Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trick or Treat: Finding AT that Accommodates the Workplace

Assistive Technology for Accommodation and Vocational Success

Transition Network Facilitator Meeting, October 28, 2014

Assistive Technology can be any tool, item or device, low, mid or high in technology or price that accommodates a disability and brings the individual up to a level playing field with others to achieve success.

AT can be as simple as a pencil grip and as complicated as a programmable eye-gaze augmentative speech/computer access device. Each have their purpose and if matched accurately with the needs of the user, AT can accommodate and support the successful completion of tasks.

The Important Acronym: SETT  (more here)

If you identify these 4 elements in assessing AT, you will be much more effective and successful in matching up tools with the individual.
Here are free materials and tools from WATI (Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative) that will help you organize your assessments and trials for determining AT.
AT can accomodate physical limitations through environmental and ergonomic supports such as adaptive chairs, seats, rails, ramps, special desks, etc. AT can accommodate orthopedic/fine/gross motor limitations that prevent gripping pencils, pens or typing. There are augmentative speech devices, laptops and tablets, hand-helds and computers that have software/apps to support the user in the work environment. Spell-checkers, special dyslexic word processors and speech to text software can be a real game-changer for folks working in an office job. As oone professional using these supports told me, "I was expected to do my work just as timely and accurately as anyone else. I just had to find the tools to help me do it."

Universal Design:
Universal Design is a way of attaching "handles" to electronic media, vehicles, machinary, websites, buildingd/architecture, etc. so that all users can evenly access no matter what the disability.

Work on solving an "AT puzzle " by looking at the tools needed for all to accomplish the same task.Ask yourself: "Is the the solution an element of universal design that is already present n the workplace,on the computer or built in to the system?"
If not, what are some possible tools/solutions for individual access and successful accomlishment of the task?
Below are some tools/apps that will support many tasks in various environments that budding successful employees with special needs may find helpful.
Just remember to enjoy the journey!

iPads and iOS Accessibility 
The iPad Operating System (iOS) is a great jumping off place to explore universal design elements and what supports are possible.

iOS Tools on iPad that Accommodate Students (Based on New iOS8) Link to Manual from Apple on iOS8 for Tech geeks 
Explore Settings - quick overview
 Keyboard - add new keyboard (languages), Keyboard Shortcuts; Auto -Caps, Auto-Correct, Check Spelling, Caps Lock, Predictive, Split Keyboard, Space bar shortcut.
Multi-Tasking Gestures on/off
Reading and Vision - Zoom -Double tap 3 fingers; Drag 3 fingers; Dounble tap3 & drag to change
Invert Colors
Speak Selection - Turn on in Accessibility settings then highlight text and choose "Speak text"
Speak Screen
Larger Text
Bold Text
Guided Access* - Slide button to green in settings. Time limits in settings with alarm and countdown, Triple click home button to turn on, Enable Passcode - I set as 0000 so I always remember.Triple click Home button in App and set areas/turn on timer, etc. Start. Triple Click while in app to get out and end.
*Note: there are some issues with app not working properly in new iOS8 if updated on older iPads.

Fun Tricks and Accommodations in Research and Note-taking
Using Siri to find research items for notes: 
1. Use Siri to find topics on Internet, Say "Find images of Pumpkins on the web".
2. Use Siri to find "Jack O'Lantern on Wikipedia. Say: "Find Jack O'lantern on Wickipedia."

Text to Speech: Highlight text and choose "Speak Text" (make sure Speak Selection is on in settings) Search for a website on your theme and highlight text, choose speak.
Speech to Text: Use Microphone button on keyboard and speak what you want to write. Pretty accurate but some editing may be required. Can use Notepad and use Keyboard. Try saying: "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood." Say it soft and relaxed and a normal distance away from the iPad.

Notability 4.99

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