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Explore the Wonders of Audio Description!

Audio description provides verbal descriptions of visual elements of a movie, television show, or other videos. These elements include unspoken words on the screen, descriptions of the setting, and details about characters’ non-verbal actions, facial expressions, dress, etc.

Audio description (AD) is built into the video. In professional AD, the AD voice is usually different than that of the actors, and the description is inserted between the dialogue.

Not only does this rich source of information help blind/low vision individuals enjoy the show more, it is great for everyone. I’m typically sighted, and I LOVE having audio description.

AD can be great for any videos you watch:

  • When a teacher assigns a video, ask that you receive an audio described version. If the teacher doesn’t know what you’re talking about, ask him/her to contact the Bridges Helpdesk and we’ll show them how to find or make what you need!
  • “How to” videos on the internet
  • Movies and shows you watch for recreation

Warning: There is a BUNCH of information below. Please don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t hesitate to contact us about AD or anything else. Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

What is available in audio description?

Of course, this information changes all the time: especially with regard to television and movies. However, here are a few sources to get you started:

Now, where to get it? Here are a few sources:

Free videos

Free audio only

Fee-based video

  • Cable: Major cable television providers offer audio description as a service. Please note that AD will only work when the original show has been made with AD. Check out Xfinity/Comcast’s accessibility page, which includes a video about AD (also called video description):
  • Amazon Prime described videos
  • Netflix AD information
  • Hulu AD information
  • Disney+
    • All new, original Disney+ shows have AD
    • AD has been added to many older movies and shows
    • All Pixar movies are now audio described
    • Many Disney movies are also described
    • Note: The free and accessible Disney Movies Anywhere app has been discontinued, and its replacement, the Movies Anywhere app, does NOT support audio description

Holiday audio description offerings

Contact us

Again, please follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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Controlling the Chat in Zoom

Have you ever felt bombarded by your screen reader voicing chat messages during Zoom meetings?

Are you missing lesson content because the chats never seem to stop?

Well, here is an easy solution—one that puts YOU in control of the chatbox!

1.    Download the Zoom desktop client.

On a computer, you can use the internet or the Zoom app to join a meeting. However, if you join through the Zoom app, you will have the control to mute and unmute the Zoom chat. It also gives you the opportunity to control other Zoom alerts.

2.    Accessing control over Zoom alerts

Make sure that your screen reader is on.

Open the Zoom app (you can get to it quickly by typing the Windows key and typing the word “Zoom” into the search box).

Go to “Settings” and then to “Accessibility.” There is a list of items under “Screen Reader Alerts.” The first item is “IM Chat Received,” and the default is to “enable” this feature. You may disable this feature by unchecking the box. While you’re there, check out the other screen reader alerts you can enable or disable.

3.    During the meeting

You may also enable or disable the in-meeting chat by typing the key combination Alt + Windows key + S. Like most other Zoom commands, this is a toggle, and the same key combination will turn the chat on or off.

Also, if you use the key combination Alt + Windows key, it will silence (or turn on) announcements of people entering or leaving the Zoom meeting.

4.    Getting the chat information

This part takes a little planning. You’ll need to talk with the Zoom host (probably your teacher.)

No matter what option you choose for the whole chat, ask the Zoom host (teacher) to immediately voice any chat input that is important to the meeting. They should already be doing this (after all, phone callers cannot access the chat), but it is great to remind them to do so.

For chat information that is not important to the presentation, getting a CHAT TRANSCRIPT is a great solution.

Option 1: If the meeting is being recorded, ask the teacher to send you a copy of the chat transcript.

The host will need to turn on “Auto saving chats” in Settings (under “Meetings” then “In Meeting (Basic).”

Option 2: If Option 1 won’t work, ask the host to leave the meeting open for a couple of minutes after the meeting so that you may copy the Chat Transcript.

At the end of the meeting, press Alt + H to open the Chat.

Focus on the chat (you may need to use the Shift + Tab keyboard command a few times) and select all (Control + A).

Paste your selection in a blank document, and check to make sure you got it.

Let the host (teacher) know that you have the chat, and say thank you.

Now, there are certainly other ways to accomplish these tasks, but the ones we have shared are great places to start.

Have a wonderful week, and Happy Zooming!!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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GivingTuesday, all year long!

Send or receive funds from friends and acquaintances for…FREE!

That’s right. There’s an ACCESSIBLE way to transfer money between bank accounts without the need for a paper check or cash: Venmo.

Venmo is an application that allows people to transfer money between themselves with no fees (there is a charge if you use a credit card, though). You simply send or receive funds via the Venmo app on your phone or computer. Venmo is owned by PayPal and has good security features. However, as always, be careful with your personal banking information and make sure you are sending funds to a trusted source.

Blind/low vision individuals can use accessible software to use this app. Venmo is available at no cost from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. You may also access your Venmo account on the web.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Independent Living Resources Information Resources Recreation Resources

Thanksgiving edition!

With time off from school and work, our thoughts turn to…FOOD!

If you are using prepared mixes (and why not?), DirectionsForMe is a great tool to find accessible directions, nutrition information, ingredients, and sometimes allergy warnings quickly and easily

Use the search function or go to the categories page and you’ll find so much information!

Want to make Jiffy corn muffin mix? They have it!

How about Stove Top stuffing? They have it!

Brownies for dessert? You’ll find the information on the box at directionsforme.org

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.