• Shaun Prince

Assistive and Adaptive Computer Technology - Making life easier for workers with disabilities

Assistive and Adaptive Computer Technology - Making life easier for workers with disabilities

Those with disabilities face a variety of challenges with keyboard, mouse, and monitor providing computer input, interpreting output and reading documentation. For people who are blind, paralyzed or otherwise physically disabled, using a computer can be extremely frustrating! But happily, Assistive and Adaptive computer technology is making life easier for disabled computer users to get work done!

Assistive Computer Technology is a piece of equipment that is customised to make life easier for a person who has a disability. Accessible computing refers to the accessibility of a computer system to all people, regardless of disability or severity of impairment

"I use a smaller keyboard and penguin shaped mouse to help me control repetitive strain injury, and t-loop enabled headphones mean I can do Skype calls with my hearing aids in"

A disabled person is defined as having a “physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at work.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. It's a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing.

OpenDyslexic is a typeface designed against some common symptoms of dyslexia. It is free to use for personal use, business use, education, commercial, books, ebook readers, applications, websites, and any other project or purpose you need! OpenDyslexic is not supposed to be a cure, a complete solution, or something you should apply uniformly to everyone: it was intended to address: contrast/blindness, letter confusion or rotation, and crowding.

It is estimated that there are more than 10 million (about 1 in 6) people in the UK with some degree of hearing impairment or deafness

Having a conversation, taking part in meetings and talking on the phone can be very challenging if you have hearing loss. The following solutions can make speech clearer and easier to understand:

  • Speech to text software - can help in group meetings (it allows you to read a transcription of everything that's been said)

  • Remote microphones - good for one-to-one conversations

  • Table microphones – good for group conversations

  • Telephone amplifier to make the callers voice louder

  • Hearing aid compatibility: the phone will work with any hearing aid that has a hearing loop (T) setting

Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing device
  • Sip-and-puff systems - activated by inhaling or exhaling

  • Joysticks - manipulated by hand, feet, chin, etc. and used to control the cursor on screen

  • Trackballs - movable balls on top of a base that can be used to move the cursor on screen.

  • Wands and sticks - worn on the head, held in the mouth or strapped to the chin and used to press keys on the keyboard

  • Alternative keyboards - featuring larger, or smaller than standard keys or keyboards, alternative key configurations, and keyboards for use with one hand.

  • Electronic pointing devices - used to control the cursor on the screen without use of hands. Devices used include ultrasound, infrared beams, eye movements, nerve signals, or brain waves.

  • Touch screens - allow direct selection or activation of the computer by touching the screen, making it easier to select an option directly rather than through a mouse movement or keyboard. Touch screens are either built into the computer monitor or can be added onto a computer monitor.

Before a person can use a computer, they need to get within effective proximity of it. Aisles, doorways, and building entrances must be wheelchair-accessible. Other resources, such as telephones, restrooms, and reference areas, should be accessible too!

Is your workplace fully accessible?

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Shaw CE Primary - Disability Advice