At IPAT, we help people every week that have just experienced a new vision loss or their vision loss has progressed to where they need help beyond standard correction. Usually their first question is: “What does North Dakota offer in the area of low vision and blindness services? ”
For today’s post, I thought it might be helpful to provide you with a list of low vision/blindness services to get you started on your journey. As always this list is not exhaustive. Although some of these links are geared toward North Dakotans, most other states offer similar services. Contacting your state’s assistive technology program should get you started.
This program provides telephone equipment to qualifying ND residents who cannot use a standard telephone. Phones for vision loss may have features such as large buttons, keys that echo the numbers dialed, enlarged screens, and talking Caller ID.
This program provides telecommunications technology and services designed for qualifying North Dakotans with combined vision and hearing loss. Equipment includes braille devices, computers, mobile devices, phones, signalers and software. The iCanConnect program is available in all 50 states.
IPAT has two demonstration centers in Bismarck and Fargo where you can learn about and try vision equipment that might work for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
For those of you who would like to try equipment in your home environment and community, IPAT has a short-term equipment rental program, so you can try before you buy. Contact us to schedule a rental.
Other ND Services
NDVS/SB offers a full range of services for children and adults to include “individualized instruction from instructors who are certified and/or specialize in specific areas such as braille, assistive technology, daily living skills, career development, and orientation/mobility”.
This program assists North Dakotans with disabilities “to achieve competitive employment and increased independence through rehabilitation services.” This includes individuals with blindness and low vision and may include adaptive equipment and services to help you achieve your employment goal. Contact your regional office for more information.
The ND Older Blind Program provides services to those age 55 and older who have vision loss. They may be able to teach you new ways to perform tasks such as reading, telling time, mobility around your home and community, homemaking tasks, and more. Contact your regional office for more information.
The ND Lions program was created to provide video magnifiers under a lease agreement to eligible applicants.
The Talking Books Program provides qualifying individuals free access to talking books and magazines, as well as, the accompanying hardware and software needed. The Talking Books program is administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress.
Dakota Radio Information Services (DRIS) broadcasts a nationally syndicated radio program twenty-four hours a day on a free closed-circuit radio to qualifying individuals who live in the broadcast area.
North Dakota Vision Vendors
Located in Mandan, this store offers many products for people with low vision and blindness. Contact them at 701-214-4785.
This St. Paul, Minnesota company comes to ND on a regular basis and will provide demonstrations of equipment for people with low vision and blindness. Contact Terry at 1-800-871-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based out of South Dakota, this company will provide low vision and blindness equipment demonstrations in ND on request. Contact Patrick Czerny at 1-800-645-0673 or email@example.com.
Accessible Reading Services
LA is a low-cost, membership based talking book program for individuals who have print disabilities. This program has downloads of many textbooks available. These can be played with free PC software, a DAISY compliant music, voice and book player, or on a free app for the iPad, iPod or iPhone.
“Bookshare provides the world’s largest online library of accessible reading materials for people with print disabilities.” Qualifying US students can receive free membership while other qualifying individuals can sign up for a fee. The Bookshare membership provides unlimited access to accessible books, textbooks, newspapers and magazines, as well as, reading software.
AFB is a national program that provides a variety of programs and services for people with vision loss.
NFBND provides a variety of programs and services to people with vision loss in ND and nationally.
NDAB offers many services for people who are blind or who have low vision such as summer camps, sports and recreation events, scholarships, and advocacy. They are affiliated with the American Council for the Blind.