Travel outlook for people with disabilities


Travel Outlook for People with Disabilities

By Laura Legendary

If you think walking to the corner market might be intimidating for a person who is blind, imagine how it might feel to navigate a bustling open-air street market in another country. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you already know it can be a sublime experience, with inspiring sights, tranquil sounds and an abundant array of leisure activities available at all hours. Imagine, though, how it would feel to know that you could not take full advantage of the shipboard amenities because of the lack of wheelchair access. What if you were deaf and your heart’s desire was to lose yourself in the cool confines of an art museum, but for lack of a docent who could communicate in sign language, you could not avail yourself of the rich historical context in which the precious artifacts were created?


Although these scenarios make travel seem impractical, if not impossible, for those with disabilities, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little research, planning, and spirit of adventure, nothing has to come between you and the trip of your dreams. Below is a short list of a few places to begin your investigation. If you are a person with a disability or if your special someone is disabled, you’ll want to explore these wonderful travel websites, which specialize in accommodating travelers with disabilities.


111 Travel Directory


This website caught my attention because it is easy to read and navigate. My favorite features are the “Tips For Trips” sections, where travelers from all over the world have contributed practical words of wisdom. There are tips lists just for traveling to specific destinations, tips for parents traveling with small children, safety tips and, of course, tips for travelers with disabilities, all submitted by people who have been there, done that. You may even find a few of my own recommendations there.


Disabled Travel USA



From Acadia National Park to Zion National Park, this wonderful list of accessible places would be awfully handy when you’re ready for a road trip. The list briefly describes the type of accommodations you can expect. Call ahead to verify that your needs will be met, and relax knowing that a warm welcome awaits. Also see Disabled Travel Europe, and page after page of disability-related resources by


Accessible Journeys


This is the world’s largest cruise travel company specializing in wheelchair travel. Visit the “About” page and read their story. It offers great resources for planning your trip, understanding shipboard illness and a variety of tour types to suit the adventurer in everyone.


Independent Living Links



A head-spinning list of links for every aspect of independent living. Don’t miss their extensive list of travel resources. This site could keep you busy for hours.


Tips for Travelers with Disabilities Brochure


This is a U.S. government site with additional brochures and links to other travel sites. Lots of important international travel information here.

Remember that outside of the U.S., there is no such thing as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other countries are under no legal obligation to make accommodations that will ensure fully accessible passage.


For even more options, just type “disabled travel” or “accessible travel” into your favorite search engine. You will be amazed at the choices. You can find travel companies that specialize in a full range of services, such as mobility equipment rental, travel companions, medical supervision, and more. There are travel companies that will arrange every detail of your holiday, from your door to your destination and back. Thoroughly investigate your options during the early planning stages of your trip. Whether you walk or roll, set your sights on these great web resources and bon voyage!



Copyright 2010 by Laura Legendary. All rights reserved.


Author’s note:  On the front page of Accessible Insights, you’ll see a couple of travel links that will take you to some accessible travel newsfeeds. 


Click here to go to Accessible Insights 



Mobile Geo 2.5 now available! 2010 maps, manual route creation, more.

Caroline Ragot – Marketing Director
Mobile Geo 2.5
Mobile Geo 2.5, Now available!
Support for 2010 Maps and POIs, Manual Route Creation, Address Search by Zip Code and More…
Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, May 24, 2010
Three months after the release of Mobile Geo 2.0, Code Factory is proud to release V2.5, a free update for all users of Mobile Geo 2.0. Mobile Geo is the best navigation tool for blind people who want to explore the world with their mobile phone. To learn more about Mobile Geo visit

"The main goal of this new Mobile Geo version is to allow our users to update their maps and POIs for free. It is very important to us to make sure that our users have access to the most accurate data so that they feel safe traveling with Mobile Geo. This means that even though Geo 2.5 is plugged into the Sendero 2010 GPS SDK, all the new improvements of this new SDK are not yet integrated" explains Eduard Sánchez, Code Factory’s CEO. "If we’d have added more of the new SDK features, we would have had to charge for this upgrade and we really wanted the users of Mobile Geo 2.0 to have access to the 2010 maps and POIs for free. Our development team has also been working hard to bring you new exciting and useful features powered by Mobile Geo’s engine such as the highly anticipated Manual Route Creation feature. This is therefore a major free update!"

Main highlights of Mobile Geo 2.5:

Compatibility with 2010 maps and POIs, available at (user: mgdemo2010, pwd: codefactory). Note that full licenses will require new map keys for each registered user.
Address search by zip postal code. There are now two search options, you can either search by city or zip code. It is especially useful for big cities which have numerous zip codes for the same area. For example instead of searching by Barcelona you can search by 08004 for more accuracy.
Manual route creation feature, which allows you to save your own waypoints while creating a route and then replay the route following your own itinerary instead of Mobile Geo’s automatic route calculation.
Support for Google Transit Feeds. You first need to login to your Sendero account and download the Google transit feed you are interested in. Then you will be able to search for the Google Transit information under the "Travel/Entertainment" subcategory "Transit Stop". There are already 20 feeds converted such as New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and more will follow!
Support for 4 new country maps: Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, and United Arab Emirates. To learn more about the supported maps as well as region map bundles visit
Easier ways to manage user POIs: You can set a user POI as a route destination. Go to Functions (left softkey) > Set positions > User POI and you will access the POIs list. Then when you press enter on the POI of your choice, you can select between "Open", "Set as destination", "Set as virtual position", or "Delete".
Ability to create and save a route based on a GPS replay. Go to Functions (left softkey) > Modes > GPS Replays > GPS Replay list, select a file from the list and press Enter on it. The popup menu will show a new option called "Create route from replay". Once the route is created, you can load and follow it, review its waypoints, delete the route and do all the same things that you can do with any other saved route in your device.

Mobile Geo 2.5 is compatible with the current version of Mobile Speak 4 for Windows Mobile, there is no new version of Mobile Speak to install to run Geo 2.5.

The direct link to download Mobile Geo 2.5 is

To upgrade from Mobile Geo 1.5 to Mobile Geo 2.5 visit

To get a free trial of Mobile Geo 2.5, visit

To read the complete list of new features and enhancements in Mobile Geo 2.5, visit

About Code Factory
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, Code Factory is the global leader committed to the development of products designed to eliminate barriers to the accessibility of mobile technology for the blind and visually impaired. Today, Code Factory is the leading provider of screen readers, screen magnifiers, and Braille interfaces for the widest range of mainstream mobile devices. Among Code Factory’s customers are well known organizations for the blind such as ONCE, and carriers such as AT&T, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, TIM and Vodafone. Code Factory has also built strong partnerships with mainstream multinational companies like RIM, Nokia, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard as well as leading assistive technology companies such as HumanWare, Optelec and Sendero Group.

For more information, feel free to contact Code Factory S.L.:

Code Factory, S.L., Rambla d’Egara 148 2-2, 08221 Terrassa (Barcelona)
Code Factory, S.L. – 2010


Don’t forget, this is a free upgrade for current users. 



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Join the party! ADA 20th Anniversary Celebration


The twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act is fast approaching, and there are a number of celebratory events planned.  Among them is the 2010 By 2010 Campaign, which seeks to collect 2010 “Proclamations of Recommitment" to the mission of the ADA by the 20th anniversary of the ADA–July 26, 2010.


The 2010 by 2010 Campaign leads into the June 20-23 conference in Denver, Colorado.  The National ADA Symposium has invited State and local governments, organizations and entities, individuals and advocates to submit proclamations that will be posted on the 2010 By 2010 Campaign web site.  Also on the site is a list of suggested activities to mark the event, videos and the link to Twitter so that you can  join in the conversation. 


For more info, go here:  ADA 20th Anniversary


What will you do to mark the ADA anniversary?  Announce your plans in the comments below.  Be sure to include dates and times of any public events.  If there is a special Twitter or Facebook page concerning your event, please provide the link. 


More soon…



On criticism: What makes you an expert can also make you a target

One lesson I have learned as a professional speaker is that a certain percentage of people are going to love you no matter what you do.  They will admire you simply because you have the guts to stand up in front of a roomful of people, and they do not.  On the other hand, there are an equal percentage of those who will find fault with everything you do.  There is no pleasing them.  They may dislike your appearance, your clothes, your mannerisms, or the fact that you are a dead ringer for their ex-girlfriend.  You really may not be able to elicit realistic feedback from either group.  All you can do is reach out to the percentage in the middle.


It never ceases to amaze me the depths to which some will sink in an effort to reduce others.  If you are the least bit sensitive, then you know the acute burn of a cruel remark or scathing review of your efforts.  It can be so painful, especially if you’ve worked hard to craft an image, a message or a legacy of positive contribution.  It can really sting, and it can leave you feeling defensive, as if you must strike back to justify the choices you made.  Sometimes, criticism can really cause you to second-guess yourself, and that can be so disheartening.


It can be hard not to become embittered by criticism, especially if the negative note seems unnecessary.  If I’ve made an honest error, for example, why must it be made public?  Why not just give me an opportunity to correct the oversight?  After all, is misspelling something really such a crime?  Perhaps it wasn’t even a misspelling per se, perhaps I really do know how to spell the word "and," but the typo might suggest sloppiness due to haste, rather than stupidity.  Does that warrant public humiliation?


You may not even be seeking to be controversial.  Maybe you’re just clicking along, doing your thing, trying to generate some good karma.  Then, out of the blue comes a not-so-thinly veiled insult for something about which you cared a great deal getting just right.


What can be particularly onerous about criticism sometimes is when we learn where it has come from.  It might be from someone who you think ought to be in your camp, a fellow warrior for good, someone you thought had your back, or an entity or organization who shares your goals, fights the same fight.

If you are one of those people who have a tough time accepting criticism, you are by no means alone.  Here are a few suggestions that may help.  In order for any of these ideas to work, though, you have to really internalize them, and make the decision to change your thinking.  It’s very hard to do this, but it is a fact that if you can change the way you think about something, you can change the way you feel about it. This is a principle taught in a discipline called CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy.


First, consider this:  You have arrived.  if your work has caught the attention of a major competitor or even an entity you considered to be so much larger as to be no competition to you at all, then be flattered.  I recently found my work mentioned in a somewhat unflattering way in a post by a national organization.  I certainly never thought I’d ever appear on their radar screen.  I had been wondering where the huge spike of interest and massive numbers of page views had been coming from.  Thanks, organization X.  Blast away.


Realize that in this day of potential over exposure due to sharing, retweeting, updating, linking, liking and all manner of promotional opportunities, it’s just that much easier for someone to take a shot at you, and bolster their own popularity by it.  Look, if someone else is that small that they have to take cheap shots at you so as to raise their own acceptability quotient, doesn’t that sort of speak for itself?


On the other hand, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and if someone genuinely takes issue with something you are doing, there’s just not much you can do about that.  What makes criticism hard to swallow in this case, though, is that perhaps what you did was well thought through, you did what you did deliberately, you had good reason for it, it was not an error.  Yet, someone else feels a need to ridicule what you did as incompetent.


You may find that the source of the criticism offers no means by which to respond.  They can dish it out, as the saying goes, but they can’t take it.  I discovered that myself a while ago when I tried to respond to something written about me that was just flat wrong, wrapped in a nasty tone.  Anyone who makes dialogue impossible really isn’t interested in anything other than their own views, and there is nothing you could do about that, even if you did have some recourse. For them, even accuracy is irrelevant. Besides, not everyone who hears or reads the criticism is going to agree with it.  No one is wholly enrolled in the opinions of others.


So, what is the point of this little manifesto, and why am I including it in a blog about accessibility?  Because for those of you who are struggling to bring enlightenment, education and awareness into the world, you deserve to be commended.  Don’t ever give up.  Even if a competitor or organization to which you aspire or with which you want to be associated finds fault with what you are doing, recognize that perhaps they feel threatened by your great work.  there is a famous radio talk host who boasts that when his commentary invokes the wrath of all concerned on every side of an issue, he knows he has hit a nerve and is doing something right.  Well, so are you.  Who else but my entrepreneurs with disabilities, fellow advocates and activists, accessibility experts and educators work so hard for so little?  The world only listens to you when they need to hear, but until then, it seems they could care less.  Until they are directly affected, the world may marginalize you, ignore you or find a reason to trivialize your work by not paying you what you are worth.  The fact that you volunteer to do what you do is evidence of that.  Sure, maybe you choose to volunteer, and that’s great.  If you can afford it, all the better.  Think about this, though:  How many people do you know who are willing to do for free what they do for a living?  Do you know anyone who has said to his or her boss, “You know, I’m tired of getting paid.  From now on, what I do here is gratis.” 


Why do I have so much respect and admiration for individuals who have disabilities?  Well, it isn’t because you are disabled.  It isn’t even because you work passionately and tirelessly to make the world a better place by advocating for others or raising awareness.  Many years ago, I was privileged to attend a conference that featured a well-known disability rights advocate, and he put it this way:  "People who have disabilities are my heroes because they fly in the face of a society which holds them in contempt, simply by living their lives."


Fight on!  I’ve got your back. 



Legendary Insights to focus on low vision solutions with new partner AI Squared

Media Inquiries:

Laura Legendary

331 Valley Mall Parkway

#191 East Wenatchee, WA 98802

Phone: 509.264.2588

Fax: 412.372.4117



Legendary Insights to focus on low vision solutions with new partner AI Squared

Wenatchee, WA, May 18, 2010: Legendary Insights will now offer software and products for people who have vision loss, thanks to a new partnership with AI Squared. Laura Legendary, owner of Legendary Insights, has become the newest dealer of AI Squared low vision products, ZoomText, ZoomText Large Print Keyboard and ZoomText USB. Ai Squared is a worldwide leader in computer access solutions. ZoomText® 9.1 is the latest version of its popular screen magnifier/screen reader. ZoomText makes computers accessible and friendly to vision-impaired users by magnifying and speaking what appears on the screen.


Legendary Insights consists of several web destinations, each of which pertains to a different aspect of disability awareness, Assistive technology and in-home health care. “Accessible Insights is where you’ll find tips and products for anyone learning to live with low vision. In-Home Insights is a great place to find information on greater independent living and compassionate care giving. The flagship site, Eloquent Insights focuses on accessibility, advocacy and awareness,” says Legendary.


Laura Legendary is a speaker, author and educator, and the unlikely entrepreneur behind all of the Insights destinations. “I am also a long-time user of the AI Squared products, so I know firsthand how ZoomText can enhance PC usability and productivity. As an entrepreneur who is blind, I credit ZoomText as a critical aspect of my success.”


Originally doing business as Eloquent Insights, Laura expanded her business in 2009 to include ecommerce, a newsletter and blog. For more information, visit Accessible Insights at, In-Home Insights at or Eloquent Insights at

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Coping Strategies for parents who have children with disabilities

By Laura Legendary


The only thing more devastating than enduring a disease or disabling condition is when it happens to someone you love, especially your child. For me, growing up while going blind might have been an altogether different experience, and I may have become someone very different than who I am, if it were not for all the things my parents did to give me a full life. As a blind adult, I consider myself among the most fortunate of daughters. A disability does not have to be a barrier to your child’s sense of self-esteem or her ability to live her fullest life. You may be grappling with feelings of guilt, anger and frustration, unsure where to turn. Below are a few coping strategies that may help you to find strength and the support you need.


Educate yourself. Learn everything you can about the disease or disability. Learn the vocabulary necessary to effectively communicate your child’s needs. Remember, knowledge is power, and if nothing else, you’ll be able to quickly ascertain the depth of education or experience a professional may or may not have with respect to your particular set of circumstances.

Get more than a second opinion. Don’t just consult more than one doctor; consult more than one type of doctor. If, for example, your child is having difficulty with assimilating information, don’t conclude your fact-finding at your pediatrician’s or general practitioner’s office. You may want to see a specialist, a neurologist, or even an ophthalmologist. Sometimes a child can be too quickly “diagnosed” by school officials as learning disabled when in fact the child may actually have a vision problem.  Consulting several doctors will help to ensure the most accurate diagnosis possible.. 

Keep up on current research. Be careful, however, this may prove to be an emotional trap for a loving parent who can become obsessed with finding answers. It might be a good idea to assign a family member or friend to be the “go to” person when it is time to seek new information. This point person can be the one to surf the net, subscribe to newsgroups, visit parent’s forums and read medical journals or science articles on the latest research. Delegating this task will allow you to focus on quality time with your child and focus on his or her developmental needs.


Maintain a separate identity. You are not your child and this isn’t happening to you. The disease or disability is happening to your child, and don’t forget that. As tempting as it is, you cannot take that specific burden on yourself. Financial burdens, housing burdens and transportation burdens – yes, those can be yours to shoulder, but not the disability itself. If able, the child must learn that, ultimately, he will be his best advocate. Empower him or her as early as possible. As much as you may desperately wish to relieve your child of that which you believe he surely must be suffering, you cannot. In fact, he or she may not be “suffering” at all, and projecting that onto your child does him or her a terrible disservice. Your child may not be able to comprehend the gravity of the situation, but a child has no difficulty grasping your responses to it. Try not to allow your grief and anxiety to define your child. The best thing you can do for your child is to teach self-sufficiency, encourage resourcefulness and advocate self-determination.


Don’t take “no” for an answer. No one is a better advocate for your child than your child or you. Do not allow anyone to speak for you if they do not represent your views, needs or best interests, or those of your child. Build a team of trusted professionals, cheerleaders and supporters.


Give yourself a break. Avail yourself of professional, peer or group counseling. You may feel alone, but you’re not. Let others help you. Allowing another person to help you can be a tremendous gift for you both. Underestimating the extent to which you feel overwhelmed can be detrimental to your decision-making ability. Take good care of yourself, so you can be the best caregiver for your child.



Copyright 2010 by Laura Legendary. All rights reserved.

Win 7 workaround for Zoom Text users

If  you have yet to upgrade to Windows 7, then you may be unaware of a perplexing little phenomenon about the new operating system.  At first, you may not catch it, you are so enthralled by the new features and doo-dads.  Once you get set up, though, you realize that there is something missing, but you just…can’t…quite…put your finger on it.  Oh well, you’ll get to  that later.  Right now, you want to send an email to your best friend to tell him or her how great your new Windows 7 performs.   


Then you realize what the missing piece of the puzzle is.  Windows 7 does not come with email.  that’s right, no Windows Mail, no Outlook or Outlook Express.  Microsoft announced this, it is not an oversight.  You did not get ripped off by the value-added reseller who configured your system.  Microsoft did not include an email program in the latest version of Microsoft Windows,  deliberately.


There are more than a dozen different options you can choose for your email client.  You do not have to use the Windows Live Journal online email.  If you already have pop 3 mail, and use Outlook or Outlook Express, you can download the Windows Live Essentials suite of programs. 


Windows Live Essentials is a grouping of free products that includes Live Writer, media software and mail.  You can choose to install only the components that interest you.   Or, if you already own the MS Office package, you already have a copy of Outlook that you can use in your new Windows operating system.  Either way, don’t panic.  You are not forced to use any paid services or obtain a hotmail address. 


One caveat though, for screen reader users, particularly those who use Zoom Text:  While Windows Live Mail is almost identical to Outlook Express, all the way down to the steps required to setting up email accounts and importing contacts, the screen reader may not work.  In fact, when I was unable to get Zoomtext to voice the “To,” “CC” and “Subject”   data entry fields, I called A I Squared.  The tech support person informed me that Zoomtext is flat incompatible with Windows Live Mail,  told me that it will not work, and that there is no work around. 


that’s not entirely true.  Perhaps that is what they have to say, since they made no effort to develop ZoomText for Live Mail.  However, I have had little difficulty in getting around, except for a few important keystrokes that do not announce accurately. 


A work-around for this, I discovered, is by using Windows Narrator.  if you read my previous post, then you know I’m becoming a bit of a fan of Narrator, because on the occaisions when Jaws loses speech or ZoomText hangs up or something else goes horribly awry, invoking Narrator or NVDA (if you have it) really helps. 


While struggling to figure out how to get ZoomText to tell me what I wanted to know in Windows Live Mail, I found that Narrator filled the gap.  It voiced what ZoomText did not. So, I was able to complete the Live Mail setup process, load in my email accounts, and I’ve sent and recieved email with no problems whatsoever.  So, keep those hotkeys handy.  Admittedly, having to use multiple screen readers isn’t the most elegant solution in the world, but it’s no different than driving around with a spare tire.  You may not ever use it, but you are sure glad it’s there when you need it. 



Hotkey help for screen reader users

Recently, I found myself sitting in front of a new computer trying to get it up and running with my critical personalization’s.  If you are someone who has low or no vision and have ever been dead in the water because you cannot get to anything without sighted assistance, you can empathize.  New version of Windows, old versions of software on CD.  Update them?  Sure, no problem.  Just go online and download the new OS compatible versions, right?  Except that you don’t have your screen reader loaded onto the new PC.  I knew that if I could get something, ANYTHING to talk, I’d have no problem, but I realized that without something that would auto play, like a screen reader loaded onto a USB drive, I was stuck.  My NVDA on USB?  Older version, wouldn’t work with Win 7.  Zoomtext?  My CD wouldn’t load on Win 7, unless I made some changes to the compatibility mode, which I could not do without speech.  I didn’t even know how to get to Windows Narrator, which I knew would do in a pinch.  I even tried matching keystroke for keystroke in tandem with my desktop, but alas, the steps diverge at some point.  Grrr!  When you  cannot see what’s happening on the screen, just randomly pressing keys and hoping for  a lucky break can be dangerous.  Once you lose your place, who knows what havoc ensues. 


In sheer frustration, I went out to Twitter, which is quickly rivaling Google as the repository for all knowledge, and queried my accessibility tweeps how to invoke the Narrator in Windows 7.  In fractions of a second, five people produced the answer.  A hotkey sequence that was unknown to me brought up the native screen reader in my new version of Windows, and I was off and running.  Whatever you may think of Twitter, many of the people who use it are brilliant pros who are eager to help.  I was very grateful for their help in this case. 


It occurred to me that I cannot be the only person who has ever been sitting blind in front of a computer, with no way to accomplish anything without a screen reader.  I began compiling a list of Windows 7 keyboard hotkeys, gathering them from various places, either web sites or help screens or user’s guides.  Below is that list. 


This is by no means a comprehensive list.  Also, keep in mind that not all hotkeys are going to work in all versions of  all programs.  If you are using a screen reader or other feature-rich programs, hotkeys can often conflict.  I have not personally tested every one of these hotkeys with the various versions of each program, but this list will get you started.  I suggest you just copy and paste  this entire post into a notepad doc, and then clip out what you don’t want.  Save it to your desktop, copy it to a USB drive, send it to your friends.  You never know when one of these key combinations will  get you out of a jam.  If I had known that by pressing  the Windows key plus U, then pressing alt-n would get me to Windows Narrator, I would have saved an entire day of frustrated attempts trying to get something loaded that would talk. 


Finally, if you want to try out a screen reader but don’t want to spend the money, scroll down to the bottom of the list and click the link for NVDA.  It’s a great little screen reader, especially for the’s free.  Immediately  below that, I’ve listed a few of those hotkeys, too. 


Windows 7 abbreviated hotkey list:


From the desktop, press Win plus U, then alt plus  N to get narrator started

Ease of Access keyboard shortcuts

Right Shift for eight seconds: Turn Filter Keys on and off
Left Alt + Left Shift + PrtScn (or PrtScn): Turn High Contrast on or off
Left Alt + Left Shift + Num Lock: Turn Mouse Keys on or off
Shift five times: Turn Sticky Keys on or off
Num Lock for five seconds: Turn Toggle Keys on or off
Windows logo key + U: Open the Ease of Access Center
General keyboard shortcuts

F1: Display Help
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert): Copy the selected item
Ctrl + X: Cut the selected item
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert): Paste the selected item
Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
Delete (or Ctrl + D): Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin
Shift + Delete: Delete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first
F2: Rename the selected item
Ctrl + Right Arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
Ctrl + Left Arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word
Ctrl + Down Arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph
Ctrl + Up Arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph
Ctrl + Shift with an arrow key: Select a block of text
Shift + any arrow key: Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or

select text within a document
Ctrl + any arrow key + Spacebar: Select multiple individual items in a window or on the

Ctrl + A: Select all items in a document or window
F3: Search for a file or folder
Alt + Enter: Display properties for the selected item
Alt + F4: Close the active item, or exit the active program
Alt + Spacebar: Open the shortcut menu for the active window
Ctrl + F4: Close the active document (in programs that allow you to have multiple

documents open simultaneously)
Alt + Tab: Switch between open items
Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Use the arrow keys to switch between open items
Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Change the size of icons on the desktop
Windows logo key + Tab: Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl+ Windows logo key + Tab: Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the

taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Alt + Esc: Cycle through items in the order in which they were opened
F6: Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop
F4: Display the address bar list in Windows Explorer
Shift + F10: Display the shortcut menu for the selected item
Ctrl + Esc: Open the Start menu
Alt + underlined letter: Display the corresponding menu
Alt + underlined letter: Perform the menu command (or other underlined command)
F10: Activate the menu bar in the active program
Right Arrow: Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu
Left Arrow: Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu
F5 (or Ctrl + R): Refresh the active window
Alt + Up Arrow: View the folder one level up in Windows Explorer
Esc: Cancel the current task
Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open Task Manager
Shift when you insert a CD: Prevent the CD from automatically playing
Left Alt + Shift: Switch the input language when multiple input languages are enabled
Ctrl + ShiftL: Switch the keyboard layout when multiple keyboard layouts are enabled
Right or Left Ctrl + Shift: Change the reading direction of text in right-to-left reading

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + Tab: Move forward through tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move back through tabs
Tab: Move forward through options
Shift + Tab: Move back through options
Alt + underlined letter: Perform the command (or select the option) that goes with that letter
Enter: Replaces clicking the mouse for many selected commands
Spacebar: Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box
Arrow keys: Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons
F1: Display Help
F4: Display the items in the active list
Backspace: Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open

dialog box

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key: Open or close the Start menu.
Windows logo key + Pause: Display the System Properties dialog box.
Windows logo key + D: Display the desktop.
Windows logo key + M: Minimize all windows.
Windows logo key + Shift + M: Restore minimized windows to the desktop.
Windows logo key + E: Open Computer.
Windows logo key + F: Search for a file or folder.
Ctrl + Windows logo key + F: Search for computers (if you’re on a network).
Windows logo key + L: Lock your computer or switch users.
Windows logo key + R: Open the Run dialog box.
Windows logo key + T: Cycle through programs on the taskbar.
Windows logo key + number: Start the program pinned to the taskbar in the position

indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program.
Shift + Windows logo key + number: Start a new instance of the program pinned to the

taskbar in the position indicated by the number.
Ctrl + Windows logo key + number: Switch to the last active window of the program

pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.
Alt + Windows logo key + number: Open the Jump List for the program pinned to the

taskbar in the position indicated by the number.
Windows logo key + Tab: Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D.
Ctrl+Windows logo key + Tab: Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the

taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D.
Ctrl+Windows logo key + B: Switch to the program that displayed a message in the

notification area.
Windows logo key + Spacebar: Preview the desktop.
Windows logo key + Up Arrow: Maximize the window.
Windows logo key + Left Arrow: Maximize the window to the left side of the screen.
Windows logo key + Right Arrow: Maximize the window to the right side of the screen.
Windows logo key + Down Arrow: Minimize the window.
Windows logo key + Home: Minimize all but the active window.
Windows logo key + Shift + Up Arrow: Stretch the window to the top and bottom of the

Windows logo key + Shift+ Left Arrow or Right Arrow: Move a window from one monitor

to another.
Windows logo key + P: Choose a presentation display mode.
Windows logo key + G: Cycle through gadgets.
Windows logo key + U: Open Ease of Access Center.
Windows logo key + X: Open Windows Mobility Center.
Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl + N: Open a new window
Ctrl + W: Close the current window
Ctrl + Shift + N: Create a new folder
End: Display the bottom of the active window
Home: Display the top of the active window
F11: Maximize or minimize the active window
Ctrl + Period (.): Rotate a picture clockwise
Ctrl + Comma (,): Rotate a picture counter-clockwise

Num  Lock + Asterisk (*) on numeric keypad: Display all subfolders under the selected

Num Lock + Plus Sign (+) on numeric keypad: Display the contents of the selected

Num Lock + Minus Sign (-) on numeric keypad: Collapse the selected folder
Left Arrow: Collapse the current selection (if it’s expanded), or select the parent folder
Alt + Enter: Open the Properties dialog box for the selected item
Alt + P: Display the preview pane
Alt + Left Arrow: View the previous folder
Backspace: View the previous folder
Right Arrow: Display the current selection (if it’s collapsed), or select the first subfolder
Alt + Right Arrow: View the next folder
Alt + Up Arrow: View the parent folder
Ctrl + Shift + E: Display all folders above the selected folder
Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Change the size and appearance of file and folder icons
Alt + D: Select the address bar
Ctrl + E: Select the search box
Ctrl + F: Select the search box
Taskbar keyboard shortcuts

Shift + Click on a taskbar button: Open a program or quickly open another instance of

a program
Ctrl + Shift + Click on a taskbar button: Open a program as an administrator
Shift + Right-click on a taskbar button: Show the window menu for the program
Shift + Right-click on a grouped taskbar button: Show the window menu for the group
Ctrl + Click on a grouped taskbar button: Cycle through the windows of the group

Magnifier keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key + Plus Sign or Minus Sign: Zoom in or out
Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar: Preview the desktop in full-screen mode
Ctrl + Alt + F: Switch to full-screen mode
Ctrl + Alt + L: Switch to lens mode
Ctrl + Alt + D: Switch to docked mode
Ctrl + Alt + I: Invert colors
Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys: Pan in the direction of the arrow keys
Ctrl + Alt + R: Resize the lens
Windows logo key + Esc: Exit Magnifier



Click here to download NVDA 2010


NVDA command key quick reference

Many of these commands use the NVDA key. The NVDA key is the insert key found either

on the numberpad or near the delete, home, end, page up and page down keys on

your keyboard. NVDA can also be configured so that you can use the capslock key as

the NVDA key.

Global commands

Control: Pause speech
Shift: Continue speech

NVDA+1: keyboardHelp
turns on keyboard help mode so you can press any combination of keys on the

keyboard and NVDA will tell you its name and what command it performs if it has one.

To turn off keyboard help, press NVDA+1 again.

NVDA+t: title
Announces the title of the currently active application. Spels it when pressed twice and

copies to the clipboard when pressed three times..

NVDA+b: speakForeground
Speaks the content of the currently active application. Useful to read information in a

dialog box that you perhaps missed when it first was announced.

NVDA+n: showGui
Press this key to activate the NVDA menu where you can access NVDA’s settings.

NVDA+q: quit
Asks if you want to exit NVDA. Pressing yes will exit, pressing no will not.

NVDA+s: speechMode
Toggles between the three speech modes (talk, beeps and off).

NVDA+F12: dateTime
Announces the current time, pressing twice quickly announces the current date.

NVDA+End: reportStatusLine
Announces the status bar of the current application if it can find one.

NVDA+f: reportFormatting
Announces formatting information at the current position in a document

Control+NVDA+f1: speakApplicationName
Announces the currently active application’s name, and also spells it out. It also

announces the currently loaded NVDA app module.

NVDA+Shift+b: say_battery_status
Announces the current battery level and whether AC power is plugged in.

NVDA+5: toggleReportDynamicContentChanges
Turns on and off the automatic speaking of content changes (such as when new text

appears in a dos console window).

NVDA+6: toggleCaretMovesReviewCursor
Turns on and off the automatic movement of the review cursor as the caret moves.

NVDA+7: toggleFocusMovesNavigatorObject
Turns on and off the setting of the navigator object to the object with focus as it


NVDA+Tab: reportCurrentFocus
Announces the object you are currently focused on.

NVDA+f2: passNextKeyThrough
Pressing this key then allows you to press any other key on the keyboard and NVDA will

let it go straight to the operating system with out running its NVDA specific command if it

has one.

Shift+NVDA+upArrow: reportCurrentSelection
Announces the current selection in edit controls and documents. If there is no selection it

says so.

NVDA+upArrow: reportCurrentLine
Announces the current line in edit controls and documents.

NVDA+downArrow: sayAll
Starts reading from the current position in a document or edit control

Control+NVDA+c: saveConfiguration
Saves the configuration.

Control+NVDA+r: revertToSavedConfiguration
Resets the configuration.

NVDA+c: reportClipboardText
Reports the text on the Windows clipboard.

Change Settings (found in the settings dialogues)

NVDA+2: toggleSpeakTypedCharacters
Turns on or off the speaking of characters when you type them.

NVDA+3: toggleSpeakTypedWords
Turns on or off the speaking of words as you type them.

NVDA+4: toggleSpeakCommandKeys
Turns on or off the speaking of any keys as you type them.

NVDA+p: toggleSpeakPunctuation
Turns on or off the speaking of punctuation symbols as NVDA speaks information.

NVDA+m: toggleMouseTracking
Turns on or off announcement of the object or word at the mouse pointer’s current

position, as it moves.

NVDA+u: toggleBeepOnProgressBarUpdates
Controls how NVDA anounces progress bar updates. It can either beep for all the

progress bars within the active window (default), beep for all the bars currently in

progress within the whole system, or it can even anounce each 10 percent by speech.

Control+NVDA+leftArrow: previousSetting
Moves to and announces the previous voice setting
Control+NVDA+rightArrow: nextSetting
Moves to and announces the next voice setting

Control+NVDA+upArrow: increaseSetting
Increases the current voice setting

Control+NVDA+downArrow: decreaseSetting
decreases the current voice setting

Show dialogues

Control+NVDA+g: activateGeneralSettingsDialog
Shows the general settings dialog.

Control+NVDA+s: activateSynthesizerDialog
Shows the synthesizer selection dialog.

Control+NVDA+v: activateVoiceDialog
Shows the voice settings dialog.

Control+NVDA+k: activateKeyboardSettingsDialog
Shows the keyboard settings dialog.

Control+NVDA+m: activateMouseSettingsDialog
Shows the mouse settings dialog.

Control+NVDA+o: activateObjectPresentationDialog
Shows the object presentation dialog.

Control+NVDA+b: activateVirtualBuffersDialog
Shows the virtual buffer settings dialog.

Control+NVDA+d: activateDocumentFormattingDialog
Shows the document formatting settings dialog.

Control+NVDA+z: activatePythonConsole
Shows the python console.

navigator object navigation

NVDA+numPad5: navigatorObject_current
Announces the current navigator object. If pressed twice spels it out and if pressed three

times copyes its name and value to the clipboard.

NVDA+numpadDelete: navigatorObject_currentDimensions
Announces the size and location of the current navigator object.
NVDA+numPad8: navigatorObject_parent
Sets the navigator object to the current navigator object’s parent (i.e. the object that

contains it).

NVDA+numPad2: navigatorObject_firstChild
Sets the navigator object to the current navigator object’s first child (i.e. the first object

inside it)

NVDA+numPad4: navigatorObject_previous
Sets the navigator object to the current navigator object’s previous object (i.e. the

object before it, on the same level).

Shift+NVDA+numPad4: navigatorObject_previousInFlow
Sets the navigator object to the current navigator object’s previous object in flow (i.e.

the object before it, not necessarily on the same level).

NVDA+numPad6: navigatorObject_next
Sets the navigator object to the current navigator object’s next object (i.e. the object

after it, on the same level).

Shift+NVDA+numPad6: navigatorObject_nextInFlow
Sets the navigator object to the current navigator object’s next object in flow (i.e. the

object after it, not necessarily on the same level).

NVDA+numpadEnter: navigatorObject_doDefaultAction
Performs the default action on the current navigator object (e.g. presses a button,

activates a list item).

NVDA+numPadDivide: moveMouseToNavigatorObject
Move the mouse pointer to the current navigator object
NVDA+numPadMultiply: moveNavigatorObjectToMouse
Sets the navigator object to the current object under the mouse pointer

numpadSubtract: review_moveToCaret
Moves the review cursor to the location of the caret.

Control+numpadSubtract: review_moveCaretHere
Moves the caret to the location of the review cursor

NVDA+numPadSubtract: navigatorObject_toFocus
Sets the navigator object to the current object with focus.

NVDA+shift+numPadSubtract: navigatorObject_moveFocus
Sets the keyboard focus to the navigator object

numPadDivide: leftMouseClick
Clicks the left mouse button once where ever it may be at the time.
shift+numpadDivide: toggleLeftMouseButton
Locks or unlocks the left mouse button

numPadMultiply: rightMouseClick
Clicks the right mouse button once where ever it may be at the time.

shift+numpadMultiply: toggleRightMouseButton
Locks or unlocks the right mouse button

numpadAdd: review_sayAll
Uses the review cursor to read from its position to the end of the currently reviewable


NVDA+numPadAdd: navigatorObject_sayAll
Starts to read all the objects after the navigator object, in flow order.

reading objects

numpad1: review_previousCharacter
Moves the review cursor to the previous character.

Shift+numpad1: review_startOfLine
Moves the review cursor to the start of the line.

numpad2: review_currentCharacter
speaks the character at the review cursor.

numpad3: review_nextCharacter
Moves the review cursor to the next character.

Shift+numpad3: review_endOfLine
Moves the review cursor to the end of the line.

numpad4: review_previousWord
Moves the review cursor to the previous word.

numpad5: review_currentWord
speaks the word at the review cursor.

numpad6: review_nextWord
Moves the review cursor to the next word.

numpad7: review_previousLine
Moves the review cursor to the previous line.

Shift+numpad7: review_top
Moves the review cursor to the first line.
numpad8: review_currentLine
speaks the line at the review cursor.

numpad9: review_nextLine
Moves the review cursor to the previous line.

Shift+numpad9: review_bottom
Moves the review cursor to the last line.

NVDA+f9: review_markStartForCopy
Marks the current position of the review cursor as the start of text to be copied.

NVDA+f10: review_copy
Retrieves the text from the previously set start marker up to and including the current

position of the review cursor and copies it to the clipboard.

VirtualBuffer commands:

NVDA+space: toggleVirtualBufferPassThrough
Turns virtualBuffer pass-through mode on or off.

control+NVDA+f: find
NVDA+f3: find next
NVDA+f7: elements list
NVDA+f5: refresh buffer
NVDA+v: toggleScreenLayout

VirtualBuffer quick keys to skip to the next element of a particular type (also use shift with

the key to go backwards):
h: heading
l: list
i: list item
t: table
k: link
f: form field
u: unvisited link
v: visited link
e: edit field
b: button
x: checkbox
c: combo box
r: radio button
q: block quote
s: separator
m: frame
g: graphic
d: ARIA landmark
n: nonLinked text
o: embedded object
1 to 6: headings 1 to 6 respectively


If you have a USB drive, be sure to get the “portable” version of NVDA, so you can have speech anywhere, on any computer.  While you’re there, make a donation!  NVDA is a free and open source program, and your generosity keeps the good stuff coming. 



Blogging Against Disablism entry: You Don’t Look Blind

This article was originally written in 2005.  it has been the basis for many of my presentations over the years.  I wrote it in a fit of frustration one afternoon, and it was one of those rare times when the entire article came to me all at once, and I wrote it in one sitting. 

You Don’t Look Blind

By L. Legendary

Nearly everywhere I go I am forced to contend with the result of widely-held beliefs about blindness. Often, I am required to explain or justify my actions or motives. Whether I am deflecting another’s idle curiosity, overbearing control, resentment or simple ignorance, I am frequently amazed by how little is really understood about people with disabilities.

For each of these encounters, I endeavor to educate others as to the myths and stereotypes about blindness perpetuated by our media culture. Most of the time, my explanations are met with surprise and incredulity. It seems as though few want to hear the truth because the myths are much easier to believe. Perhaps the misperceptions are simply more palatable because for some, the reality of a disability is intolerable. Many hold to the “I’d rather be dead than disabled ”viewpoint. It seems that ascribing some magical quality to those with disabilities makes us easier to accept.

The single most often repeated myth about blindness is the belief that we have a superior sense of hearing. Variations include: “People who are blind have higher attuned senses,” or “Blind people are more intuitive,” or “Blindness gives you a kind of sixth sense as a way to compensate.”

Let’s clear this up right now. People who are blind do not have bionic hearing. This is a myth. There is no science that suggests people who have vision loss have better hearing than everyone else. This myth is repeated so often; everyone tends to believe that it must be true. It is not. Media portrayals of persons who are blind only seem to perpetuate this idea in our culture. Movies such as “Daredevil,” where the lead character becomes blind as the result of an accident and subsequently acquires superhuman attributes, has done little to shine the bright light of truth on these ridiculous misperceptions. Not only do movies like this do little to advance the cause of the disability community, they alter the way we are treated as a result.

Here is a specific example. Years ago, I was placed in the unfortunate position of having to complain to my apartment manager about my noisy neighbors in the building in which I lived. The apartment manager would do nothing, as he evidently believed the “heightened senses” myth. “Well, you have more sensitive hearing,” he explained, “so they just seem louder to you.”

When I meet someone with whom I’ve spoken in the recent past and inquire as to their latest health malady, they are astounded. “My goodness! How did you know I was sick? You are so sensitive and in tune with other people. It must be because you’re blind.” No, it’s because I was actually listening to you when you told me you weren’t feeling very well three weeks ago. I’m not distracted by your clothes, your car or your mannerisms; I’m paying attention to you instead. Unusual, yes. Extra sensory perception, no.

Another example of how I am forced to contend with the unenlightened attitudes of others is when their critical assessment of my appearance results in the proclamation, “Wow . . . you don’t look blind.” Inevitably, I will ask, “What does a blind person look like?” “I don’t know.” They’ll shrug. “I just expected that you would be wearing two different shoes, or shabby clothes, or that you would be old.”

This brings to mind what became a signature expression of our 43rd President when he ran for office in the year 2000. He often spoke of something he called, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” At first I had no idea what that meant, then I thought about it and how it applied to me. I realized that there are many ways in which I am subjected to the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Often it seems that some people do not expect a person with a disability to be intelligent, articulate, educated or employed. Many express surprise when they discover that I am well educated, well traveled, well read and well dressed. I am expected to belong to a specific economic class, have a particular political affiliation or even possess a reduced intellectual capacity.

Making an assumption about any person and treating them according to that prejudgment is indeed a form of bigotry. A person with a disability is as individual as anyone. We have dreams, goals, ideas and opinions all our own. We are ambitious, motivated, productive and educated. We are wealthy, we are poor, we are jerks, and we are wonderful. We have all the same failings as the rest of the human race. A disability is one aspect of our lives with which we each cope in our own way, just as you cope with the death of a loved one, a bitter divorce, health crisis, natural disaster or other calamity. Believe it or not, it can also be a blessing in its own way. In some cultures, a disability is not considered to be a horrible misfortune. Rather, it is said that having a disability is God’s way of getting closer to you. What a lovely thought.

It’s true that in America we have made great progress in improving access for people with disabilities. However, removing physical barriers is only one part of a barrier-free environment. Awareness is a mind-set, not a mandate. Attitude is a significant facet of accessibility. All of the Braille dots and wheelchair ramps in the world cannot provide a disabled person with a job if a potential employer will not consider a candidate with a disability because of preconceived ideas as to the applicant’s capabilities. You can enhance your awareness by learning for yourself some of the more practical aspects of the lives of individuals with disabilities and how we really function. Granted, it is less fantastic than possessing a sixth sense, but knowing the truth will enable you to see me in a new way. Then, I’ll look just like everyone else.

Copyright 2010 by Laura Legendary. All rights reserved.