Access to computers for people with disabilities involves two major issues: access to the computers themselves and access to electronic resources such as word processors, spreadsheets, and web pages. Adaptive hardware and software can facilitate computer access for people with disabilities. Adaptive (or assistive) technology solutions may involve simple, readily available adjustments such as using built-in access devices on standard computers, or they may require unique combinations of software and hardware such as those needed for voice or Braille output.
Here is a list of adaptive technologies for computers and computer workstations that are most commonly requested among students with various disabilities.
- An adjustable table for each type of workstation to assist students with mobility impairments or those who use wheelchairs
- Large-print key labels to assist students with low vision
- Software to enlarge screen images to assist students with low vision and learning disabilities
- Large monitors, of at least 17 inches, to assist students with low vision and learning disabilities
- A speech output system for use by students with low vision, blindness, and learning disabilities
- Braille conversion software and a Braille printer to assist students who are blind
- Trackballs to assist students who have difficulty controlling a mouse
- Wrist rests and keyguards to assist some students with mobility impairments
For more information on adaptive technology, consult Adaptive Technology and Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology or view the video by the same title.