by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
People with vision loss can acquire computers and related technology through a variety of sources. One of these is your state’s Commission for the Blind or equivalent agency. Alternatively, an organization called Computers For The Blind (CFTB) has been offering computers for purchase at a reduced rate since 1995. Based in Texas, CFTB was founded by Robert “Bob” Langford, who was blinded in an accident at age 16. According to his biography on the CFTB website, he was “the first blind person to graduate from public high school in New Mexico and the first blind person to receive a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico. His degree included a triple major: Psychology, Social Work, and Education.” His group, now directed by Tanya Towndrow, receives donated desktops and laptops, refurbishes them, installs Windows 10 Pro, and ships them to anyone in the United States who is blind or visually impaired. They also offer computer training for first-time users. CFTB currently has a partnership with Vispero, (formerly Freedom Scientific), and a one-year license of JAWS screen reading software, ZoomText screen magnification software, or Fusion (a combination of both) is included with each purchase. According to CFTB’s pricing guide, computers range from $200 to $385, with upgrades costing from $10 to $50. CFTB has recently announced a discount of $150 available for individuals on all of its models. With this discount, their base model is available for $50. You can find out more in the links above, and here is the application to order a computer.