Adult

Accessible Options for Art, Music, and Other Creative Activities

Creativity software can help users bypass the most difficult physical, sensory, and cognitive aspects of making art, while enabling expression and exploration. While there is not much high-tech hardware or software for making art specifically made for people with disabilities, there are a variety of mainstream options that can be put to this purpose. Many of these are particularly relevant to people with dexterity disabilities that prevent them from holding a paintbrush or strumming a guitar.

This article covers some of those options in:

  • Painting/Drawing
  • Making Music
  • Photography
  • Video and Animation

If you already have a creativity application, examine the interface, documentation, and online resources; you will usually find at least some of these usability and accessibility features:

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Writing Tools for People with Learning Disabilities

Some people with learning disabilities experience problems with writing (dysgraphia); this may include problems with specific words (e.g., spelling) or with generating ideas. Some writing tools are specifically designed for people with learning disabilities; others are built into mainstream products. They provide assistance with a wide range of needs, including optimizing on-screen and print formats, idea generation and organization, choosing the right word, and spelling, homophone, and grammar checking.

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

Try It Yourself

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Making Browsers More Accessible

Browsers are the software programs used to access the web, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. All have accessibility features built in; you can add more features by downloading add-ons. This article covers what's available for each of these popular browsers.

Internet Explorer

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Braille Printers

Braille printers take an electronic text and emboss it onto stiff paper for blind readers who know braille.

This article covers the types of braille printers and how they work.

Braille printers can be used to create paper documents in either Grade 1 braille (every English character is represented by a braille character) or Grade 2 braille (contractions are used for common words such as “for” and common letter combinations such as “ing”). They use a special heavyweight paper to create easy-to-read characters.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Accessible Voting

The Help American Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 mandates that people with disabilities be able to vote independently and privately. This mandate may involve machines that are either specifically designed as accessible alternatives, or are used by all voters but have mandated accessibility features.

Accessible voting machines should have the following capabilities:

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Hearing Aids and Mobile Phones

Hearing aids and mobile phones don't always get along.  Here's some background on those problems and how to solve them.

Microphones and Telecoils

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Gaming Systems (Wii, etc.)

Gaming systems like Playstation, Wii, and XBox are powerful technologies for education, entertainment, and exercise.  They include a console, a handheld controller, game media, and a connector to a television for display.  Some connect to the Internet as well.

They can be used to play physical games or mental puzzles, chat by voice or text with others, browse the web, and watch videos.

There are specialized input devices for different activities, and some have been created or modified for people with disabilities.  New controllers include object, face, and voice recognition technologies -- exciting options for accessibility.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Captions on DVDs

Viewers of DVDs and Blu-ray disks usually have the option of viewing captions.

DVDs that have closed captions or subtitles may indicate that on the cover.  To turn captions on, go to the 'menu' on the DVD and look for the 'languages' category.  Either 'closed captions' (CC) or 'subtitles for deaf and hard of hearing' (SDH) will show up.  Select the option and proceed to play the DVD.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What Is It?

People may have difficulty speaking due to a physical injury or a disability (e.g., cerebral palsy), a cognitive impairment (such as brain injury or autism), or both physical and cognitive disabilities. Some of these people use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) strategies for communication. This article covers the general principles of AAC; more information about specific strategies is in our article about Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What are the Options?

AAC needs to be matched to the user's physical and cognitive capabilities, but also to the immediacy of their communication needs. If someone is trying to communicate, it is better to quickly provide simple but reasonably effective strategies, such as a sheet of paper with pictures that she can point to, than to wait until more sophisticated options are available.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS)

Telecommunication Relay Service (background article.

">TRS) is a family of free services that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or speech impaired independently place and receive phone calls.  A communication assistant (CA) "translates" between a text or sign language user on one side and a voice telephone user on the other.

This article covers the various types of relay services and how to use them.

background article.

">TRS includes:

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Syndicate content