Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology helps to improve disabled people lives

Assistive Technology is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially or off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability. In addition, assistive technology can be “no- tech,” such as Velcro for fastening your shirt; “low- tech,” such as a walking cane; or “high- tech,” such as a combined switch system-scanning software. It can be specially designed equipment for the disabled or standard equipment that has been modified for their use.

    Technologies for People with Disabilities

  1. Physical Disabilities
    • Visual Disabilities: Low Vision and Blinds
    • - Sample Solutions: Screen magnifier, screen reader, audio feedback, braille keyboard and printer, OCR

    • Hearing Disabilities: Hearing loss and Deafness
    • - Sample Solutions: Cochlear implant, visual and physical alerting systems, voice recognition software

    • Communications Disabilities:
    • - Sample Solutions: Alternative and Augmantative Communication devices, text to speech software (TTS)

    • Motion Disabilities: Limited Fine Motor Control, Mobility Impairment and Limb Deficiency
    • - Sample Solutions: Switch/Scanning solutions, alternative input devices, environment control

  2. Cognitive Impairment
    • Functional: Down Syndrome, autism, dyslexia, memory and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder….
    • - Sample Solutions: Communication with Symbols, reminders, audio books, personal digital assistant

    • Clinical: medical treatment application

What is switch and scanning, how it works? A switch is an assistive technology device that replaces the need to use a computer keyboard or a mouse. Switches come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the action used to activate them such as sip-puff, pushing, pulling, pressing, blinking or squeezing. A switch can be operated by almost any body part that is able to produce consistent and voluntary movement. To connect a computer, a switch Interface is required. With special software offering onscreen layouts of several key choices, a single switch can control any combination of keys, mouse actions or software commands. Key choices are often “scanned”, where a highlighted box moves over items on the screen one after the other, until the user presses the switch to make a selection.

Onscreen Keyboard-Row Scanning

Row Scanning

OnScreen Keyboard-Column Scanning

Column Scanning

Among the variations of group-item scanning, the most common is row-column scanning where the items are grouped in rows.In group-item scanning, items are grouped (e.g., by row, column, or other meaningful categories) and the scanning indicator will first scan by groups. Once the scanner selects the group his desired item belongs to, the scanning indicator will scan each item in the selected group. HAYDi:Switch product family offers this solution.

What is AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication)? Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an umbrella term that encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production of spoken or written language. AAC is used by those with a wide range of speech and language impairments, including congenital impairments such as cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and autism, and acquired conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. AAC devices range from low-tech, print-based communication boards to high-tech, speech generating devices. There are two types of speech generating devices.

Digitized AAC Devices: Digitized speech that has been prerecorded by a real person and sounds very natural. However, digitized devices do not allow a person to create new messages independently or have “live” conversations as their needs dictate.

Sythesized AAC Devices: Synthesized speech devices are a far more popular choice among AAC users because they use technology to translate a user’s input into “live” speech. There are many high quality sounding voice programs on the market that offer numerous male and female voices in multiple languages.

Although HAYDi:Switch Lite software has only digitized, Pro software has both digitized and synthesized voice support.

What is accessibility and which operating systems has this feature? Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible including disabled. Nowadays, popular operating systems such as Windows, Apple MacOs and Linux comes with a number of accessibility options.

Magnifier, Sticky Keys, Mouse Keys, High Contrast, Onscreen Keyboard, Screen Reader, Voice Recognition, Visual and Sound Feedback are the most common accessibility options.