What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology refers to any equipment or software that can reduce barriers and enhance productivity and independence for people with disabilities. Assistive technology can range from low tech equipment such as magnifiers or slant boards, to mid tech tools such as audio books, to high tech tools such as computers and adaptive software.
There is a vast range of technology available to suit the needs of people with disabilities. Assistive technology can also be used as intended, in a modified manner, or personalized for the individual. Understanding the technology, its features, and how it can be used is essential in choosing the appropriate combination of assistive technology.
On campus, computers with specialized software are located in the Resource Lab (Room B346). During the final exam period, some students may be assigned to a computer lab on the 4th floor of the Bladen Wing building.
Assistive Technology Assessment
An Assistive Technology Assessment consists of an interview with the Assistive Technology Consultant (ATC). It is recommended you bring your laptop, essential assistive technology, and smart phone to the assessment. We will review your current equipment, discuss your experience with previous technology, and identify your strengths and challenges as a student. Challenging areas that can be support by assistive technology include:
- Reading i.e. obtaining accessible content, understanding text, maintaining visual focus
- Writing i.e. creating study notes, organizing information, completing assignments
- Notetaking i.e. focusing on content while writing, organizing notes, requiring audio notes
- Time management i.e. sustaining focus, completing assignments on time, creating realistic schedule
- Exam accommodations i.e. ensuring the appropriate assistive technology is available
The ATC will demonstrate equipment, software, and strategies based on the areas you are experiencing challenges. These may include:
- Using mainstream technology more effectively i.e. computer, laptop, MS Office, keyboard commands
- Customizing mainstream technology i.e. adjusting mouse and keyboard settings, adjusting display options, using outlook more effectively
- Using and installing accessibility features i.e. browser extensions, apps
- Using adaptive software and equipment i.e. computer-based magnifiers, speech recognition, reading and writing applications (Kurzweil 3000), audio notetakers, screen readers, braille devices
The ATC can provide personalized training and support for the use of the assistive technology equipment and strategies. An opportunity to trial assistive technology and receive training ensures the best outcome when using your equipment.
The ATC works with the Disability Consultant in determining eligibility and obtaining funding for appropriate equipment and software through government funding programs. We can provide information on specialized retailers and obtain equipment quotes.
If you are considering purchasing a computer, the minimum recommended hardware specs for student equipment can be found on the IITS Student Equipment Specifications Page.
On Campus Software
IITS maintains Apple and PC workstations distributed across several computing spaces. Assistive Technology is available in some labs. The IITS site has information on the software available in the labs.