Assistive Technology for
Unlocking the Mind with the Keys of Understanding!
Carolyn P. Phillips & Liz Persaud
Tools for Life
Georgia Assistive Technology Program
Considering Computer Access:
What Works for the Individual
Why Assistive Technology?
For a person without
For a person with a
Assistive Technology Matching:
A TEAM APPRAOCH
The Person with the disAbility
Circle of Support – Family of Choice
Speech & Language Pathologist
Human Activity Technology
Human: represents the skills and abilities of the
person with a disability
Activity: a set of tasks to be performed by the person
with a disability
Context: the setting or social, cultural and physical
contexts that surround the environment in which the
activity must be completed
Assistive Technology: devices or strategies used to
bridge the gap between the person‟s abilities and the
demands of the environment
Developed by Cook & Hussey
Promoting Strengths &
A Holistic Approach
Selection of an AT Device
Depends on an analysis of the following
Prior experience or knowledge, and interests;
The individual‟s specific strengths, weaknesses;
The specific device (reliability, ease of operation, technical
Usefulness across settings
Usefulness over time as symptoms manifest!
Able to level out the playing field
Work in cross-settings
Easy to maintain
Affordable to replace and/or maintain
Good and reliable technological support
Accessible training format
Staying off the FAST
“Technology gives me
hope & I need a lot of
Universal design principles
flexibility in use
simple and intuitive to use
tolerance for error
low physical effort
size and space for approach and use
– use more than one sense (or mode )
e.g. visual and aural senses: a text processor
may speak the words as well as echoing them
to the screen
Very hard to design a product for everyone
What happens when you can‟t?
“Design for all” vs. “Design for most”
– Any item, equipment or system, that is used to
increase, maintain, or improve functional
capabilities of a person with a disability
– absence of a limb
– paralysis –
• tetraplegia/quadriplegia – all four limbs
• paraplegia – lower limbs only
Speech & Conversation
Conversation is “a dialogue in which the one
taking breath is called the listener”
High-speed input for people with limited
– Predictive interface, stored phrases, iconic boards
Use Word prediction
Windows’ Accessibility Features
Mouse: pointers, speed and trails
Display: resolution settings, high contrast etc., Magnifier (XP)
Cursor: repeat rate or delay and blink rate
Keyboard options: sticky keys, filter keys and toggle keys,
onscreen keyboard (XP).
SoundSentry: screen sounds for VI
Narrator-Screen Reader (XP)
Accessibility Wizard Windows ME and above: for setting
features in control panel based on user need
Slow keys or disable auto-repeat
Modify keyboard mappings
“Leaf” switch – highly sensitive
Sip and puff
Dual switch (can be used for Morse code)
Switches for Access
1. Jelly Bean Red Switch by Ablenet
2. Buddy Button switch by TASH
3. Leaf Switch by Enabling Devices
4. Frog Switch by Enabling Devices
5. Untouchable a Proximity Single Switch
6. Grasp Switch
7. Voice Activated Switch by Enabling Devices
8. Activation Pressure Adjustable Switch by Penny and Giles
9. Ultimate Switch (with mount included) by Enabling Devices
10. Switch Tray for switch mounting by Maxess
11. Universal Switch Mount by Ablenet
12. Switch and Latch Timer for switch use by Ablenet
13. Battery Adapter (adapts battery operated toys to single switch) by Ablenet
Switched joystick or cursor keys
Head sensor or mouth stick
1. Microspeed trackball.
2. Standard trackball.
3. Penny and Giles joystick with keyguard.
4. Penny and Giles trackball.
5. Trackball from Crayola.
6. Trackball from Penny and Giles.
7. Hand mouse.
8. Mouse with switch interface from Logitech and Mini mouse (for small
9. Glidepoint touch pad by Cirque
10. Graphite Tablet with stylus for drawing.
Switch Interfaces for Computers Access
1. Macintosh Switch Interface by Don Johnston
2. USB Switch Interface by Quizworks
3. Switch Adapted Mouse by Logtec
4. SAM trackball mouse by Microspeed
5. IntelliKeys USB board by Intellitools
– Reduce movement
– One-handed keyboards, possible chords
Membrane surfaces (minimize required
Alternative Input Devices
– Dictation versus control
What is a Direct
… a system that captures signals directly from the
human brain, providing a channel to control
computers and other devices.
The GSU BrainLab Mission
is to pioneer real-world applications research for
biometric technologies to improve the quality of life
for people with severe disabilities, and to explore
Brain Signal Detection
electrodes (single neuron)
Restoring Motion - Neural
Brain “re-learns” how to move limbs via
• Virtual reality hand
Restoring Physical Motion
• Robotic arm
The “Aware „Chair”
Integrated communication and environmental control
• Intelligent, neurally controlled wheelchair
• Conversation and environmental control prediction
• Learns users habits and context
• Provides emotional expression
Think about universal design principles –
helps all users, not just people with
Technology can help provide access and
control of computer
Wide range of solutions
Try before You Buy!
Nothing About Us without Us - Work with
There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn.
In the distance he saw a older woman
appear to be dancing.
As he approached the woman,
he saw her picking up stranded
starfish and throwing them back into the sea.
The young man gazed in wonder
as the woman again and again
threw the small starfish from the sand to the water.
He asked, “Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time.”
The woman explained that the
stranded starfish would die
if left in the morning sun.
“But there must be thousands of
beaches and millions of starfish!”
exclaimed the young man.
“How can you make any difference?”
The woman looked at the small starfish
in her hand and as she threw
it to the safety of the sea, she said,
“It makes a difference to this one!”.
For Your Time & Interest!
We Want to Hear from You!