Friday, August 12, 2011

The Price of Accessibility

We are in the age of technology- constantly transforming and improving, while trying to balance complexity, affordability and performance. What keeps the common technology somewhat affordable? Well, there are many things taken into consideration, but demand and competition probably drive down prices most. So how does a relatively small population, such as visually impaired children and adults, gain access to the accessible technology they need to function as their sighted peers? The answer, most don't.

How many blind children are introduced to a computer that is fully accessible to them at the same age of their sighted peers (which is now 4-5 years old)? Not many. Why? My experience is that many adults feel the need is not there- at least not enough to spend almost $3000 on a braille style keyboard with refreshable braille- a strip of movable braille dots that present the text on screen in braille to the user to feel. Or not enough that every home of a child with visual impairments can own their own braille embossing printer or PIAF, a device that creates raised line drawings using special paper, acting much like a copier. I must express my strong opinion that the NEED IS THERE! So how much do you think it would cost for my family, or any family with a blind child, to purchase the accessible "equivalent" technology many sighted families use in their own homes every day? I present to you the large numbers and a comparison...

SIGHTED- Price $                                    BLIND-  Price $ 
Inkjet Printer (All-in-One)  62.00                 Braille Embossing Printer     5995.00
Monitor   169.00                                         Speakers & Headphones         48.00
Keyboard & Mouse       29.00                    Refreshable Braille Keyboard       2795.00
TOTAL: It costs a visually impaired person on average
$8838.00 total -and $8578.00 more than a sighted person!!
Please note that this is strictly my personal experience and products (and therefore their prices) are based on what I found would be best for my daughter. There are other products and other options, however I want my daughter to have what will be most beneficial to her!

If you would like to learn more about technology for the visually impaired, please contact us at Sensory Sun! If you would like to donate directly to our mission of purchasing the items above for my daughter, please donate using the PayPal button below. All donations are appreciated, however please be aware that we are not a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your donations are not tax deductible. For investor information with Sensory Sun Educational Technologies, a registered small business, please contact us by email at!

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