with a visual impairment. We require a copy of the social security award letter to be eligible. A letter of recommendation is required for a child with a visual impairement from the student's Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). Please ask about this grant when submitting your application to our Customer Service.
One of the most important things that a person applying for a computer will need is a friend. We ask that every applicant have a mentor or guide to help them get the equipment put together and start the first time. This person can be a family member, neighbor, caretaker, or anyone else that can commit the time to working with the client. Our Customer Service staff will ask who this person is, and they will be another contact that we have if there is anything needed. Also, if there are any technical needs or problems, it is best for this person to be present when communicating with our Support staff.
Get some information
The next thing that should be done before getting the computer is doing some research on the accessibility features available on Microsoft's Windows OS and other accessibility programs available. It might be good to ask around and see what programs other visually impared persons are using. We ship our computers with Windows 10, which has quite a few accessibility features pre-installed. For low-vision clients we install Magic, a screen magnification program, and for blind clients, we install Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) and a JAWS demo, both screen readers. These are only some of many programs designed to improve usability on the computer. Check with your state's agency to see if they recommend other programs. When you speak with our Customer Service, we will discuss with you the options you have from us, as well as some other programs that we recommend. Our computers also ship with a trial version of Talking Typing Teacher, a program that teaches typing on the keyboard. There is also an offer to buy the full program for a discounted price. Make sure before you order the computer that you can get the programs that you need.
Get your home ready
There are several physical requirements to be able to use a computer. First, you will need a space to place the system. A desktop will take up more space than a laptop, and once installed, it is not easy to move around to another place. You will need power outlets to plug the system in, and we recommend a surge protecting power strip. This will protect your system from most power related problems, short of a lightning strike. These can be purchased from most computer-part stores for $10-15. A laptop will need one outlet, and a desktop will need two or three. You will also need an Internet Provider. The computer we ship out will be internet ready, but you will need to get the internet plan and equipment to hook it up.
Find out what we will send you
After you have read and understood everything on this page, you can head to the next step.
Please be sure you do the things listed on this page. Again, starting to use a computer for the first time is not going to be easy. Dr. Langford, our Founder, who learned how to use the computer himself as a blind young man gives this advice: "When you are blind, learning the computer is a lot of work. It takes real dedication. For those like me who put the effort and time into it, it is a tremendous miracle."
Follow the following link to move to the next step: Click here to continue