With the advent of advanced and digital technology, disability services are now more accessible, flexible, and affordable. A simple tap or touch of a button from a screen and communication becomes effortless. From entertainment, shopping, to setting up a doctor’s appointment, digital technology is an invaluable breakthrough for people with disabilities.
In this post, you’ll learn some of the ways how technology improves people’s health and disability services. In that way, you become more aware of existing technologies available you and your disabled loved ones can use.
Direct Selection Technology Helps Disabled People Control a Computer
While many disability services are viewed online—such as learning programs valuable for speech therapy and behavior therapy—some people cannot use a computer due to a disability, such as those with upper limb disorders, cerebral palsy, and other bone, muscle, and nerve disorders. Now, disabled people and even senior citizens can use direct selection technologies for communication, exploring the web, and even in social media.
One of the most sought-after direct selection technologies is eye-gaze technology, wherein a person with a disability uses an electronic device to control a tablet or computer by looking at the commands or words on the video screen. A television camera captures the light reflections from the user’s cornea and retina. The computer uses data from the relative position of two reflection changes as the direction of the gaze moves, and the computer executes the chosen command.
Switch-Access Makes Delivery of Disability Services More Convenient
Some types of disabilities don’t allow direct selection methods, and some people find such technology too difficult. A good option is the switch access that can be used to activate different devices to match the motion or movement of the small finger, head, knee, arm, or foot.
Here are the good-to-know facts about switch access technology:
- Disability services and facilities can incorporate switch access so people with disabilities can use this technology to make their lives a lot easier.
- Switch access is recommended for people who have profound motor disabilities. Access to higher technology switches includes electromyography signals or electroencephalogram signals.
- Most switch access devices work by scanning. One good example is the automatic scan for a television, wherein a user activates the adaptive remote control in response to a switch. A light moves between options, such as “Power,” “Channel Down,” “Channel Up,” “Volume Down,” and “Volume Up.”
- A communication device uses a switch to scan between pre-stored messages or letters of the alphabet. An on-screen keyboard on the computer will scan letters or mouse functions, so users can perform any computer function using a single switch.
Use of Speech or Voice Activation Software
Occupational therapists, caregivers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals know the importance of assistive technology to people with disabilities. People who are paralyzed or cannot use their extremities rely on voice-activated software to help attain maximum independence as possible. Even individuals with impaired speech can use some voice recognition devices to express themselves.
Assistive Technology Improves Disabled People’s Lives
The Internet and digital technology have made communication and basic household and work chores accessible and manageable to people with disabilities. Many assistive technologies include helpful disability-friendly features, including keyboard accessibility, alternative text for images, transcripts for podcasts, and more, which also assist people with other special needs and temporary impairments.
Instead of being stumped by the language barrier, assistive technologies minimize room for misinterpretations within conversations, creating less discomfort for disabled people and helping them feel socially engaged to participate in disability services actively.
Here are some examples of assistive technologies for people with disabilities:
- Disability services, such as those applicable for the hearing impaired, have useful applications like ASL Dictionary and Dragon Dictation. The apps help translate English into sign language, making conversation between people with disabilities and an employee possible without an interpreter.
- People who have vision impairments can use gadgets equipped with voice adaption technology. You don’t have to “look” at the computer screen because applications like Voice Brief allow you to “hear” social media feeds and the news.
- People who face speech issues can use assistive technology through applications like TapToTalk wherein users can see an image in a tablet and touch it to speak the words out loud.
People with disabilities usually experience seclusion. With the advancement in technology, people who have cerebral palsy or who are blind can experience conversations with other people. Now, people who have speech impediments can use technology to translate written text into speech. Also, social media apps are now available to simplify communication for those with intellectual disabilities.