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Setting up an Assistive Technology Resource Center

Every person has the right to live independently and people with disabilities are no different. Today they come across various barriers that hinder their education, employment and even in their day to day activities. A resource center with reasonable accommodations and availability of right assistive technology products can assist in removing the barriers for people with disability and help them in achieving their full potential as individuals in mainstream society. By having a disability resource center we will not only address the needs people with disabilities including visual, hearing, physical and learning impairment but also the elderly.

Considerations while setting up a resource center

Considerations while setting up a resource center

Plan your Resource Center

Before you decide to set up a disability resource center, define your target audience. Define the types of disability that the resource center would focus upon – would it be cater to a particular disability or multiple disabilities. This would help you to decide the functioning and plan the assistance services for disabilities.

Accessible Technology Assessment

On the basis of the objective of your resource center, decide the assistive technology requirement. BarrierBreak can assist you with the different types of assistive technology products that are available for people with disabilities including people with visual, hearing, learning and mobility disability. We can also assist you in setting up assessment models to identify AT for students. Here is a list of Assistive Technology Products that is required to set up a resource center.

  • Magnification: A large number of people with low vision, learning disabilities as well as the elderly benefit from magnification support. CCTV Magnifiers allow magnification up to 60 times and also provide various colour contrast options so that people find it easier to read books, newspapers, and even view colourful pictures and photographs.
  • Screen Reader and Magnification Support: If the resource centre provides access to internet as well as to online services, screen readers and screen magnification support ensures equal access to people who are partially sighted or blind. Screen Reader support not only reads but also magnifies and Brailles the documents or websites and makes them accessible to people with disability.
  • Scan and Read Tools: A resource center must provide reading assistant to a person who is blind or has low vision with the help of scan & read tools. These devices help a person with disability get access to a book, a newspaper, articles or any printed material where the user can view and/or listen to the texts easily.
  • Alternate Input Devices: Adaptive keyboards, Mouse Alternatives and Switches can help better access to people or students with limited or no hand movements. These input devices can be effectively used in the resource center so that people or students with disability can easily control, communicate and access computer.
  • Alternative Format Conversion Tools: People with disabilities might require books in different formats such as Braille, large print, digital talking book (Daisy format), etc. It is important that these books are provided in the requisite format on request by the person with disability. In addition, some books based on the usage must also be readily available in these formats so that people can benefit from the same.
  • Braille Displayers: Blind computer users who cannot use a computer monitor can use Braille Displayers to read the text. A Braille reader can easily send and receive mails, review appointments or surf the web, all in Braille.

Training and Awareness

Once the assistive technology products have been procured it becomes important to train the staff about the installation, working and the optimal utilization of the products. In addition Sensitizing training for the staff where all staff would be given information about understanding the needs of people with impairments and ensure new staff be trained as a part of their orientation. Short ‘disability sensitization trainings’ can be very useful in preparing the staff.

Accessible Conversion

  • People with disabilities might require books, brochures and information in different formats such as Braille, large print, digital talking book (Daisy format), etc. It is important that these books are provided in the requisite format on request by the student.
  • Today, videos are everywhere – be it educational, news, movies or promotional. Provide captions, audio description or sign language interpretation to your videos if any and make them accessible to ALL including people with disabilities.
  • It is also important to ensure that the website of the resource center conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as outlined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Connect with us today at BarrierBreak to know how we can support you to set up a resource center that accommodates the needs of people with learning, hearing, visual and/or mobility impairment as well as the elderly. Write to us or call us at +91-22-26860485/86/89.

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