Adult

Access to Videos

This article provides an overview of the issues people may have when accessing videos online, in theaters, and from DVD or Blu-Ray players, and the solutions that have been developed to address these. 

Barriers to Video Access

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Assistive Technology for People with Limited or No Use of Their Hands

This article provides an overview of alternative strategies that people with physical disabilities can use to augment or replace use of their hands.

Optimizing Hand Use

Many people, even those with severe difficulty using their hands, prefer to maximize their manual capabilities rather than use alternative strategies. Fortunately, there is a wide range of assistive technologies that can help with this:

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Technology Made Easier for Technology Averse People

While technology seems a clear boon to many people, including elders and people with disabilities, others may find it too intimidating. This article talks about products and strategies that simplify the process of using technology or that provide up-to-date capabilities via familiar products, such as televisions and refrigerators.

Not using current technology may present significant barriers, such as the inability to use an ever-increasing number of services that are only available online: applying for jobs, cutting through governmental red tape, or communicating with banks and other companies.

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Facilitated Communication for AAC Users

Facilitated communication (FC) is a controversial strategy for helping individuals with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some claim that it gives people a voice for the first time, while others claim that the facilitator, not the AAC user, is actually doing the communicating. This article describes FC and presents arguments from both sides of the controversy.

What is Facilitated Communication (FC)?

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Etiquette in Communicating with AAC Users

Because communication using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) may be much slower or more difficult to understand than standard speech, many people may try to interrupt to finish an AAC user's sentences, or avoid interaction altogether. Below are some tips to make communication between AAC and non-AAC users more comfortable and fruitful. These are adapted from the following sources: the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), the Waisman Center, and Voice for Living.

  1. Treat AAC users as you would anyone else. Do not treat them as special or fragile.
  2. Never talk about someone who is present during a conversation. Talk to them.

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Using Pictures in Mainstream Communication Programs

Adding pictures to standard communication tools such as address books may provide important visual cues for people with learning or other cognitive disabilities -- users can contact people without knowing how to read or write their names. This article contains information on ways that Macintosh and Windows computers and mobile devices support this feature.

Adding Pictures to Email Address Books

Macintosh

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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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