Blind World Magazine

For the blind, here are some methods for writing your own checks.

October 29, 2005.
The Fred's Head Companion.

The Fred's Head Database is a source of tips and techniques for and by blind or visually impaired individuals. It is Named after the legendary Fred Gissoni of APH's Customer Relations Department. See the bottom of this page for subscription information, archives, and other useful links.

Having control over your own money is a symbol of independence for all people, blind, sighted or visually impaired. There are several readily-available resources and easy-to-learn methods that allow the blind and visually impaired to write their own personal or business checks free of assistance from others. There is also a simple solution for the problem that check writing presents for individuals who don't know how to write print.

If you are visually impaired, one of the easiest solutions is to ask your bank for large print or raised line checks. Large print checks are just a couple inches larger than regular checks and come in high contrast colors that make them easy to read. Raised line checks are also larger and have lines that can be felt and followed with a trailing hand as the owner fills out the check using the other. All blocks on the check requiring customer attention are tactually indicated.

Another solution for people who are blind and know how to write print is a check writing template. A template is a piece of plastic or cardboard cut to the size of the check. The template has rectangular "holes" or spaces that serve as a guide indicating where the signer needs to write in the Date, Amount, Pay to Order Of, Amount Written and Signature fields.

Blind individuals can also use raised line checks. The raised lines mark the beginning and end of each section of the check that requires signer input. The trick when using a template or raised line checks is to memorize the order of the sections so that you provide the proper input in its proper place.

Individuals who are blind and do not know how to write print can fill out their own checks using a standard typewriter. Start by memorizing or producing a written record of the number of spaces you need to move away from the check margin with each line. For example, to fill out the date, you would need to start three carriage returns down, and backspace 10 spaces from the right margin. To complete the amount section, return twice and backspace 10 spaces from the right margin, and so on until all entry fields are completed. There are several options for signing your check, including using a signature guide (which are available at many adaptive technology stores) or by creating your own template.

Another method for easily locating the signature line of a check is to create your own signature guide. This task can be done by punching dots along the signature line. You may use your slate and stylus or a sewing needle to punch the holes and form a guideline for where to place your "John Hancock." Finally, an option that simplifies both check writing and recording is a software product called "Checkbook Manager." Developed by Blazie Engineering, Checkbook Manager is used along with Blazie note-takers, such as the Braille 'n Speak. This piece of software keeps record of checks, deposits, ATM withdrawals, bank fees, and other transactions, and even allows you to use your printer to fill out your checks.

posted by Michael McCarty

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