Suggested Adaptive Tools and Materials
for Low Vision Students In Algebra and
Math Materials in Large Print
Large Print Algebra or Geometry Textbook with high quality contrast for text, graphics,
and pictures. All worksheets, reviews, tests, etc. should be either enlarged to the preferred
size of the student, or regular print should be used with proper magnification in the form of
a stand magnifier, glasses, CCTV, etc.
Basic Tools or Technology
The student will need Black Line Paper in a color contrast combination and line width
suitable for individual student needs. A Desktop Computer or Laptop is also strongly
Large Display Scientific/Graphing Calculator Solutions
I have four suggestions:
1. TI Graphing Calculator ViewScreen Enlargement Solution TI makes a
ViewScreen package for the following calculators: TI-80, TI-81, TI-82, TI-83, TI-85,
TI-86, and TI-92. When I purchased the TI-82 with the following set-up, it was
approximately $300. It has worked very well with my low vision students. They use
a ViewScreen calculator connected to a ViewScreen LCD display panel placed on a
light box.Call TI at 1-800-TI-CARES or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can give you
a list of vendors from whom you can make your purchase.You'll want to order the
ViewScreen package, which includes a ViewScreen display panel (normally sits on
top of any standard overhead projector), a ViewScreen calculator, a unit-to-unit
cable, an AC adapter, a guidebook, and a carrying case. [You may already have
this available as a teacher package.] Then you need a light box (instead of the
overhead projector) for a light source to place the display panel on. I ordered mine
from Logan Electric Specialty Mfg. Co., 1431 West Hubbard Street, Chicago, Illinois
60622 (312) 226-5888. However, we originally used an old Lite-Brite, removed the
black panel, and replaced it with a translucent one.The entire ViewScreen package
(as outlined above) and the Tru-View Light Box by Logan fit into the attractive and
comfortably designed carrying case, and thus makes a light-weight easily portable
package, which is very important for my students.An alternative solution might be to
use a regular TI graphing calculator on a color CCTV. This has worked well for
many students, and is an inexpensive solution if they already have a CCTV
available for their use. TI-CARES Educational Support Programs
P.O. Box 650311, MS 3962
Dallas, TX 75265
Texas Instrument ViewScreen Graphing Calculator packages can be a screen
enlargement solution for low vision students. Borrow calculators, at no charge, for
you to examine before making a purchasing decision.Logan Electric Specialty Mfg.
1431 West Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: 312-226-5888, Fax: 312-226-4217
Tru-View Light Box can be used to backlight TI ViewScreens providing a convenient
and effective way of enlarging the TI series of graphing calculators for low vision
2. The VisAble is the only large display scientific calculator made as a one-piece
portable unit. However, it does not have graphing capabilities. It is manufactured by:
450 Matheson Blvd. E., Unit 67
Mississauga, On. L4Z 1R5 CANADA
Phone: 800-353-1107, Fax: (905) 568-9925
VisAble Large Display Scientific Calculator
1 unit - $269
5 units - $235 each
10 units - $219 eachFor more details, see my FEATURES OF THE LARGE
DISPLAY SCIENTIFIC CALCULATORS
3. If neither of the above meet your student's needs, I would suggest that you check
out Scientific Notebook (SN) (a software package). If your student has a laptop,
SN can be installed on it, and then you actually have a very portable device which is
more than just a graphing scientific calculator. SN is also a math/text processor, so
your student could do all of his assignments, calculations, and graphs in one
document directly on the laptop. It has onscreen magnification up to 400%, or
Zoomtext may be used. In addition, two large print fonts are available from MAVIS,
which will allow further onscreen magnification and large print hard copies.
Download a free 30-day trial version. Purchase price: $129 schools or $99 student
version. MacKichan Software, Inc.
19307 8th Avenue, Suite C
Poulsobo, WA 98370-7370
Website: http://www.mackichan.com With Scientific Notebook, create attractive
documents with text, mathematics, and graphics, have it compute the solutions,
import data from your graphing calculator, connect to the Internet and download
4. Professor Goldstein's TI-83 Trainer is another program with:
Trainer is another software program with:
o Complete TI-83 calculator emulation
o Separate high-resolution color text and graphics windows
o Supports TI-GRAPH LINK
o Cable for data transfer with TI-83 Graphing Calculator
Goldstein Educational Technologies
4 Bittersweet Drive
Doylestown, PA 18901
Download a free 30 day-trial version. Single-copy price is $49.50; Site-license price
Talking Scientific/Graphing Calculator
Talking Scientific Calculator. Your low vision student may prefer a talking scientific
calculator, and although there are many such calculators on the market today, my
preference is an ORION TI-34 available from:
3422 Old Capitol Trail, Suite 585
Wilmington, DE 19808
Phone: 888-60-ORBIT, FAX 888-606-7248
Talking Graphing Calculator. The Accessible Graphing Calculator (AGC) is a self-voicing
graphing scientific calculator. Unlike a hand-held calculator it displays results through
speech and sounds as well as visually presenting numbers and graphs. This program is
intended to have capabilities comparable to a full-featured hand-held scientific and
statistical graphing calculator. The Accessible Graphing Calculator has
a Scientific Keypad Calculator,
an expression Evaluator that includes the ability to define or import constants and
two "data set" pages that permit the user to compute expressions, import and edit
data tables, and compute a number of standard statistical properties,
the ability to plot either data set, their sum or difference, or their first derivative,
several display options for tone-graph audio plots,
the ability to perform operations on matrices,
and the ability to be self-voicing.
1853 SW Airport Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97330
Drawing Board or Pad (to protect desk from compass point), Compass, Straightedge,
and a Protractor.
I prefer the Braille/Print Protractor from APH. The student can easily draw an angle of a
certain measure using the protractor and any pen or pencil. I also wrote the teacher's
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
Phone: 800-223-1839, FAX: 502-899-2274
Large Print Ruler, can be of various lengths, should have metric and English markings.
(Yard sticks and Meter sticks are also available.)
Braille/Print Protractor from APH is my preference. It can be used to measure angles.
Other possible sources for large print measuring tools:
Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc.
890 Fams Court
East Meadow, NY 11554-5101
Phone: 800-454-3175, FAX: 516-292-2522
Independent Living Aids, Inc.
27 East Mall
Plainview, NY 11803
Phone: 800-537-2118, FAX: 516-752-3135
The Lighthouse Inc.
36-20 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 800-829-0500, FAX: 718-786-5620
Maxi Aids & Appliances for Independent Living
42 Executive Blvd.
P.O. Box 3209
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Phone: 800-522-6294, FAX 516-752-0689
Student-Generated Algebraic and Coordinate Geometry
Large Print Graph Paper or The Graphic Aid for Mathematics from APH
Large Print Graph Paper is available from APH. They have various sizes. The teacher
can also enlarge regular print graph paper or create graph paper to the student's exact
The Graphic Aid for Mathematics is excellent for graphing algebraic equations, but can
be used in geometry as well, especially coordinate geometry. It consists of a cork
composition board mounted with a rubber mat, which has been embossed with a grid of
1/2-inch squares. My students use two rubber bands held down by thumbtacks for the x
and y-axes. Then points are plotted with pushpins at the appropriate coordinates. Points
are connected with rubber bands (for lines) or flat spring wires (for circles and arcs).
Sighted math teachers can even interpret the student-made graphs correctly. You can also
make your own rubber graph board by affixing a piece of raised line graph paper (also
from APH) to a corkboard and proceeding as outlined above. Many low vision students
prefer this method to using print graph paper.
I am a firm believer in the use of manipulatives (for the sighted as well as the blind). The
following manipulatives do not need to be adapted for the blind. I have accumulated mine
over the years from various sources.
2-D Manipulatives are especially useful for teaching transformations (translations,
reflections, and rotations) and similarity. I always have a box of triangles and quadrilaterals
of different classifications close at hand and several regular polygons with five or more
Paper Folding is extremely useful in teaching symmetry.
3-D Manipulatives are an absolute necessity when studying polyhedrons and other three-
dimensional figures. In my experience, interpreting tactile 3-D drawings on a 2-D plane
using perspective can sometimes be difficult for the average sighted person and thus more
difficult for the low vision person. I have boxes of various 3-D solids including a
tetrahedron, octahedron, hexahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron and right and
oblique prisms, which are a little more difficult to find. A net is a pattern that can be cut out
and folded into a three-dimensional figure (solid), and these can be either a great deal of
fun or a matter of frustration for a low vision student depending on the student's spatial
orientation abilities. However, some low vision students are even better able to
conceptualize than their fully sighted counterparts.
Math Graphs Made by Others for Students
In addition to making clear, high contrast graphics in the appropriate size for the low vision
student, I sometimes recommend the following types of graphics. In addition to being a
form of tactile graphic, these graphics also provide a bold black line outline of each
graphic. These can be especially beneficial to the student who is in the process of
changing media, who uses both Braille and print media, or who simply prefers that their
large print drawings also be raised line drawings.
Graphs Made using a Tactile Imaging Machine (or "Toaster") and "Capsule" Paper: easy
for mere mortals (I am no artist.), quick, and of especially high quality for geometric
"Capsule paper is a special paper onto which hundreds of millions of thermally-foamed
microcapsules have been uniformly coated. These thermally foamed microcapsules have
been developed for the purpose of stereo printing. While moving through the stereo copier,
the capsule paper is irradiated with light energy and black portions of the copy absorb the
energy and swell outward to form a stereo (raised line) copy." - taken from the description
of "Matsumoto's Stereo Copying System for the blind."
We use different types of "capsule" paper at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually
Impaired to make raised-line graphics. We have a Matsumoto's stereo copier from JP
Trading because it was the first on the market. However, several other companies have
since developed their own copiers and paper at a considerably lower price. The various
"capsule" papers may be used interchangeably with different copiers; however, there is
some variability in feel, durability, flexibility, cost, etc. We prefer the paper available from
American Thermoform at the present time. This particular paper is whiter than some, and
allows for an excellent black on white contrast for the low vision student. Angles and figure
markings made with the "toaster" method come out uniform, crisp, and tactually clear and
concise as well.
Below is a list of three sources of which I am aware and each company's specific name for
their copier and paper:
American Thermoform Corporation
1758 Brackett Street
La Verne, CA 91750
Phone: 800-331-3676 or 909-593-6711 FAX: 909-593-8001
Swell-Form Graphics Machine, Swell-Touch Paper, and thermoform machines.
6245 King Road
Loomis, CA 95650
Phone: 800-722-3393, FAX: 916-652-7296
Pictures in a Flash (PIAF), "capsule" paper.
75 Carver Ave.
Westwood, NJ 07675
Phone: 800-948-8453, FAX: 201-722-1881
Tactile Image Enhancer, thermo paper, flexi-paper, and other tactile image enhancement
Susan A. Osterhaus, M.Ed.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, TX 78756
Phone: (512) 206-9305
Fax: (512) 206-9453