Computer Access

Computer Access and Ergonomics

Computer Access Assistive Technology - the What, When, Who and Why

Girl using computer access ATWhat is Computer Access? It is Assistive Technology (AT) available to students requiring alternative methods to use a computer. It can be input and output devices, alternative access aids, modified or alternative keyboards, switches, special software, and other devices and software solutions that enable students to use the classroom computer.

Ergonomics is a term often used to generally describe the science and practice of designing jobs, tools, equipment and environments to match the capabilities and limitations of the human body. Typically, ergonomics is focused on the workplace but ergonomics can also be applied to students, helping with computer access and computer workstation set up, backpack design and use, as well as students’ after-school jobs. The AT chosen opens the door of opportunities.

When do I need to use AT for Computer Access? AT may be needed after gathering information about the student’s abilities, goals and specific tasks. Students may need computer access all day or just for certain tasks like reading text, taking a test, and writing papers.

Who needs Computer Access AT? Any student struggling with the three functional barriers: 1) providing computer input 2) interpreting output, and 3) reading supporting documentation. Students with motor, visual, cognitive or learning disabilities all can benefit from hardware and software AT.

Why aren’t computers more accessible? Too often, people think of accessibility as an add-on to a device or program. Increasingly today, developers and designers are realizing that maintenance becomes easier when accessibility is part of the basic design. Now, many smartphones, tablets and computers also include screen readers and speech recognition.


Information on this page addresses Assistive Technology for people who have difficulty interacting with a computer
because of sensory, motor, or cognitive limitations in...

EDUCATION   |  EMPLOYMENT  |  COMMUNITY LIVING
(click the titles above to jump to the content area)

For more information, please contact Shelby Sanders, Assistive Technology Specialist,
at shelby.sanders@okstate.edu or 800-257-1705

EDUCATION

Computer Access and Ergonomics

Talking Points for Computer Access Assistive Technology in Education

The category of Education encompasses children - young and old - who are participating as a student whether at the pre-school, elementary, middle/junior/high school levels as well as institutions for higher education. The following talking points are most applicable to students grades preschool through high school.

For children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). You'll find this information in the Community section below.

For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. You'll find this information in the Employment section below.

Situations Where a Child Might Need Assistive Technology for Computer Access:

School Environment

  • Notetaking
  • Reading a book
  • Completing assignments
  • Organization
  • Access to curriculum
  • Keyboarding
  • Computer control

Socialization

  • Social media
  • Games
  • Chat rooms

Family / Home Environment

  • Homework
  • Video games
  • Social media
  • Reading

Community

  • Library

Commonly Asked Questions for a Student Who Needs Computer Access AT

Please listen to this section and/or download a transcript. TXT

Solutions for Students with Computer Access Needs
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Funding Sources for Students Needing Computer Access AT

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for computer access to those with disabilities in Oklahoma:

EMPLOYMENT

Computer Access in Employment

Talking Points for Computer Access Assistive Technology in Employment

The category of Employment encompasses those people of working-age who are currently employed or who are seeking employment. The following talking points may be applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as employers. When matching a person to a piece of assistive technology, one can use the Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) model. This model has been used below in the sample case studies.

For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor.

Situations where an Individual might need Assistive Technology for Computer Access and Ergonomics

Work Environment

  • Interview process
  • Meetings
  • Trainings
  • Daily tasks

Socialization

  • Work lunches
  • Social media
  • Telecommunication
  • Group and committee activities

Family / Home Environment

  • Paying bills
  • Preparing for work
  • Preparing meals

Community

  • Library
  • Shopping for essentials
  • Transportation to, and from, work

Commonly Asked Questions for an Individual Who Has Computer Access Needs

Q - May I ask for an accommodation during the interview process?

A - Yes. Employers are required to provide "reasonable accommodation" -- appropriate changes and adjustments -- to enable you to be considered for a job opening.


Q - How do I request a reasonable accommodation?

A - You must inform the employer that you need some sort of change or adjustment orally or in writing.

 

Q - When can I ask for an assistive device?

A - Your right to assistive technology is available at all stages of a job including application and employment. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o)(1).


Q - How can I get more information about the ADA?

A - You can obtain more information about the ADA and its requirements through EEOC's website, www.eeoc.gov.

Solutions for Individuals with Computer Access Needs
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Funding Sources for Adults with Computer Needs

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for computer access devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma:

COMMUNITY LIVING

Computer Access Community Matrix

Talking Points for Assistive Technology for Computer Access in Community Living

The category of Community Living encompasses infants and toddlers who are under the age of 3 and not yet in school, those people who were born with or have acquired an injury and are otherwise participating in community activities (not as students or employees) as well as those who are aging in the home.  The following talking points are applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as family members and others providing support and care to these individuals with disabilities.

Sometimes an individual will make it to adulthood and have the necessary assistive technology to participate in the community and at home.  When that is the case, these pages will show other considerations regarding accessibility and accommodations.  When the person requires additional tools to participate, the Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) model will be used to show how an individual might best match up with a piece of AT to be used in the community and at home

For those children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Link to Education section

Situations where an individual might need assistive technology for Computer Access

Socialization

  • Lunches
  • Social media
  • Telecommunication

Community

  • Doctor's office visits
  • Hospital
  • Shopping
  • Transportation to, and from, events
  • Entertainment
  • Library

Family/Home Environment

  • Talking on the phone
  • Paying bills
  • TV/Radio
  • Games
  • Computer tasks/games

Solutions for Individuals with Computer Access Loss - Impairment - Needs
(click to open the accordions below)

Funding Sources for Persons with Computer Access Needs

The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for hearing devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma: