The Foundation has established its Technology Grant Program in order to enable blind and visually-impaired children to obtain technology for use at home that is comparable to the technology available to them at school.
Under current federal law, school districts are required to provide blind and visually-impaired schoolchildren with “free and appropriate” education, taking into account their disabilities. This means that school systems are required to provide blind or visually impaired children with adaptive technology to enable them to use the same educational materials as their classmates.
Nebraska school systems have risen to this challenge. Blind and visually impaired children employ technology such as braille writers, iPads, closed circuit television magnifiers, computer screen-reading software and braille notetakers on a daily basis in Nebraska classrooms.
But too often, the use of technology ends when the student walks out the schoolhouse door. Parents often lack the resources or knowledge to obtain suitable technology for their children to use at home. As a result, at-home learning opportunities can be limited, and these children face unnecessary obstacles to obtain the education they need to succeed in life.
Our technology grant program is designed to close the gap between the technology available at home and the technology available at school. We provide blind or visually impaired Nebraska students, free of charge or at minimal cost, with in-home technology comparable to the technology that they use in school. During the last few years, we have provided a wide range of technology to students including:
Each of these technology grants enabled a student to pair or supplement technology available at school with technology in the home.
Although the primary focus of our technology grant program is addressing the mismatch between technology available in the school and that available at home, we are open to any grants of technology to blind or visually impaired Nebraska children that will assist in the intellectual, emotional or social development of those children. If you have questions about whether a particular type of technology would be eligible for the program, please contact us.
Any blind or visually impaired Nebraska child between the ages of five and 18 is eligible to participate in the program.
Over the last ten years, the Foundation has made over $150,000 of technology grants to Nebraska students from all areas of the state. These grants included grants for broilers, braille displays, computers, computer software, video equipment, and iPads.
You can apply for a technology grant by completing and submitting the online technology request form below. Applications may be completed by parents or guardians, or by a student’s vision teacher. Once the Foundation receives an application, the Foundation will reach out to the person submitting the application to obtain any additional information needed and to discuss technology options. The grant process might also require the submission of certain supplementary materials regarding the student and his or her vision disability. Input from vision teachers is especially important in allowing the Foundation to devise the best technology solution for a particular student, and the application form provides for a parental consent to discuss the student with vision teachers, other teachers and other persons with knowledge of the student.
If you have any questions about the application form, please contact us.