Technology, An Equalizer
Technology can be a great equalizer
for individuals with disabilities that
might prevent full participation in
school, work, and the community.
Assistive Technology
 Any item, piece of equipment, or product
system whether acquired commercially off
the shelf, modified, or customized, that is
used to increase, maintain, or improve
functional capabilities of individuals with
disabilities.
Assistive Technology
 A lot of technology we see daily was
developed initially to assist persons with
disabilities.
 Example: The optical character reader,
developed to assist individuals unable to
read written text. has been adapted in the
workplace to scan printed documents into
computer-based editable material. To save
on data entry labor.
Assistive Technology In Use
 No One is a Disabled Person While on the
Internet with Linux.
 Words from a quadriplegic using voice
recognition technology.
Most famous example
 Stephen Hawking- Physicist with motor
neuron disease.
 “For a time, the only way I could
communicate was to spell out words letter
by letter, by raising my eyebrows when
someone pointed to the right letter on a
spelling card.”
 Difficult to carry on a conversation or write a
scientific paper.
Stephen Hawking “A computer expert in California, called Walt
Woltosz, heard of my plight. He sent me a
computer program he had written, called
Equalizer.”
– Allowed Hawking to select words from a series
of menus on the screen, by pressing a switch by
hand.
– The words would be sent to a speech
synthesizer for communication.
Walt Woltosz
 Words+ Living Center
– A sensor is placed on or near the muscle group
over which disabled person has the most
control.
– Can operate the software with an eye switch.
– Most severely handicap can communicate 5-10
words per minute.
The disabled as a potential IT
workforce
 Maybe?