Assistive Technology on My Computer

I have an Dell with Windows 7 on it. Under the control panel, you will find “Ease of Access Center” and then the different settings available. They were organized according to setting:  optimize for blindness,  optimize visual display, set up alternative input devices, adjust settings for the mouse or other pointing devices, adjust settings for the keyboard, set up alternative sounds, adjust settings for reading and typing.

According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), in the USA, federal law recognizes several types of disabilities: deaf, hard of hearing, mental retardation, multi-handicapped, orthopedically impaired, seriously emotionally disturbed, special learning disabilities, speech impaired, or visually handicapped. The authors also note that various fields of special education and rehabilitation have long been interested in technology; “special education technology has been a part of the US educational system since at least 1879…” (399.)

For those who are vision impaired-  you have the ability to turn on a narrator who reads aloud any text on the screen, or hear descriptions of what’s happening in videos, turn off all unnecessary animations, make the cursor larger, increase the contrast on the screen, remove background images, audible clicks on the keyboard or zoom in so that smaller items may be seen larger.

For those with physical impairments- you can use an on-screen keyboard so that you can type with the mouse or joystick, speak into a microphone to control the computer, open programs and dictate text,  set up the mouse so that the user only has to hover over an area for it to open rather than requiring the user to click and keyboard shortcuts so that it limits how much typing is required.

For those with attention deficit disorders- you are able to have the narrator read aloud to you, remove the distracting background images, turn on sticky keys , toggle keys and filter keys, adjust the time limits and flashing visuals, make it easier to manage windows by preventing windows form being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen.

For those with hearing impairments-  you may turn on visual notifications for sounds or have text captions for spoken dialog.

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2 thoughts on “Assistive Technology on My Computer

  1. It is amazing how many programs are already on computers. I didn’t realize this until last year when I attended a conference, and the instructor pointed out everything that was on our Macs. I think it is so important that teachers are aware of these features. Looking back, I think about the times when I could have helped a student with either the voice recognition or the narrator tools. I was shocked that our special education instructors never taught us about these tools. Maybe they don’t know about them either…

    • Agreed. I am sad that I have overlooked this. I have an extended resource room and resource room at my school and I don’t think they use many of these built-in tools either. These tools can help all learners and teachers should be trained on how to use them.

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