Guide Dogs: Tech for All
Reading Time 3 mins
As you may know, a number of our people have taken part in various activities throughout 2021 to raise funds for our chosen charity partner, Guide Dogs. We’re incredibly proud to have surpassed our £30k donation target, having raised £35,214.
It’s rewarding to achieve this sizable donation, which will make a difference to the lives of people with sight loss. The iPad initiative ‘Tech for All’, is a great example of how Guide Dogs support those who need it most.
This scheme aims to improve a child’s development through assistive technology. Children aged 3-18 in the UK with a vision impairment can receive an Apple iPad or iPhone free of charge, to use outside of school.
Here, we share Will’s story on how ‘Tech for All’ has changed his life for the better.
Being a guide dog owner herself, Will’s mum, Zoe, was familiar with Guide Dogs. However, she wasn’t aware of the full range of support also available to her son Will, age 12, until her local council Sensory Team told her about the technology grants from Guide Dogs.
Will has bilateral congenital glaucoma and was used to working with an iPad at junior school, with help from his teachers. But when he started senior school we realised he needed the device at home too for homework and to learn skills for himself. The Birmingham Council Sensory Team told us about the grants from Guide Dogs and provided a recommendation to support our application.
The process was really easy and the communication with the Technology Team was great, they kept us informed throughout about the progress of our application. Will’s new iPad arrived in December 2020 and we’re already seeing the benefits.
He’s received some extra training on all the accessibility features from the Sensory Team, and I was able to listen in and learn lots too.
He doesn’t need to use voiceover or magnification as he can read the text, but he can pinch the screen to enlarge it whenever he needs to. He uses colour inverse, which makes the background black with white writing, as bright white screens can give him migraines.
The iPad has really helped with his transition to senior school and the increasing demands, such as doing homework. He’s also learning touch-typing and once he’s familiar with using the iPad and developed these skills he might decide to try a laptop with more specialist assistive tech software, such as zoom text.
Having an iPad has really helped increase Will’s independence. He doesn’t have to ask others to help him anymore. He can also keep in touch with all his friends from school, he uses FaceTime to speak to his family and enjoys playing games.
You can hear first-hand from Will on how an iPad from Guide Dogs has benefited his learning and development in this video.
Since January 2021, we’ve been busy planning and orchestrating activities to generate funds for the charity. As our fundraising has now ended, we can’t wait to see how our efforts will make a difference to the Guide Dogs community.