Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is not just for persons with disabilities. While the term ‘assistive technology’ or ‘adaptive technology’ has been coined for devices for people with disabilities, the process for selecting, locating, and using them continues to cross in to mainstream society. Assistive Technology is increasingly being recognized as universally designed tools that can be used to promote greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing. Universally accessible tools can benefit not just the person with a disability but any individual who ever felt that they could benefit from doing something just a bit differently because it blended better with their personal learning and processing style.

Technology can be used to enhance performance, increase productivity, maintain staff retention and boost overall confidence and employee morale. Businesses today are seeking solutions to empower and preserve employee satisfaction; accessible tools achieve this goal for organizations and/or companies actively striving to be leaders in their field. Progressive business leaders know that integrating accessible technology as a strategic element of their corporate technology plan is a win-win proposition. Accessible technology helps businesses keep great employees, recruit from a larger pool of candidates, and enhance team collaboration and communication among all members—including those with disabilities. This is why KMT provides corporate development training to managers, executives, human resources and front line staff on how incorporating assistive (accessible) technologies can enhance productivity and ultimately, the corporate bottom line.

KMT offers executive training on best of breed tools, such as:

  • Interactive Whiteboards
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking
  • Mind Mapping Software
  • Kurzweil 3000
  • Word Q/Speak Q

How Assistive Technologies Work

Speech recognition or voice recognition programs allow people to give verbal commands and enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard. Voice recognition systems use a microphone attached to the computer, which creates text documents such as letters or e-mail messages, and enables the user to browse the Internet or navigate through applications and menus by voice.

Reading tools and learning disabilities programs include software and hardware designed to make text-based materials more accessible for people who have difficulty with reading. Options can include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking text out loud. These programs are helpful for persons who have difficulty seeing or manipulating conventional print materials; people who are developing new literacy skills or who are learning English as a second language; and people who comprehend better when they hear and see text highlighted simultaneously.

Text-to-Speech (TTS) or speech synthesizers receive written information appearing on a screen in the form of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and then “speak” it out loud in a computerized voice. Speech synthesizers allow computer users who are blind or who have learning difficulties to hear what they are typing and also provide a spoken voice for individuals who cannot communicate verbally, but can communicate their thoughts through the written word.