Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 10 - AT

I have to say I was blown away by the information on Microsoft's assistive tech website. Of course the information is geared toward Microsoft products, but there is so much more information on just making the reader aware of what is available to assist people with difficulties and disabilities. I really liked the "Guides by Impairment" section which targets each area of disability and gives the tools available to assist anyone with these issues. The direct link to the web page is:

I also really enjoyed the Universal Design site. I am amazed at what people can think of to overcome impairments and disabilities!
As I began reading over the various sites and information on assistive technology and universal design, I started thinking of examples of where I've seen people using AT. I have a brother-in-law who is severely sight impaired. He is able use the computer daily to do lots of things, leisure to business. He uses screen enlargers and screen readers (I didn't know the correct terms for them until today!)
There is a man at our local DMV who takes photos for drivers licenses who is also severely sight impaired. He uses a very advanced type of desktop video magnifier (much like the one pictured above) which enlarges anything he puts under it and displays it on a screen so he can read it. Anything a person gives to him that he has to see he puts under this magnifier. It's really awesome what he is able to accomplish with it that he would not be able to do otherwise!
This may not be assistive "technology" per se, but I've been made more aware of meeting the needs of those with disabilities of all types at the library. It was made very clear to me of the need to be sure that any videos I order for the library be subtitled/captioned for the hearing impaired. One of my hearing impaired patrons borrowed a video (happened to be "The Color of Magic") and when he returned it, he said he wasn't able to watch it because it wasn't subtitled. I hadn't thought about making sure videos had this capability before I ordered I do! Just some food for thought...

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