Our Favorite School Supplies for the Visually Impaired

School Supplies

It’s back-to-school time! Whether you’re excited about a new year in the classroom, or a little nervous, either way, the start of school marks a significant transition time. Having the right school supplies can make that transition go more smoothly by giving you a feeling of preparedness and making the completion of your assignments faster and easier.

ILA has a variety of supplies that can be used in the classroom and at home, as you work towards accomplishing your next learning milestone.


Calculators come in all kinds of models, from desktop to pocket sized. Math functions can vary from standard to scientific, and features range from high contrast, large buttons to the ability to talk and read aloud.

For someone who needs a basic, inexpensive calculator, the Desk Model Large Display is your best choice. This large calculator is 6×8 inches. The module that holds the numbers can fold up and down to position the .62 inch-high buttons at an angle that is optimal for visibility and use.

The best of both worlds is found in the SciPlus 2300. It’s the only large display, talking, scientific calculator that is designed specifically with low vision, visually impaired, and Blind users in mind. For privacy, both entries and results are spoken through earbuds, which are included. And despite being packed with so many features, the entire unit only weighs 20 ounces.

Scanning Pens, Magnifiers, and Readers

Text scanning pens, magnifiers, and screen readers help you read your assignments whether they are in print or on the computers.

The C-Pen scanning pen is designed to speak back any printed text that you trace. You just roll over a line of printed material and the pen will read it. Captured lines of text can be uploaded to your computer. And the pen works for both right and left-handed people.

As an inexpensive option, if you have low vision, you can use a simple page magnifier. The 2x Full Page Unframed Magnifier is a great low-cost choice. It’s 7”x10” and is best for viewing small print in books or on maps.

For work at the computer, an optical character recognition magnifier gives you the best results. The Mercury 12” Windows Magnifier with OCR is extensively enhanced with digital magnification and uses text-to-speech to convert printed documents to spoken documents. The magnifier is big enough to scan an entire page at a time, yet folds down flat for ease of portability.

Keyboards and Labels

High-contrast, large print keyboards like the VisionBoard is helpful for anyone with low vision or who is unfamiliar with the keyboard. The keys are also oversized, making them easier to see and giving ample spacing to minimize mistakes from missed keystrokes.

Braille Keytop Stick-Ons are an affordable way to adapt the keyboard you already have. The braille stickers fit on IBM-style keyboards and also display high-contrast numbers and letters that are double the size of the standard keytop display.

No matter what you need to adapt or improve to get your schoolwork done, ILA has products that keep you active and independent.