Sue’s Toolkit – 2 Year Later – Part 1

Allow me to start this page with a statement of fact: I am not normal. I do housework under duress. If God wanted me to cook, he would not have invented Chinese buffets and frozen lasagna.

In short, if you are looking for tips and equipment that will make cleaning and cooking easier for someone with a visual impairment, this page is not the place.

That place IS MaxiAids. They have a fantastic collection of adapted materials. Many of their products are designed to help with domestic drudgery…ah, chores. If you are in need of those sorts of products, MaxiAids is wonderful.

Oh, and by the way, none of these are advertisement or recommendations. All of this stuff I either use or, in the case of the MaxiAid stuff, had pointed out to me as a valuable resource. What fits my needs may not fit yours.

Also, if you want to buy any of those types of products, use them and write reviews, welcome guest authors! It just ain’t going to be me doing it.

[Lin/Linda here with a very red face! After all Sue’s fuss about my ‘grading’ her page, she caught me!  I’d forgotten to publish THIS page first.  Whoops!  There are a lot of things I could blame it on but I’ll spare you all.  Sorry, Sue.  You can fire me anytime.  ::grin::]

What I am going to do is do a brief rundown (apparently better than a run-over) of what I have used that has stood the test of time. What technology am I still using two years later?

Let us start with what I just ordered: mini monoculars. Yes, I have had several. The problems with them are 1) they don’t survive water – especially salt water – well and 2) they are not built to be chew toys. The last one I had got chewed to bits. Puppygirls strike again. The one immediately before that fell off a paddle board in the Bahamas. Several times in fact.

When not being gnawed or submerged, the mini monoculars are great for surveying your surroundings from a distance. They are good for street signs and identifying what is running across the field towards you. Yikes!

I bought a larger monocular. I also bought a small pair of binoculars. They were both too heavy to wear around my neck all the time.

What I would recommend more than anything is an iPad. My iPad may be my prize possession. With the zoom feature I can do scads of things! It is onto my iPad that I have downloaded all sorts of free apps including apps for major television stations.

I am not a big television fan. If it doesn’t have NCIS somewhere in the title, I probably don’t watch it. However, when I do want to watch a program, I can often stream an episode of something or other for free.

The really good thing about watching TV on the iPad is your ability to move the screen as close to your nose as you need to. Remember relative distance is a way to magnify. Also with the iPad you can replay a scene if you don’t quite get what happened.

I have talked about all sorts of apps that are on my iPad. Honestly, I may use the KNFB Reader occasionally and NaturalReader occasionally but not all that often. My eyes are still strong enough I can use the iPad camera with a free magnifying app to read menus and other short stuff. [click here for a good article about the features of the iPhone and iPad that make them so good for those with low vision.]

If I want to read a book, I use BARD, also an app on my iPad.  Remember you have to be declared legally blind to get BARD. If you are not legally blind you can buy e-books and zoom them. [Read more about BARD and e-books in Sue’s Page Around the World of Books.]

I am over my 500 words so I will just quickly mention two other things. The first one would be Zoom Text. If you are working on a desktop computer – or at least using a large monitor – ZoomText makes life much easier. Navigation can be a bear since half the page is off the edges, but at least you can see the half that is on the screen.

Last but not least is my CCTV. I use that nearly every day. Without it, I feel like I lost an arm. I can write checks and notes using it. I can read articles for pages. It gets used.

Once again, my CCTV was $3500. Mine was paid for because they wanted to keep me working. You may not have that opportunity. However, spare $3 or 4K? The investment, in my mind, would be worth it. [There are SO MANY CCTV products that we can’t review them at this time.  Search the Internet, ask your Low Vision Specialist or other resources.]

That is it. That is barebones what I actually use after two years being a VIP. Hope the info helps.

Oops! PS I forgot my Max TV glasses! No TV but they are great for doing classroom observations, seeing my students in class and watching movies and live theater performances.

written Jan. 31st, 2018

Next: Sue’s Toolkit – 2 Years Later – Part 2



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