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Smartphone Apps Helps Visually Impaired

Technology is opening up a new world for young students who are visually impaired.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Technology is opening up a new world for young students who are visually impaired. It's phone apps that are making it easier to communicate whether its texting or on Facebook. Students say these advances have allowed them to stay on top of both socializing and school work. Texting wasn't always this convenient for Freddy Marcos.

"Before the iPhone, I couldn't text. I couldn't really read anything. Somebody had to read them to me all the time," said Freddy Marcos, Student. 

Marcos is visually impaired, but thanks to technology he's able to be more independent. He uses an iPhone app called "Voiceover."

"It's basically a text to speech device that allows me to scroll or move my fingers across the screen," said Marcos. 

He says before he couldn't stay on top of what was going on.

"Facebook wise, staying in touch with others, keeping up with things that were going on," said Marcos. 

Now, he can. Kelcey Schlichting also knows how valuable technology is to staying connected.

"People were having to read my texts, I definitely feel like I can keep my conversations more private," said Kelcey Schlichting, Student. 

She uses a braille display and iPad.

"It'll connect to the iPad through bluetooth and I can read whatever is on the screen here on the braille display," said Schlichting. 

With both devices, she's able to stay on top of emails and her school work.

"I can stay socially connected along with staying on top of things academically," said Schlichting. 

The students taught themselves how to use the apps. Leaders with the Joplin Association for the Blind say the improvements in technology have also provided easier ways to teach their students.
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