Adolescent/Transition

Accessibility and E-Readers

E-readers (portable devices used primarily for reading electronic books) and general purpose tablets with book-reading apps, like the iPad, are fast becoming popular choices for reading the growing collection of books available in electronic formats. Both types arrived with some accessibility advantages, and developers have been making their products more accessible to people with visual and dexterity disabilities. This article is a summary of the current accessibility state-of-the-art for the most popular of these devices, as well as information on using computers to access e-books. The field is evolving due to lawsuits against schools and libraries, by groups concerned with access.

Most e-readers have features that make them easier for some users, compared to printed books: lighter weight, buttons or screen gestures for page-turning, magnification, and good contrast in low light. Brands and models differ widely on these and more advanced features such as text-to-speech, easy-to-use controls, and screens that perform well in all lighting conditions.

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Using a Computer While Lying Down

Some people need to spend much of their time in bed for medical reasons; other find that sitting or lying in bed is more comfortable than using a chair or standing. In both cases, appropriate furniture and other hardware may be necessary to permit effective use of either a laptop or desktop computer. This article talks about some strategies and considerations for in-bed computer use.

Initial Considerations

  • Position the bed near an electrical outlet, surge protector, or uninterruptible power supply. Even if the user is using battery power, they will want easy access to the recharger.

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Mounting Systems for Electronic Devices

Mounting systems are often needed to hold specialized or mainstream devices to wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, or stationary objects such as desks, counters, beds, and walls. They provide a way to accommodate the user's ability to reach or operate the device, or a cognitive disability. They work well in public settings and institutions, where the device must be easy to find and use, but protected against theft. Mounting systems have evolved to handle many devices and environments. This article provides an overview of available mounting systems, including what to consider when selecting a system.

When considering mounting systems, keep the following in mind:

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Assistive Technology for Cooking and Cleaning

Some homemaking products designed for the mainstream work especially well for people with various types of disabilities. Other products have been specifically designed with accessibility features. This article covers products from both categories that are useful for cooking and cleaning tasks.

Cleaning

Automatic devices for cleaning floors such as the Roomba and Scooba have become commonplace, and may herald more widespread development of robotic devices for similar functions.

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Organizational Tools for People with Learning Disabilities

In some cases, the primary need that people with learning disabilities have is assistance with organization. This may affect organizing thoughts, tasks, or both. This article covers mind-mapping software, which helps with brainstorming and thought grouping, and calendaring software, which helps with time management.

Mind Mapping Software

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Notetaking Tools for People with Learning Disabilities

An important function of accessing information in most educational and work settings is notetaking -- extracting the most important material and using it for studying, supporting assertions in new writings, or transmitting to colleagues. Assistive technology is now available to help facilitate notetaking with either text or audio materials. This article summarizes these current technologies.

Notetaking with Written Materials

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Reading Tools for People with Learning Disabilities

Some people with learning disabilities experience problems with reading, for a variety of reasons. Solutions may involve modifying the font size, typeface, or color contrast, multimodal presentation of text, availability of easy-to-use dictionaries, and masking text that isn't being read.

This article covers some of the mainstream and AT solutions to these writing problems.

Mainstream Options

Office-type programs have options for making the text larger and therefore more legible to some people with learning disabilities. They also have options for changing typeface, type color, and background color, any or all of which may be useful.

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Assistive Technology Software and People with Learning Disabilities

The term "learning disability" is usually defined as involving difficulties with reading, writing, math, memory, or other cognitive functions among people with average or above-average intelligence. Because there is such a wide variation among individual needs and preferences, people with learning disabilities are often best served by software with a variety of customizable features. These features may also be of use to individuals with more temporary needs, such as beginning readers and ESL students. This article talks about some of these tools and the needs they address.

Assistive Technology Strategies for Reading

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Free AAC Software for iPhone/iPodTouch/ iPad Devices

Many free alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) apps are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. This article summarizes the capabilities of the most useful of these apps as well as providing links to the products' iTunes pages.

For an introduction to AAC, please see the articles on Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What Is It? and Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) -- What are the options?

Introduction

One benefit of using free apps is that they can be used to explore whether AAC is beneficial to an individual, and what type of AAC is beneficial, without requiring a financial commitment beyond the necessary hardware. They also tend to have simple designs so that they are very intuitive and can be used with little or no training or configuration.

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Cognitive Training Software

Cognitive training can be used to address behavior issues in children, memory loss in elders, and other cognitive skills. This article lists some software that's currently available and provides suggestions for what to look for when selecting cognitive training software.

Cognitive Training Software for Basic Skills

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