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Assistive Technology Blog

Jun
29 2015

Approach, Enter, Operate, Participate!

By Jean Des Roches, AT Program Director


wheel chair ramp“My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn't accessible.”- Stella Young

If you have made your way to this blog, chances are you have heard the word ‘accessibility’ many times. But what does that really mean and how does that manifest itself in the world of AT?

Anything that is accessible is attainable or obtainable. Essentially, an accessibility feature or item allows you access to something. When talking about Assistive Technology this means lots of different things!

There is numerous hardware solutions in the world of AT that provide access which would otherwise be denied. Many people often associate accessibility hardware options to computer access. Things like a switch, an adaptive mouse, a special keyboard or even the mounting stand to hold a laptop in the proper position. These are all easily associated with allowing or providing access to the computer.

Accessibility hardware could also be something simple and low-tech, such as portable ramps to allow access to a building, or a wireless switch that turns on the coffee pot or opens the door.

Software can also provide for astounding ease of access to many functions on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Speech-to-text software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, can allow a user to fully access every function of their computer using only voice commands!

Software also has a role in access outside of the laptop or tablet. You can place a phone call with just your voice or use Siri to control any number of home devices that have been developed using APPLE’s HomeKit technology.

APPLE’s iOS has an entire Accessibility Menu where settings can be adjusted for individuals with vision, hearing, learning or physical and motor issues.  Of course, the Android market offers many accessibility features as well.

I am working on a few future blog posts that delve a little deeper into what some of these settings look like and how they can be put to use to help you or someone you know, so visit the blog often!

Until then, I’d love to hear about an access issue that you had that was resolved by the use of some type of AT! Do you use Dragon Naturally Speaking to run your computer? Have you found the greatest set of portable ramps on the market? Please share your tips and experiences on access and accessibility.

Warmest Regards,
Jean

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