Adopting technology in the workplace for job placements of the

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					Assistive Technology Breaking Barriers for Education & Employment of Persons
across All Disabilities


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Technology makes things easier for some people but for persons with disabilities, it makes
the impossible, a true reality.

Assistive Technologies are the new age devices and software that provide support to the
disabled to overcome their disability and perform their tasks in a normal environment
efficiently to compete on a level playing field with their non-disabled peers.

The most important aspect is to know which technology will help in a particular case.
Today, there is a great deal of new technology aids and appliances that have been
developed in the world such as the JAWS Screen Reading Software, Magic Screen
Magnification Software, Evaluation and Assessment Software to identify individual
students’ capabilities, Alternative keyboards, On-screen keyboards, Mouth/ Head stick
keyboards, Camera Mouse, Foot Pedals, Switches, Speech Recognition Software, Word
Prediction Software, Picture Communication Software, Wireless Assistive Listening
Devices, Refreshable Braille Displays, Low Vision Aids and a host of other support
systems to assist the person with a Disability to help him perform any tasks in an office or
classroom environment.

Types of Assistive Technology Devices/ Software:

We give below a brief explanation of the different assistive technologies that are generally
used to provide computer aided system of education and vocational training skills:

Alternative Keyboard - A hardware device that replaces or works in addition to the
standard keyboard.

Assistive Listening System - A wireless FM device which has a transmitter and
receivers and works on radio frequency to transmit speech directly to the hearing impaired
using hearing aids, thus eliminating outside noise and providing better clarity of speech.

Augmentative Communication Device - A hardware device that provides speech output
for nonverbal users. It is often portable and allows input from a variety of methods.

Dwell Software - Software that automatically activates a mouse click after resting the
cursor over an icon or area of the screen for a preset amount of time.

Keyboard Emulator - A hardware device that connects to the computer and allows input
from a source other than the standard keyboard.

Keyguard - A hardware device that covers a standard or alternative keyboard and
provides direction for a finger.

Low Vision Aids - Devices that use cameras to enlarge the text or images on the TV or
monitor screen enabling the persons with partial sight or low vision to view and read.
Mouse Emulator - Software that imitates and takes the place of a mouse.

Mouse Keys - Software that transforms the traditional numeric keypad into a directional
mouse.

On Screen Keyboard - Software that allows a user to use a mouse, touch screen or
switch to enter all the characters and functions of a keyboard.

Refreshable Braille Displays - An electronic device that converts text on the monitor
screen to Braille format and changes or refreshes to form new Braille characters as one
navigates to another line on the screen. Basically it acts as a tactile monitor for the blind or
deafblind to read the screen.

Scanning Software - Software that automatically steps through allowable responses that
users select by single switch or multi switch activation.

Screen Reading Software - This software gives voice output to the text appearing on the
monitor screen and what is typed on the keyboard, thus enabling blind persons to have
access to the full functionalities of computers.

Screen Magnification Software - This software enlarges not only the text but also the
menus, title bar, status bar, toolbars, etc. It also provides additional tools to enhance
visibility.

Switch - A hardware device that allows a user with little motor control to operate a
computer or other electrical device.

Touch Screens - A hardware device that is mounted onto a computer monitor and allows
a user to make selections, move objects and pull down menus with the touch of a finger.

Head/ Eye-Controlled Input - Electronic pointing devices that allow the user to control
the cursor on the screen using head movement, an infrared beam, eye movements, nerve
signals, or brain waves. When used with an on-screen keyboard, electronic pointing
devices also allow the user to enter text or data.

Communication Aids - Communication impairments include conditions such as aphasia
(loss or impairment of the power to use or comprehend words, often as a result of brain
damage), delayed speech (a symptom of cognitive impairment), and other conditions
resulting in difficulties remembering, solving problems, or perceiving sensory information.
For people who have these impairments, complex or inconsistent visual displays or word
choices can make using computers more difficult. For most computer users, in fact,
software that is designed to minimize clutter and competing objects on the screen is
easier to use, more inviting, and more useful.

Communication aids deliver pre-recorded messages for an individual who has trouble
communicating. These devices are not as advanced as Speech Generating Devices but
do offer some message recording flexibility.

Sensor Technology Software - Mobility impairments can be caused by a wide range of
common illnesses and accidents such as arthritis, stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s
disease, multiple sclerosis, loss of limbs or digits, spinal cord injuries, and repetitive stress
injury, among others. As a result of these accidents or conditions, individuals might be
unable to use (or be without) arms or fingers to interact with their computers using the
standard keyboard or mouse. People who have some motion impairment in their hands
might be unable to type key combinations that require one key to be held down while
pressing another. Others might strike multiple keys or repeat keys unintentionally. Some
people might have use of their hands and arms but have a limited range of motion. All of
these conditions make using a standard mouse or keyboard difficult, if not impossible.
This sensor technology software comes to the rescue as it enables such persons to
operate the computers without use of the conventional mouse or keyboard.

Voice Recognition Software - Voice recognition programs allow users to write text,
navigate the Web, send e-mail, and use applications by using voice commands rather
than a mouse or keyboard. These programs are often very helpful to people who do not
have use of their hands and therefore have difficulty using a keyboard and mouse. Some
individuals with mobility impairments like carpal tunnel use voice recognition in conjunction
with a keyboard and mouse, allowing them to reduce their keyboard and mouse usage.

Computer Access is needed to do everything everyone else is doing with computers (e.g.,
word processing, e-mail, surfing the internet, etc.). Computers have essentially created a
level playing field for people with disabilities where the computer remains the same and
people with differing physical abilities just use different tools and various techniques to
perform their work.

Computer access is now possible by persons across all disabilities such as persons with
Blindness, Low Vision, Locomotive Deficiencies, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Paraplegia,
Quadriplegia, Dyslexia, Physical Impairments and Multiple disabilities with a combination
of many problems like blindness, deafness associated along with other physical
deficiencies.

Brief Explanation on Disabilities

Blind/ Visual Impairment: Blind refers to a total loss of vision. Visual impairment
indicates partial sight or low vision and a need for magnification to view text or objects.

Congenital Disability: A physical impairment existing since birth.

Deaf/ Hard of Hearing: Deaf refers to a total loss of hearing. Hard of hearing refers to
partial hearing loss ranging from slight to severe.

Epilepsy: Term for various disorders marked by electrical disturbances of the central
nervous system and typically manifested by seizures, which are involuntary muscular
contractions.

Learning Disability: A disability affecting spoken or written language.

Mental Illness/ Mental Disability: A psychiatric disability caused by a biological,
physiological or psychological disorder or a chemical disorder of the brain.

Mental Retardation/ Cognitive Disability: Condition causing significantly below-average
intellectual functioning.

Motor Disability: Includes multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Lou Gerhig’s disease
(amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS), cerebral palsy. It includes a group of conditions
resulting from damage to the central nervous system.

Paralysis/ Spinal Cord Injury: Hemiplegia affects full or partial paralysis of one side of
the body caused by brain damage as a result of a disease, trauma or stroke. Paraplegia is
a paralysis of lower half of the body. It involves partial or total loss of function of both legs.
Quadriplegia is paralysis of the body that involves partial or total loss of functioning in a
person’s arms and legs.

Speech Impairment:
Limited or difficult-to-understand speech patterns. Assistive Technology and Computer
Aided Systems offer the solution to help you give children a better quality of education and
prepare them to even seek employment later in life.

Just a decade ago it was unthinkable that the persons with disabilities can acquire higher
education or for that matter work in an office environment. Assistive technology has
revolutionised the entire scenario and has given to the disabled community their equal
right to live in society with esteem and dignity.

It has empowered them with tools to perform like the sighted, hearing & able-bodied
persons; the only difference is that they do the same things or tasks differently.

For example:
A simple task of writing and sending an Email is done easily by the able bodied by simply
using the mouse to open the outlook express program and write the message and with the
use of the mouse quickly send the same.

Now the same task if it was to be done by a person with a disability, can also be done but
with use of different tools which support them to also perform like:

      The Blind will use the Screen Reading Software JAWS
      Low Vision Persons will use the Magic Screen Magnification Software
      Learning Disabled, dyslexic or slow learners would use Wynn or K3000
      Quadraplegic or those with upper Extremeties could use the Hands Free Speech
       Recognition Software or Quali Eye
      Locomotive or muscular dystrophy persons can use Quali Key onscreen keyboard
       software, Intelli-tools keyboards, switches, etc.
      Physically Impaired who have trouble using both hands could use the FrogPad one
       hand keyboard or learn to use the normal keyboard with the five finger typist tutorial
      Persons with Cerebral Palsy can use a combination of the above technologies
      Those Paralysis Neck Down can use Quali Eye or Quali World software

Myths about Capabilities of Persons with Disabilities

Till today there is a myth among the society and the employers that if the person is with
some disability, he/she is incapable of working and should be made to stay at home and
given some charity to live. Whether it is a college or university or a company the story is
the same. In fact that is one of the main reasons for this conference - to enlighten the
society and the people concerned that this thinking is a misconception. The disabled can
also be good students or employees when given the opportunity.

Recently, there was a case in Jharkhand where the Jharkhand Public Service
Commission had conducted their entrance exam and out of the list, some visually
impaired persons had also given their exams and did well but were not included in the list
of job allocation simply because they were blind. It took a public litigation to enforce the
same.

Breaking Barriers In Higher Education And In The Workplace By Persons Across All
Disabilities:
In the pursuit of higher education and employment there are these standard needs for
access by the students and employees that one has to do such as:

   1) Reading of printed materials or books/ Library services
   2) Access to Computers for preparing Notes, Reports, Letters, Access Data and
      research on the Internet. Also for giving their exams.
   3) Provision of curriculum books in alternative format such as Braille, Audio, Electronic
      and Large Print
   4) Communicating with students or colleagues through Emails, E-learning or Video
      Conferencing


Now let us look at the different assistive technologies that help the persons with various
disabilities perform in each of these categories:

ACCESS TO PRINTED MATERIALS

By the Blind

Sara Text Reading Machine:
If the student or employee is not PC literate then he/ she can use the SARA stand-alone
text reading machine. This converts any printed book, document or material into speech
enabling the blind to have access to the same. It can also be connected to a TV or monitor
screen and since it can enlarge the text as well as change background colours, space the
letters etc it is also very useful for persons with low vision and dyslexic/ learning disabled.

KNFB Reader:
In case the blind person needs to read any printed materials while on the move then he/
she can use the KNFB reader, which is a portable reader. One can take a snapshot of the
text which will be converted into speech in a few seconds, thus enabling the blind to have
access to printed materials even while travelling or when away from his desk. This can
prove very useful to students and employees to read minutes, agendas of meetings,
conference papers or notes, newspapers, bills, menu cards, etc.

Openbook/ K1000 OCR Reading Software:
On the other hand if the blind person is PC literate then he/she can take the help of OCR
scanning and reading software like openbook with Indian accent voice or K1000. These
software when combined with a scanner and a computer convert into a reading machine.
All one needs to do is to place the book or printed text face down on the scanner and once
it is scanned the software converts it to readable format and speaks out aloud the
contents. Openbook and K1000 also provide a number of other functionalities like editing
the same or converting it to audio format. Both enlarge the text, change colour
backgrounds, space letters etc thus making it useful even for persons with low vision or
dyslexic.

ZoomEx Instant Reader:

This new assistive technology product immensely
- helps a visually challenged student in the library for instance:

      Reads instantly any printed document or book. This enables a blind student to have
       access to any printed book in the library.
      It enables a blind employee to have access to any printed memo, report, document
       given to him for his attention or comments and can immediately take action on the
       same thus increasing efficiency levels.
      He does not have to scan each page, which takes some time. In case the
       document is voluminous it would take quite sometime whereas with the use of
       ZoomEx one can convert approx. 200 pages in 15 minutes.
      In case he needs to make a presentation and display a picture or image it can
       easily be done with ZoomEx impromptu.

- helps a visually challenged professional in the workplace for instance:

      If he is deputed to outstation duty or to attend a conference or assignment, he can
       easily carry the ZoomEx along with the laptop to facilitate instant reading of the
       reports, agenda of meetings, documents, etc. since it is not possible to expect to
       receive the same in Braille.
      Since it has the feature of high speed conversion of text to digital format, even
       libraries can convert their entire library to soft format and with the use of JAWS
       talking software it would become accessible to the blind students or persons. The
       ZoomEx can also facilitate production of large print books for low vision students.

Victor Stream Reader:
This is a portable pocket size reading device that enables a blind student or employee to
study a project report, document or presentation before the meeting, students can have
their entire curriculum books for study and revision, etc. Besides it also reads Daisy books
and students can even record their lectures in class. Employees can record voice notes to
minute the entire deliberations of the meeting; have available quickly at hand, reference
information like pricelists or data; lawyers can have access to entire plaints or lawsuits for
reference prior to appearing in Court; students can have their entire curriculum books for
study and revision, etc.

Victor Wave Daisy & MP3 CD Player:
This compact unit enables students to read Daisy books or talking books and is ideal for
studying to assist in their learning process. It reads Daisy CDs and even has visual display
for low vision students to operate.

Eclipse Writer Pro Software:
This software is useful in converting text or word documents/ books into Daisy and audio
format and is an excellent supportive tool to compliment the use of the Victor Stream or
any other Daisy readers. Educational institutions can convert their library books into Daisy
format so that the students can then receive their books either in CD format or download
the same on their Victor Stream unit.

What we just dealt with was only text but what if the blind need to have access to graphics
or diagrams?

Reading of diagrams or graphics by blind especially if they are plans, layout drawings,
charts, etc.

Yes, this is also possible today thanks to Assistive Technology!

PIAF Tactile Graphic Maker:
This device converts any impression or image printed or drawn on specially coated paper.
When the sheet is passed through the PIAF it converts the impressions in black to raised
figures making it a tactile graphic thus enabling the blind to feel the same and understand
the diagram. A typical example would be a map of the country or the layout plan of a
building.

Viewplus Braille Graphic Printers:
These are high speed Braille graphic printers that emboss Braille diagrams on ordinary
card paper making it very economical and give a 3D effect. There are 4 different models
with varying capacities depending on individual needs.

IVEO Touch and Audio for Speaking Graphics:
This is a Touch Pad device alongwith special software that brings tactile diagrams to life
using sound. A Tactile graphic is placed on the touch pad and when a blind person
touches a particular area, the IVEO speaks out information about that area. For example,
in the layout of a building the location of the corridor, passage, elevator, hall, or even the
internal infrastructure of the office, etc. In case, it is an engineering design then the parts
of the component. It is also very useful for teaching graphic based subjects like
economics, mathematics, sciences, etc.


Access to Curriculum books in alternative format – Braille:

To provide this facility one needs to take the help of high speed Braille embossers. There
are several models of Braille embossers depending on the format and production
capacity. These convert printed text to embossed Braille dots, which the blind can read.
Those who are visually challenged can receive curriculum books in Braille. This product
would be very helpful for educational institutions to provide materials like application
forms, notices, circulars to the blind and particularly Government agencies can offer their
documentation or forms in Braille to the blind public to provide accessibility.

      Basic D Low Cost High Speed Double Sided Continuous Sheet Braille Printer
      Everest Cut Sheet Double-Sided Braille Printer
      4x4 Pro Cut Sheet High Speed Braille Printer That Embosses In Book Format
      4 Waves Pro High Speed Braille Press

Viewplus EMPRINT Print and Braille printer:
For production of text and Braille line by line simultaneously to facilitate teaching in
integrated education institutions and for those teachers not knowing Braille. Also
embosses Braille graphics.

Adaptive Mini Braille Typewriter:
Lightweight Portable Mechanical Brailler for teaching Braille to young children. The 6 keys
can be adjusted or compacted to suit the small hands of small children, uses ordinary
typing paper and for speed typing in Braille by adults.

Reading By Low Vision Persons:

So far we have seen the different devices that are helpful for the blind but what about the
persons with partial sight or low vision?
Such persons are neither among the blind nor the sighted and do not receive much
support. I have come across a number of cases where the employees have lost their jobs
simply since they could not see properly and were affected with diminishing vision.
Assistive technology can come to their rescue if they use them or are provided with the
same.
Prisma CCTV Print Magnifier:
This is a camera device when attached to a TV or monitor screen enlarges to varying
degrees the text or object when placed under the camera, thus enabling the low vision
employee to view any memo, report or cheque, etc. Low vision students can read their
books or study diagrams. The Prisma is also portable and can be carried, if required.

TVI Colour Print Magnifier:
For reading using a home TV for studying by low vision students. This is a low cost
solution. It is a mouse-like camera device that needs to be placed on the text to be read
and one has to move the same along the page.


Quicklook Zoom:
This is a pocket sized portable video magnifier that enables the employee or student to
view any text or object while on the move or when away from his desk. One can change
the background colours or reading modes to negative with dark background and white
letters to facilitate individual viewing comfort levels.

Topaz Desktop Video Magnifiers:
These are desk models that enable persons with low vision to read any documents in
enlarged mode on the monitor screen or alternatively on the laptop screen.

Onyx Video Magnifiers:
This low vision device is also in the same family but offers portability to the students and
employees since he/ she can carry the same and also use it with a laptop.


Reading By the Physically Impaired:

Till now we have dealt with reading by the blind and low vision, but when it comes to the
physically impaired, it is comparatively easier since they can see. In the case of the
Paraplegic, they do not need any support except mobility support like wheel chairs but in
the case of persons with upper extremities they would need page turners to assist them to
turn the pages of the book or alternatively information is to be made available in electronic
format on computers since they can now have access to the same using assistive
technology devices.


Reading By Dyslexic, Slow Learners Or Print Disabled:

Many of you would probably not know that there are some people who are sighted;
however they have a problem in recognising letters as they cannot relate them to its
meaning. For example they can see the words “Karishma Enterprises” but would still need
to either change the background colour, space the letters, highlight them and even have
them spoken aloud to help them to recognise the same.
We have already seen earlier that SARA text reader and Openbook OCR software help
such persons but there are special software such as WYNN OR K3000 that have special
additional features to read, study and write.

Classmate Reader:
This is a small compact portable device that provides similar functionalities but also has a
talking dictionary to assist dyslexic or learning disabled students to read, write, study and
take voice notes in class whereas the employees can use it to record minutes of meetings
or transfer documents to this device to read the same.
Reading By The Deafblind:

Refreshable Braille Displays:
These provide text appearing on the computer screen into braille format enabling the blind or the
deafblind to read the same. It helps a blind employee in a call centre or those working at the help
desk to work using both the phone and the computer with the JAWS talking software.
In fact it is with these devices, Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind, Mumbai have
successfully trained their deafblind students to read, write and study as well as operate computers.
Some of them have even cleared the NIOS exams. But this is not all, one of their students Zamir
Dhale is employed as Vice President of Sense India International to promote advocacy for the
deafblind community in Asia earning over Rs.12000 per month.

Zamir jokes with us saying that “I am not disabled, you are disabled because I can communicate
with you but you cannot talk to me!”


PREPARATION OR WRITING OF NOTES, DOCUMENTS, REPORTS, ETC. &
GENERAL OPERATION OF COMPUTERS

Access By the Blind

The next facility we need to address is preparing of notes, documents, writing of exam
papers and thanks to Jaws talking software, this has now become possible for the blind. It
has empowered them to have access to computers and master the same such that they
are now able to hold senior management positions in companies, acquire postgraduate
education or be self-employed.

JAWS Screen Reading Software:
JAWS is a very powerful screen reading software that enables the blind to work on all
Microsoft Windows based applications. Since it provides voice output the blind can
prepare letters, notes, documents or write exam papers independently and even take
printouts. It gives total functionality to have access to and work on Microsoft Office,
Internet Explorer and Outlook Express independently.

Talking Typing Teacher Pro:
This is a self voicing tutorial that enables the blind to master the computer keyboard like a
touch typist prior to learning to operate the computer. It also has a simple word processor
in case someone needs to make just a few notes.

Access By Low Vision:

Magic Pro Screen Magnification Software:
Persons with low vision can use Magic magnification software to view the monitor screen
and operate computers easily. It helps to enlarge the screen upto 36x and comes with a
number of enhancement tools to support better visibility. This helps them to prepare
letters, notes, and documents or even send and receive E-mails, etc.

Large Print Keyboard:
To compliment access to computers, this large print keyboard helps low vision persons to
view the letters of the keyboard to facilitate typing by them.

Knowledge Assessment Programs:
These are Innovative programs to assist teachers to test their students’ skills & make up
computer quizzes on the subjects taught making the learning process enjoyable. They
come complete with plenty of features, allowing the teacher to customize quizzes to his/
her specific needs, thus providing unlimited adaptability and scope. These software would
make test taking a very simple task.

      Talking Computer Quiz Software For Blind And Low Vision
      Test Talker Software For Slow Learners
      Spell Well Talking Program A Talking Tutorial For Teaching English Spellings


Access by Cerebral Palsy, Locomotive and Physically Impaired Persons:

When it comes to the physically impaired the task is more challenging but thanks to the
availability of assistive technology now this is possible which otherwise would be
unthinkable.

Quali World:
This is a platform with a number of very easy to use modules that enables disabled people
to perform the following tasks without the use of the standard keyboard or mouse:

      Surfing the Web
      Writing documents in Word
      Sending/ receiving Emails
      Sending/ receiving Fax messages
      Telephone operation
      Sending/ receiving SMS messages

Quali-Eye Tracking Mouse:
The cursor on the screen is controlled by simple head movements. A standard USB
WebCam captures user's movements and the software translates them into onscreen
cursor movement, in real time. Users do not have to attach anything to their body. It also
has a Gesture Recognition feature that uses a body gesture to perform the click on the
selected button.

QualiKEY Onscreen Keyboard:
A virtual keyboard is visible on the monitor screen and the keys can be pressed using the
Auto Click, AutoScan or Manual Scan feature as described above. The layout of the
keyboard can be modified to the user’s needs. It also includes an intelligent Word
Prediction system with an advanced Vocabulary Editor which makes typing faster &
efficient. Quali-KEY is the ultimate on-screen Keyboard, which allows users with mobility
impairments to type data directly into any Windows Applications. Instead of pushing keys
on a real keyboard, simply point and click on virtual keyboard on your computer screen.
With QualiKEY, you can directly control any Windows application, run and close
applications, manage tasks, shut down the computer, manage you own Start Menu, check
the on-line help and much more. It can be fully customized to maximize and speed up
user's ability to input commands and texts.

Quali-Web Pro:
An advanced Internet Browser for Microsoft Windows, which enables any user to freely
surf the WEB. Quali-WEB Pro includes several features which give a solution to the
accessibility problems and give to the user full management of any website.

Quali-Click Software:
This software provides Mouse Emulation Support where a person who cannot click needs to
simply moves the mouse to the desired function or command button and the click is automatically
activated by the system.
Frogpad One Hand Keyboard:
A one-handed keyboard can be used with the computer for the physically handicapped
who has good use of only one hand. It has been designed for fast data entry using the
natural drumming motion of the hand and the letter layout is based on the percent usage
of each letter in the English language. Fifteen letters that are used 86% of the time by
typists are placed in the most efficient locations on the keyboard.

Head/ Mouth Stick Keyboard:
Maltron Mouthstick Keyboard: This is a 103-key modified keyboard designed
specifically for use with a mouth stick or head-wand by persons with paralysis neck down
or having upper extremities with no hands or arms. This keyboard has a concave front
and specially developed key layout with frequently used characters in the central area to
reduce head movement for individuals who use a mouth stick or are single finger typists.
The unit may be mounted on an articulated arm or positioned flat for single finger
operation. The alphabetic keys are positioned in the middle of the board; function keys are
in a single row at the top of the keypad; number keys are split into two groups on either
side of the bottom portion of the keypad. Push-On Push-Off keys are provided for Shift,
Control and Alt.

5 Finger Typist:
This is a typing program for individuals, who want to type on the keyboard effectively with
one hand, whether using the right or left hand. You simply place your fingers at the home
position on the keyboard and mimic the animated on-screen hand movements through a
series of typing exercises.

Ability Master Tutorial:
Ability Master is a unique step-by-step teaching tutorial that helps persons with physical
impairment of hands or fingers to learn typing with those fingers that they have good use
of on a normal keyboard. It also teaches how to use a mouth stick with the standard
keyboard. This program has 22 lessons with 20 options of disability like use of any 1 hand,
few fingers, mouth pointer, etc. thus enabling them to learn to touch type on a normal
computer independently.

These programs are designed for students with special needs. Also available – Specially
Designed Programs for students with Cerebral Palsy, Missing fingers, Learning Disabled,
Dyslexic, etc.

Intelli Tools Keyboards & Keyguards:
IntelliKeys by IntelliTools is a programmable alternative keyboard that plugs into any
Windows computer. It enables employees or students with physical, visual, or cognitive
disabilities to easily type, enter numbers, navigate on-screen displays, and execute menu
commands. The specially designed keyguards mask some of the keys enabling the
physically impaired to easily type on other keys without errors.

Touch Screen:
A hardware device that is mounted onto a computer monitor and allows a user to make
selections, move objects and pull down menus with the touch of a finger.

Foot Pedal Keys:
Foot Pedals act as a three-button programmable keyboard in conjunction with your regular
keyboard. It lets your feet take over lengthy, awkward or painful repetitive keystrokes or
mouse clicks. Key actions like Shift, Enter and Space can be re-mapped and entered with
one of the three-foot pedals. Each pedal can also be programmed to handle macros or
key sequences of up to 13 characters in length.


Tash Switches:
 A switch is a hardware device that allows a user with little motor control operates a
computer or other electrical device. It is defined as mechanical device that closes an
electrical circuit to turn object on and off. There are 2 types of Switches:

   1. Simple Switches: That are activated by touch
   2. Specialty Switches: That are accessed by ways other than touch, which includes
      by breath, infrared waves, eye blink or motion.


HandsFree Voice Recognition Software:
This software enables operation of your computer completely by voice. It is the only
system that allows operation of any application and full control over the Windows
operating system. These programs are often very helpful to people who do not have use
of their hands and therefore have difficulty using a keyboard and mouse. Some individuals
with mobility impairments like carpal tunnel use voice recognition in conjunction with a
keyboard and mouse, allowing them to reduce their keyboard and mouse usage.

Penfriend XL Word Prediction Software:
Penfriend XL's core strength is in predicting the next word you want to write. It does this
using a dictionary of known words, along with detailed knowledge of when they are likely
to be used, their grammatical type, words you have used before, and so on. Every time
you type a letter, it comes up with a new list of the most likely words, which fit your letters.
Choosing one is a simple matter of pressing one more button, or clicking on the word with
the mouse. If you're not sure how to read it, you can hear it spoken before you choose a
word.


COMMUNICATIONS WITH STUDENTS FOR E-LEARNING THROUGH EMAILS,
SKYPE PHONE OR VIDEO CONFERENCING:

In any teaching or office environment communication plays a vital role and it is important
that persons with disabilities are empowered to face this challenge.

By Blind & Low Vision:

PacMate Mobile Talking Computers With Braille or PC Keyboards:
PACMATE and Jaws installed with or without Braille displays provide many additional
functionalities to the blind to assist them in the study environment.

OBR [Optical Braille Recognition]:
Helps in accessing Braille documents by sighted persons since it translates the Braille to
text. A very useful program especially for teachers not knowing Braille can now read any
Braille document or answer sheet with this software.

Mountbatten Electronic Braille System:
This helps in communication between the sighted teacher not knowing Braille to prepare
braille notes in braille automatically and the student can type on the braille keyboard and
take a text printout.
E-Learning:
Since the blind & low vision students can operate computers, it becomes very easy for
them to even take their lessons through the method of E-learning via Internet, Skype,
Emails, Voice Chat, Net Meeting or Video Conferencing, etc.

By The Hearing Impaired:

Conversor Wireless FM Assistive Listening System:
It is now possible to communicate with the hearing impaired student with the use of the
Conversor Wireless FM assistive listening device. So even if the teacher or boss/
colleague needs to reach out to the hearing impaired student or employee he can achieve
the same. It comes as a set with the transmitter, which is used, by the teacher or boss/
colleague and the receiver, which is worn by the hearing impaired person connected to his
hearing aid. This device is also very useful in a computer lab or classroom environment.

By Non Verbal or Speech Impaired Students/ Employees:
In the case of students or employees that are non verbal and the teachers/ colleagues do
not know sign language then use of the program like Quali Speak Pro and Quali Phone
Pro come in great help. The Quali Phone Pro enables such persons to even make a two-
way phone call conversation.

Quali-Speak Pro:
An easy-to-use and fast communication application for every person who cannot speak or
can speak with difficulty. Users will be able to verbally communicate by entering any text
or selecting any Speech Items, which will be automatically read out loud. User can create
and manage categories where phrases or words, related to the subject of the category,
can be stored and organized as Speech Items.

Quali-Phone Pro:
An advanced and easy-to-use telephony software application for MS Windows, which
allows any person with any physical disability or speech impairments to manage phone
calls directly from the computer and without the need of a standard telephone device.
Quali-PHONE Pro also allows users with speech impairments to “talk” on the phone
through Text-To-Speech engines which convert written text (prepared by the user) into
perfect speech sent directly through the telephone line.

By The Deaf Blind:
Since they can neither see nor hear, one needs to use finger spelling on the palm of their
hands or one can communicate with them using a computer where you type on the
standard PC keyboard and the deafblind person reads on the PACMATE portable braille
display.

By Physical or Cerebral Palsy Impaired:
Communication with them is easy since they can see and hear. However, they still need
assistive technology for switching on and off computers and shutting off lights or electrical
instruments. Quali Home provides a solution to the same.


JOB OPPORTUNITIES:
The next question that probably crosses your minds is that all this about technology if fine
but which are the jobs that persons with disabilities can easily do?
As we have seen, assistive technology enables them to perform various tasks and has
opened a host of job opportunities, which they can do, provided they also have the desired
skills, required qualifications and knowledge and list some of the prominent ones below:

We list some of the job profiles that they can do, specially those using computers:

   Call Centre Operator
   Phone Banking Assistant
   Public Relations Officer
   Telephone Interviewers
   Telemarketing Executive
   Help Desk Officer
   Database Administrator
   BPO Executive
   Accounts assistant
   Web Master
   Bulk Email / Fax / SMS Sender
   Secretary/ Receptionist
   Computer/ Data Entry Operator
   Personnel officer
   Telephone operator
   Desk Sales Executive
   Special answering service provider

Employment Oriented Skills Software - Computers At Work:
Focuses on entry-level computer skills that prepare users for office jobs. Computers at
Work, which includes Data Entry and Order Processing, challenges students to work
independently for an hour or more while learning real office procedures. As skills improve,
users progress from simple tasks to jobs that approximate those in an actual workplace.

Job Search Curriculum:
An excellent student tracking system provides data needed for Individual Evaluation
Programs (IEPs).

Building Electronic Portfolios:
Students today are being encouraged by IDEA updates to get involved in their own IEPs.
Here’s a simple way to teach them how to make their own electronic portfolios (CVs).
Students learn to create attractive presentation software slides about their work
experiences, skills, interests, and accomplishments to show at IEP meetings to
classmates or prospective employers.

Give the persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to study or work and see them
perform as well as become useful citizens of our country. The government would be
conforming to their promise of "education to all" and the corporates would be fulfilling their
social responsibility!

If you wish to know about the potential opportunities on self-employment for persons with
         disabilities you may visit our website www.karishmaenterprises.com and

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www.assistivetechnology.co.in where we have posted some articles on the same.

				
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