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The Role of Assistive Computer Technology

  • Date: 2011/03/08 (Rev. 2013/06/03)
  • Scioto.com
  • Synopsis : Individuals with disabilities are realizing the benefits of working with a computer equipped with assistive technology.

Main Document

Individuals with disabilities are realizing the benefits of working with a computer equipped with assistive technology.

Individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities continue to use the personal computer in a variety of ways. Often, it is a tool that provides them with independence, a pathway to a world that would otherwise be difficult to navigate.

To facilitate the process, assistive (or adaptive) computer technology is any piece of equipment that is customized to make life easier for a person with a disability. For instance, because the keyboard, mouse and monitor are so vital to using a computer, adaptive hardware and software have been developed to provide alternatives to these tools for individuals who are unable to use them.

A host of examples are worth noting:

  • Screen readers: software programs that provide speech output for the blind or visually impaired.
  • Optical character recognition software: it scans printed materials directly into the PC.
  • Magnification software: it enlarges text and graphics displayed on PC monitors.
  • Voice recognition and dictation systems: they make it possible to control the computer and dictate documents verbally using spoken commands.

As more individuals with disabilities realize the benefits of working with a computer that is equipped with the necessary assistive technology, computer vendors will likely increase their support. As the field continues to expand and more technology solutions become available, individuals with disabilities will realize even greater freedom.

Reprinted with permission - www.scioto.com

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