Leannda is on her way with (DJ) mix of tech support

Leannda Ward is pretty tech-savvy. The 30-year-old, who was born blind, has used digital devices since she was a child. During the lockdown, she even got herself some DJ CD decks and started mixing music at home in North East Lincolnshire. 

Image shows a laptop attached to DJ decks, people are dancing in the backgroundAlthough Leannda was comfortable using her new tablet, she says AbilityNet’s assessment and follow-up calls enabled her to customise the kit for her needs. 

Leannda received her device thanks to Digital Lifeline, a government scheme providing learning disabled people access to tablets. She got the tech through Foresight North East Lincolnshire, a charity that supports disabled people and where Leannda does regular arts and crafts sessions.

Leannda says: “I wasn’t nervous about getting the tablet, but it was still useful being trained to use it.” 

For support adapting technology call our helpline 0300 180 0028


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Braille support for an Android device

Having previously used Apple devices, Leannda says it was helpful to have advice on the Android operating system: “The barrier was going to Android from an Apple device, but once you get used to it, it’s fine.” Typing in Braille, she adds, is far better on an Android tablet. 

She also valued AbilityNet’s help in connecting her existing Bluetooth Braille keyboard to the tablet. She was pleased the tablet was pre-loaded with apps: “The email one was really useful to start using straight away.”

During our initial assessment, Leannda also said she wanted to use the tablet to play games for the blind and join in online forums. 

Our volunteers recommended the installation of BrailleBack, an accessibility app that enables Leannda to connect a refreshable Braille display to her Android device via Bluetooth. With BrailleBack, screen content appears on Leannda’s Braille display, and she navigates the tablet using the keys on the display.  

We also advised using settings like text-to-speech (if Leannda touches text on the screen, the tablet reads it out) and speech-to-text (when Leannda talks to the tablet, it writes her words). Other recommended settings enable Leannda to speak or type, and the tablet will do or find out what she asks (like sending messages or checking the weather).

A picture of the app store page for the Game Dice World
As for playing games, Leannda is currently enjoying Dice World, an accessible game for people with visual impairments.

The new tablet will also make it easier for Leannda to keep up with her voluntary role co-chairing and promoting a local group for the blind: “We organise social activities once a week…what I like about chairing the group is being able to get things organised.”

The tablet’s biggest benefit, she says, is the access to her online activities in one place: “Facebook is easier to use on the tablet than on my phone. Before, I might use it on my phone and use email on a computer, but now I have it all in one place.”

Digital Lifeline is an emergency response project delivering devices, data, and digital skills support to digitally excluded people with learning disabilities. It’s funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and delivered by Good Things Foundation in partnership with AbilityNet and Digital Unite. The project is also supported by Learning Disability England, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, self-advocates and other disability and digital inclusion organisations. Find out more in our impact report.

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