Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week #11 - Assistive Technology Hardware Solutions

Watching the videos/stories of two severely physically disabled people overcoming their disabilities was very inspiring. I've seen and read about many stories like these, but it is important to be reminded of them from time to time. Well, more than just from time to time, but you know what I mean. The story of the girl with cerebral palsy who attends college through the use of the DynaVox technology (computer-generated voice recording) specifically touched a nerve because she grew up fairly close to my hometown and attends (or attended) California University of Pennsylvania, which is also pretty close to my hometown. I understand that geography is irrelevant to any feelings that I may have about Beth Anne's struggles and triumphs, but it just makes the situation more concrete somehow. I wonder if Stephen Hawking uses the same, or similar, DynaVox technology to communicate. It seems like the same company could have developed both communcation devices, if they are indeed different.

It is amazing just how much hardware is available for disabled citizens. EnableMart is an excellent website that provides purchasing options for hundreds of devices that aid people with disabilities. While I was browsing through the hardware available on the website and the links provided on the Discovering Assistive Technology webpage, a few stood out. IntelliKeys is a device that is considered by many to be the "leading assistive technology in the world." Looking through the thousands of assistive technology devices available, this seems like a bold statement. However, IntelliKeys probably is the leader in assistive technology because of its versatility. Specifically, its high contrast colors and different keyboard configurations aid several disability groups, including the visually impaired and learning disabled. The Roller Plus Joystick also stood out as an extremely helpful technological aid for people with severe motor impairments.

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