Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Download Thunder for Free

For many years, blind and visually impaired computer users have struggled with the cost of a screen reader. As helpful as computers are, they are useless to a blind person without a screen reader, but the average price can run around $1,000. Solutions to this problem are now being developed and you can help!

Thunder is the name given to a freeware screen reader that is available for download at The inspiration for came from two blind people in Peterborough UK and Sensory Software Ltd in Manchester. "We see the talking computer as the gateway to literacy, learning, work and financial independence for blind people and our mission is to make the blind-friendly talking software available worldwide".

Thunder won't speak everything in Windows, it works well with Microsoft Word, Outlook Express and Windows Explorer. You must install and use WebbIE, a free internet browser for people who are blind or visually impaired to enjoy the Internet. It runs on Windows 2000, XP and Vista.

Thunder is free for personal home use, not for organisations. If is to survive and flourish, it needs grassroots partners who will promote its use, encourage training and support for local users and contribute in cash or kindness toward ongoing development costs.

Click this link to download the Thunder screen reader from visit

A website has been created to help offset the costs of creating the Thunder screen reader. is an online shop where you can purchase online or by telephone a range of reasonably priced products and accessories to use with your Thunder. There are superior sounding computer voices, advanced speech and or print enlargement software packages and the Bierley range of electronic magnifiers requiring no computer involvement. There is also some useful software for Braillists and those of you wanting to scan books or your post and listening to what comes to you in print. They even have software for people who can see well but struggle with reading and writing because of Dyslexic challenges.

A mailing list has been created to discuss Thunder. To join, put the word subscribe in the subject of a message and send it to

Michael Curran has written a free, open-source screen reader for windows. Michael wants input and programming assistance, It is being written in the Python language and is called NVDA.

Click this link to visit the Nonvisual Desktop Access (NVDA) website:

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