About this site... (This is a very old site that some still seem to find useful.) It was designed for use by students in the Educational Assistant (EA) program at Sheridan College, for individuals with disabilities, and for my colleagues and friends with related interests. This page contains links to web sites that focus on disability and technology. Most sites will refer to assistive/adaptive devices that are computer-based and/or related to computer access. However, since assistive technology can include any device that improves function, other technologies are mentioned on many pages. I have purposely excluded disability sites that have little or no reference to technology.
Table of Contents
These links provide definitions and discussions related to assistive and adaptive devices. It is a good starting point if you are unfamiliar with some of the key terms, concepts and applications related to this area.
- Assistive Technology; Guiding Principles is part of the online workshop that used to be available through NCIP. This discussion of ten principles reminds readers that the use of assistive technology should be based on a thoughtful, holistic team approach to individual support that provides follow-up in order to maximize function. Check out all the readings related to this workshop - a great overview of assistive technology! [http://www2.edc.org/NCIP/workshops/sett3/readings.htm].
The following links will connect you to pages called them "gateways" because they offer links to more sites. Explore the "back" links within the pages below for more general information on disabilities.
- Closing the Gap has recently published the results of a project aimed at compiling The Essential Bookmark Collection for Assistive Technology Coordinators. They sought to create a balance of high quality links in the following categories: Information, Solutions, Resources, Development, Integration. [This web site was included in the collection - blush, blush.].
- CALL Centre (Communication Aids for Language and Learning) is based at the University of Edinburgh, and is dedicated to serving people with severe communication disabilities, physical disabilities and mobility problems. They also have information on augmentative and assistive communication. They have a superb collection of links to other sites - these links have special interest because the include sites in Scotland, the UK, Europe, as well as North America, Australia and Singapore. [http://callcentre.education.ed.ac.uk/].
- NCIP Library, The National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education through Technology, Media and Materials is(was) a superb site with excellent links to related sites. They focused on the effective use of technology to enhance educational outcomes for students with sensory, cognitive, physical and social/emotional disabilities. Features included discussion groups, a library and an online training course. Their funding was terminated and parts of the site are no longer updated / available - but you may find some gems at the link provided above. See also [http://www.edc.org/FSC/NCIP/].
- ATRC, The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre. Click on Online Resources to find a list of links to other sites. They also provide up to date information on upcoming conferences in both Canada and the US. [http://www.utoronto.ca/atrc/].
- Archimedes Project provides leverage for individuals with disabilities through information technology. This site from Stanford university has good links (though not annotated or categories). [http://archimedes.stanford.edu/].
- ASET Ontario - "a new and growing network of Adaptive and Assistive Technology consultants, teachers, technicians and support staff from educational institutions across Ontario who are dedicated to the support of students with special needs through the use of technology."
- SET:BC - unbeatable resources from Special Education Technology: British Columbia
Grouping "assistive technologies" according to disability is probably inappropriate. Joy Zabala, an NCIP Workshop Facilitator says it best: "Have you ever been asked what software would be right for a person with cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome or any other specific disability? I hope you are smiling as you read this, for if you know more than one person with a particular disability, you know that an unanswerable question without knowing what the person needs to be able to DO as a result of using the software. This is not to say that there are not factors of disability that influence the selection and use of tools, but that they are secondary to the desired functional use of the tools." Nonetheless, many web sites do categorize technology according to disability. If this is your preferred way of accessing information on this topic, here are some links that were found under disability-specific sites. Since the functional needs of people with various disabilities overlap, you may wish to visit all of them.
There are a number of online journals and magazines, and those included here either specialize in disability and technology, or have occasional articles on related topics. This list is by no means exclusive. Many gateway sites refer to magazines and periodicals. If you find one that's noteworthy, please let me know.
- Closing the Gap has various resources including a newspaper, an extensive directory of hardware and software and a helpful online resource library. Some of their materials are available for purchase. [http://www.closingthegap.com/].
- Family Village: A Global Community of Disability-Related Resources integrates information, resources and communication opportunities for people with various disabilities and their families. This site has much to offer and could have been included elsewhere on my page, but I include it here because of the excellent library they offer. definitely worth a visit! [http://www.familyvillage.wisc.edu/].
- Information Technology and Disabilities: Founded by EASI, here's how they describe themselves - "Information Technology and Disabilities (ITD) is devoted to the practical and theoretical issues surrounding the development and effective use of new and emerging technologies by computer users with disabilities. ITD will feature articles on issues affecting educators (K through college), librarians, adaptive technology trainers, rehabilitation counselors, human resources professionals, and developers of adaptive computer hardware and software products". Online issues date back to 1994, and here's a sampling of topics from the June 1996 edition...Teaching lab courses to students with disabilities; Teaching science, engineering, and mathematics to deaf students - the role of technology in instruction and teacher preparation; Assistive technology and learning disabilities. I haven't had time to read all the articles, in all the journals, so if you find one that is especially noteworthy, please bring it to my attention in a brief Email note. Back issues are also available at http://www.rit.edu/~easi/itd.html.
- NCIP Library is a limited collection of resources on technology and education. All articles featured are extremely valuable. Currently features are articles on Word prediction software, Technology for the visually impaired, and Technology in ECE. [http://www2.edc.org/NCIP/library/toc.htm].
Your depth of knowledge and skills tends to increase when you talk to others about your learning and experiences. These links will take you to sites where you can join listservs and newsgroups. Although listservs can now be viewed through web browsers, most of these discussion groups invite you to "subscribe" (for free) - you send an Email message asking to subscribe and read messages in your mail reader (e.g. Netscape or Outlook). Newsgroups do not ask you to subscribe and work somewhat like bulletin boards where people post messages and responses. These are usually organized in "threads", so that you can choose to read only those "conversations" that interest you. As you'll see below, there are many opportunities for you to learn from other people's conversations, ask questions, and/or contribute information about your own experiences with technology and adaptations.
- SCI PILOT is a resource describing the assistive technology experiences of individuals with quadriplegia from their own perspective. Nothing is more valuable than that! A must read! [http://www.scipilot.com/].
- Ready SETT Go Workshop is just one more invaluable feature of the NCIP site. Sadly, NCIP's funding expired in 1998, but the workshop materials are still available. Go to the workshop guide and scroll, down to week #1 etc., and read the background material which includes articles entitled "What is assistive technology", or "Selecting assistive technology". [http://www2.edc.org/NCIP/workshops/toc.htm].
- EASI, Equal Access to Software and Information aims to serve as a resource to the education community by providing information and guidance in the area of access-to-information technologies by individual with disabilities. They run several online workshops. their publications page also features useful articles. [http://www.rit.edu/~easi/].
The following links lead you to sites which focus very specifically on accessibility.
- Designing Universal/Accessible Web Sites provides a wealth of information on Internet-related accessibility issues. It provides general guidelines, information about browsers, links to model accessible web sites, and to programs and projects focusing on Web access. [http://www.trace.wisc.edu/world/web/index.html].
- Designing An Accessible World. This site discusses design principles and guidelines for computers, telecommunications, products, housing, recreation and more! The entire site is highly commendable and worth a visit [http://www.trace.wisc.edu/index.html].
Commercial sites are on the Internet for profit, but I include some here because you may, in fact, be interested in purchasing some of the products you read about elsewhere on the web. Even if you're "just looking", a few of these sites are worth a visit just to see a photo of the product, get a description and some prices. Link to this list provided by ATRC.
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Last revised: October 06, 2010