Using Assistive Technology at Work
Using Assistive Technology
Employers, did you know that most smartphones, tablets and other devices have built-in technology that can help with learning and attention issues? These features can vary among brands but many have similarities. They assist with; Reading issues, having text to speech options, Voice over for the visually impaired, Mobile accessibility Apps and AssistiveTouch (AT) which allows hand gestures for people with fine motor skills.
Turning a mobile device into an assistive technology tool doesn’t have to cost anything.
Assistive Technology (AT) refers to any device or system that helps to improve the functional capacity of people with disabilities. It is a very broad field and may range from the very simple to the very complex. People with a disability use AT for a whole range of tasks. Whether it is simply accessing print media or communicating on the telephone, AT provides a vast array of solutions. It can allow a person who cannot manipulate a pen to write, enable those who have difficulty in speaking to communicate and assist people with visual impairments to read.
There are three categories of AT, ranging from 'Low-tech' such as a laptop stand or foot rest through 'Medium-tech' up to ‘Hi-tech' including sophisticated communication and computer control systems for those with little independent functioning or communication ability.
If you have an employee or potential employee with a vision, hearing, speech, mobility impairment or specific learning difficulty, there are assistive technologies to assist in all of these areas, examples include:
Alternative keyboards, featuring larger or smaller than standard keys
- Touch screens
- Joysticks, manipulated by hand, feet, chin to control cursor on screen
- Screen enlargers/magnifiers/ readers
- Speech recognition programs
- Simple adjustments to a car can enable people with physical disabilities to be mobile
Computer-based AT applications help overcome some of the functional barriers created by disability. It increases the independence, employability and productivity for an individual living with a disability and in many cases can be at little cost.