It used to be very difficult for people with both physical and cognitive disabilities to perform some tasks until the introduction of Assistive Technology. This type of technology has demonstrated that it possible for disabled people to perform some fundamental tasks i9n life just like other people (Hersh, 2008). Assistive technology has enabled people with disabilities to be independent at home, school, and workplace. This sense of independence has made them to be self-confident and productive. The disabled people have an opportunity to realize their dreams and offer their contribution towards community development.
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Assistive technology has made it possible for disabled children with disabilities to do more for themselves from an early age in many different ways. A computer with a switch and on-screen keyboard is now available for the children who are unable to use their hands in operating a computer. The problem of speech has been solved by the introduction of a portable electronic device that enables children with speech problems to communicate (Hersh, 2008). Mechanical devices are now available to help disabled children to safely enter and get out of a bathtub.
Assistive technology ranges from sophisticated electronic and mechanical devices to simple homemade devices. These devices are meant to enable disabled people to work, learn and at the same time enable them to interact with other members of the society (Pruski, 2005). These devices are very important in a professional setting and it is therefore important for employers to provide their disabled employees with them. Assistive technology improves the functional capabilities that enable the disabled employees to adapt to their professional setting. Some of the commonly used Assistive Technology devices in a professional setting include Braille readers, computers and voice synthesizers (Beard, 2010).
There various factors that are normally considered in the process of identification and evaluation of technological solutions for people with disabilities. To begin with, a functional evaluation of the technology in terms of the individual’s technological and environmental needs is very fundamental when looking for an appropriate technological solution. Assistive technology should be adaptive, fitting and easy to apply and maintain.
The technology should have reasonable modifications necessary to cater to an individual’s inadequacies (Pruski, 2005). The ability of technology to accommodate a disabled person should be considered when selecting and evaluating technological solutions for people with disabilities. Assistive technology requires some technical training and assistance in helping a person to apply and maintain the device to their advantage. The necessary training facilities and personnel must be considered before settling on a particular technology.
The best online teaching practices for the disabled are still a great challenge but various technologies have been discovered to help disabled people from accessing online educational programs just like other people. Educational institutions need to serve all their students including those with disabilities. The use of videos in online classrooms has become accessible to in recent times. The other best practice of teaching the disabled online is by faculties creating their HTML pages. In teaching disabled students online, color overload should be avoided especially for students who are color blind (Beard, 2010). The use of appropriate links and Adobe Acrobat files is also recommended.
Beard, L. (2010). Assistive Technology: Access for all students. New York, NY: Pearson College Div.
Hersh, M. (2008). Assistive Technology for virtually impaired and blind people. New York, NY: Springer.
Pruski, A. (2005). Assistive Technology: From virtuality to reality: AATE 2005. New York, NY: IOS Press.