Grade-A Computer Services has been leading the effort in Accessible Solutions by creating the first Accessibility Lab at Microsoft. The lab was there to provide testing, development, and training on assistive technologies. I designed, and managed the lab and trained many people with and without disabilities on the new technologies available to those with all types of disabilities. As well customized evaluations for those who are trying to figure out what assistive technologies will give them the complete freedom on their computer or other device.
Here at Grade-A computer Services we provide the same high level service for those people who need assistive technologies to enhance their computing experience for work or pleasure. We will come to your home or office and evaluate your specific needs and then setup the device or program, and provide you training on how to use that device or program.
What is Assistive or Adaptive Computer Technology?
Assistive Computer Technology is any piece of equipment that is customized to make life easier for a person who has a disability.
The personal computer (PC) can be the backbone of independence for millions of individuals with sensory, physical, and learning disabilities.
Many people with disabilities face a variety of challenges in terms of providing computer input, interpreting output, and reading documentation. For persons with disabilities, the keyboard, mouse, and monitor are of prime concern so adaptive hardware and software have been developed to provide alternatives.
Screen Reader Programs are designed to allow even totally blind people to use the computer. They convert the text, and icons to speech so you can use a computer without needing to see the monitor.
Accessible computer equipment and PC access aids can make it easier for computer users to use word processing programs, surf the Internet, and send email, but they can also help non-computer users handle many non-computer tasks.
Any system that aids individuals who are not independently verbal communicators is known as an Augmentative Communication System. These systems can include Speech, Gestures, Sign Language, Symbols, Synthesized Speech, Dedicated Communication Aids, or Micro Computers.
Examples of Assistive Computer Technology Include:
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software systems, are used to scan printed materials directly into the PC to accommodate many types of disabilities.
- Screen Readers, are software programs that provide either speech or Braille output, and are commonly employed by persons who are blind or visually impaired.
- Non-Assistive Computer Programs, like electronic mail and instant messaging empower individuals with hearing-related impairments to communicate over the Internet.
- Magnification Software, enlarges text and graphics displayed on PC monitors. Magnification programs are widely used by persons with poor vision or who have difficulty reading.
- Mobility Devices, for people with mobility disabilities, From head Tracking, Eye Tracking, and more.
- Cognitive disabilities, is another area that we can provide many different technologies devices, and programs, and services.
Common keyboard input modifications include:
- Adapted Keyboards,
- On-Screen Keyboards,
- Alternative Communication Programs,
- Voice Recognition.
Voice recognition and dictation systems are powerful assistive technologies that allow persons with disabilities to control a computer and dictate documents verbally using spoken commands.
Most computer vendors support persons with disabilities by incorporating accessibility programs, and utilities into operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and UNIX.
PCs equipped with assistive technology permit individuals to function independently at school, work, and home, and allow access to great quantities of information from diverse sources such as compact disks, networks, electronic mail, instant messaging, the World Wide Web, and other Internet resources.
Related Resources Information:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States is fostering the development of assistive technology for persons with disabilities.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States is helping to make the World Wide Web more accessible as well.